Things to do in Seattle

Seattle is a bit of a trendsetter, most notably the home of Starbucks and the creative birthplace of many musical successes. It was the first stop of my USA West Coast road trip. I arrived to a roar of applause and an explosion of cannons from Century Link Field stadium as a home touchdown was scored. The rest of my time here was equally exciting, checking out the culinary delights, cultural highlights and even venturing out of town to admire the nearby natural beauties.

To stay

Ace Hotel Seattle – Many associate the hip Ace brand with New York but the hotel chain actually started in Seattle in 1999 at this boutique accommodation in Belltown. As far as affordable hotels go this place sets the standard, with simple design-conscious bedrooms and free continental breakfast (make your own waffles and Stumptown Roasters coffee).

To eat

Delancey – setup by blogger Molly Wizenburg and her husband, this little neighbourhood eatery offers the finest wood-fired pizzas in Seattle. I highly recommend the pepperoni pizza, and salted chocolate cookie for desert. While you’re there, pop next door to Essex for an expertly mixed whisky cocktail.

Poquitos – this Mexican restaurant is an institution. Found amongst the popular shops and cafes of East Pike Street, the atmosphere is lively and the staff are lovely. Don’t miss the grilled corn with crema and lime, and the incredible homemade guacamole. Wash it all down with a ‘Son of a Ditch’ fragrant tequila cocktail, and finish with a refreshing strawberry-lime-margarita ice lolly.

The London Plane – this design-conscious dining room is part of the same group as Sitka and Spruce and the Corson Building. With a café, deli, bakery and flower shop, it can be a morning multi-purpose stop in downtown. My favourite on the menu was the healthy curried avocado, shaved radish, carrot, red cabbage & cilantro.

Bastille – this French-inspired bistro serves Parisian classics with an American twist. They are often awarded for the ‘best fries in Seattle’ but we enjoyed far more than just their chips. My highlight was the Crispy Pork Belly with fresh corn polenta, curry, peach and Walla Walla onion, a beautiful balance of flavours and textures. I also loved the homemade honey ice-cream from the chef’s rooftop bee hives.

Molly Moon’s – is Seattle’s favourite ice cream parlour, now with several outlets in town. We went to the retro café in Capitol Hill to try the innovative flavours like Scout Mint (made from crushed girl scout cookies) and Balsamic Strawberry.

Another ice-cream shop really worth visiting is the hidden-away Kurt Farm Shop where you should try the delicate Rose flavour.

Skillet Diner – starting life as a food truck, they have now opened up three restaurants as they grew in popularity. The design is typical of an American diner, but the food is so much more. Visit for a decadent lunch, and order a Colonel Parker boozy shake (bourbon, peanut butter, syrup and vanilla ice-cream) and the burger with their famous bacon jam.

Chopshop – a brilliant option for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Chopshop only opened in July 2015 and is already wowing guests with their delicious and stylish plates of food. I highly recommend the mascarpone-stuffed French toast with peaches, almonds and maple syrup.

Oddfellows – this ever-evolving eatery serves American fare to locals and tourists in the know. Open from breakfast through to late-night cocktails, there is always something delicious to try. I loved the rugged décor in the open-plan main space.

To drink

Milstead & Co – there are numerous independent coffee shops in Seattle and everyone has their favourite. While exploring the Fremont district I stumbled across this fashionable coffee bar that uses beans from a number of the best North American roasters.

Tavern Law – ask anyone in Seattle where they go to get the best cocktail, and most will put Tavern Law at the top of their list. This laid-back has a host of expert mixologists. We were served by the talented Andrew Larson and tried two of his speciality inventions – Industry Punch and Five Plant Punch. The vast menu features a range from classics to innovation Tavern Law creations. For a more intimate experience, find the vintage phone and call upstairs to see if you can get a seat in the secret prohibition bar, Needle and Thread, where the barman will conjure up a drink to suit your tastes (there is no menu).

Fremont Brewing – craft beers are of the highest quality in Seattle and you can find local breweries around every corner. This family owned brewery, setup in 2007, has an Urban Beer Garden where hipsters hangout and order a five glass taster.

Elm Coffee Roasters – a newbie on the coffee scene but already with quite a reputation thanks to its deliciously smooth coffee and the chic, minimalist space at which they are served. Elm’s pastries come direct from nearby bakery, The London Plane.

To do

Pike Place Market – this iconic public farmers’ market has been continuously open since 1907, making it one of the oldest in the USA. Looking out over Elliot Bay waterfront, it is a lovely place to walk around while tasting a snack from one of the many vendors, from homemade crumpets to clam chowder.

Seattle Art Museum – Seattle’s favourite art museum is often remembered for its striking car installation hanging in the entrance lobby. Explore the extensive permanent collection of modern and ethnic art, and checkout the temporary exhibition of the moment. Pay-what-you-can is available but not advertised.

Pure Barre – barre fitness seems to be a trend that’s growing all over the globe. In America, Pure Barre have over 325 studios and provide high-intensity classes with maximum impact. Started by former dancer, Carrie Rezabek Dorr, the hour-long sessions are varied and aim to strengthen and tone the core. I enjoyed a class in the Capitol Hill branch, the results of which I could feel days later.

To shop

Totokaelo – more of a showroom than a shop, Totokaelo beautifully displays designer clothes, accessories and homeware. Found in the cool Capitol Hill neighbourhood, it perfectly fits into this creative and stylish part of town. Here you can find brands including Issey Miyake and Maison Margiela, as well as lesser known niche designers.

Glasswing – a wonder emporium of Pacific Northwest products to make your home and wardrobe look beautiful. I couldn’t resist buying one of their seasonal scented candles. They also sell a selection of some of my favourite boutique brands such as Aesop and Herbivore Botanicals.

To escape

Evergreen Escapes – this sustainable and innovative company offer a range of amazing day trips and longer excursions. We had a thrilling day exploring Mount Rainier, a spectacular natural phenomenon two hours drive from Seattle. Our group (of seven) was driven in a modern black Mercedes minibus by our friendly and knowledgeable guide, Jeff. After hiking through the magnificent National Park we stopped for a delicious picnic lunch of quinoa salad, grilled chicken and marinated tofu, served with local red wine. We were lucky to be visiting Rainier on an unusually clear today and the views were truly mesmerizing. Other highlights of the day included spotting wild critters (chipmunks, marmots, grouse and eagles) and seeing Reflections Lake and local waterfalls.

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