City Guide: Seattle

City Guide: Seattle

Our next city guide is all about Seattle. The town is surrounded by mountains, water and evergreen forests, which has earned it the nickname “Emerald City.” Here, Molly Wizenberg of Orangette shares her insider tips (including the best oysters!) for making the most of this beautiful place…

Molly Wizenberg

Molly Wizenberg: Although I was born and raised in Oklahoma, graduate school brought me to Seattle in 2002, and I’ve never left. It caught me off guard, how right it felt, and how right it still feels: the views of the mountains, the proximity to water (it’s *everywhere*), the muted silvery light in the winter (yes, it’s overcast a lot, but the rain is no biggie), the thrill in the summer when the sun is out and the days are long. Seattle is growing quickly, but somehow it still feels wild. There’s greenery everywhere — even blackberry thickets along highway off-ramps! — plus, great farmers’ markets and all the oysters, wild mushrooms and salmon. I don’t ever plan to leave.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

City Guide: Seattle

The Walrus and the Carpenter


For delicious oysters, try The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard. Oysters here are plentiful, and they’re spectacular: plump, briny, and — a boon for the faint of heart — generally smaller than East Coast oysters. This is my favorite place to eat them. Though the seafood restaurant is hidden away at the back of a building (facing industrial boatyards and warehouses that serve the local fishing industry), it’s always packed, and well worth the wait.

For an awesome breakfast or lunch, try Vif (pronounced “veef”) in Fremont. Order their house-smoked fish, homemade English muffin, or the red lentil and chickpea “ful,” with yogurt, pickled radish and a soft-boiled egg on top. There’s also a small wine shop inside, with a wonderfully curated selection of bottles to take away.

For the best Seattle-style food, try Sitka & Spruce in Capitol Hill. They take the best Pacific Northwest ingredients (think foraged mushrooms, wild watercress, local fish, wild berries) and punch them up with flavors from Turkey, Italy, and Spain. My favorite meal there is brunch, and if they’ve got their house yogurt with warm dates and olive oil, do yourself a favor and get it.

For an intimate setting with wood-fired pizza, try our restaurant in Ballard, Delancey! My husband and I opened it seven years ago this summer, and I usually wind up there a couple of nights a week – it never gets old. Don’t miss the white pizza with shaved garlic and housemade ricotta; whatever seasonal wood-fired vegetables we’re doing at the moment; and our salted chocolate chip cookie, which has been a staple on the dessert menu since day one.

City Guide: Seattle

Bainbridge Island Ferry


Take an $8 ferry from downtown to Bainbridge Island (approximately a 30-minute ride) and get blackberry ice cream at Mora, which is a short walk from the ferry terminal. A perfect afternoon jaunt, no matter the weather.

Take a walk in Discovery Park, located in the Magnolia neighborhood. Park in the south lot, walk up and over the hill, down through the meadow that slopes toward Puget Sound, and then wind your way down through the woods to the beach. It’s beautiful, year-round.

In the summer, the entire city spends most of every day outdoors, or so it seems, and you should too. Go swimming in Lake Washington, either from the T Dock in Leschi, where there is almost always a band of beautiful people drinking rosé, or from Madrona Beach, which has a handy bathhouse and lots of sand to keep the kids happy.

If you are looking to hang out at a bar, try Nacho Borracho in Capitol Hill. DO NOT miss the avocado margarita there, which comes from one of a half-dozen slushie machines behind the bar. They also have classic cocktails like Negroni and El Diablo on tap.

London Plane in Seattle

London Plane


The best clothing store in town — or pretty much anywhere — is Totokaelo in Pike-Pine. It isn’t, ahem, cheap, but it’s so thoughtfully curated that it’s worth going there just to browse the selection. Baby & Co. in downtown is also a good bet for designer clothing.

For home stuff, you can’t go wrong at Fremont Vintage Mall, which has everything from antique lawn chairs to industrial-style desks, or at Pacific Galleries in the Industrial District, where they have an entire area dedicated to mid-century modern pieces.

For ceramics, try the London Plane (this place is also part café, part grocery store, part floral workshop and part dreamland) in Pioneer Square.

Last but not least, you could spend the better part of a day in Elliott Bay Book Company in Capitol Hill, which carries the best selection of new books, as well as a large collection of bargain editions. It’s also conveniently located next door to Totokaelo! Hint, hint.

Dunbar Room in Hotel Sorrento, Seattle

Dunbar Room in Hotel Sorrento


Seattle is very much a city of neighborhoods, and if you only see downtown, you’ll miss out. Instead, stay a little further afield in Ballard, a neighborhood known for its Scandinavian population and connection to the local fishing industry. You’ll see bungalows, boats and warehouses. There are tons of charming AirBnBs.

For a more urban feel, with lots of music venues, bars and late-night options (plus great tattoo-watching and crosswalks painted with the Pride rainbow instead of the ordinary old white lines), opt for a rental in Capitol Hill.

If you’d like to have a base close to downtown, stay at Hotel Sorrento. It was the first boutique hotel in Seattle, opening its doors in 1909, so it has a beautiful vintage spirit, but it’s also stately, classic and well maintained. And close to so many things, without feeling scene-y.

City Guide: Seattle


If you’re in town on a Sunday morning, there’s nothing better than Dance Church, a dance workout class for people of all shapes, sizes and identities. It’s fun and uninhibited. And the crowd is pure Seattle.

Thank you so much for the tour, Molly! Have you been to Seattle (or do you live there)? What else would you add?

P.S. Where to stay, eat, shop and hang in Minneapolis and Nashville.

(Top photo and ferry photo by Dan Cole. City guide graphic design by Miss Moss. Photos of Molly by Brian W. Ferry. Oyster photo via Andrew Zimmern. London Plane photo via Double Dipping. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for editing this series.)

  1. Lana says...

    Thank you so much for this guide, though I’m only discovering it now. We moved from New England to Kirkland last month (husband’s job) . (Originally from London, UK, so rain is fine with us). It’s quite cute around Marina/Market st. though my soul is in Ballard. I can’t wait to explore all these recommended places. If anyone has any tips for Kirkland + things to do w 12y old.

    Thank you,

  2. Lindsey says...

    To anyone reading this city guide and planning their trip to Seattle: DO NOT stay at the hotel sorrento. We had a terrible experience! It’s nothing like what the photos show, and I would not call it a boutique hotel, I’d call it old. The staff was also rude and unaccommodating :( For the sake of your trip, do not heed this recommendation.

  3. ADall says...

    We did a very “touristy” trip last year over 4th of July with 10 & 13 year olds, weathe was perfect. Glad to see all these other great ideas for another trip. Our summer trip to Seattle with a daytrip to Victoria, BC Canada, 5 days/nights, in vacation order: Dinner at SkyCity (the 500 foot high rotating restaurant inside the 605 foot tall Space Needle), trip to the observation deck at the Space Needle, rode the monorail (built for the 1962 World’s Fair and goes through the EMP Museum) from Seattle Center to Westlake Center, walked to the 100 year old Pike Place Market, pet Rachel the Piggy Bank (the 550 pound cast bronze mascot of Pike Place Market), saw the world’s most disgusting thing: The Gum Wall outside the Market Theatre, visited the original Starbucks #1 but kids not impressed so didn’t stay (note the half naked original logo), saw the two 50 foot cedar totem poles at Victor Steinbrueck Park, stopped at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room and kids were impressed so we stayed (a multisensory coffee “experience” ooh la la), took a daytrip on the high speed 132 foot long Victoria Clipper IV Ferry from Seattle to Victoria BC (top speed of 30 knots but it still took 3 hrs), ate lunch in the former Butchart home overlooking the Private Garden, toured Butchart Gardens (paradise created 100 years ago out of an old limestone quarry), had high tea at the Edwardian chateau-style Empress Hotel on Victoria’s Inner Harbor (built in 1908 and a National Historic Site in Canada … Can you believe they were going to tear it down during the 60’s!!!), walked around the Parliament Building, spent a whole day at Mount Rainier, toured the Boeing factory, went to the EMP Museum, learned a lot at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, rented bikes from Pronto Bike Share and rode by the Olympic Sculpture Park, Myrtle Edwards Park and along the Puget Sound, rode a Duck Boat, spent a whole day at Mount St. Helens and visited Chihuly Garden and Glass.

    • Thank you so much for this!! We have been trying to figure out where we want to bring our two grandsons (11 & 9) this summer and we were thinking about Seattle. Your comment sealed the deal. We are getting our tickets and plan to use most of your recommendations. We brought our oldest grandson (who was then 7) to Space Camp in Alabama and it was a total hit. The following year, we Sedona/Grand Canyon with both, then rafting and hiking in Colorado. Last year, we took them to Boston to see a great historic City, go to a Yankee game.

  4. This is so fun! We’ve lived in Seattle for two years now and are just getting to some touristy things. We live in North Seattle though, so hardly travel downtown. I’d love to get to know more vegan food… but almost everywhere we eat is great. Including the taco truck across our street! :)

  5. Katy L says...

    Some musts: Bakery Nouveau for a twice-baked almond croissant. Mariners game at Safeco. A ride on the water taxi to West Seattle for drinks at Marination Ma Kai and a walk on Alki. A trip to the Ballard Locks, especially if salmon are running! Breakfast at Portage Bay Cafe. A trip to UW to see the campus, especially in spring or if you want to paddle boat on Lake Washington. Pike Place Market. Seattle Center to play in the fountain or playground, or take on a performance from Pacific Northwest Ballet.

  6. Sandy says...

    I just returned from Seattle, and a few days in Orcas Island. My daughter in law works at Sitka & Spruce, and London Plane. Oh my-what a treat they are.
    Love the Whale Wins as well.
    On Orcas-in Eastsound, Hogstone is one not to miss, and Brown Bear Bakery is one of the best bakeries anywhere in the US. (and I am a bakery freak)
    Our friend is opening a comic book/geek boutique in Fremont, Outsider Comics. It was my first stay in Seattle-and I am obsessed. I am determined to move there-either Vashon, Gig Harbor, Port Townsend, or Bainbridge ( love Orcas but a bit removed) Seattle is magical-I even had my die hard NY friend convinced to move too, but the fashion is a bit too relaxed for her ( that is another reason I love it)

  7. Kathy says...

    Hello! Excited to visit in about 2 weeks! Any recommendations for baby friendly places/activities/restaurants? I have a 13 month old and my 11 month old niece will be joining too! Thanks!!

  8. Cafe Besalu in Ballard has the best pain au chocolat inside or outside of Paris. And I am not joking.

    If you’re here in the summer, you must take a swim in Colman Pool in West Seattle. BREATHTAKING.

    Finally, I have a curated Seattle map that I share when people ask me what to do around here:

    • Emilia says...

      I’ve lived in Seattle for eight years and had never heard of Colman Pool! Will definitely be there next summer on the first swimmable day :-). Thanks for the tip!

  9. Miriam says...

    Oh wow, thank you Molly and thank you everyone for all these incredible recommendations. We’ll be visiting for two months with our little ones from Australia… staying in Ballard… and there is enough here for me to have an amazing adventure (with great coffee!) for each day of the trip!

    • Hi Miriam, you should check out my website If you need help finding a good place to eat or hang in Seattle, feel free to email me at

  10. I will be attending a food writing class taught my Molly in August, so this guide is perfect and timely!

  11. Spent a lot of time in Seattle when I was working for Amazon in their Tokyo office. I always enjoyed the city. Now a blogging mom in Tokyo I do miss Seattle.

  12. Love this post so much – Seattle looks like an amazing city (and the food itself is enough to make me want to go haha). x

  13. We are lucky enough to live on Bainbridge Island! Molly’s absolutely right about Mora for ice cream, but maybe stop at Doc’s first for some fish and chips. Eat outside and enjoy a beautiful view. Best city in the world!

  14. We agree with all of these reqs! Mollie knows her stuff! If you want more cool things to do in Seattle, check out Rain or Shine Guides. We focus on everything there is to eat, see and do in Seattle (and the PNW). We write about the best Mexican restaurants, the secrets of Pike Place Market and the public art you can see in the Fremont Neighborhood. We love our city!

  15. Alexandra says...

    If you’re coming to Seattle with children and feel like your ability to travel from basecamp might be limited, you can’t go wrong staying at an Airbnb in Ballard.

    Besides everything the neighborhood itself has to offer (amazing restaurants, cute stores, an incredible farmers market on Sunday mornings, breweries galore (all of which are kid friendly), and the Ballard Locks), it’s short jaunt to other fun stuff like Golden Gardens Beach/Park, Woodland Park Zoo, and Fremont (go see the troll!).

  16. Lindsey says...

    We live in Ballard and it’s an excellent neighborhood if you are visiting with little ones.

    It’s fairly flat (Seattle has a lot of hills) and parking is a breeze compared to other areas.

    Most restaurants and cafes are kid-friendly and some even have toys and books to play with, such as Toast for coffee and Parfait for delicious local ice cream. (Yes, we love our one word hipster names over here.)

    Here are the things our 2-year old and I enjoy checking out:

    The Playground at Seattle Center – The most amazing one I’ve ever seen.

    Also at Seattle Center: The Children’s Museum, Pacific Science Center, the EMP, the Space Needle and the International Fountain, which spurts water along to music and usually hosts a bunch of kids getting wet and having fun in the summer.

    Most parks and neighborhoods also have splash/spray park areas in the summer. They usually turn on around 11:30am.

    The Woodland Park Zoo is pretty cool and recently welcomed a new baby gorilla. Our favorites are riding the carousel, going to the Willawong Station exhibit and to feed parrots as they fly around you (and possibly land on your head) or if it’s rainy, checking out the Zoomazium for indoor play and activities.

    The Ballard Locks are fun for watching big boats come and go and Golden Gardens is awesome for playing in the sand.

    • Miriam says...

      Thanks for this Lindsey. I’m coming to visit Seattle from Sydney in September for 7 weeks (staying in Ballard) with my 4 and 18 month old – these are some great tips.

  17. Restaurants/Food/Coffee:

    “Bar Del Corso” on Beacon Hill.
    “Bakery Nouveau” on Capitol Hill or in West Seattle.
    “La Catrina” in Georgetown.
    “Vivace” Coffee in Capitol Hill.

  18. bethyp says...

    The light rail now runs from Sea-Tac airport through south Seattle, downtown, up to Capitol Hill and University of Washington. A great option to get around town and see some neighborhoods in my ‘hood – South Seattle (Columbia City, Mount Baker, Beacon Hill) and also the beautiful UW campus…

  19. Jessie says...

    Seattle born and raised…no one mentioned Pioneer Square! It’s Seattle’s first neighborhood and has the smallest national historic park (Klondike) and a ton of history and restaurants like Intermezzo, Bar Sajor, London Plane, etc. etc. The streetcar runs up to the ID and over to Capitol Hill so you can explore slowly. My favorite japanese restaurant in the ID is a place known as “no name sushi” (google it)–it doesn’t have a sign and has delicious sushi and japanese food. I love walking around Capitol Hill and finding new things–bars and restaurants are always changing. You should definitely also check out the music scene. I am not a huge live music fan but I happened upon a free Macklemore concert at Neumo’s once and since we were already in the adjoining bar we got in. Super fun, you never know what will happen up on the Hill. KEXP, now down at Seattle Center, is a great place to go for music as well (and there is the world’s best playground behind the space needle). There’s also a great drag show at Julia’s on Broadway–highly recommended, a ton of fun. One fairly unknown place is the Chapel of St Ignatius at Seattle University (campus a short walk from the heart of capitol hill). Its walls are made of beeswax and it smells beautifully. Great calm in the middle of the City. Anyway, enjoy my beautiful City. And be sure to ask people for directions if you’re lost. People are nice here and they’ll help you!

  20. I’ve only lived in Seattle for a year now, but I grew up in Washington (my husband and I moved here after living in San Francisco for 13 years). We love how green and cozy the city is without the crowds and ego that have taken over SF.

    So even though it’s been a year, there are still so many places we haven’t been! Thank you for this guide, it’s incredibly wonderful to see there are many more hidden gems in this city. (PS – Sitka and Spruce is my favorite restaurant along with The London Plane!) I’m excitedly reading all of the other suggestions in the comments as well!

    I’d like to add a few of the ones my husband and I have discovered if anyone is interested =)

    – Queen Anne Beer Hall –
    Located in Lower Queen Anne for a Czech/Bavarian experience with a huge list of beers to choose from, fresh Bratwursts (or Kielbasa!), giant pretzels, and ambiance that will make you feel like you just arrived in Munich.

    – Uwajimaya/International District –
    Uwajimaya is a massive Asian foods grocery store, also with home goods and a Shiseido store, and the wonderful Japanese book store Kinokuniya attached to it. The International District also has tons of great restaurants (I suggest Green Leaf for Vietnamese), bubble tea cafes (Young Leaf Cafe is all natural ingredients), and lots of quirky bakeries. Or you could eat in the all-encompassing Asian food court in Uwajimaya.

    – Molly Moon’s Ice Cream –
    It’s no Humphrey Slocombe, but Molly Moon’s always has amazing flavors to choose from, and great seasonal ingredients. There are locations dotted throughout Seattle, and bonus points for the best designed merchandise!

    – Liten –
    Lastly, my favorite little store in Fremont (where there is the famous Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge) is Liten. Beautifully curated jewelry, accessories, and ceramics from artisan designers makes it hard to leave without buying something. The owner, Becky, is the sweetest and will do anything to help you find what you are looking for! (There are also quite a few great shops next door to Liten – Fremont has great vintage stores as well!)

    – Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe –
    One of the very best things about Seattle is how much love there is for all things nerdy. Ada’s (for Ada Lovelace, basically the first computer programmer) is exactly what it says, and it’s location is a refurbished Craftsman house with skylights and gorgeous design that shirks away from nerd-stereotyping.

    Anyways, that’s my two cents! So much to love about Seattle! <3

  21. What perfect timing – I just arrived in Seattle this morning for my first visit! +1 for the oyster recommendation, I’ll have to check it out!

  22. Ashley says...

    Oh I loved this post! Thank you Molly for hitting on so many treasures. I lived in NYC for ten plus years and was ecstatic when my born and bred NY husband agreed to move to my hometown. Luther Burbank on Mercer Island is a waterfront park with gorgeous views of the Eastside, Capitol Cider is an insanely delicious cider bar on Capitol Hill that has beautiful art from Gage art students and awesome free live music (plus a haven for celiacs as they are entirely gluten free and friendly to other allergy issues…) Seattle Art Museum downtown is fun and a great excuse to grab the best ever hot cocoa at Fran’s across the street. Free yoga in the summer at the sculpture gardens! and check out Town Hall at night for fascinating talks on current events, pop culture etc.

  23. Kay says...

    Check out our downtown library too, it’s pretty stunning.
    Definitely second the suggestions to venture into the Southern and Western part of our city. Alki Beach and West Seattle all together are beachy, laid back fun with the best views in the city. Bainbridge is a definite fun ferry ride but if you have a car, take the ferry from West Seattle to Vashon Island, it’s like an accessible day trip to a San Juan Island.
    I live in Georgetown so second it’s gritty, urban charm, Plus, beer!
    Columbia City is also fun, great bakery, stores, movie theater and add in a walk or bike around Seward Park.
    In fact, the one thing I would disagree with in this list is Discovery Park – (for me usually boggy, buggy and the trails are kinda confusing) Not bad but I prefer Alki, Golden Gardens, Seward Park and Lincoln Park as ideal NW parks.
    And beer: try the Ballard ones for sure (I love Populuxe, esp with kids) but don’t forget Chucks in the CD and Greenlake for 50 taps, get a Georgetown beer somewhere if not a growler at their brewery, Schooner Exact for great food and very fresh beer and so many more…
    This made me like my city just that much more…

  24. sarah c says...

    don’t miss west seattle! alki beach has a serious so-cal laid back beach town vibe that seems charmingly incongruous to the rest of the city and the views of downtown cannot be beat. on a good day, when you kayak/swim/standup paddle board out far enough, you can see Mt Rainier and the Space Needle all at once.

  25. jones says...

    We went last summer and loved it. I second visiting Bainbridge Island. The ferry ride was fun and there were cute shops, restaurants and an art museum that was interesting. My two other favorite things we did were visit the locks and dam in Ballard and the Chihully Gardens. I wanted to visit the Chihully spot, but was still amazed at how awesome it was. My husband wanted to visit the locks and dam, but I ended up enjoying it so much more than I thought I would and it is beautifully landscaped.

  26. Oh my goodness I am dying to go to Seattle. I haven’t sold my husband on it because of the weather. Is it really that bad? The rain and all? I feel like there are so many ways to experience it that the rain can’t ruin it. Anyways, maybe this post will encourage him ;)


    • Lauren says...

      If you visit anytime after the 4th of July, up until mid to late September, there is a VERY good chance that the weather will be absolutely perfect. May and June can be grey and gloomy but as soon as July 4th hits the weather always turns and our beautiful summer weather shows up :-) I’ve lived here for 4 years and the weather has always changed after the 4th and then there is little to no rain till the fall.

    • Cynthia says...

      Ditto. I’ve lived here for 25 years and THE TIME TO COME is July/August/Sept! If you come in October, April, or May you’ll have plenty of fun with fewer tourists. If you come Nov-March, bring a rain jacket with a hood…hardly anyone here needs an umbrella b/c we’re more prone to drizzle vs. soakers.

    • Bob Knudson says...

      We native Seattleites have always loved the myth that it rains here all the time, because that keeps some people from moving here, at least theoretically. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be working anymore as people are coming to Seattle in droves! It’s a lot more crowded now, but still a wonderful city to live in, or visit.

  27. I’ve lived in Seattle since high school and would add the following:
    Duck Dodge sailboat race every Tuesday night (7pm) in summer (except 7/12) makes for great spectator sport. Take a picnic to Gasworks Park and watch the boats glide by as the sun goes down and the city lights come up.
    The Asian Art Museum is a small but glorious collection in a historic building at Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill, a beautiful, stately respite from the cool-kids bustle on Broadway, nearby.
    Center for Wooden Boats at South Lake Union Park offers canoe and small sailboat rentals, free public sails on the weekends, and a chance to observe the restoration of classic vessels. They also host the Sesttle Wooden Boat Festival over 4th of July weekend. So fun!

  28. seattle just seems so dreamy. that’s the first word that comes to mind when i see these photos

  29. Cindy says...

    Oooh, we are coming to Seattle from the UK for a holiday in mid-July and we will have a hire car, so we’ve opted to stay in the university district. After reading this it sounds like we could be better off in Ballard or Fremont? Just worried about parking #middleaged

    Anyhow, super-excited to explore – it looks like such a cool place, we may not even make it to Portland (except that’s been top of my list forever).

    PS I’d quite like to print all this info out and can’t work out how to. As I said #middleaged – all suggestions gratefully received!

    • Cynthia says...

      Yeah, I would get out of your U district rental and get one in Ballard. The U district is a bit seedy with surprisingly poor food options considering the wealth of food options in the city at large. Portland is only three hours away and definitely worth a day or two. Just the coffee and food trucks alone could keep you entertained. Instead of printing, couldn’t you just refer to all this on your phone? (Get a phone that works here b/c you will need it for navigation and to help find parking. With all the water, it can get complicated.)

    • I moved here last year with my husband, and I can definitely say the University District is not the best area to stay in, and it’s quite isolated from the other neighborhoods. Personally, I’m not a fan at all of Ballard, but Fremont, Wallingford, Queen Anne, and even Belltown if you want to be close to the Space Needle, Pioneer Square and Pike Place, are all much better choices. Capitol Hill is terrible for parking so I wouldn’t suggest there if you have a car.

    • Cindy says...

      Thanks, Cynthia and Tanith, I’m going to find somewhere in a more ‘happening’ area (gettin’ into the lingo, can you tell?) and cancel the hotel in the university district (recommended by a tourist centre – ‘spose they want to fill all those rooms). And yes, I will have my trusty phone, I can always check out all the great recommendations on that rather than having a clipboard and bits of paper (and hubby won’t be able to tell me off for staring at it, I can say I’m doing ‘research’).
      So excited now!

    • Alexandra says...

      I agree with the other comments that you should get out of your U District rental in favor of Ballard, Fremont, or even a simply a hotel downtown.

      Regarding the car though, were you planning on driving around to explore the city, or is it just in anticipation of your trip to Portland? Parking is terrible everywhere in Seattle, though some neighborhoods are worse than others (parking in Capitol Hill is basically impossible). If I were you I would skip the car altogether and take a cab, Uber, or public transit (bus or light rail) around the city. If you decide to go to Portland, you could take the Amtrak train from Seattle.

    • Shawna says...

      Oh no, PLEASE come stay in Ballard! It’s a delight. try to stay as close to the water as possible. Ballard Ave is where the cuteness is at its epitome. Fremont is great as well, but keep in mind that things get very residential just a block away from the main drag in any neighborhood! I’d recommend Belltown too but only if you had access to a guaranteed parking spot.

    • Cindy says...

      Have booked air b&b in Ballard, now, and for a few days in Portland. I’m really looking forward to it – thanks for all your help!

  30. TC says...

    I grew up in Washington and currently live in a lesser-known city a little south of Seattle. Aside from the parts of the city that feel like an Amazon campus, I still like to visit there. Seattle has a great music history, so I’d say see a show at The Tractor Tavern or The Crocodile, and I’d even recommend the EMP (Experience Music Project).

  31. Funny, I just moved back to NYC after a year and a half in Seattle (in Ballard) but this makes me miss Seattle’s beauty. I’d add: Get an aperitif at Barnacle while you’re waiting for a table at the Walrus & the Carpenter. Check out the Sunday Ballard farmer’s market. Walk around Ballard and Capitol Hill on Pike & Pine for gift shopping. Take a day trip to Woodinville and check out the wineries – especially Chateau St. Michelle. And pricey but worth it, book a cooking class (way in advanced) at The Pantry which is in the same building as the Delancey.

  32. Katy says...

    This guide was missing a few things, but then again, there are too many wonderful places in Seattle to include in one post. I just moved to NYC from Seattle, and always always tell people to make a pit stop at Molly Moon’s for ice cream (they have an Early Grey tea flavor!). Even better—go to Capitol Hill and have their ice cream squished between two delicious cookies at Hello Robin.

    Touristy but great things: Theo Chocolate factory tour, views of the city from Kerry Park and Alki Beach, Pike Place Market, Ferry ride anywhere. Grab some Korean-Hawaiian inspired tacos or sliders from Mai Kai Marination with one of the best views of Downtown Seattle. Ballard for some of the best restaurants and bars Seattle has to offer. Take an awesome day trip from Seattle to the San Juan Islands OR Mount Rainier National Park. Seattle is amazing!

  33. hmm9 says...

    Jo, you beauty. Thanks for posting this. Heading to Seattle in September and was starting to get some tips together!

  34. Christie says...

    You forgot sailing/kayaking on Lake Union! In the summer you can take a free boat ride around the lake, operated by volunteers who bring their own boats and have amazing stories about the history of Seattle. :)

    We just moved away after being in Seattle for 4 years, and I miss it nearly every day. Gorgeous city.

  35. Laurel says...

    Born and raised Washington gal! I moved to Australia from Seattle 2 years ago and I miss these things the most:

    Ravenna Park
    Top Pot Donuts
    Franks Oyster House (their bar is amazing)
    Biking on the Burke Gilman trail
    Zoka coffee

    To anyone soon visiting my beloved home city, give it a big kiss for me!

    • One of the things I really missed when I left Seattle for five years was the downtown Nordstrom! I was expecting to miss many things about this beautiful city while I was away, but that one was a surprise….

  36. My husband and I moved away from the Seattle area about six months ago and your post brought tears to my eyes. Oh I miss the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. It sneaks up on you and before you know it…it’s home.

  37. H says...

    I’ve lived in Seattle my entire life, and could not imagine moving EVER. There are so many great bars and restaurants! 419 is a great little bar in the Ballard area with pool, shuffleboard, and an arcade next door! I love Ernest Loves Agnes for brunch, sort of a calm, rustic, Hemingway-inspired place in Capitol Hill. It definitely is a city of neighborhoods, friends from out of town often are confused by the fact that neighborhoods like Ballard and Fremont aren’t their own little towns. It’s got a great assortment of nice but affordable restaurants and things to do. Worth a trip (or a lifetime!)

  38. N says...

    This is a pretty good guide. I would add a few things: definitely explore Georgetown for good restaurants (the cordon building, la fondina catrina and Sisters and brothers) and cool stores including an indie comic book store. Fremont is also a great neighborhood to check out, and if you are here on the weekend is summer solstice – don’t miss the Fremont Solstice parade. Columbia city is another amazing neighborhood, it is supposed to be the most diverse zip code in the U.S.A – we are proud of things like these in Seattle ?
    Frye art museum, Henry Art gallery and the Olympic sculpture park have really wonderful art and sculpture.
    Don’t miss the craft cocktails at the Zig Zag cafe in downtown or at Liberty in Capitol Hill.
    Twice baked croissants at Bakery Nouveau are out of this world, they have 2 locations: Capitol Hill and West Seattle.
    I could go on and on, I hope this post inspires you to visit Seattle ?

    • N says...

      *Corson building

  39. So timely! We just moved to Seattle after living in Harlem for the last fifteen years!

  40. HPunome says...

    I live in Seattle and completely agree with this article. I’d like to add that you should travel to Alki Beach in West Seattle and eat at Marination. There’s a great pizza place there too- the name escapes me. Find any way to get on the water (paddleboarding in Portage Bay is highly recommended). Find any way to take in a perspective of Seattle from across the water. I like to drive 520 over to Bellevue and have happy hour at Daniel’s Broiler (live pianist Tues-Sat evenings) so you can enjoy the views with a smaller dinner bill. Also, try to go to the Golf Club at Newcastle on a clear day for brunch. The bloody Mary is huge and awesome and the view of Seattle is phenomenal. Don’t bother golfing 18 holes, but if you like mini golf, try a round there-it’s a beautiful course. Finally, hike! We’re surrounded by mountains. Rattlesnake Ridge, tiger mountain, poo poo point, mt si and many many more are all under one hour from the city.

  41. Elise says...

    My husband is from Seattle, and I don’t think he’ll ever be fully happy until he finds his way back (I’m only half joking). We live in Washington, DC now, where I was raised, but after seven years of annual visits to Seattle, I’ve fallen totally in love the Emerald City too. As a die-hard east-coast dweller and lover, Seattle is the only place out west I’d consider living. Loved this post!

  42. Angela says...

    My husband and I honeymooned on Orcas Island about an hour north of Seattle. A great place to visit or stay, if you’re up for heading out of Seattle a bit.

    • The San Juans are AMAZING! We spent a few days on Lopez Island and it was one of the most magical places we have ever been.

  43. Erin says...

    Totally agree with this guide, plus Delancey (and their new pizza place Dino’s on Capitol Hill) is so delicious! There are so many good things to see in Seattle it’s hard to narrow it down!

    I would just add Georgetown, Pioneer Square, and West Seattle to the list – Alki Beach (take a water taxi from Downtown) is so cool, and almost looks like a California Boardwalk. Georgetown still has some of the Seattle laid back grittiness, with of course some hipster restaurants/bars. Go to Jules Maes if you like dives, Fonda la Catrina for good Mexican Food and a fun atmosphere. If you are here on a Saturday, the Trailer Park Mall is super cute too. Pioneer Square is fun to walk around before or after a Mariners Game but it can be kind of sketchy later at night (past midnight). I recommend checking it out earlier in the day then going up to Capitol Hill for the rest of the night if you want to go around to a few bars. In my opinion downtown is not worth your time except for Pike Place and Nordstrom (if you don’t have one in your city). Seattle is all about the neighborhoods.

    As so many others have mentioned, try to go to see live music while you are here! Tractor Tavern in Ballard, Neumos on Capitol Hill, or The Crocodile in Belltown are all great spots.

    Last thing I’ll say – if it is nice out, you have to go to Urban Surf in Fremont/Wallingford and rent some paddleboards to go out on Lake Union. It is so fun, and the best way to see the city from a different perspective. Plus you can spy on all the amazing floating houses :) if it looks like it’s going to be hot (75 plus haha), make your reservations in advance, they book up quickly on nice days.

  44. Bri says...

    Great post! Please consider doing a city guide on Montreal. I’m visiting the city for the first time next month and would love to get some insider knowledge!

    • Brittany says...

      I just visited Montreal and have a few recommendations. Montreal is also a city of neighborhoods. Definitely get poutine. The Mont Royal neighborhood has a great macaroon place. Chez Cora is a great breakfast place. Also, check out the Notre Dame basilica and the fine arts museum.

  45. I’ve lived in Seattle for almost 11 years and this is spot on. Delancy is one of my very favorite places and while you’re waiting for a table get a truly delicious cocktail at the attached cocktail bar, Essex. I second staying in Ballard or Capitol Hill instead of downtown. Seattle is so much more and so much better than just downtown. While you’re visiting go to Zoka and drink their coffee. Eat Ellenos Greek Yogurt in Pike Place Market (seriously, it’s life changing). Drink a cocktail at Westward overlooking downtown Seattle on Lake Union. Go to Gasworks park and enjoy the view of downtown from there too/post a pic on Social media :). Eat lunch at the Latona pub then walk around Greenlake. Go to Agua Verde and rent a sea kayak and also get some Mexican food. Seattle is the best!

  46. Rebecca M. says...

    Born and raised in Washington. Seattle is magical! I always feel as if Seattle has a split personality – one for the Fall and Winter, when everything is about being bundled up with hot coffee, and the other for the Spring and Summer, when everything is about being outside and soaking up the sun and water. Don’t forget about our coffee roasters and craft breweries. Also a walk around Green Lake should be a required activity.

  47. Cynthia says...

    I have family in the Seattle area, and I and my family visited there over 40 years ago. So beautiful! It looked like if we walked down the road, we would be at Mt. Rainier. My dad’s brother took us to Ivar’s on the pier, and I still remember the fantastic fried clams! Sadly, my dad and all of his siblings except for one sister have passed away. I have some cousins in the area. I would love to go back.

  48. Julie Keegans says...

    I’m from Seattle too! The list of amazing things to do is endless! Greenlake, Lake Union, Golden Gardens Beach, Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, Queen Anne, a short jaunt to the San Juan Islands!! Endless! You will never get bored!

  49. So fun to see Seattle featured! I love that Dance Church is mention at the end. xxoo

  50. Kim says...

    My sister moved to Seattle for grad school and has been there since, which is awesome, because I love visiting her there. She lives in Woodinville, about 30 minutes from Seattle. It has wine tasting and breweries. Chateau Ste. Michelle is there and you can picnic on their lawn during their free concerts in the summers. We visit Redhook Brewery every time we are there. There is a great bike trail that goes along the Sammamish River and leads right to Redhook! The other thing we love to do is get on the ferry at Mulkiteo for a quick ride to Whidbey Island. The clam chowder on the ferry is THE BEST, but you have to eat fast because the ride is pretty short. Just drive your car onto the ferry and then off on the Island. This blows. kids’. minds. There are lots of great beaches to explore and the little town there has awesome shopping and restaurants.

  51. Celeste says...

    This is perfect! I was hoping you would do Seattle next because I’m going in two weeks. I can’t wait to head to the shops she mentioned and try out Dance Church. Also, all the food. :)

  52. chubbylittlefatcat says...

    I live on Bainbridge Island. It’s paradise on earth. (Don’t tell anyone I told you that.)

  53. Christine says...

    Another Seattle gal here. There are not enough meals in a week to try out all the great places to eat! And yes, Totokaelo is the best store.

  54. Ali Kitchener says...

    I’m sad to say that we moved back to the UK from Seattle almost a year ago and I miss it! We were West Seattleites, another great little community. I miss the landscape, my friends, the easy going-anything-goes attitude and the coffee!!!

  55. Emily says...

    My home! The cinnamon rolls at High Spot Cafe along with the cute shops around it in Madrona is an awesome local gem as well.

  56. bisbee says...

    We were in Seattle for 4 days in May…I wish this guide had been published before our trip! We loved it…including our culinary tour of Pike Place Market…could have used a lot of those restaurant recommendations. But…we loved Seattle!

  57. This guide is great, it makes me want to go back to Seattle asap :D

  58. I’m so glad you posted this! I’m going to Seattle in September and could definitely use this post to help me plan :)

  59. Lisa says...

    Yay a profile of my city! And I work with Dan Cole, one of the photographers credited! I would also add in that a day at Alki Beach in the summer should not be missed, as well as shopping at University Village (an outdoor mall next to the University of Washington), glassybaby in Madrona, and up-and-coming South Lake Union neighborhood which will soon feature Amazon’s biosphere! I’m a native Seattleite, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else, everything is at reach here! And P.S., it doesn’t rain as much here as everyone says ;)

    • Arika says...

      I thought for sure I’d see Alki Beach on here, too! Glad you mentioned it!

  60. Kayla says...

    As a native Washingtonian I love Seattle but almost don’t want to share it. We live in a floating house so definitely enjoy the Seattle lifestyle. Ballard, Fremont, Capital Hill are great neighborhoods but the International District, Georgetown, Madison Park and Wallingford are definitely worth a visit.

    Seattle has great music and for a fun evening check out The Tractor in Ballard. Jazz Alley brings in some phenomenal musicians and the Crocodile is great venue to catch a show at as well, or head to the Showbox.

    We have some excellent breweries here and you can walk around Ballard and do your own brewery tour and even find a few wineries close by. Fremont Brewing is a fun place to grab a beer and sit outside. You can even bring your own snacks and dogs are welcome. On a sunny day it is fun to go to Elliott Bay and have a drink at Maggie’s overlooking the marina and sound.

    We have a ton of fabulous restaurants here. Some of my favorites are Americana, Bings or Hudson for brunch, Babirusa for craft cocktails and an ever changing menu of delicious shareable snacks. Their sister restaurant, Blind Pig, is excellent as well. Don’t be thrown off by the location – next to a Subway and mini mart. For an evening hangout check out Witness, Republic or Radiator Whiskey. Great sandwich spots are HoneyHole & Paseo.

    Renting kayaks, paddleboards or an electric boat on Lake Union is a great way to see the Seattle from the water and you may be amazed at the wildlife you can see.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so happy for all these recs!! thank you, everyone!

    • Katy says...


  61. Catcrow says...

    You can’t forget Molly’s Moons Ice Cream- the salted caramel with hot fudge is my forever favorite- or Oddfellows Cafe, which is conveniently located next to Elliot Bay Books and Totokaelo :)

    • Chelsea says...

      Honey-lavender ice cream ftw!

  62. Gem says...

    I live in Seattle and highly approve of this guide! :)

  63. Linda says...

    I love visiting Seattle. Some of our favorites are Portage Bay Cafe and Capitol Cider in the city, and Blackbird Bakery on Bainbridge Island. They’ve got a lot of really yummy GF options that a couple people in my family really love.

  64. laetitia says...

    We live in Seattle, and we LOVE it, especially now that the sun is out, it truly is such a beautiful place!
    This is a great guide, but I have a few more places to recommend (especially with kids):
    – Take the water taxi downtown and visit Alki Beach, amazing people watching, great beach for the kids, surrey rides, Ice cream, etc. For food, I recommend Marination (right at the water taxi landing) or Blue moon burgers on Alki
    – In Ballard, the Ballard locks park with the salmon ladder is a great stop, and not too far is Rays Boathouse, one of my favorite waterfront place to eat (go upstairs in the cafe)
    -Another Favorite is Aqua Verde, great Mexican food on Lake Union, and you can rent kayaks to go around the lake and check out those cute houseboats!
    And a few other places to check out with kids, outside of the city: Remlinger farms (fun park + berry picking), the Snoqualmie falls, Fox Hollow Farms

  65. I live in Seattle, grew up there (and on Bainbridge Island), and have a few things to add. :)

    Touristy stuff:
    The Underground Seattle tour is surprisingly interesting and cool.
    The Space Needle is cooler than people say, and the food is better than people say too. It’s not amazing, and mildly pricey, but it’s FUN and the restaurant rotates and you should bring post-its and a pen to write notes to other patrons (mostly eight-year-olds with birthdays, but whatever).
    The Fremont Troll is meh, but Fremont itself is fun so you might as well drive past it if you’re going there anyway. Fremont is good for fun shops and medium for food/drinks; Ballard really is where a lot is happening though. (Full disclosure, I live there, but Molly ain’t wrong.)

    Food stuff:
    The fanciest restaurants do still book up way ahead of time. Canlis, Altura, etc. require many days of preparation. Get something on the books when you make your trip plans.
    You can book food tours of Pike Place Market! It’s a touristy pain in the ass, but it’s worth it if you book a culinary tour. A lot of great authentic food happens in and around the market, not just pictures of the guys throwing fish. (Which, by the way, are really pretty impressive to watch.)
    My favorite restaurant is Frank’s Oyster House and Champagne Parlor. Less fancy than it sounds, and the tastiest brunch!

    I’m sure there’s more but for now I have to get back to work. Happy visiting!

    • Oh yeah, and the Starbucks Roastery seems lame but is actually kind of a cool tourist destination with much better coffee than most Starbuckses.

  66. Ana says...

    Ate you doing California?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! the west side of LA is coming up soon!

  67. Joanna R says...

    Wow, I second all of these comments.
    We moved to Ballard in December. While I hate the winters here so much more than the East Coast(gloom + doom…every day!), it is a truly magical place. I’ve seen grey whales, deer, marmots, flowers everywhere all-the-time, the cutest houses I’ve ever seen, the best salmon you’ve ever had, etc, etc.
    If anyone has children around 2 years of age that lives in the area…let’s be friends!

    • Kimberly says...

      I just moved back to Seattle after being away for two years. I am so happy! It’s a lovely place to be. The winters are only bad if you can’t take overcast grey skies for long. They don’t bother me, and I’d much rather have that than anything anywhere else.
      I was child free and younger then, and now I’ve got two kids under two! Who knows of fun things for kids, great childcare options etc? I’m on the east side currently, but might move to west Seattle or far out into the woods…

    • Sargjo says...

      I do think that is not the skies that require adjustment but the winter darkness-the days are SHORT up here in the North and we are much further north than people think. I did have to do light therapy and go on an SSRI this winter, so there’s that :). But maybe I’ll adjust someday. As another friend said, even with the rain and the clouds there is never a day in Seattle when you can’t be doing something outside, which helps

    • Megan says...

      I hear ya on the winter gloom. It’s not the rain that’s the problem; it’s the darkness in the winter. But Seattle is a beautiful place! And I’m really excited that it’s summer now. I’d add Golden Gardens (beach/park out in Ballard) to the list. And Bluebird for ice cream and beer (in Phinney and Capitol Hill).
      And Joanna R, we moved up here from the Bay Area last fall (though I’m originally from the East Coast) and we also live in Ballard and have an almost 2 year old. Maybe we’ll see you around. :)

  68. Her description of Seattle is great but it is missing one main attraction: COFFEE. Seattle has some of the best coffee spots I have ever been too, and is known for its coffee culture. I suggest Slate Coffee Bar where you can get a deconstructed latte (they serve a shot of espresso, a glass of milk, and a latte, to help you experience each part of the drink!).

  69. Sargjo says...

    We moved to Seattle three years ago and I run an AirBnB out of our downstairs apt in the beautific Green Lake neighborhood. I have the same feeling Molly does of this just being my soul’s place-the place I was meant to live. I don’t believe in soul mates for people but maybe for cities? One of my favorite adventures is to explore the International District: I eat roast pork in the Uwajimaya food court, go to Kinokuniya bookstore for teensy notepads, Daiso (Japanese dollar store) for adorable kitchen goods and then stroll around for noodles and buns. The Wing Luke Museum is also amazing and includes a Bruce Lee exhibit!

    • Molly Sarah says...

      I have never been to that museum and now I can´t wait to go and take my six year old. Thanks for the tip!

    • this is my favourite comment on this post so far. thanks for the tips!

  70. Her description of Seattle is exactly how I felt and still feel moving to the Pacific Northwest. This place is magical! I can’t wait to visit some of the suggested places in Seattle!

  71. Suzanna says...

    We live in Fremont and this is such a perfect guide! Delancey is delicious!!

  72. Ainsley says...

    If you’re exploring Ballard (which you should!) check out the dozen-ish microbreweries in the area! Stoup is my absolute favorite – great vibe, delicious beer, and perfect on a sunny day – but you can’t go wrong!

  73. Ballard is fun. I want to try Molly and her husband’s new restaurant next time I am there.
    Fremont is also a fun place and Fremont coffee is a place to get a cup and hang out. It’s a coffee shop inside a house complete with a front porch and rocking chairs!
    I would also recommend the outdoor sculpture park, I think it’s downtown, can’t remember what it’s called…there is some great public work there by contemporary artists like Louise Bourgeois, Mark Dion, and more.

  74. Golden Gardens is the most perfect place to have a beach fire and watch the sun set. Bring along drinks and s’mores and you’re all set!
    I’ve never been a huge fan of Seattle. Growing up, we went all the time to see cousins. Too much traffic!!! But, it’s magical during the summer. And it’s the gateway to the San Juans, which are pure heaven!

  75. Auste says...

    Not only do I have a slight girl-crush on Molly (and am secretly hoping our daughters will be bffs), the timing of this couldn’t be better. We’re moving to Seattle in two weeks! This just got me a teensy bit more excited – which helps since I’m currently feeling a little overwhelmed. (read: drowning in a sea of bubble wrap, packing tape and boxes). Thanks! See you soon, Seattle!

    • Melissa says...

      I’m thinking about moving to Seattle soon! Hope we can be friends!

    • You’re moving during the perfect time of the year! You will love it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      exciting, auste! sending you good vibes during the move!!! xoxoxo

  76. Sarah says...

    Don’t forget to set your radio dial to KEXP 90.3 FM when in Seattle, the best radio station in the country! xo

    • Jane says...

      Nay, the world!

    • Sarah says...

      The WORLD!

    • TC says...

      Best recommendation on here.

  77. Cooper says...

    If you have a longer stay planned, I had a wonderful time on San Juan Island, just a few ferry-rides away from Seattle. YOU CAN KAYAK WITH ORCA WHALES!!! (if you’re lucky) or see orcas from the shore. Friday Harbor (on San Juan Island) has a very charming small-town feel and was a great spot for a week-long trip with college friends.

  78. Mel says...

    Thank you so much for this Seattle guide, Cup of Jo team!! What fortuitous timing too – my mom and I are going to Seattle next week for our first mother-daughter trip in … ten years! We know nothing about Seattle and have nothing been to the Pacific Northwest, but we have been curious about the Emerald City for many years. I’m going to print out this guide for our trip. Thanks again!

    • I always recommend the Theo Chocolate tour in Fremont, if you can get reservations. It’s a great local product, the tour is fascinating (and reasonably priced), and you get to eat chocolate STEADILY throughout the experience.

    • meli says...

      YES for mom+daughter trips! mi mom and I are planning Seattle next. We went to San Antonio during easter last year for our first trip w/each other since the 90s. and it was super cool. SUPER cool.
      hope you post your experience somewhere, i’d love to read about it :)

  79. We visited last fall – this article makes me want to go back!

    A fun part of the food scene was PIE. There was pie everywhere, it seemed. We literally stumbled on this little place where they serve pie directly out a drive-through style window to you standing there on the sidewalk.

  80. Yes, Molly! Love listening to her on Spilled Milk.

  81. Seattle is on the list for a future vacation – so such a great guide! Thank you!

  82. Claire says...

    How did Ballard farmers market on Sunday not make this post? Also breakfast at the Fat Hen in Ballard!

  83. Shannon says...

    I was lucky enough to grow up on the Eastside of Seattle. Summers were spent picking blackberries and huckleberries in my backyard, and waterskiing on Lake Washington. I didn’t realize how wonderful a place it was until I left for college. The SAM Sculpture Garden is one of my favorite places, as well as the classic Pike’s Place Market. It’s not too far from Portland, OR or Vancouver, BC. If you have a chance, take a day trip north to Deception Pass and the various beaches along Puget Sound. There are many great hiking spots along the I-90 corridor as well. I could go on and on. Love Seattle!

  84. Sa says...

    I’m a born and raised Seattle-lite, but currently in the process of moving across the world. I agree with all that has been said about the amazing food, music, and magical summers. To me though, it has lost its wild and laid back spirit and so I’m off to recapture that feeling.

    I will always sing its praises of a must visit US city!

    • Sarah says...

      Same here. Seattle is forever special and I’m a proud native PNW’er, but the Amazon takeover and tech boom is a drag. Seattle is feeling more and more like SF with every passing day. The techbropocolypse is real.

    • Laurie says...

      Ah, techbrofiasco! I’m a lifelong Seattle resident and it’s no joke. This guide leaves out the whole southern half of the city, where in my opinion, much of what makes Seattle unique is still flourishing. Pacific Rim foods, tons of diversity, rambunctious community gardens, jaw-dropping parks, LGBTQ-friendly spaces, scrappy breweries, and a down to earth attitude. North end has a sea of techworkers and Lululemon pants waiting for oysters, but get farther afield (hint: ride the light rail) and there are some surprises left in Seattle. A little soul is still here? I hope?

    • Sarah says...

      LOVE Laurie’s comment below. Capitol Hill and anything south of there. There are touches of history and culture left in Seattle!

    • Carrie Snow says...

      Love the south end too. Seward Park is fantastic; all the neighborhoods near Lake Washington. Such a lovely, diverse, soulful vibe on the sound side of the city. We live in Magnolia, which we love for its quiet and hills and views and small community feel. But if we were to move, it’d be to the south side.

    • Rose says...

      I noticed this too as a resident of the south end of Seattle. We live in one of the only areas of Seattle with diversity and I would have liked to have seen recommendations for the wonderful places in our area of of the city. Here are a few recommendations:

      Columbia City Bakery-some of the best pastries and breads in Seattle
      Retroactive Kids-
      Adorable toy store
      Seward Park-
      Take a walk around the loop on Lake Washington with a view of Mt Rainier on a clear day. Also has a really nice playground.
      Jefferson Park-
      Great playground, splash pad and a driving range
      Spinnaker Bay, Machine House, Flying Lion
      Fonda La Cantrina, Super Six, Raconteur, Salted Sea, Tutta Bella

  85. Robyn says...

    I LOVE that both my neighborhood beaches got a shout-out in this guide! Madrona/Leschi represent! If visiting in the summer with kids, I’d add a trip to the Volunteer Park wading pool (magical) for an evening picnic amongst local families. South Lake Union Park has a long splash pad, a boat pond, the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), and the amazing Ice Cream Cruise. Parking around SLU is tough. I always park at the Whole Foods at Westlake, go in buy some picnic supplies, get my parking validated (2 hours free), then hop on the street car south to SLU. The Ice Cream Cruise operates Fri-Sun during the summer and is well worth the $. If you time it right, you might just have the boat to yourself during your 1 hour tour of South Lake Union where you can view houseboat living up close and pass sea life, families in kayaks, SUPs, etc. So proud to call Seattle home and so happy I’m raising little Seattleites!

  86. Lizzie says...

    Born-and-raised Seattleite here, and ditto to everything. Two additions. For a casual taste of local music, try the Triple Door Musicquarium downtown; they have no-cover shows pretty much every night of the week, and serve delicious Asian fusion food from Wild Ginger next door. (The space also sports a massive aquarium…hence the name.) If you want to try stand-up paddleboarding without risking a splashdown, you can’t do better than one of Seattle’s lakes–Greenlake (adorable neighborhood and froyo nearby), Lake Union (in Amazon’s trendy neighborhood) or Lake Washington (the big one with all the boats, and hence all the wakes…but there are quiet areas). Good food on the waterfront is the essential Seattle experience in my opinion, and there’s no shortage of places to get it.

  87. Natalie Brennan says...

    These photos alone make me want to visit again! I went to Seattle about 7 years ago to visit an old friend who was in grad school there and we had a fantastic time. The food and beer is what I remember best ;-)

  88. Marissa says...

    Love this guide! I’ve been to Seattle twice now and am still in love. Great food, great sights, great people–even the “tourist traps” like Pike Place Market and the Needle are still enthralling for me!

    I love Seattle for the Asian food that I can’t get in my hometown in the Midwest. Stateside has amazing Vietnamese food and a large range of cocktails. And La Bu La in Belleville is authentic Sichuan food that I really haven’t been able to find anywhere else. I like to top it off with a stop in Tea Republik in Capitol Hill for a cup of delicious tea and a great tearoom experience. Love Seattle–thanks for the guide!

  89. Ah thank you! We are visiting Seattle in September (staying in Fremont) and this is excellent. Any more suggestions for Ballard & Fremont welcome :)

    • If you like beer… the one thing missing from this list is all of our amazing craft breweries! My favorites are Stoup in Ballard and Fremont Brewing Co in Fremont.

    • Caitlin says...

      I live in Fremont so have plenty of recommendations! As Molly mentioned, Vif is great neighborhood spot that always has something yummy on the menu. Other local favorites include: Revel, Joule, The Whale Wins, Tilth in Wallingford, and at least a cocktail outside at Westward overlooking Lake Union (mid-afternoon or dusk when they light the firepit is best).
      Gasworks Park is a perfect spot for a stroll or picnic and offers a lovely view of downtown. And, the Sunday Market in Ballard is really fun too and gives a good feel for the neighborhood… plenty of cute and quirky shops to poke around in.

    • I recommend The Sixgill and Paseo’s in Fremont – expect a long line at the latter for their famous Cuban sandwiches. Pecado Bueno and Uneeda Burger also serve up tasty fare on the north end of Fremont Ave. Plus, check out Fremont Abbey for concerts and talks. Nearby in Wallingford – Manolin on Stone Way, Molly Moon’s (ice cream) on 45th, and Trophy Cupcakes in Wallingford Center.

    • Erin says...

      I lived in Fremont (Just moved to Magnolia right by Discovery Park, which i totally agree with Molly – check the park out if you have time, it’s amazing).

      Anyway, go check out Add-a-Ball in Fremont if you are in the mood for some old school games and cheap beer. If you are here on a Sunday make sure to go to the Ballard Farmers Market and bop around Ballard for the day. Kings Hardware is one of my favorites for a pitcher and a burger, but there are so many fun places. Hattie’s Hat is great too. If the weather is nice and you are in the mood for a walk, pick up a growler at one of the millions of breweries (Reuben’s is the best) and walk to Golden Gardens or the Locks. I realize this post is beer heavy, but to me Sundays in Ballard = beer, so if you like dive bars go to the Sloop Tavern on your way to/from the Locks and get a “Sloopersized” beer – there you might actually find some of the old school fishermen Ballard residents :)

  90. Jamie says...

    I love this guide! It makes me want to book a trip to Seattle ASAP.

  91. Jocelyn says...

    I, too, came to Seattle for grad school + can’t imagine living anywhere else… mostly because of the food! Delancey is by far the best pizza (their salad + raw cookie dough is also amazing!)… the coffee shop next door (Honore) makes great lattes and croissants and the Fat Hen across the street is my favorite brunch spot. I also love Manolin (Fremont), Hot Cakes (Ballard) and not food related, the wooden boat center in South Lake Union!

  92. I was in Seattle last summer and was completely taken by the city! It reminds me a lot of San Fran, which is on of my favorite cities in the country. A very laid back, cool vibe. I wish i had this review before! One thing I will add is to stop by the AMAZING macaroni shop across from Pike’s Place market, it is incredible and not to miss!! Also the Purple Door wine bar was great! We ever brought our 10 month old in and they pulled up a high chair like no big deal, as we drank and ate!


  93. Betsy says...

    We stayed on a boat house last summer on Lake Union with two kids. Lots of Blackberry picking, people watching, and jumping in the lake.

  94. Lauren E. says...

    I met a bunch of friends in college who are from Seattle and they sang its praises to an extent I thought they must be joking. And then I visited. It truly is a magical place.

    I’d add to this list, the phenomenal music scene in Seattle is worth diving into even if it’s just a visit to the Experience Music Project Museum. Or better yet go see a local show somewhere like the Showbox.

    • Margi says...

      YES. Case in point: I took my two young kids kids to a FREE Charles Bradley (!) performance at KEXP studios in the middle of the day. I had to pinch myself… it was just too good to be true.