I love the city of Seattle…if it wasn’t so darn expensive to live there, I would. The fact that Seattle is a sprawling, cosmopolitan city right on the edge of the stunning beauty that is Puget Sound make it unique among your average big city. This coupled with its diverse neighborhoods lend itself to a rich experience not found anywhere else in the world. It is also on everyone’s Pacific Northwest vacations itinerary.
So the obvious, number one choice for a Seattle itinerary is the Space Needle, right? WRONG. Okay, if you must, you must, I’m not going to tell you not to go. But there is SO much more to this wonderful city. Go to the Space Needle for the high-top view (there’s an even better view of the city), but if you don’t care about that, then don’t bother! Go Here for a quick rundown of Seattle’s best neighborhoods.
Pike Place Market is the second obvious choice, and I DO recommend that. More on it a little later…
As I’ve said in my 2-Day Portland Itinerary article, I usually shy away from offering a rigid itinerary anywhere. Because every single traveler has different tastes and interests, how can any travel advisor worth their salt offer up a definitive one-size-fits-all itinerary? Nevertheless, here I am doing it. I have met the reader half-way through and listed several other options at the end.
Breakfast – Voula’s Offshore Café. THE place to satiate any biscuits-and-gravy cravings you may have. Their claim to fame is Food Network notoriety, so you know it hits both marks – atmosphere and delicious grub. A close second would be the Portage Bay Café. The Dungeness crab cake benedict is out of this world.
Capitol Hill – explore Pike and Pine streets for eclectic shops, funky cafes, and a relaxed and groovy vibe, away from the hustle and bustle of Seattle’s waterfront.
Lunch – While on Capitol Hill, have lunch at Sitka & Spruce. A modern but casual eatery serving up small plates for brunch, lunch and dinner. They have a pretty good wine list, with a bar across the way.
Seattle Underground Tour and Pioneer Square – I’ve taken the Seattle Underground Tour 4 or 5 times and it NEVER gets old. Entertaining and informative guides lead you through Seattle’s fascinating underbelly into a world of love, loss, and rebuilding. As they say, its “history with punch lines.” Several tours are held daily, and during the peak tourist season, tours are held nearly every hour. Start your adventure off At Doc Maynard’s Public House, where you can have a drink and grab a bite while your tour guides start the introduction to the tour.
Pioneer Square – the home of the Underground Tour. Be sure to explore this original neighborhood of Seattle, either before or after the underground tour. Established in 1852, it’s got plenty of nooks and cranny’s to discover. This is also a good place for nightlife as there are several good restaurants and clubs for after hours. I recommend Damn the Weather, for tasty craft cocktails.
Dinner – Jimmy’s On First. Serving steaks, burgers, seafood and Pacific Northwest favorites.
Breakfast – 5 spot in Queen Anne. Breakfast here will last you through ‘till dinner – no joke. It’s my go-to breakfast place in Seattle. If you’re with a group of people who can’t come to a conclusion on where to have the first meal of the day, simply put up your hand and lead them here. Want something doused in caramel in the am? Try their French toast!
Eliot Bay Book Company – Not quite as well-read and expansive as Powell’s in Portland, but this bookstore is certainly Seattle’s answer to it. They have several levels of book-browsing greatness, with frequent author reading and events. The perfect way to spend a few hours escaping from reality.
Pike Place Market – I can’t say much here that hasn’t already been said.You just simply have to come here and soak up the atmosphere of the longest-running public market in the U.S.
Lunch (at Pike Place Market) oh- soooo many options to choose from, but I recommend Piroshky Piroshky across the way from the main market or Pike Place Chowder a little further east. This place usually has a line out the door, so you know its good.
Take a ferry cruise around Elliott Bay. it’s touristy, but WORTH IT. Let the breeze of Puget Sound whip through your hair while you take in the spectacular view of the Seattle skyline.
Dinner – There are many options to choose from along the waterfront, but I recommend Salty’s On Alki Beach. Enjoy your local seafood meal while taking in sweeping views of Puget Sound.
MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture) Formally called the Experience Music Project, go here if you’re any kind of music and/or pop culture lover.
Belltown A great place to go for dinner, or after hours for that relaxing cocktail and some great local live music.
To explore other Seattle neighborhoods, go here.