Ah, Washington. Home of the space needle, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and of course Twilight.
Ok fine there’s definitely more to credit this beautiful state with other than Edward Cullen. But come on, have you seen how perfect he is? YOU JUST CAN’T FIND LOVE LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE.
Anyway, I’ve always wanted to go to Seattle because in my east coast mind the Pacific North West sounded so exotic. Dreary and rainy, the place that kickstarted the grunge movement. It all sounded so emo and dramatic, so I parted my hair over my face, packed my bags and set out to the Emerald City.
Seattle is a place where you can lose yourself exploring the bustling metropolitan areas and also take advantage of the incredible natural surroundings. They don’t call it the Emerald City for nothing. Here are some of the things I loved and recommend!
Visit Pike Place Market and book a food tour
This amazing market place is 111 years old and it’s famous sign is the oldest neon sign on the west coast! It’s a winding maze of fruit stands, restaurants, crafts, bookstores and so much fresh seafood, another thing the Pacific North West is famous for. You peruse for hours hearing live musicians busking on the corner, the fisherman shouting and throwing fish to one another, the smell of freshly baked bread wafting from the Russian bakery. Around the corner is the famous gum wall, the second germiest tourist attraction in the world! (The first is the Blarney Stone that people kiss in Ireland) Gross!
I recommend booking a food tour with Savoring Seattle. The passionate tour guides give you a fun history lesson and of course show you the best bites around the market. After I finished the tour and stuffed myself with doughnuts, crab cakes, mac and cheese, chocolate and god knows what else, I bought some used books, art for my apartment and hand made souvenirs for everyone back home. The one spot you DO NOT want to miss is the Russian bakery Piroshky Piroshky. They sell savory and sweet hand held pies and the dough is so buttery and luxurious you’ll never look at a pastry the same again. I got the smoked salmon and the cinnamon roll both incredible and rich and I wish I could carry the little chef back to New york with me. Truly some of the best I’ve ever had.
See an improv show
The Market theater right around the corner, nestled safely between two gum walls, is home to some great improv. Have an espresso martini next door at il Bistro or a delicious sushi dinner at Umi Sake House then head over to the theater and get ready to laugh your a** off!
Buy A City Pass
For $99 I would highly recommend getting a City Pass which allows you into 5 different tourist attractions. Each ticket individually is over $30 so it’s well worth the money!
Go to the top of the Space needle (City Pass)
You can’t venture out to Seattle and skip the iconic landmark built in 1962 for the World’s Fair. Take the elevator to the very top and get a gorgeous view of the entire city through the open air glass walls. You can sit on one of the benches and take it all in with a glass of wine in hand from the indoor cafe. On the way down stop in to see The Loupe which is a revolving glass floor. The city moves beneath your feet and it’s a total mind trip!
The Museum of Pop Culture (City Pass)
Also known as MoPOP, this was on of my favorite attractions! It had everything I loved, music, movies and literature. There were exhibits dedicated to Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Hendrix and Prince. With clothes, hand written notes, videos and lots of history. After the music, I ventured into the horror movie exhibit, which was incredibly designed. I felt freaked out walking down the red lit stairs and hearing screams! They had props from some of the biggest movies like the mask from Halloween, the axe from The Shining and Gizmo from Gremlins.
In another area there’s a sound lab with all types of instruments set up and you can jam by yourself or with friends. I spent hours in this museum, I absolutely loved it.
Walk through the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibition (City Pass)
Right next to the MoPOP is a gorgeous exhibit of hand blown glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly, a Pacific North West local. These are stunning colorful sculptures and worth taking the time to walk through and see first hand.
Take an Argosy Cruise (City Pass)
Is there anything better than a boat ride and a drink? This is a beautiful way to see Seattle, the shipping ports and Puget Sound. Sail around the bay (with cocktails in hand) and enjoy the the 1 hour narrated cruise about Seattle and all it’s history.
The Seattle Aquarium (City Pass)
Who doesn’t love a good ol’ aquarium? If you love sea life or just want to get the most out of your city pass, enjoy the aquarium which is just a couple of blocks away from the Argosy Cruise.
Visit the dispensaries
Seattle is neck and neck with Denver as one of country’s longest standing recreational pot scenes. There are over 50 dispensaries and because it’s legal, its pretty cheap. I had never been to one before and as a New Yorker where marajuana is very illegal, I was blown away. You just walk right in like it’s a CVS and buy whatever you want. A joint, a drink, a pack of brownies. It’s all there for the taking. Whether or not it’s your thing, it’s still pretty cool to see it so out in the open like that!
Go on a hike
Like I mentioned, Seattle is nick named the Emerald City because of its beautiful greenery year round. Going on this hike (to Rattlesnake Ledge) had to be one of the highlights of my trip.
Walking the trails and being surrounded by those Pacific North West trees was an immediate de stressor from my hectic NYC life! I made sure to stop and really take it all in. The sound of the birds, the way the sun came through the trees, the crunch of the gravel under my hiking boots. It was perfect. The view from the top was absolutely mind blowing! I wasn’t prepared for how gorgeous it would be. I sat there for the next hour with my triple decker peanut butter and banana sandwich and it was pure relaxing bliss. There’s a ton of different hikes you can do including a day trip to Mt. Rainer, which is an active volcano.
There’s a lot of water sports you can do out in Seattle including kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding. Throw on a bathing and hit the water. We kayaked around Lake Union where you can pass by beautiful floating homes. Yes people actually live in these homes in the water! Feel the sun and the breeze and enjoy a lap around this beautiful lake. When you’re done, grab some delicious fish and chips for lunch at Ivar’s!
Enjoy the wine at Woodinville Wine Country
Home to over a 100 wineries and tasting rooms, there’s no shortage of delicious wines here. Sit outside, pour yourself a glass (or a bottle) and order a pizza as you listen to some live music.
Visit this beautiful park for a great view of Seattle. Then walk around the Queen Ann neighborhood (where Frasier the tv character lives) and enjoy all the incredible homes (that were way out of my price range)
I’m so glad I got to check Seattle off my bucket list. It was truly better than I even expected and it's a vacation destination I would highly recommend. It’s also safe and perfect for a solo trip like mine!
Have you ever been to Seattle, or want to go? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!