Seattle and I are like that concert of an underground band you once went to – you go because your friend is there and you’re not really sure if you’ll like it, but based on the cool and hip-ness factors, you’re pretty sure you will, and then you go and you have a fantastic time and end up jamming out and making friends with everyone and you can’t wait to go back.
Anyway, Seattle. I’ve been twice. And I can’t wait to go back again. I am a self-proclaimed Vitamin D enthusiast so the idea of actively seeking out a city that gets an average of 192 days of sun (that’s 52.6% of the year, in case you were wondering) was a little absurd to me at first. But my best friend Steph is out there and I am not one to say no to an adventure, so I went!
Fast forward to our second visit – this time the husband came with. It was another long weekend trip, and it was a whirlwind! Between the two, here are a few of the highlights. And of course, a meticulous recount of all the delicious food we ate.
Where is one of the first places you go when you take a 6 AM flight out of Chicago and land in Seattle with an entire day at your disposal? That’s right, the brand new Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room. It’s located in the Capitol Hill area of the city, which is where Steph used to live. I highly recommend checking it out if your schedule allows! The day we visited just happened to be the day before Starbucks officially released their Sweet Cream Vanilla Cold Brew to the rest of the country. But I discovered that they have a special version made with Madagascar vanilla bean extract. It’s basically crack.
We also had the opportunity to try their Nitro Cold Brew on tap, which was not available anywhere else at the time. It was like Guinness, but instead of making us want to take a nap it made us want to do ALL THE THINGS. Riley is obsessed with cold brew and he was very much in heaven.
Fremont Brewery & The Fremont Troll
When in Seattle, do as the Seattlens do… go to the breweries. After we got our buzz on, we grabbed a bite to eat at Skillet Diner (hell yes, chicken and waffles) and headed over to Fremont.
Fremont is north of downtown Seattle, across the Fremont Cut of the ship canal. Apparently sometimes it’s referred to as “The People’s Republic of Fremont” or “The Artists Republic of Fremont” – for good reason, this little area of the city has a lot of really cool art and culture. It’s also home to the Fremont Troll, which is basically a giant rendition of the troll from the tale of the 3 Billy Goats (you know, the one that lived under the bridge?). It’s a little creepy and weird but it’s super cool. Definitely worth a photo stop!
We then headed over to the Fremont Brewing Company and proceeded to try lots of different beers, eat a lot of pretzels and pet a lot of dogs. As stated on their website, their focus is beer – they don’t do the whole food thing. BUT they do encourage you to BYOF (bring your own food) and they have the menus of local places at the brewery for your convenience. I’m sure you can get a great pairing recommendation from the staff!
Shuck Yeah, We Shucked Our Own Oysters
During any trip to Seattle, the Pike Place Market is a MUST. During my first visit we merely strolled through the market but didn’t quite make it to the famous Pike Place Fish Market. The second time we hung around long enough to see the fishmongers (isn’t that a badass job title?) fling some fish. Even people who live in Seattle (like the guys at Seattle Bloggers) and have seen it tons of times never get tired of it.
Though we didn’t pick up any fish at the market, we DID get our own oysters. Before the trip, I had already been gradually getting more and more into oysters (like $1 oyster Tuesday at RM Champagne Salon!), so I was in a really good mindset for this. And how cool is it to say you’ve shucked your own? And also all the shucking puns that ensued (insert crying laughing emoji here). So yeah, we picked up some of the biggest oysters I’d ever seen and all the necessary oyster-shucking accouterment. They were easily the best I’ve ever eaten.
Hiking Like We’re 22-Ooh-Ooohh
The first time I visited Seattle, Steph took me on my first official hike (I’m sad to say that) at Rattlesnake Trail and it was absolutely breathtaking. The second time we visited, we did a little bit longer/more advanced hike to Lake 22.
It was absolutely unbelievable. It was about an hour and a half to two-ish hours to the top and a little rocky from the trailhead, but totally worth the hike, as they say. As the name implies, there is, indeed, a lake at the top. And even though we went in May, there was actually snow up there! So definitely make sure to wear lots of layers. Are hiking boots necessary? I wore normal gym shoes and was fine, but if you have hiking gear, I recommend bringing it. There were a LOT of rocks on the trail (some parts of the trail were actually all smaller rocks) and there were also a lot of places where you needed to cross small creeks.
Lake 22 trail is near Mt Pilchuck State Park, which is about an hour and a half drive from Seattle, so it does take a bit of planning to get there. Unfortunately there isn’t really a great way to get there via public transportation, but fun fact – there is a 6-hour bike trip via the Interurban Trail! If that’s not your thing, though, and you have access to a car and the time, you MUST go.
The Din Tai Fung Dumpling House Adventure
This place deserves a shout out because of how fun the experience was. The Din Tai Fung dumpling house is situated in the open-air University Village shopping mall, so while there will probably be a wait to eat, there are countless ways to occupy yourself. We chose to imbibe with a little hair of the dog at Eureka and then kill the extra time in the brick and mortar Amazon Books store (which is super cool and yes, they have a ton of Kindles on display, but also a lot of paperback and hard cover books too. I LOVE my Kindle and I take it on every trip I go on!)
When our names were finally called, we were starving, ravenous hangry zombies. We ordered SO MUCH dim sum! The soup dumplings were some of my favorites – if you’ve never had soup dumplings before, you eat them with a big spoon and pierce the side so the soup comes out and you can slurp it up. I also ordered bubble tea with tapioca and it was delicious.
Gettin’ Down with More Nature
Later that day we also checked out the famous Kerry Park for the view (so many 10 Things I Hate About You vibes) and also Gas Works Park (yes, I did pretend I was a badass with a paintball gun secretly while I was wandering around taking pictures sort of by myself) before heading to dinner. Sort of a touristy spot, but definitely one you don’t want to miss if you have time. It’s a great place for a picnic, picture stop or dronespotting.
Afterwards we headed to Mammoth for some sandwiches, beer and board games. I am so sad we don’t have a Mammoth in Chicago – they would make a KILLING here! Not only do they have the most insane sandwiches, they also make all their chips in-house and boast a crazy array of beers on tap. And in bottles. And cans. I had the Stonehenge (turkey, cranberry chutney, cream cheese, basil, aioli) and a Seattle Cider Co cider because, duh, Seattle. We happily ate and I was introduced to Settlers of Catan, which is a really fun game (good for groups too) that we proceeded to play a few more times that weekend. Spoiler alert: I did not win once. It was a little disheartening, but when we got home and we ordered it for ourselves I proceeded to whoop everyone.
Rachel Knows Her Ginger Beer Stuff
The first time I visited Steph, she took me to a place near Pike Place Market called Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Essentially it’s a ginger beer bar where you can get all the ginger beer your heart desires – both virgin and mixed into different cocktails. I was immediately obsessed. They also do ginger beer floats – yep, you guessed it, both virgin and boozy. Yum! So when she said they’d opened another one, I knew where we were headed next. This is definitely a must-try when in Seattle. They also do growlers and to-go cups if you don’t have a ton of time to stop.
Other Amazing Places to Try in Seattle
Obviously, there was no shortage of amazing places to eat and see. We crammed as much as humanly possible into the tiny 4-day span we had, but we couldn’t get to everything. We actually did hit up a number of other places during this trip – honorable mentions go to:
- Pike Place Starbucks – the original. If you’re a Starbucks fan, definitely plan to make a stop here. They have a special You Are Here series mug that is different from the Seattle one (these mugs are the only things we collect because we like consistency, so I was SUPER pumped to check this one off the list!)
- Sam’s Tavern – amazing atmosphere – SO Seattle. Apparently it’s home to Seattle’s best bloody mary… but they also have pretty great deals on mediocre beer too. Plus Golden Tee FTW.
- Poquitos – delicious Mexican food. I highly recommend the guacamole. And if you like spicy food they have a sauce that will knock your pants off. Riley eats more spicy food than anyone I know and Sriracha is one of his main food groups and he was almost crying.
- Piroshky Piroshky – while we were on our way to the Pike Place Starbucks, we spotted Piroshky Piroshky Bakery next door. Holy awesome. I got an apple cinnamon roll and was happy as a clam. Er, oyster. Anyway, there was a bit of a line, but it was totally worth it.
There you have it! Have you been to Seattle? Have a place I missed? Comment below!!