Prior to visiting Seattle, all I knew about this city was that it was the home of Grey’s Anatomy! Little did I know, just how vibrant and beautiful this city really was.
Seattle is surrounded by water, mountainous backdrops and a vast number of breweries and coffee shops, including the original Starbucks. There are a plethora of activities to keep you occupied, whatever the weather. Thankfully, we experienced some of the nicest weather the city had seen in weeks, so we made use of the outdoors!
The information below has been gathered from our friends who are/were Seattle locals, and they are extremely proud to share some of their favourite places to stay, eat & things to do.
Where to stay in Seattle?
Similar to that of any other major city, Seattle has a lot of different neighbourhoods to explore, each with their own unique character but they do come at a price. The average cost of hotels in downtown Seattle as well as it’s neighbouring suburbs is well over $150 USD a night. We suggest checking out Airbnb as you could be lucky enough to snatch up a relatively decent priced condo or apartment right in the city centre. Backpacking? Check out City Hostel Seattle. Perfect location and a fun atmosphere for a quarter of the cost ($34 USD for a dorm bed, including breakfast).
Top neighbourhoods in Seattle
Here is a brief rundown of the top neighbourhoods located throughout the city.
- Fremont – A super quirky neighbourhood with an artsy feel. Lot’s of fun bars, shops and restaurants. This particular area is also close to Greenlake, Greenwood, Ballard, Queen Anne and the University District. The crowd in Fremont is more mid-late twenties, early thirties vs. some other areas that are known for undergraduate college-age crowds.
- Capitol Hill – Capitol Hill is artsy and is known for its LGBT bars, comedy shows, drag shows and smaller concert venues. The general age during the day up here is 25-30 but it becomes more of a hot spot for 21-23 year-olds in the evenings. You will also find some of the best food in Seattle in Capitol Hill and is easily walkable from downtown.
- Ballard – Ballard is a bit separated from Seattle and the people that live there like it that way. Ballard is a fun spot with lot’s of different restaurants, views of the water and places to walk around. It’s also a bit cheaper in terms of places to stay due to its location.
- Downtown – Most of the touristy things are going to be in downtown, therefore, it’s not a prefered choice of area to stay (for us). I would stay elsewhere and take public transit, Uber, or walk. Belltown is considered downtown but far enough away from the touristic parts and it has many restaurants, cafes and breweries within walking distance.
- Queen Anne – Queen Anne is one of the fanciest neighbourhoods in Seattle and is located between Fremont and Downtown. The prices are slightly elevated and a lot of Amazon/Microsoft employees call this place home.
Do you need a car in Seattle?
Parking is pricey in downtown Seattle. If you’re planning to stay in the city, rather than venturing to the outskirts of Seattle, we’d recommend sticking to Lyft, Uber or use their extensive public transportation system which includes buses, light rail, monorail and street cars. Get yourself an Orca Card to use on all forms of public transport. There are also multiple bike-sharing programs as well as car-to-go, a car-sharing program. If you plan to spend most of your time outside of the city, renting your own car will definitely be far more cost-effective, as well as allow far more flexibility in your schedule.
Top things to do in Seattle
If you ever find time away from eating, there’s a ton of things to do to jam pack any day!
- Pike Place Market: The most visited tourist attraction in Seattle. An outdoor/indoor market selling fresh fruits vegetables, household items, souvenirs and the all-to-famous fish shop, where they throw the fish out to the buyer. You can also find a handful of fun restaurants with water views.
- Space Needle: Expensive to go up but if you get dinner there you can get a free pass to the top. The restaurant (as of October 2017) is currently closed for reservations so a ticket will cost $22 per adult.
Location: Olympic Sculpture Park
- Olympic Sculpture Park: Great place to stroll around, right on the water. Lots of people running, riding bikes and picnicking. You also have a great view of the Space Needle.
- SAM: Seattle Art Museum. Very cool depending on what is rotating there.
- Seattle Waterfront: The Seattle Wheel is here, soaring over Seattle as well as a bunch of little shops and places to eat on the water. Crab Pot is a fun spot where they take a big bucket of crab, give you some hammers and let you go to town.
Location: Seattle Waterfront
- Comedy Underground: Fun spot, good food and comedy shows that are pretty cheap every night. Who doesn’t love a good laugh!?
- Seattle Underground Tour: Interested to know the history of Seattle? Take this tour! Tickets $22 p.p.
- Fremont Troll: A large sculpture under a bridge in Fremont. I mean, this is purely for a photo op only.
Location: Fremont Troll
- The Original Starbucks: The original Starbucks which opened in 1971. Put your patient pants on if you wish to have a coffee here. Lines on lines on lines.
- Kerry Park: The park where the famous Seattle Photos are taken. It gives you a complete view of downtown and is mostly visited during sunset. You can take your picture and jump out of this park in minutes.
Location: Kerry Park
- Take a Ferry: There are plenty of places to visit with a quick ferry ride but our top pick would be to Bainbridge Island for its beautiful scenery.
- The Gum Wall: One of the more interesting & slightly gross tourist attractions of Seattle. Only a city as hipster as Seattle can get away with a multicoloured wall filled with chewing gum.
- Aquarium: A fairly decent aquarium for a family day out.
- Relax in Gas Works Park: A short walk from the Fremont Troll. Gas Works Park is a large grassy area with views of South Lake Union on the other side of the water, as well as a old large industrial gas works.
Location: Gas Works Park
Where to eat in Seattle?
Ahh, the most important part of travelling. Food! Seattle has a huge eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes, breweries and coffee shops. In fact, you really can’t walk more than 2 blocks without running into somewhere to eat or drink. Damnit, why can’t we have larger wallets and even larger stomachs?
Here are some (aka a sh*t ton) of recommendations from locals, friends and some of our own.
- Fremont Brewery: One of the most visited breweries! They have great beer, a great atmosphere and outdoor area. If you are a foreigner, you have to use your passport as ID, they won’t accept anything else as with a lot of places in Seattle.
- Odonnell’s: Irish pub, good beer and relatively decent, cheap food.
- Pecado Bueno: Great tacos with cheap margaritas.
- Theo Chocolate: In need of a chocolate fix? Theo Chocolate has over 15 different flavours all out for sample tasting. They also do tours and classes but you have to book in advance.
- Cantinetta: Really cute Italian place with homemade pasta. Great place for a date night. Try the Gnocchi! A very special dish.
- Ballroom: Dancing here on the weekends (can be a pretty rowdy undergraduate crowd) + cheap drinks during the day.
- Norms: Good brunch spot. Dog-friendly restaurant so you can get a dog fix (if that’s your thing!)
- Paseo: Cuban sandwiches. Generally a super long line, but good food and worth the wait.
- Revel: A popular restaurant for Korean Fusion.
- Mollymoon’s Icecream – The BEST salted caramel ice cream in the WORLD. This ice cream will have a line all day every day. It’s worth it. Wait for it.
- The Garage: Bowling, pool and drinks. Get’s really busy on the weekends but it opens at 3:00 pm and has a great Happy Hour. Great atmosphere and has a fun outdoor area.
- Optimism: A very popular brewery with a super big space. They have food trucks on a rotation basis as there is no food sold at this brewery. If the food trucks don’t tickle your fancy, go over the street and get Mediterranean from Mediterranean Express. The falafels are amazing.
- Knee High Stocking: A speakeasy bar! For entry, you must send them a text. Great drinks and a fun atmosphere.
- Elysian Brewery: Ace beer accompanied by great food!
- Rumba: Rum lovers? Here’s home. They also have great tacos to go with the variety of rum choices.
- Tango: Tapas with tasty cocktails. Slightly pricier than the others.
- Pie Bar: A bar selling sweet and savoury pies. I wouldn’t recommend the savoury but definitely the sweet! You can get takeaway or eat in the bar.
- Skillet: Great burgers (they have something called bacon jam…. sounds gross but it’s great). They also have a really good brunch.
- Bar Cotta: Casual pizza restaurant with a nice ambience.
- Bateau: This place is pricey but really delicious. If you’re looking for a fancy date night, this is a great option.
- Porkchop & Co: An American eatery (with more than just Pork!).
- The Walrus & The Carpenter: Oyster bar with super high ratings, making it hard to get into. Call ahead.
- Volterra: Great Italian food. A little on the pricier end!
- Kickin Boot Whiskey: Our “Country” style bar. Lot’s of Whiskey options available alongside a relatively good barbecue.
- Bitterroot BBQ: A rustic BBQ restaurant.
- Peddler Brewing Company: Popular brewery inside of a large warehouse. They encourage cyclists and offer a safe place to store your bike as you sip back a cold beer.
- Reuben’s Brews: Still thirsty? This popular brewery offers some of Seattle’s greatest beers.
- Red Mill Burgers: A Seattle staple serving great burgers. Note: They are not open on Mondays.
- Piroshky Piroshky: Another Seattle must! Fresh pastries with a regular line! Great place for a quick lunch.
- Pike Place Brewery: This place is in Pike’s Place Market. Good beer, food & atmosphere.
- Biscuit Bitch: A great brunch spot serving Southern Fare. It gets super busy on the weekends.
- Shiros: Sushi lovers, gather! I personally don’t like Sushi but word on the street is this is the best place in the city. This is more the Belltown area of downtown.
- Local 360 Cafe & Bar: All the ingredients used in this Belltown cafe are sourced from a 360-mile radius from Seattle. Fresh and flavourful!
- Capital Grille: Awesome steakhouse with top-notch cuts of meat and service.
- The Pink Door: An Italian restaurant with a burlesque show sometimes.
- Beecher’s Cheese: A must visit! Watch how they make the cheese, sample some of their most popular cheeses and leave with a full tummy of the best mac and cheese in the states!
- Din Tai Fun: Dim Sum! Really popular, really delicious.
- Damn the Weather: Closer to the Stadium District. Great drinks. If you’re catching a baseball game, football game or soccer game, this is a good spot.
- Storyville Coffee: Famous coffee shop just outside Pike Place Market. Delicious coffee and beats waiting in the Starbucks line!
- Dahlia Bakery: A cute bakery with good breakfast sandwiches and pastries. Not a lot of seating.
- Lola’s: Very popular brunch spot attached to one of Tom Douglas’ hotels. They are most popular for their Eggs Benedict.
Well, there ya have it… I’m full just reading these!
Thank you, Jocelyn and Marisa, for all these helpful tips! It truly made our trip to Seattle and we couldn’t be more stoked to share them with the rest of the world.
Married Days Survived: 943