Things were a little quiet around here while the hubster and I snuck out to Seattle, WA at the end of October for an extended long weekend. The weather in Seattle is always rainy and that was case during our visit. The rain was intermittent and on the light side and there would be patches of sun so it was all good. We noticed that most of time the locals didn't even bother with umbrellas. A jacket with a hood is definitely recommended if you're visiting. I found mine came quite in handy. We wore sneakers for the trip and found that was actually a better option than boots since rainfall was spotty.
Seattle is in the Pacific timezone which is three hours behind the Eastern time zone which we were coming from. We had decided that we wouldn't shift our time clocks by much in an effort to combat jet lag and make it easier to adjust all around and it worked. We would go to bed by 10pm every night and get up at 7am, allowing for plenty of sleep which is always a big priority for me. Then we'd get an early start every day. By doing this we managed to avoid crowds wherever we visited and during mealtimes which is always a win.
1112 4th Avenue, Seattle WA
We chose the W because of it's downtown location and convenient proximity to public transportation. We've also stayed at W Hotels in the past and have had a good experience. This particular hotel was consistent in terms of quality, service and decor. The staff was also helpful with any requests we had. We had a corner room which was nice and bright. It was also quiet as per our request. The room was clean with a modern design. We really appreciated that housekeeping did not put the bedspread and pillows that we removed off the bed back on whenever they made our bed. The pillows were crappy as are most hotel pillows but the bed was really comfortable as was the couch and settee by the window which we wanted to take home with us. They provided Bliss products in the bathroom which were replenished daily. Staying at a nice hotel that we feel comfortable in is a priority for us when we travel.
We found Seattle to be a pretty walkable city especially from our hotel. We were walking distance from Pike Place Market and the Seattle Waterfront, Seattle Art Museum and Pioneer Place. We even walked over to the Space Needle and the International District which was their Chinatown. The sloping streets in some areas reminded me of San Francisco. People do not seem to jaywalk there which is so odd since it's such a common thing in New York City. We had to learn to be patient and wait for the lights to change.
When we didn't feel like walking, we took public transportation in the form of the Link Light Rail train service and the King County Metro bus service. Both work on a zone based fare system and are fairly easy to navigate. We also found the bus drivers to be really friendly and helpful. It was kind of odd how certain buses and trains ran on the same tracks. I'm generally a big proponent of using public transportation when traveling because that's what the locals use, it's environmentally friendly and you don't have to deal with parking.
The dining scene in Seattle seems pretty happening with a broad diversity of choices in cuisines. When we travel we always like to dine at places that are unique to the locale cause I don't see the point of eating at the same places you can find at home. We ate very well in Seattle and these are some of the highlights.
86 Pine St, Seattle, WA
Chan Seattle which bills itself as Seattle's Only Korean Gastropub serves a modern take on Korean classics in a tapas style. It's location is somewhat hidden within the Inn at Pike Place Market. Our early dining schedule allowed us to catch happy hour which included a few items we would've ordered any way including Bulgogi Beef Sliders and Deep Fried Rice Cakes (tteokbokki). We also tried the Skillet Bimbibap and Kimchi Hangover Soup. Everything was well cooked and on point in terms of flavor.
The Pink Door
1919 Post Alley, Seattle, WA
The Pink Door which serves up homestyle Italian American food along with cabaret entertainment is located behind an actual unmarked pink door on Post Alley behind Pike Place Market. This place was recommended both by friends and our hotel so we were thrilled to land a dinner reservation which ended up being on Halloween night. The staff were all in costume and we got to vote for our favorites. Nods to our super sweet waitress who was a mummy. The restaurant had a cool eclectic vibe and the food we tried, Caesar Salad, Atlantic Halibut and Spaghetti Bolognese were excellent. The trapeze show was also fun.
Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant
418 8th Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98104
When it's rainy, there's nothing more comforting to us than a bowl of hot steaming soup noodles. We decided to give Green Leaf a try on our visit to the International District after reading some good reviews on Yelp. The restaurant itself was a little divey but as someone who regularly dines in Chinatown establishments this was no big deal. We got the vegetable spring rolls as a starter. They were done summer roll style and were light and fresh. The bowls of pho were much larger than we expected but considering they were $9 - $10/bowl, the size reflected the cost. I got the tendon and brisket and husband got the meatball. The broth was a little lacking in flavor but the noodles and particularly the tendon were well cooked, soft and chewy.
1521 1st Ave, Seattle WA
A cute Mexican restaurant located close to Pike Place Market. We ended up grabbing our last meal in Seattle here during happy hour before getting on a plane. We ordered chips with guacamole and salsa and a bunch of tacos. The tacos were tasty and tiny but what do you want for $1 and $2. The fish tacos were our favorites. I can't speak to the alcohol since we don't drink and got sodas.
Din Tai Fung
University Village, 2621 NE 46th St, Seattle, WA
DinTai Fung is a massively popular Taiwanese-based dumpling chain known primarily for their xiao long bao (soup dumplings). Their only US locations are in Los Angeles and Seattle so this was a must try for us. We visited the University Village location which is also home to a nice outdoor mall which we walked around afterwards. There is also a Bellevue outpost which was further from our hotel. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my Instagram stories post showing the chefs making the dumplings through their front window. A full review will be in a forthcoming Dine Out post.
1908 Pike Pl Seattle, WA / 701 5th Ave, Seattle, WA
We discovered Piroshky Piroshsky when we saw a line out there door in Pike Place Market. The bakery which opened it's doors in 1992 brings a taste of Russia to the Pacific Northwest. A Piroshky can best be described as a hand held pie and with different fillings both savory and sweet. Personally they reminded me alot of Chinese buns but more expensive ranging in prices from $4 to $6 each. Their famous smoked salmon pate was okay. We really liked the ham, cheese and spinach and bacon, egg and hashbrown ones. Tip: Their location inside an office building called Columbia Tower is a lot less crowded but it's only open on weekdays.
We bought a Seattle CityPass which allows you to visit 5 top attractions for just $74 and we totally thought it was worth it because you're basically saving half off. This is something that is offered at major cities around the world and depending on what you want to see it can be worth your while.
Pike Place Market
1st Ave and Pike St., Seattle, WA
No trip to Seattle would be complete without a visit to the iconic Pike Place Market which serves as an of epicenter of fresh produce, specialty foods and independent businesses. It is also home to the first Starbucks. I swear Seattle had the most locations of Starbucks I've ever seen. The fresh flower bouquets were gorgeous and just $10! It was fun to browse the selections of produce and local goods and to see the Pike Place Market Fish Guys slinging fish in person. They made a pretty hard sell about how you could take fish on the plane but that wasn't something we even wanted to deal with.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA
If you're a fan of artist Dale Chihuly's stunning glass art, the Chihuly Garden and Glass is a must visit! I've been a fan since viewing his works at Atlantis years ago. It is located right next to the Seattle Space Needle. I'll be doing separate post on this experience.
Seattle Art Museum
1300 1st Ave, Seattle, WA
Also known as SAM, the Seattle Art Museum had a nice diversity of exhibits in a space that wasn't particularly vast but it was well organized. We enjoy art but we're not connoisseurs by any means. The main reason I wanted to visit was for the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition that showcases highlights from the legendary designer’s 44 year career. It was marvelous and will be getting it's own feature here.
325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA
The letters EMP stand for Experience Music Project and this museum dedicated to contemporary popular culture was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2002. It serves as a showcase for contemporary pop culture. Though small, this is fun place for music and film lovers and there was a pretty cool Star Trek exhibit going on when we visited. Got to see a Dalek up close! It is also adjacent to the Space Needle.
Seattle Central Library
1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA
The flagship branch of the Seattle library system is notable because it is housed in an eleven story glass and steel structure designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus. It's a very striking building with a futuristic feel that you definitely notice even from blocks away. The inside was pretty cool too.
Seattle Gum Wall
1428 Post Alley, Seattle, WA
It was news when the Market Theater Gum Wall wall covered in used chewing gum was cleaned for the first time in twenty years last year but the gum is back and we saw it in person. I'm not sure why this is an attraction considering it's pretty gross. Not surprising at all that the gum wall was named one of the top 5 germiest tourist attractions in 2009, second to the Blarney Stone. We didn't go out of our way to see this but it happened to be on the way to the waterfront.
There is no shortage of fun things to do in Seattle and we decided to go all out playing tourists to check them out.
Seattle Space Needle
400 Broad St, Seattle, WA
Totally a tourist thing but a great way to take in 365 degree views of the city. It was overcast and bright when we went but I can imagine it wouldn't be so wonderful when it's raining since the observation deck is partially open. Your ticket grants two visits in a 24 hour period but we didn't get to take advantage of that. Tip: Take advantage of the selfie camera at the top deck. Just slip your ticket in and the pictures is taken and you can email it to yourself for free from the kiosk.
Seattle Great Wheel
1301 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA
This is basically a giant ferris wheel. I thought it would be more like the London Eye which I loved only the pods are much smaller, rock more and moves a lot faster. You get about 4 revolutions on the ride. Definitely not recommended for those with a fear of heights.
1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA
This is a small aquarium but it was a fun experience overall. It's worth it if you buy a CityPass but probably not if you pay regular admission. A number of the exhibits are interactive which little ones would enjoy. The jelly fish and adorably lively sea otters were our favorites.
Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
1101 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA
This was included in our CityPass and something I probably would've done anyway even if it wasn't. The entire cruise which spans a little over an hour circles around the bay moving past the Seattle waterfront around the West Point lighthouse through the locks into Lake Union. We even caught sight of ducks and sea lions. Passing under the harbor shipyard was nice and we got a good dose of Seattle history from our guide. We also sailed past Bainbridge Island which we had wanted to visit but it didn't happen. It looked so idyllic.
Theo Chocolate Factory Tour
3400 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA
Fremont based Theo Chocolate is the first chocolate company that is both organic and fair trade. The one hour tour which is $10 per person includes generous chocolate tastings details their bean to chocolate bar production process. Our tour guide Aaron was informative with an obvious passion about chocolate. We learned interesting facts about chocolate itself as well as what goes into making it. Theo Chocolate is some high quality chocolate and we ended up purchasing a bunch of bars to bring home.
I can't really speak to the shopping in Seattle but it seemed pretty good. We didn't do much since that wasn't an objective but I did pick up a few items at Pike Place Market, Uwajimaya and the Target by our hotel. Hey it was something that wasn't available at my local Target. This is what I bought!
We enjoyed our time in Seattle and liked that it was an urban city surrounded by nature. This was an early birthday celebration for my husband and all the activities were fun since our last two vacations were both to tropical islands - Curacao and Turks & Caicos. This was a good time to visit since late October marks the start of the low season. We saved money both on our flight and hotel which went towards food haha. The weather was also still moderate with temps averaging in the 40's to 60's during our stay. Autumn was in full effect and the sight of fall foliage everywhere was quite lovely. It starts raining even more from November on so it was good to avoid that. I realize this was a lengthy read but I really wanted this to not only be a vacation recap but also a travel guide that would also be helpful to others looking to visit Seattle.
Have you been to Seattle? What did you see/like/eat?
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