There is nothing like exploring a city for the first time; the new people, places, cafes and tourist spots to check out make the planning process so much more exciting. This was my first time in Seattle, and Jenna and I covered it all – or as much as we could in three days. Only three days? You would be surprised the ground you can cover in as little as three days. Seattle is the perfect place for a weekend getaway, and the flights are usually cheaper than Vancouver.
We were lucky with the weather and never had it rain on us, even though it rained the whole week previous. It was slightly overcast which made for even better pictures than if it would have been sunny so we weren’t complaining. If you’re looking for photo opt spots (or endless Instagram content) Seattle is a wonderful place. The water, the streets, the old buildings and the culture make up for great photo backdrops, plus who can say no to $15 flower bouquets.
The hardest part was choosing where to eat, Seattle is known for their foodie culture and there are a million restaurants to choose from. Your best bet is asking a local who can see past the good marketing and will tell you where the good food really is (or take my advice on the restaurants below). I absolutely loved Seattle, I would go back in a heartbeat. The city is so diverse and I would love to take a sailboat tour of the bays.
Turns out it is kind of expensive to stay in Seattle even though it’s cheap to fly there. We were recommended the MOORE HOTEL downtown by someone on Instagram. We were a little wary because it was cheap because there was no bathroom in the room, it was down the hall, dorm style. But it wasn’t bad at all. The historic hotel is a five-minute walk from Pike Place market – the location was amazing and how long do you spend in a hotel room anyways? It’s not fancy but it’s clean and feels safe and was a lot cheaper than the hotels across the street. There are room options that have bathrooms, more beds and even kitchenettes depending on what kind of stay you are looking for. There is a restaurant and a coffee shop attached to the lobby for a convenient coffee to go or dinner.
We really went all out for breakfast this trip; it was the only meal that I actually had researched places to go before we got there. Oh, and donuts of course.
x PASTRIES & DONUTS x
TOP POT DOUGHNUTS & COFFEE for the most Instagrammable doughnuts (and they actually taste good). They have plenty of locations across Seattle but we hit up the downtown one on 6th Ave. The spacious doughnut & coffee shop has over 15 doughnut flavours to choose from, making it reeeeeeallly hard to buy just one.
PIROSHKY PIROSHKY BAKERY for Ukrainian pastries. The lineup for this bake shop was always long so we thought we’d try it out. They give you the menu when you’re in line so that everyone is ready when they get up to the counter in the really tiny bakery. I was still overwhelmed when I got up there to order, but I’m sure if you picked any random pastry you wouldn’t be disappointed. I had the apple cinnamon roll (one of the top rated pastries) and it lived up to it’s highlighted spot on the menu. Grab one (or three) and eat it while you’re standing in line at the OG Starbucks next door.
TROPHY CUPCAKES for the cutest cupcakes you’ll ever see. If you haven’t had enough sweets by now, Trophy Cupcakes is must-try. Their elegant and beautifully iced cakes will make any Instagrammer fall for a full dozen. They have a few locations and each one of them is cutely decorated and adorably welcoming. We just shared one (we literally had all the pastries right before) – the black forest cupcake topped with a maraschino cherry.
LE PANIER for homemade almond croissants (amoung other things). This is another long-lined hot spot at Pike Place, but absolutely worth the fifteen-minute line. They have all the French pastries and bread you could want including croissants, loaves of bread and macarons. Again, the perfect pairing to a Starbucks latte from down the way.
x BRUNCH x
WESTWARD for its view and grapefruit mimosas. We were blown away by the view from the patio; Westward looks right onto Lake Union and even has a dock for people to boat (or paddle board) up to. The community tables create a friendly atmosphere as you sip grapefruit (or orange…) mimosas – we were there for brunch but I think the dinner would be fabulous as well. The people at Westward were so nice, they were overly generous with the food and drinks and also wrote down other Seattle places to hit up. I don’t know if I have ever ate so much food for brunch, so my biggest tip is to not order everything on the menu (even though you’ll want to).
We tried plenty of dishes on the menu, the ones that I would recommend if you’re stopping by for brunch are the Wood Oven Baked Gigante Beans – this one is a good sharing option for a starter. The rich flavours disguise the fact that you’re eating beans for breakfast, and the breadcrumbs on top add a little crunch to it. The Avocado Toast is the most elaborate one I have ever seen; it was delicious and well worth paying for it (unlike some restaurants’ avo toast where you could just make it at home). The Lamb Shoulder Hash was as good as it sounds, the lamb was tender and its flavour coated the potatoes and vegetables.
x LUNCH x
BOK A BOK CHICKEN I will say that I am not a frequent fried chicken eater, but when I do, I like it to be fresh and as little grease as possible. I was pleasantly surprised by Bok a Bok’s chicken; the breading is homemade and it wasn’t dripping grease (even after being delivered it still tasted fresh). We had it delivered to our hotel for lunch, but they also have a restaurant if you prefer to eat in. We ordered chicken wings, thighs, drums and strips – just like it sounds, we had a lot of food. But what really makes it stand out from other fried chicken places are the sauces – they are homemade and add killer flavor to the chicken. 4 Chile Hot and Sesame Soy Garlic were my favourites, I just couldn’t get enough of them.
Also, worth noting is the Kimchi Mac & Cheese and Ginger Cabbage Slaw, they are the perfect sides to go with the chicken if you’re looking to round out your meal. AND you can’t forget the homemade biscuits. I wasn’t a huge fan of the spicy honey that they came with, but just on their own….you should order a few.
x DINNER x
VENDEMMIA for the spaghetti. This quaint Italian restaurant located in Madrona offers a modern atmosphere with Nona-approved Italian dishes. They don’t have a huge menu, thank god, or you would never be able to pick something. We took recommendations from the chef and waitress and tried the hamachi, beet salad, talagatoni, spaghetti and ?? dessert. Out of everything we tried I would highly recommend getting the Hamachi and Spaghetti. The spaghetti is cooked like risotto, in the sauce for about 20 minutes to really enhance the flavours and spice. Sharing an appetizer or salad and a pasta dish is the perfect amount of food for one person. I would also suggest making reservations, by 7:30pm the restaurant was full as there are only about ten tables.
x COCKTAILS x
THE PINK DOOR This hole [read: pink door) in the wall is one of the coolest places I have been to. The interior is cozy yet chic, with traditional, feminine decor. The patio is covered, with a great view of the water and the cocktail menu will have you staying for hours. We didn’t try the food, but the cocktails were fabulous.
THE NEST We went to the Thompson Hotel rooftop patio twice, it was that chic. Not only did we feel like celebrities up there, the cocktail list is killer and the view is even better. The rooftop opens up at 3 PM and if you want to guarantee yourself an edge seating area, it’s best to hit up The Nest before dinner. They have small skewers to go with your drinks, the chicken one is the best. For drinks? They are all good, and the names will make you want to order them all out loud. Would you like a Yas Queen or RoseAllDay?
GUM WALL @ PIKE PLACE When we walked past a tour guide getting ready to bring his group down the gum wall alley, I heard him tell the group “prepare yourself for the most disgusting, dirty, unhygienic place in the world.” You could see their faces being like WTF, but then he says, “gum wall” and everyone only looks slightly relieved. Why people thought they should preserve walls full of gum baffles me; the alley is appalling and fascinating at the same time – you can’t help but take your own gum and add it to the sticky mess. You can’t avoid it though, as a tourist, you have to see it for yourself and take the necessary Instagram shot either pretending to lick the wall or just standing in front of it (but not too close).
FLOWER MARKET @ PIKE PLACE You can’t miss it, rows and rows of fresh, colourful flowers that are all Instagram-worthy and they are SOO cheap. For $15 you can get a huge bouquet that would cost $200 here in Canada. They have pre-made bouquets to choose from or you can ask the ladies to whip you up something else if you’re looking for specific flowers or colours. It can be a little hectic mid-morning on the weekend but if you get there early you won’t have to worry about bumping elbows with the hoards of flower-lovers trying to get their hands on some.
SPIN @ FLYWHEEL If you ate too many pastries like we did, you can spin it off at this well-known downtown spin studio. You could also just rent a bike, but once you see the hills of Seattle, a stationary bike will looking much more inviting.
Your first class is discounted so you don’t have to worry about spending all your cocktail money on exercise. Even though you’ll spend most of your vacay walking, it’s nice to get in an intense workout before the day starts.
Overall the trip was amazing, we saw most of Seattle in three days and we left with lots of good photos and completely exhausted. If you didn’t realize it from this long review of Seattle there is so much to do and see (and eat) that three days wasn’t enough to cover it all.
What’s your fave Seattle spot?
Photos by myself & Jenna Matthews | Check out her Instagram