Twice in the past couple of years, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Seattle for work. Work trips can be a total pain because you’re busy all day – sometimes without much free time at night either – but in really cool cities you’d love to explore.
My first Seattle trip in 2015, I invited my mom to meet me for the weekend after my event. I have a cousin in Seattle as well, so he played tour guide and helped us scout out some amazing non-touristy spots. This past month I didn’t have that luxury, but still got to enjoy a few great meals.
So, whether you’re crunched for time or looking for suggestions as part of a longer trip, below are some of my favorite Seattle finds.
Places to Eat in Seattle
THE PINK DOOR
Tucked away in the Pike Place area, this hidden gem features live nightly entertainment in a boho-Italian style eatery. Come for dinner and stay for a bottle of wine. Or two. Entertainment ranges from low-key tunes (read: quiet enough to not disrupt dinner, but loud enough to enjoy) to acrobatics and burlesque shows.
STAPLE AND FANCY
One of my all-time favorite restaurants is a modern Italian spot in Old Ballard (definitely a Lyft ride from downtown). Think one fixed price and the chef brings out whatever is on his menu for the night. There’s something so relaxing about going to a restaurant and not having to make any decisions. Plus, it’s all amazing, so you can’t really go wrong. Finicky eaters need not apply.
PIKE PLACE CHOWDER
This Seattle institution is a must-visit for lunch while bopping around Pike Place. They have all different styles of chowder as the name suggests, plus seafood rolls – my choices: the seafood bisque and half a crab roll.
Alright, you’re probably sick of hearing of options near Pike Place, but it’s so convenient to the hustle and bustle of downtown, it becomes a reality on my work-focused trips. The good news is there are tons of great options here including the cutest French bistro that’s ideal for a nice day when you can sit on the patio. Go on a non-workday to enjoy a mimosa and not feel rushed. Any place that serves a croque monsieur and frites is good by me.
This is sort of a random addition since it’s a local chain, but I throw it in because you don’t always have time for a big lunch when you’re trying to fit in lots of sights. In fact, there’s a location only a couple of blocks from the Washington State Convention Center, so I just stole away one day to check it out. And after a night of béchamel lasagna and multiple glasses of wine, a spinach, quinoa, and turkey salad really did the trick.
Things to Do in Seattle
CHIHULY GARDEN AND GLASS
I might be biased because I got my love of Dale Chihuly straight from my sweet Grammy and have been a fan for years. This museum is great because it’s right next to the Space Needle and doesn’t take much time to enjoy. There are a number of indoor instillations, but also a lovely garden area scattered with his work.
It’s funny, I’m a total city girl, but when I travel, all I really want is a good hike and some time outdoors. Of course, the choices are endless in Seattle, but since we were short on time, this seemed perfect. We did the Loop Trail which is about 3 miles and takes you down to the water.
TAKE A FERRY RIDE
Don’t have a destination in mind? That’s okay – just being on the water and taking in the city from afar is a great experience. We took a ferry to Bainbridge Island and had planned to shop and play there for the day. Upon arrival, we found it to be lackluster (or maybe we were just tired from our earlier walk through Discovery Park). We jumped on the next ferry to head back but still thought it was worth it for the boat time.
EXPLORE THE NEIGHBORHOODS
One of my favorite things to do in any city is to find a fun neighborhood and just pop into the shops and see what I find along the way. We did this in both Queen Anne and Capitol Hill. Both were a success unless you hate cute shops like Foundation Seattle in Queen Anne and awesome burgers like the ones at Li’l Woody’s in Capitol Hill.
Man, now I want to go back! I hope this got you thinking about a trip as well because it’s really an amazing city to explore. Or if you’ve already been, what are your favorite spots?