This year in April, we took a 12-day trip to Seattle and Vancouver. Prior to going there, like I usually do before every trip, I studied everything about Seattle on the internet to create an itinerary for us. I also asked some of my friends who had vacationed there.
We ended up sticking to the itinerary and then some.
In total, we spent 4 full days in Seattle, which was just enough to do some of the most popular touristic activities. Not only we learned and saw a lot, but also we had a lot of fun.
The following are my notes and some of my pictures from the Seattle leg of our trip.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is an open air shopping area, where you can find farm fresh produce, beautiful flowers, locally made crafts, fine food, fresh fish and more. I would recommend to go there in the morning because if you go in the afternoon, you can find yourself waiting in long lines due to large crowds.
I literally fell in love with these peppers. If it was not too far, I would have bought some and dried them at home.
A typical tourist that I am, I wanted to watch the “flying fish” show. You may have seen this on TV but if you have not, “flying fish” is a typical thing that the guys at fish stands do to get people’s attention to the seafood they are selling. They throw a large fish from one end of the store to the other and make a lot of noise.
As it was still early in the morning no one was throwing any fish around. I asked the guys if they could do it for me so that I can take a picture of it. To my surprise, they said that, if I wanted to, I could be the one catching the fish. Ha ha.. After a whopping 2-minute lesson I was barely able to catch the fish! Although my hands smelled like fish all day (regardless of how many times I washed them), this was one of the highlights of our Seattle trip.
My husband, Dwight is the guy laughing in the background…
Starbucks in Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is home to the first Starbucks Café that was opened in April of 1971. For some reason, I thought that it is going to be a big store but it is a small, humble coffee shop that made me think that even Starbucks started small.
You can find several restaurants and cafes in the Public Market. We went to three spots, that I thought, were very good.
If you are a cheese lover, this is the place to go. Although they are not advertising to be a breakfast spot, if you are happy with eating anything cheese’y in the morning, I cannot think of a better place. I personally can eat cheese for every meal of every day, if I had my way.
Beecher’s offers a wide variety of hand made cheeses. Some of them are displayed in the side of the store to the public. While sampling cheese or eating your food, you can watch them make cheese right in the store.
Before we went there I was told (and read) that we should try the mac and cheese. Words are not enough to express how amazingly delicious it was.
So do yourself a favor and try it!
If you are looking for a very “French” sandwich, pastry and/or bread, you are in the right place. Le Panier offers a wide variety of all those things with a French athmosphere . We each had a sandwich made with fresh bread. I swear you could hear the crunchy sound that the crust of the bread makes with every bite.
It also offers tables and chairs, if you need a break from walking around.
Three Girls Bakery
As one of the first places to open in Public Market in 1912, Three Girls Bakery is a small bakery shop located in the middle of Pike Place Market. They offer a wide variety of baked goods like apple fritters, croissants, cookies and every other goodness made with butter, flour and sugar, that you can imagine.
I allowed myself to eat a croissant and boy; did I love it or what?
Grab a cup of coffee from Starbucks and walk down to the Three Girls Bakery. You won’t regret it.
Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour
A 20-minute walk distance from the Public Market, Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour is a “must do” for any visitor. It is an hour and a half of history lesson of how Seattle was built by early American Pioneers on mod flats. The tour starts in a historic saloon and continues with walking around the neighborhood with our tour guide taking us through locked doors and gateways under the ground, which used to be Seattle in mid 1800s.
Our tour, Jeff, who I thought was wonderful, gave us an easy to follow presentation of every site by answering our questions patiently along the way. As we had children in our group, he was very creative (and respectful) when he was explaining how prostitution played an important role while they were building Seattle in those old days.
The landscape for the underground is pretty rugged so I would recommend wearing comfortable shoes. Also be prepared to walk up and down through the sidewalks of old and new Seattle.
By the time we finished with the tour, we felt much more knowledgeable about the city of Seattle and how it was built.
EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum
To be honest I put EMP Museum on our itinerary for my husband, who happens to be a music lover. However, to my surprise, I enjoyed it as much as he did.
EMP Museum is a non-profit museum dedicated to showcase contemporary popular culture. This place offers a feast for your eyes if you are into popular recent music, icons of science fiction, video games, fantasy worlds, horror films and more.
As you walk through the different exhibits you get a perspective and understanding of how those “out of ordinary” talents connected with the masses of young people all around the world.
One of our highlights of EMP was the Nirvana Section, where you get to see a timeline of how it all started and ended. With maps and short stories on the walls, it gives you a history lesson of how and why the band Nirvana became so popular and how they touched so many people in many ways.
Another highlight was the Hendrix Exhibit. As you enter the room, you are given a visual tour of everything “Hendrix” from his music, to his clothes, to his fan letters and more. It feels amazing to be so close to some of the belongings of one of the world’s best guitarist.
Right outside the door of Hendrix Exhibit, hundreds of guitars hanging from the ceiling, beautifully displayed..
Last but not least, I enjoyed the history of “Leather Jacket” in the American Culture. This exhibit shows you how leather jacket became the official accessory of several icons of the popular culture in America.
In addition, the museum offers:
- an Interactive Section where you can record and make music in sound labs.
- a display of history of science fiction characters, costumes and stories from early 1900s to this day.
Since we are not into Science Fiction, we did not spend too much time in that section. However, if you are, I would recommend it especially because during certain times of the day, they have volunteers giving a tour to the visitors.
Live Jazz in Seattle
My husband and I love listening live jazz bands and vocals. You can find famous vocal jazz artists perform live in Seattle at any day of the week. I did a very extensive research as to where to go and ended up deciding on Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley.
It was wonderful. We watched Molly Ringwald launching her new album in a very intimate setting.
You read right! Molly Ringwald. The girl in “Pretty in Pink” and “Breakfast Club”. You know all those 80s cheesy movies. Who would thought that she has such an amazing voice?
I definitely recommend this spot, if you are into live jazz. They offer different artists almost every week.
Restaurant Scene in Seattle
As you may already know, our travels revolve around food. When we are home I make easy, healthy dishes but when we are on vacation we allow ourselves to eat whatever we want. I consider it to be a time to splurge on those guilty pleasures.
Food scene in Seattle is truly a great culinary experience.
Here are some of those that we were lucky to enjoy:
Located in the Pioneer Square, Bar Sajor, is a Mediterranean themed restaurant with a menu full of bistro style options. It is a perfect restaurant for lunch. Even when you are crunched on time…
PS: That cake you see in the picture just came out of the oven when we were ready to order desert. The missing pieces are currently attached to my thighs.
Melrose Market is located in Capital Hill. It is home to a dozen of retailers like Calf and the Kid (cheese), Sitka and Spruce (restaurant), Rain Shadow Meats and more.
I added Melrose Market on our itinerary after seeing it on Anthony Bourdain’s show-Layover. He suggested Calf and the Kid as a must see/go/try place if you are in Seattle.
With a focus on locally sourced, independent and organic goods, Melrose Market offers an upscale experience in a very laid back manner.
Sidka and Spruce in Melrose Market
I thought the food of the “Malafacha” we had in Sidka and Spruce, was the best meal we had in Seattle.
Sidka and Spruce offers a menu full of, what I consider, tacos, on Monday nights. Basically it is a culinary show of a Mexican family member of the restaurant.
As Mexican food lovers, we loved every dish we ordered in this restaurant.
I do not know how it is on any other day of the week, but if we were living in Seattle, Mondays would be the day that we would go and eat in Sidka and Spruce.
Tom Douglas’s Restaurants: Dahlia Bakery, Lola and Serious Pie
Tom Douglas is a pretty famous name in the culinary world of Seattle. He has several restaurants all over the city.
We went to 3 of his restaurants, Dahlia Bakery, Lola and Serious Pie for lunch.
Of all those 3 spots, we enjoyed Serious Pie the most. It is a small restaurant mainly specializes on pizza and salads.
We both thought the pizza we ate was one of the best pizzas that we have ever had.
the WALRUS and the CARPENTER
Seattle is, truly, a city of neighborhoods. One of those neighborhoods we loved is called Ballard, located in the northwest part of Seattle. Imagine a tree-lined, pedestrian friendly street full of home décor shops, boutiques and trendy restaurants…
The Walrus Bar is one of those (if not the most) trendy restaurants in Ballard. I heard so much about it that we did not think twice waiting for an hour to get a table for 2.
Originally an oyster bar, The Walrus Bar offers a variety of small dishes including shellfish, meat, cheese and salads for people, who are not a big fan of oyster, like me.
But if you are an oyster fan, like my husband, you are in heaven. You can find different kinds of oysters from Washington, British Columbia and California.
Unfortunately, you cannot make a reservation for this place but I think going there early would help. They are only open for dinner starting at 4 pm everyday.
Top Pot Doughnuts
What goes best with coffee in Seattle?
- A croissant from 3 Girls Bakery
- A doughnut from Top Pot Doughnuts
I was told that the doughnuts of Top Pot Doughnuts are considered as the best doughnuts in the world. I am no doughnut professor but let me tell you something; if you go all the way to Seattle and not have a doughnut in this place, you are missing a lot!
They open at 6 everyday. If you want to get a “still warm” and a “out of this world” doughnut, you better get up early and go there…
PS: I am sorry to not have a picture of a doughnut. That morning I forgot my camera in the hotel. Dang!
Disclaimer: All of the places mentioned in this post are my personal favorites. The recaps are my own views and opinions. I am not paid by any of these places to mention their names in foolproofliving.com.