September 16, 2019, marks my official 2 years of living and breathing the Seattle air. Life can get overwhelming at times, but whenever I look back to the list of all of the places I’ve been to and the things I get to experience ever since moving to the West coast, I get emotional.
I have been going back and adding a lot more recommendations to this Seattle City Guide, so you can expect the best places to go and things to do. If you see a (*) next to something, that means it’s my personal favorite.
Brunch: The London Plane* (my fav.! part bakery, part flower shop, part cafe), Oddfellows Cafe* (It’s cute here, but I think food is ok!), 5 Spot (breakfast!), Portage Bay Cafe (huge fresh fruits and salad bar), Pike Place Clam Chowder* (amazing on cold rainy days), Mr. West Cafe* (downtown and U Village), Sitka & Spruce*
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* (go-to spot for large family gathering), Pho Bac Soup Shop, Green Leaf, Stateside (also pricy, creative food presentation, and cute decor), Hue Ky Mi Gia* (Chinese/Vietnamese noodles soups, get the duck soup and chicken wings!), COBA – Viet Kitchen & Ales, Banh Town, Melong Village, Sizzle & Crunch, Vien Dong Restaurant (housemade pho noodle, big bowl pho challenge), Bun & Oc (snail dishes)
Modern Taiwanese food: Din Tai Fung (3 locations), 19 GOLD, Facing East* (Bellevue) and QQ BIte by Facing East (downtown), Gourmet Noodle Bowl
Chinese food: Xi’an Noodles (get their hand-pulled noodle with lamb), Qian Noodle (near Asian Food Center), Gourmet Noodle Bowl. Dim Sum: Jade Garden, Harbor City Restaurant, Dim Sum factory, Dough Zone* (local chain). Chinese BBQ (pork & duck): Kau Kau BBQ,
Hot pot: Morfire (Thai), Boiling Point (Edmonds), Tasty Pot (Shoreline), the Dolar Shop (Bellevue, fancy and I have yet to try), Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot* (all you can eat, Chinatown)
Cuban sandwiches: Un Bien, Paseo
Caribbean-themed plates: Bongos*, Pam’s Kitchen*, Jerk Shack
Sandwiches: Tat’s deli, Tubs Gourmet Sub Sandwiches*, Sai Gon Deli* (the best and cheapest banh mi in Seattle), Seattle Deli, HoneyHole Sandwiches,
Korean food: Hae-Nam Kalbi & Calamari* (I love every single dish I’ve tried here, the flavor is on point!), Hosoonyi Tofu Korean restaurant, One Pot Korean Stew,
Fried chicken wings: Ma’ono Chicken* (Hawaiian fried chicken, 2 locations serving very different styles of wings: University Village – inside Rachels’ Ginger Beer store and West Seattle – bigger restaurant), Bok a Bok Fried Chicken (many locations), Stars In The Sky* (karaoke), Chi Mac, Bon Chon
Thai food: Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen* (Lynwood, get their hat-Yai chicken and a side of sticky rice), SOI, Pestle Rock*, Poppop Thai Street Food (get the Khao Soi), Bai Tong restaurant, Sen Noodle Bar, Little Uncle, Kin Dee Thai, Bangrak Market Thai Street Food, Amazing Thai*
Asian fusion: Reckless Noodles. 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, Marination, Chan’s Seattle, Nue
Indian food: Taste of India*, Saffron Grill*, The Roll Pod* (food truck)
Malaysian: Kedai Makan*, Malay Satay Hut
Sushi: do omakase at either Nishino* or Shiro’s, Umi Sake House* (great HH menu), Adana Seattle* (I love this place and their impressive small plates with bursting flavors!!), Momiji, Suika* (fun atmosphere!) and Tamari Bar (same owner), Umi Sake House* (great HH menu), Wataru*, Wasabi Sushi & Izakaya, 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!),
Ramen: Menya Musashi Seattle* (get their tsukemen), Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya (multiple locations), Betsutenjin Ramen* (small shop, only 2 ramen options & some appetizers), Ramen Danbo, Ooink, Yoroshiku Japanese Restaurant, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka (Bellevue and U Village), Kamonegi*, Aloha Ramen Japanese Noodle (I love their fried rice), Udon Fresh Japanese Noodle Station
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!), Pick-Quick Drive-In, Katsu Burger (multiple locations, known for panko-breaded deep dried meats burger.), 8 oz. Burger (UW), Shake Shack (downtown, overrated). Full list, here.
Fish & Chips: Spud, Sunfish, Emerald City Fish & Chips, Wally’s Chowder House & Broiler* (seafood, chowder)
Italian: The Pink Door*, Le Messe
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 Chuki’s, Red Star, Fogon Cocina Mexicana*, Taqueria El Sabor* (get their fried fish, it’s amazing!), Pecado Buono, El Camion (restaurant and food truck), more tacos here.
Pizza: Serious Pie* (so pricey but worth it!), Delancy*, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria – Wallingford, Humble Pie* (I go here for happy hours, $8 pizzas), Veraci Pizza (pizza sold in slices), Rocco’s*
Irish bar: Kells Irish Restaurant & Bar
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. It was pretty good as advertised! :P)
Poke: Seattle Fish Guys* (the best poke in town), Fremont Bowl* (poke and katsu bowl), Gopoke, Fob Poke Bar* (I get everything in my poke bowl, so cheap here!), 45th Stop N Shop & Poke Bar, Poke Lover, Ono Poke (Edmonds)
Tapas: Ocho, List
Hawaiian food: Kona Kitchen*, Ma’ono (West Seattle), Ohana Kitchen (Burien)
French food: Lecosho
Pasta: The Pink Door*, Pasta Bella
Restaurants that are hard to get in but well worth it:
Restaurants that I’m dying to try: Canlis, Sushi Kashiba (Shiro Kashiba is the famous sushi chef behind Shiro’s), Elliott’s Oyster House, Taylor Shellfish, Salty’s on Alki Beach, Dolar Shop, How to Cook a Wolf, Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge,
I love beers & red wine but don’t drink a lot of fancy cocktails, so this is not an alcoholic list.
Doughnuts: Top Pot Doughnuts*, General Porpoise Doughnuts*, Krispy Kreme* (classic glaze!)
Tea: Miro Tea, Tea Republik, Atulea*
Grass jelly desserts: Meet Fresh* (Bellevue), Black Ball Taiwanese Desserts,
Shaved Ice: Milkie Milkie Dessert Cafe (Korean calls it bingsoo), Citra
Ice cream: Sweet Alchemy*, Molly Moon, Frankie & Jo’s (plant-based, vegan), Salt & Straw*, Nana’s Green Tea* (get their matcha parfait)
Bakeries: Bakery Nouveau* (birthday cake), 85-degree bakery (also try their sea salt coffee and bubble tea), Holy Cannoli, Pie Bar (pie by the slice!), Gelatiamo (ice cream cakes), Macrina Bakery (I frequent the 1st av. location), Piroshky Piroshky (Russian bakery in Pike Place), Sugar Bakery & Cafe, Lady Yum (macarons, 3 locations), Le Panier French Bakery
Bambu Desserts & drinks*(Chinatown location)
Theo Chocolate (local, shop in Fremont has free samples)
Rachel’s Ginger Beer* (U Village* or Pike Place)
Big shopping areas: Pioneer Square, Fremont area, Ballard and Fremont, Chophouse Row & Capitol Hill area: Melrose Market, Bellevue Square, Pacific Place & Westlake Center* (downtown), University Village* (free parking), Northgate Mall
Headquarters: Amazon, Nordstrom (downtown), Starbucks (SODO), REI (Kent), Costco, Microsoft, Expedia Group, Zumiez, Zulily, Eddie Bauer
High-end shops: Totokaelo* (high-end designers and home stuff), Baby&Co. (unique designer store in downtown), The Bravern in Bellevue has Gucci, Prada, Bottega Veneta, etc.), Flora and Henri, Nordstrom HQ* (5 floors downtown ), Le Labo Fragrances* (Capitol Hill), Aesop, Glasswing* (plants, clothes, beauty. home stuff), Essenza, Yoogi’s Closet (online pre-owned luxury, based in Seattle)
Cute clothing local boutique & more: Pipe + Row (Fremont), Moorea Seal, Prism*, Baleen (local jewelry brand),
Stationery shops: Join Shop, Paper Hammer, Uwajimaja (Japanese gifts & stationery stuff, International District), Butter Home*, Fry Art Museum Store*, Made In Washington
Outdoorsy stores: REI Coop, Patagonia, Fjall Raven, Luna Sandals (Queen Anne, outdoorsy sandals), Outdoor Research, Feathered Freinds, MiiR,
Book stores: Elliot Bay Book Company, Amazon Books (U Village)
Clean Beauty: Follain. K beauty: Hello Banana (U Village)
Furniture & Decor: West Elm, Crate & Barrel, CB2* (U Village), Ballard Furniture Consignment shop, Restoration Hardware (RH, U Village), Blu Dot (Capitol Hill), The Furniture Guy Consignment, Sur La Table
Thrift & Vintage shops:
Zero Waste shop: Eco Collective
Sewing shop: DryGoods Design
HIKES: Rattlesnake Ledge, Lake 22, Goat Lake, Heather Lake, Poo poo Point-Chirico trail, Lake Serene, Lake Colchuck, Hidden Lake Lookout, Chain Lakes Loop Mt Baker, Paradise Mt. Rainier, Eunice Lake and Tolmie Peak, Sunrise Mt. Rainier, Mt. Fremont Lookout Trail
Mt. Rainier National Park, things to do: here
Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest, more info: here
Easy hikes with vast views: here
Drive-to destinations/Overlook (no hiking required): Gold Creek Pond Trail, Diablo Lake Overlook, Bainbridge and Deception Pass, Brown Point Lighthouse
Olympic Peninsula: Dungeness Spit, Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park,
Hiking trails in my list: summer/wildflowers trails in the East side of Washington, Palouse Falls, Mt. St. Helen
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 farms in Sequim (July). Read my Washington Flower Guide, here, and my Tulip post, here.
Fruit picking: 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, Steven Pass
Catch seafood: Oysters (year-round) and seasonal are clams and razor Clams, more information: here
Pumpkin patches: here
Fall foliage: All of the parks
Washington State Fair
Watch fireworks: NYE and July 4th on Alki, Gas Work or South Lake Union
Wineries/wine tour & tasting: Chateau Ste Michelle* or Woodinville area (so many wineries)
DAYTRIP: Leavenworth* (highly recommend! I’ve never been there in the winter but heard it’s amazing as a weekend getaway. Summer is great as I’ve been there twice this year!), take the ferry to Bremerton or Bainbridge
Things I want to do: go to some more wineries, whale watching (San Juans island), kayaking, razor clam, octopus and crabbing.
1. Utilize the good old Google Maps for navigation and places near wherever you are, Yelp for food reviews, Hotel Tonight for cheap and last minute hotel booking, Uber/Lift for a ride, Car2Go/ReachNow for car rental, Spot Hero for cheap parking.
2. Instagram. I’d often search for specific hashtags, such as #seattlefood #seattleeats for food photos and recommendations for food. 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. 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 on travel blogs (my favorites are goop.com, eater.com), 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 one up if there are any on the display, especially in big cities. 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 area that are worth to check out as well.
4. Museums, zoos or parks are often failed-safe options in the day time and cheap local dive bars at night are good to kill for a few hours if you do have some to spare. Otherwise, look for a local/seasonal calendar online for unique things to do.
5. Be open-minded and flexible: Sometimes, I’d just go with my gut and check out that underrated place. It means less of a wait and less of a crowd, and sometimes that is just all I need. Stop by a local shop if it’s on your way, it might end up being your personal favorite spot because who knows!
WANT MORE TRAVEL GUIDE? Check out:
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!