The most recognizable city in the United States’ Pacific Northwest, Seattle is the birth place of grunge music, mass coffee consumption, entrepreneurial spirit, and much of the salmon consumed by this outdoor-loving, tech-savvy, caffeine-buzzed population who appreciate the good life and know how to share it.
Hotel 1000Consistently voted one of Seattle’s top luxury hotels, Hotel 1000 is smack bang in the middle of the Seattle action. The uber-tech hotel features The Golf Club virtual reality room where you can swing a club at the world’s top courses. Or forget technology altogether at The Spaahh. If your faithful companion is your roommate, Hotel 1000 provides pet beds and pooch pastries too.
Four Seasons SeattleLocated in the heart of all the Seattle excitement, this five-star hotel is a maximum 15-minute walk to Pike Place Market, Seattle Waterfront, Seattle Aquarium, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum and downtown shopping. All suites have views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountain Range, and our favourite spaces are the Deluxe Bay View rooms that look out over Puget Sound. The vista from the rooftop pool is pretty special too.
Portage Bay Cafe Their slogan ‘Eat like you give a damn’ sums up the passion these guys feel for food. Using only local and/or organic ingredients, and with gluten-free options, you’ll love their omelettes and scrambles, or load up your pancake stack at the berry bar. Make a reservation at one of their three locations, or put your name down at the door and explore the area (like the newly refurbished South Lake Union Park) while you wait. Closes at 3:00 pm.
LolaWhether you’re going for the famous ‘donuts in a bag’ teamed with jalapeno-infused vodka Bloody Marys at breakfast, or Greek-meets-North-African small plates for lunch or dinner, you could spend an entire day eating here; and we recommend you do.
Agua Verde Cafe and Paddle ClubWork up an appetite first by renting a kayak from the Paddle Club ($18 for one hour) and cruise past Seattle’s famous houseboats on Lake Union with views of the Space Needle. Or, paddle through the city’s beautiful Arboretum, home to bald eagles, heron, beavers and muskrats. Hungry yet? Float back to shore and indulge in modern Mexican dishes, like spicy grilled catfish tacos, at the cafe for lunch or dinner.
CantinettaA Wallingford neighbourhood favourite features Tuscan fare with locally-sourced ingredients and handmade pastas. The warm, friendly atmosphere and spot-on service makes you feel like you’re actually at a friend’s house for a dinner party. In fact, the manager lives upstairs, so it’s kind of like hanging out in his dining room.
Molly Moon Ice CreamTake your place at the end of the line at this tiny Wallingford neighborhood shop where, even in winter, the queue snakes down the street. It’s worth it for the Salted Caramel ice cream alone. Alternatively, follow them on Twitter @mollymoon to scout their roving ice cream truck whereabouts.
You can’t visit the Capital of Coffee without experiencing our favourites. Yes, you’ll find a Starbuck’s on every corner but it’s the indie establishments that give the city its flavour. Try Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Company, Fuel Coffee Seattle, Espresso Vivace and Kaladi Brothers.
Pike Place MarketPike Place must be your first stop in Seattle. You could easily spend a day here, getting lost in the underground burrows, exploring the cobblestone alleys, weaving through the hundreds of stores, craftspeople, farmers and entertainers. Dodge the freshly-caught salmon being thrown between performing fish mongers (watch the webcam at Pike Place Fish), taste locally produced cheeses, grab a giant tulip bouquet for $10, and visit the original Starbuck’s.
There are so many places to shop at the market. We love: Antiques at Pike Place, Watson Kennedy Fine Home, Pike and Western Wine Shop, Sur la Table, World Spice Merchants, and Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. And our restaurant picks include Steelhead Diner, Cafe Campagne (upstairs for fine dining, downstairs for delightful French cafe fare), Matt’s in the Market and The Pink Door (for a date-night, go for the Burlesque show after 11:00 pm Saturdays.)
The Space NeedleGet your bearings and see Seattle and her surrounding areas by taking a trip up to O Deck at The Space Needle. From Puget Sound, Lake Union, Elliot Bay, and Lake Washington, to the snow-capped Mt. Rainier, the Cascade Mountains to the East, and the Olympic Mountains and Peninsula to the west. Get a preview of what you’ll see with The Space Needle webcam. (Ok, that’s cheating, you really need to see it for yourself.)
Seattle Art MuseumLocated just a couple of blocks from Pike Place Market is Seattle Art Museum, aka SAM. The newly refurbished art center houses ever-changing exhibitions. Alternatively, head outdoors to the Olympic Sculpture Park (run by SAM but situated about two miles west on the waterfront) where families can run amok among such important works as Alexander Calder’s Eagle (1971).
Experience Music ProjectThere’s no doubt Seattle has a rich music history, and it’s here that it is encapsulated. You won’t have to look hard to find it; it’s the big (Frank Gehry-designed) shiny blob at the base of The Space Needle. Get up on stage in front of your own adoring crowd, or learn a guitar lick in the Sound Lab.
Velocity Art & DesignA temple of great modern decor and design. Capitol Hill
LuccaUnique decor finds, delicious teas, chandeliers, unique jewellery and letterpress cards. Ballard
TotokaeloHigh-end masculine-meets-feminine lines. Pioneer Square
Great Jones HomeExquisite designer pieces, antiques and vintage, decorative objects, pillows and bedding. Belltown
Butch BlumA miniature department store with classic pieces for both men and women from the world’s top designers. Downtown
Revival Home and GardenColourful reupholstered vintage and bold new furniture and accessories reign supreme. Capitol Hill
EssenzaPerfume heaven, exquisite jewelry, and intimate apparel. Fremont
Kirk AlbertAn eccentric burrow of industrial finds. Perhaps nothing will fit in your suitcase, but come for pure inspiration and the wow factor. Georgetown
Guest post by Sophie Vander.