I visited Seattle for the first time last month! Right across the border and just a ferry ride away, the setting to my favourite late 90s rom-com (10 Things I Hate About You, obviously) has been tempting me since I moved out to the West Coast. I finally ventured down, and it was a fabulous trip! I’m sharing a condensed, rearranged version of my itinerary so that you can have a fabulous trip too!
Day 1: Tourist day
Start with the most important meal of the day: brunch! Glo’s came highly recommended, and for good reason. You may have to wait for a bit, but you can always head across the street to Starbucks and keep an eye on things from there. Whatever you order is going to be huge and scrumptious; just make sure it comes with hash browns because they are the kind of hash browns that hash brown dreams are made of.
If you love walking like me, it’s an easy half hour-ish stroll to Pike Place Market. Take Melrose to Pike Street and you’ll pass the Starbucks Reserve and Roastery. I wouldn’t necessarily get coffee here, but step inside to check out the machinery and take in the smell!
Keep walking into town along Pike. If you do feel the urge to caffeinate again (and you’re in Seattle, so why would you not), Monorail Espresso is right on the way. I stumbled on this great take-out window coffee shop by accident, but it turned out to be a bit of a Seattle icon!
You’ll know you’ve arrived at Pike Place Market when the crowds of tourists thicken! There’s lots to see; flowers and fruits (with juicy samples), meat and cheese stalls, local craft shops, and a plethora of food choices in and around the market.
There are guys who throw fish and a bronze pig and a gum wall. Don’t be a rookie like me; bring some gum to add to this disgustingly awesome piece of street art!
At the other end of the market, across the street, is the original Starbucks. I didn’t wait in line to go inside, but it was cool to check out the original logo and storefront.
There are even more food options along the blocks across from the market; I stopped at Country Dough for a tasty Szechuan flatbread sandwich and indulged in a pastry from Piroshky Piroshky (right by the Starbucks with a line almost as long). I’m not normally a big pastry person, but something about the Russian bakery drew me in, and the cinnamon braid did not disappoint.
When you’re sufficiently stuffed, head further into the tourist heart of the city, towards the Space Needle! It’s under a half hour walk from Pike Place, but there are also public transportation options. I wandered around outside (it was way too nice out to be indoors, and I am way too much of a cheap student to pay to go up the Space Needle), which was good enough! The Frank Gehry-designed EMP Museum is stunning to take in from the outside, though it seemed like it would be a cool place to visit on a rainy day.
Rest up! When you get hungry, head to Fogon in Capitol Hill for Mexican food. My meal (carne rancherita) was intensely flavourful and gigantic, but it was absolutely delicious so I made room. Good service and prices!
If you’re not too tired and want to continue your night, this is the neighbourhood to be in! There are loads of bars nearby.
Day 2: Capitol Hill
I stayed at a friend’s place in this neighbourhood, so this itinerary is a little CH-biased, but in my opinion it’s well worth spending time here! It’s such a fun neighbourhood, and a bonus that it’s a great place to be gay. There are rainbow sidewalks, safer spaces, queer couples and queer-friendly businesses everywhere!
If you have some time to wait for good food, start the day at another stellar brunch spot: The Wandering Goose. There’s limited seating, but by the time you get to the front of the line to order, some tables should have turned over. (It’s bus-your-own.) The décor is inspired by a beautiful book that the owner wrote, which you can read while you wait, and the food is southern-influenced. Could anything be better than starting your day with fried chicken on a biscuit, covered in gravy? (If you’re not that ambitious, there are lighter options!)
While you’re digesting, take a stroll through Cal Anderson Park – a fantastic people-watching place! With a baseball diamond, a huge turf field, a skate park/bike polo(!) court, a fountain, pot smokers, hip Seattleites (and hip Seattle dogs) everywhere, it’s the perfect space to hang out on a sunny afternoon.
Another option is Volunteer Park; I was there in the rain, but that turned out to be a good time to check out the conservatory. As botanical gardens go, it was pretty cool. I liked the carnivorous plants!
Check out Babeland, a fun and colourful sex toy shop! It’s educational and female-friendly; they offer workshops, and there’s even a Babeland brand of lube!
Visit Dilettante Chocolates: where chocolate and martinis mix. A chocolatey buzz!? Need I say more? (Yes.) You can also get a decadent hot chocolate (choose the cacao percentage on the chocolate scale) or choose from a number of food and drink options.
Once you build up an appetite again, consider diving into the wacky and wonderful and check out the Unicorn. A carnival-themed resto-bar with an arcade, taxidermied animal heads mounted on the walls, and drag brunches on Sundays?! How could you miss this place? I was tempted by the Unicorn Jizz cocktail, but settled for a tasty local beer and a deliciously excessive Magic Unicorn Burger. [Edit: Check out their fabulous Mimosas Cabaret (Drag Brunch) on Sundays!]
Feel like dancing? Everyone’s welcome at Wildrose, though it’s a lesbian dance bar (around since 1984)! I’d heard mixed reviews about the place, but the DJ was awesome and it was a fun night!
Day 3: Fremont
Fremont, the center of the universe! According to… signs in Fremont. This hip neighbourhood has lots of great things going for it, including:
– Fremont Sunday Market: I actually couldn’t make it this time, but heard great things!
– Gasworks Park: This is the site of a former gasification plant (also the site of the epic paintball fight in 10 things… not a real thing unfortunately), and a good spot to hang out and see the city skyline.
– Fremont Brewery: The outdoor, beer garden-style patio area is an amazing place to get buzzed in the sun! There’s space indoors too if it’s raining.
– The troll: A few blocks north of the brewery, hiding under the freeway, is the famous Fremont troll. If you’re like me and love Instagram-able moments, this piece of public art is perfect!