As you might already know, I recently spent a few days in Seattle. Matt lived in Seattle for a few years, so I was really excited when he suggested I join him on a business trip. We packed up got our Personalized Passport Holders ready and headed out to Seattle. Naturally, I documented some of the highlights of my trip on Instagram Stories and have been sharing some photos on my feed. It was my first time in Seattle, so there was a lot I wanted to see and do. This post is essentially my “travel diary” and a weekend city guide to Seattle – plus a bunch of photos.
How To Get Around Seattle:
From my experience, it’s quite easy to get around in Seattle. When I landed, Matt met me at the airport and we took an Uber back to our hotel. I was so happy that he came to meet me, because I was tired, hungry and didn’t feel like attempting to navigate on my own. At the airport, they have a dedicated section of the parking garage for ride share programs, so I definitely could have figured it out.
I spent the first couple of days exploring the city on my own while Matt was at work. I used Uber’s ‘Express Pool,’ which worked out very well. It’s the most cost-effective option they offer, and honestly, it wasn’t too much pricier than public transit. Once I got to an initial destination, I was able to walk from there. That being said, I heard public transit it pretty simple and reliable in Seattle, but I didn’t need to try it.
Lime Bike –
Seattle is one of the several cities that offers a Bike Share service, called LimeBike. It was awesome! You download an app and once you’ve set up your account, you have access to any of their bikes. My favourite part is that you can drop your bike off just about anywhere. The only issue? The city is very hilly. I definitely didn’t realize that until I started riding, so it turned into an intense workout. Thankfully, I had a bottle of water with me, because I was sweating like a crazy person!!
Rent a Car –
Matt and I planned to go for a hike at Mount Rainier National Park (more on that later), so we needed to rent a car. We used the car a little bit in the city too, which came in handy. Just keep in mind, there’s a lot of one-way streets, so use (and trust) your GPS.
Where I Ate:
Eating my way through a city is something I value most about travel. Overall, I was very impressed with the food scene in Seattle. I didn’t realize it was such a foodie city! I thoroughly enjoyed the meals I had, but obviously, I hardly scratched the surface. Here’s where I ate:
Lunch at Pike Place Market –
Oh man, did I ever love the food at the Pike Place Market!! There were lots of vendors I wanted to try, so I probably spent an hour just walking back and forth before I made a decision. I ended up getting the daily fish special from the Market Grill and added a side of grilled garlic bread. The fish was so fresh, and came served with coleslaw and an incredible rosemary mayo that paired perfectly. The people working there were friendly and passionate about what they do. Also, they offer you a free cup of water when you order, which I thought was a nice touch! For dessert, I ordered 1 mini donut from the Daily Donut Company because I walked by and overheard someone telling a friend they were the best. Yes, they were fabulous and yes, I should have gotten more than one.
Cactus Restaurant –
Cactus Restaurant is a small Mexican chain, local to Seattle. The atmosphere was bustling and the food was delicious. They also give you free chips and salsa, which won me over right away. My meal ended up being a little bit spicy, so if you’re worried about that, just double check before you order anything unfamiliar.
Harry’s Fine Foods –
After my crazy bike ride, I was really eager to find a filling, delicious lunch. I was in the Capital Hill neighbourhood, so I googled where to eat. There were a lot of popular restaurants in that area, but I decided to try Harry’s Fine Foods. I’m so glad I did, because it was one of my favourite meals of the trip! The atmosphere was amazing and the food was even better. I ordered the corn pancakes, which came with eggs, fruit and collared greens. SO GOOD!! They also give you real maple syrup, so you know they’re legit. As far as seating was concerned, I sat on the patio, which was protected by a ceiling of glass (probably since it rains so much).
Serious Pie –
I don’t have a “nice” photo of this, because we were starving and just ate the food (#badblogger). That said, if you’re looking for a great pizza joint in Seattle, I recommend you check out Serious Pie. Their pizzas are fresh, thin and crispy – just how I like. Oh, and don’t forget to order some local craft beer to wash it down with!
Casco Antiguo –
On Saturday morning, we did the Underground Tour of Seattle, so we ate lunch at Casco Antiguo because it was around the corner. The food certainly wasn’t as good as it was at Cactus…but we cleared our plates!
Nuna Ramen –
I didn’t take a single photo of this meal, but I have a photo from just before we ate. We were in the Fremont area and one of the main attractions there is the Fremont Troll. No word of a lie, we drove by, I snapped one photo…and then we grabbed dinner at Nuna Ramen. The food wasn’t mind-blowing either, but it was fresh and cheap. That being said, I think I’m a harsh critic, because Toronto has a ton of exceptional ramen…
Chandler’s Crab House –
We wanted to go for one “fancier” dinner while we were in Seattle and ending up at Chandler’s Crab House, near our hotel. It was a really delicious meal, with a beautiful view of the lake…but unfortunately, about a week after we visited, the location shut down! The property was sold because the area is being redeveloped, but I heard they will be re-locating within the next couple of months. Chandler’s is owned by a high-end restaurant group, Schwartz Bros, so there’s no doubt in my mind that their other establishments are excellent, too.
What To Do and See In Seattle:
Keep in mind, this is just my weekend city guide to Seattle, so there are plenty of other sites and attractions you can check out. Personally, I’m not really into museums, art galleries or doing too many tours on a single trip. If you are, I’m sure there’s plenty more you’ll want to see and do as well!
Pike Place Market –
When you think about where to visit on a trip to Seattle, the Pike Place Market is probably the most obvious. The market is home to the original Starbucks, the gum wall and countless flower stands. You’ll also find lots of great food and fish vendors, who can package fresh seafood for travel. Whatever you do, make sure to go to the Pike Place Market when you’re hungry. There are so many cool sights, smells and things to taste.
I’ll be honest with you. The Starbucks wasn’t overly noteworthy, or even that exciting…but it’s just something you need to do when you’re there. I waited in line to get in, and then paid a small fortune for an “exclusive” drink. I hated myself for paying like, $10 for a flat white…but ehh, when in Rome!
The gum wall was a bit underwhelming too, since it had been cleaned a couple days before my visit. Still, it was cool to find it and add my own piece of gum to the collection.
Conveniently located just a few blocks from the market is some pretty incredible shopping. I was only able to window shop, but I still enjoyed myself. Within a couple of blocks, you can shop at Madewell, Target, Saks off Fifth, Nordstrom Rack, Anthropologie, Gap, Urban Outfitters and Zara – just to name a few. Seattle is also home to the flagship Nordstrom (it originated there), so you’ll want to check that out, too.
Explore the Local Parks –
On my second morning in Seattle, I wanted to explore an area that was less “crazy” than the market, so I took an Uber to the Seattle Japanese Garden. It’s a beautiful park, especially with the leaves changing for fall. You do have to pay to get in, but what made the trip worthwhile was also going to the Washington Park Arboretum across the street. This park was much larger and the plants and trees were a lot more diverse than at the Japanese garden. I really enjoyed walking through some of the paths, and taking in that fresh west coast air.
Amazon Spheres –
Amazon’s HQ is located in Seattle, and as the largest private employer in the city, they have offices all over. One of the most unique spaces? The Amazon Spheres. As Amazon describes them,
“The Spheres are a place where Amazon employees can think and work differently. They are a result of innovative thinking about the character of the workplace and an extended conversation about what is often missing from urban offices – a direct link to nature. They will contain hundreds of plants from all over the world.”
I don’t think you can get into the Spheres without being a part of a tour or getting a visitor pass from an employee…but I was lucky enough to have a hook up 🙂 It was such a cool space!! It was multiple stories tall, filled with such interesting plants, places to sit, and even lounge chairs that I swear you could probably nap in.
Amazon Go –
Another unique Amazon-related experience I had was shopping at Amazon Go. It’s a uniquely modern type of store, with no checkout or lines. You use an app to enter the store, take whichever products you want…and then you go! Their technology tracks what you leave with, and charges you through the app. Anyone can shop there with the app, and if you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour –
I’m not normally one to do a ton of guided tours, but I do enjoy the occasional one when I’m in a new city. The Underground Tour of Seattle came recommended by a friend of mine and Matt hadn’t done it before… so we decided to check it out. The tour guides were knowledgable and really personable, which definitely made for a great experience.
Chihuly Garden and Glass and The Space Needle –
Before my trip, I searched through some hashtags to find some of the most “Insta-worthy” locations in Seattle. One of the more touristy attractions that kept coming up was the Chihuly Garden and Glass. The photos were beautiful, and it looked like a really unique experience, so we decided to check it out. It’s also located right next to the Space Needle, which we were already planning to visit. When we got there, we learned that you can do a package deal and get passes into both attractions. I’m so glad we did, because the Chihuly Garden and Glass was great! Each exhibit was unique, interesting and beautiful. It’s certainly the type of place where photos almost can’t do it justice.
Afterwards, we went up to the top of the Space Needle. It may not be as high as the CN Tower, but we got a picturesque view of the city; and it was an all around cool experience. I’m pretty scared of heights, so I was tripping out a little bit at the top…but I did build up the courage to sit on the bench for the sake of a photo 😉
Take in the Sunset at Kerry Park –
One of the most iconic views of the Seattle skyline can be seen at Kerry Park. We made sure to stop by for sunset and it was beautiful. Just beware of the crowds!
Hiking on Mount Rainier –
One of the highlights of the trip was definitely the hike Matt and I did on Mount Rainier. It was about a 2 hour drive from our hotel, so we woke up early to make the trip. There are dozens of trails to choose from, which range in length and level of difficulty. We went with a “moderate” trail, but it was pretty intense! I’d like to think that I’m in relatively good shape, but there were definitely some points along the hike that I struggled with. But – we/I persevered (Matt hardly seemed to break a sweat), and we made it to the lookout point. The view was breathtaking. Of course, no photo or video can really do it justice, especially after the hard work to get there.
If you have the time to drive out to Mt. Rainier, I strongly recommend you do – and that you go for at least a short hike. One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need to dress in layers. With the added elevation, it’s a lot colder up there!
And if you made it all the way to the end of this post, thanks for reading – I know it was a long one!
If you have any questions or additional recommendations about my weekend city guide to Seattle, let me know in the comments 🙂