Looking back on 2015, I’d say my favorite trip of the year was to Seattle, Washington. I had heard amazing things from friends and colleagues about how Seattle was one of their favorite cities so I had to check it out. I headed out there with my mom, sister and aunt at the end of June and the weather was unseasonably warm and sunny. Apparently you don’t typically need air conditioning in Seattle, so multiple times during our trip we saw people lugging around box window fans they just bought. What was uncomfortable for Seattleans was perfect for us – we got sunshine all four days we were there! I’ve outlined a few of my favorite experiences and then ones I wish I had time for!
We stayed at the W Hotel downtown, and it was perfectly located to get to restaurants, shopping, and the Pike Place Market daily.
Salty’s on Aliki Beach: Aliki Beach is where Sleepless in Seattle was filmed, and looks right across to the city so you get some amazing sunsets and views if you go there for dinner and eat outside. The service was fantastic. We started with the Seafood Trio which included the Dungeness Crab Cake, Calamari, and Coconut-Crusted Prawns. I also got the world-famous seafood chowder with crab for my meal and split the salmon with my sister. I’d suggest sticking with a cub of the soup for an appetizer – its delicious but heavy. The salmon was perfection as was the rockfish. I paired my meal with La Crema Chardonnay – light and crisp!
Purple Café and Wine Bar: Although I can’t remember what wine flights I had, I can tell you the wine was on point and the layout of the restaurant is beautiful. The servers did a great job at helping you pair your food orders with the type of wine you were drinking. The number one recommendation in terms of food is the Maine Lobster Baked Mac N’ Cheese, regardless of what it pairs with. We also split some of the pizzas and did a meat and cheese board which all worked perfectly with the tastings.
Trace Seattle: We didn’t have to walk far to get to this restaurant as it was located right in the W! We ate here at the very end of our trip because we were exhausted and it did not disappoint. We shared the Spinach & Artichoke dip, Brick-Fired Pizza and Crispy Fried Brussel Sprouts. All incredible.
Serious Pie: I can’t make a trip without going to one of the top-rated pizza shops! We decided on Serious Pie which was located pretty close to Pike Place Market. A cute little pie shop where you can watch the staff make the pies, don’t be intimidated by the wait outside! It moves quick. We had the Buffalo Mozzarella pizza.
If you get the time to travel outside the city, there are a cluster of wineries within a 30 minute drive in Woodinville, WA. When there’s wine, you can always make time!
JM Cellars: This winery was gorgeous and hidden within the sky-high trees – think of jumping around the tress in Twilight.
Chateau St. Michelle: A more widely known winery and one of the oldest ones in the area, the estate is well suited for weekly live music and picnics throughout the grounds.
A few others in the area I heard good things about but didn’t get the chance to explore were Columbia Winery, Novelty Hill, Silver Lake, and Woodhouse Wine Estates.
Pike Place Market: Obviously one of the most talked about points of interest in Seattle with good reason. Pike Place was our favorite thing to do first thing in the morning. We would get our walk in, get coffee (yes, we got to check out the first Starbucks!), and basically wake up with the vendors in the market. Imagine seeing people setting up the freshest fruit, flowers, and fish you could imagine. The flowers were beyond memorable and if I lived there I would go weekly for a gorgeous bouquet. We also stopped by and stocked up on some of Beecher’s handmade cheese for our winery trip!
Discovery Park: A couple miles outside of downtown, I highly recommend hiking this trail while you are out there. A great way to see the views and exercise at the same time. We did about three miles and walked along the Pugent sound and then into what felt like the rainforest. There were breathless views with every step.
Washington State Ferries: We quickly did the ferry to Bainbridge Island one afternoon so we could see the city from the water and also experience a different part of town. The island was quaint with beautiful little shops, bars and restaurants. We wish we set aside a bit more time to just relax and enjoy the island a bit. A great thing about the ferries is that you get a wonderful view of Mt. Rainier from the water as well. It was wild to see a snowcapped mountain in the middle of June!
Space Needle: This iconic Seattle staple is a must for a 360 view of the city!
Chihuly Garden & Glass: Right next to the Space Needle, you can buy a companion ticket to go to the glass blowing museum. Be prepared for beautiful bright and bold colors in shapes and sculptures you would have never imagined. Very impressive.
Yellowleaf Cupcake: On our walk to the Space Needle, I spied some amazing looking French Macarons. I had to go in and devaour a birthday cake flavored delicacy.
Underground Tour: Make sure to learn more about the history of Seattle with Bill Spiegal’s Underground Tour. Not only do you learn about (and walk) the world of Seattle that was once a floor below what it currently is today, you hear ghost tales, and get some interesting scoop on the Madame who basically ran the town, Lou Graham.
If I went back to Seattle
When I go back to Seattle, I definitely plan to spend more time at the wineries in Woodinville, but also make some time to travel around Washington a bit more to see some vineyards.
The Alibi Room was one of the restaurants/bars on our list but from all of our activities we never got the chance to make it. Located in Post Ally of Pike Place Market, the locals had great things to say. I would also get chowder at Pike Place Chowder – when we were there the line was too long and it was in the high 80s.
Gladly I can say that I feel like I made the most out of my first trip and would add it to my list of favorite U.S. Cities!