I have been getting so many messages from you guys on Instagram asking for recommendations on cool places to go in Seattle. So that gives me an idea to create a whole new category on my blog, called ‘City Guide.’ This will stay under the ‘Travel Diary’ category on my blog. For obvious reasons, I will list out places in the city for you to go see (sight-seeing), eat, and shop as well as do in your short stay including some outdoor recommendations, such as parks or hiking trails. I’m sure locals can benefit from this list as well. So below is my first City Guide featuring the city that I am currently residing in, Seattle, which consists of some of the places that I have been to, tried and loved, in the past 8-ish months of living here. I moved here from Minnesota last September, so for that, you can expect the next City Guide will be the ‘Twin Cities Guide’ for sure!
– Please note that I often don’t recommend where to stay since it really depends on everyone’s budget, preference, and reasons for your stay. Utilize apps, such as Google, Airbnb, Expedia, or Hotel Tonight (my most used app to find cheap and last minute hotel availability) to book per your convenience. Read more for my 5 top tips at the end of this post.
– If you see a * next to something, it means that the place is my personal favorite! 😛
ICONIC MUST-SEE PLACES!
Pike Place Market* (The Original Starbucks store, Gum Wall, Post Alley)
Space Needle, Seattle Center & the MOPOP
Kerry Park, Gas Work Park*, take the ferry to Bainbridge or Brermetion island from Colman Dock (read my blog post, here), Pier 55 (to see the Seattle Skyline)
Golden Gardens Park*
Olympic Sculpture Park
Seattle Great Wheel & Waterfront Park*
Seattle Center & the MOPOP
Fremont (Fremont Troll
Seattle Chinatown-International District
Seattle Japanese Garden
Ballard area (restaurants & hip shops)
Restaurants that are hard to get in but well worth it: JunBaby* (I got in after the 4th time, still had to wait for an hour and a half after coming in to put our name down right away when they were open for the night.), The Walrus & The Carpenter** (oysters, seafood, ah so good!), Staple and Fancy (right next to The Walrus & The Carpenter)
Brunch: The London Plane* (my fav.! part bakery, part flower shop, part cafe), Oddfellows Cafe, 5 Spot (breakfast!)
Burgers: Uneeda*, Dick’s (local, cheap & cheerful. I love just sitting down in the parking lot and inhale 2 burgers at once! It’s fun!), Katsu Burger (multiple locations, known for panko-breaded deep dried meats burger.), 8 oz. Burger (UW)
Vietnamese food: Pho Than’s Brothers* (cheapest & it’s my most favorite pho I’ve tried in Seattle! Go to the UW location), Ba Bar (pricier but I love the vibe here, go to the Capitol Hill location.), Tamarind Tree, Green Leaf, Stateside (also pricy, creative food presentation. I love the decor here!), Sai Gon Deli* (the best and cheapest banh mi!, Banh Town, Hue Ky Mi Gia (Chinese/Vietnamese noodles soups, get the duck soup!), Thanh Son tofu (fresh tofu, soybean milk, che), Bambu (International District and UW), Lam’s seafood (I go here for grocery & fresh seafood)
Korean food: Hae-Nam Kalbi & Calamari* (I love every single dish I’ve tried here, the flavor is on point!), Hosoonyi Tofu Korean restaurant, Bok a Bok Fried Chicken
Joule*, Revel*, and Trove: all 3 founded by the famous chef Rachel Yang, hip, unconventional Korean/Asian/new-American fusion type of food, small dishes with unique flavors
Thai food: SOI, Pestle Rock, Poppop Thai Street Food (get the Khao Soi), Bai Tong restaurant. (I love Thai food but haven’t found my favorite in Seattle. :/)
Indian food: Taste of India*, Saffron Grill
Sushi: do omakase at either Nishino* or Shiro’s, Umi Sake House*, Adana Seattle* (I love this place and their impressive small plates with bursting flavors!!), Momiji, Suika* (fun atmosphere!), Umi Sake House*, Wasabi Sushi & Izakaya, Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, Betsutenjin Ramen (small shop, only 2 ramen options & some appetizers)
Soup Dumplings: Din Tai Fung* (multiple locations. I’m addicted to their spicy sauce, omg!), Dough Zone Dumpling house (multiple locations, better priced than DTF, also local)
Tacos: Taco Chukis, Red Star, Fogon Cocina Mexicana, Taqueria El Sabor (get their fried fish, it’s amazing!), more tacos here.
Pizza: Serious Pie* (so pricey but worth it!), Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria – Wallingford, Humble Pie (I go here for happy hours, $8 pizzas), Veraci Pizza (pizza sold in slices)
Cuban sandwiches* and Caribbean-themed plates: Un Bien, Paseo, or Bongos
Mediterranian food: Mamnoon Street*, Lola (fancy! I went here for NYE dinner when visiting Seattle in 2017!), Bodrum Bistro- Anatolian Kitchen (The waiter told me they made the best baklava in the west coast. I had it & it was pretty good!)
Breakfast: Portage Bay Cafe, 5 Spot, Pike Place Clam Chowder
Poke: Seattle Fish Guys, Gopoke, Fob Poke Bar* (I get everything in my poke bowl, so cheap here!)
Tapas: Ocho, List
Hawaiian food: Kona Kitchen*
French food: Lecosho
Pasta: Pasta Bella* (I love pasta, please comment below your recommendation!)
Chinese noodle soup: Qian Noodle, Gourmet Noodle Bowl
Dim Sum: Jade Garden*, Harbor City Restaurant, Dim Sum factory
Restaurants to-try-once: Nue, Japonessa Sushi Cocina (almost all-day happy hours, I tried once just to go see why it had so many Yelp reviews, but thought it was okay!), Chandler Crab House (expensive seafood dishes. I had Dungeness crab there!)
Restaurants that I’m dying to try: Canlis, Wataru, The Pink Door, Sitka & Spruce, Sushi Kashiba (Shiro Kashiba is the famous sushi chef behind Shiro’s), Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen, Elliott’s Oyster House, Taylor Shellfish, Salty’s on Alki Beach
I love beers & red wine but don’t drink a lot, so this is not an alcoholic list.
Ice cream* (expensive but worth it once in a while): Molly Moon, Frankie & Jo’s, Salt & Straw
Coffee shops: Milstead & Co., Starbucks Reserve Roastery (cool touristy location. I get Starbucks on the daily since it’s convenient and everywhere here in Seattle!), Capitol Coffee Works, La Marzocco Cafe (Seattle Center), Retreat (Green Lake), Slate Coffee Roasters, Cafe Ladro (multiple locations) (Please comment your coffee shop recommendations!)
Theo Chocolate (local, shop in Fremont)
Bakery: Bakery Nouveau, 85-degree bakery (also try their sea salt coffee and bubble tea), Holy Cannoli, Pie Bar (obviously, pie heaven!), General Porpoise Coffee and Doughnuts, Gelatiamo (ice cream cakes)
Sweet drinks: 20 Oz. Tea*, Kungfu tea & Chatime, Bambu desserts & drinks*, Rachel’s Ginger Beer* (U Village* or Pike Place)
Plant shops: Plant Shop (Central District, Capitol Hill), The Palm Room, Homestead Seattle, Pike Place for flowers
Furniture & decor: West Elm, Crate & Barrel, CB2 (opening soon in U Village & I’m so excited!), Ballard Furniture Consignment shop, Restoration Hardware (RH, U Village)
HIKES: Rattlesnake Ledge (read my blog post, here), Lake 22 ( here), Goat Lake (here), Heather Lake, Poo poo Point-Chirico trail, Discovery Park
Drive-to destinations/Overlook (don’t have to hike): Gold Creek Pond Trail, Diablo Lake Overlook
Parks: Volunteer Park & Conservatory, Gas Works Park, afternoon walk around Green Lake or Golden Garden Park, Freeway Park, Japanese Garden, Kubota Garden
Hiking trails I want to hit this year: Olympic National Park, summer/wildflowers trails in the East side of Washington, Palouse falls, Mt. Rainier
Flowers. Flowers. Flowers! Spring in Seattle is amazing! Cherry blossom at the Quad (UW, the beginning of April), tulips at Roozengaarde in mt. Vernon (mid-May), lavender farm (July)
Strawberry picking (which I am going this weekend! Jun-July)
Apple picking (fall time, obviously! I went to the Apple Creek Orchards last year, bought a bucket full of apples for $15, ~60 apples total, hah!)
Skiing: The Summit at Snoqualmie
Things I want to do: go to some wineries, whale watching (San Juans island), kayaking, razor clam, octopus
MY 5 TOP TIPS TO SEARCH FOR PLACES AND THINGS TO DO IN A NEW CITY:
1. Utilize the good old Google Maps (navigation, obviously!), Yelp (food), Hotel Tonight (for cheap and last minute hotel booking), Uber/Lift, Car2Go/ReachNow (car rental, popular in Seattle),
2. Instagram. I’d often search for specific hashtags, such as #seattlefood #seattleeats for food recommendations in any cities where I’ll be traveling to. For me, when I first moved to Seattle, by searching the #seattleblogger or #seattlephotographer, I was able to find out a lot about the bloggers, their styles, and the blogging community here in Seattle. I’d also scroll through their feed to find out outfit shoot locations (if they’re tagged, of course!), Instagrammable ones, hiking trails and locations this way! Try #PNWwonderland, #PNWcollective, or #That PNWlife, there are a ton of amazing outdoorsy places that I have added to my bucket list by using this Instagram hashtag trick.
3. Look for travel guides or flyers at your hotels, famous touristy restaurants, gift shops, etc. I still do this often when I’m at the cashier section about to pay for my stuff, I’d pick up some if there are one on the display. In the summertime, cities such as Seattle often have art walks, farmer markets, walks/runs, local events, and often time there is a list of local shops, restaurants, and things to do in that certain city. They do this to promote local businesses, and of course, you should definitely pick it up for more unique and niche recommendations.
4. Museums, zoos or parks are often failed-safe options and good to kill a few hours if you do have some to spare.
5. Pay attention & be patient! Sometimes it takes a while to find a parking spot or hours to get to the next destination, all I have got to say is that you have to be patient! Because it will all be worth it, trust me! Also, always be on the lookout for possibilities that might come your way when it comes to finding hidden spots or cool neighborhood that you happen to come across.
10 Locations in Seattle that are perfect for outfit photos, here!
Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve noted a few places to try out for yourself. Let me know if you have anything to add and please feel free to do so in the comment section as I am sure anyone who reads will benefit from it as well. Take care and see you in my next post!