Looking for things to do in Seattle? Where to eat, where to stay & where to play? I’m hoping our homegrown PNW insight will help you plan your explorations.
This three-day trip was to be our farewell to Seattle. We’ve been parked back here in the PNW for a few years and it is time for us to move on but not before we say farewell to our city! Seattle. The city we love! We are going to miss it. We sure couldn’t leave without a proper send off!
So, are you curious?! If this is a local’s farewell to Seattle and the PNW, what are the things we just have to do before we go!?
Seattle, Getting There & Getting Around
Our favorite way to visit Seattle has always been by ferry. Avoid the traffic at all costs. Driving in Seattle
sucks is really not our favorite thing to do, and I doubt it will be yours either. If you are coming from the Olympic Peninsula, (maybe after some time exploring Olympic National Park) the Seattle-Bremerton ferry will let you off right at the Seattle waterfront, perfect for walking to just about anything in the downtown area and is very affordable. This is the way we’ve been doing it since we were kids making school field trips to the Seattle Aquarium (definitely worth the visit, especially if you have little ones with you).
But this time, we want to do it a little different. Seattle is a very pedestrian friendly city, but walking can keep some of the things you want to explore just out of reach. Namely, Delancey (more on this best-pizza-ever in just a bit). So this time, we have our car and we are going to live like a local for three days… we are going to Airbnb it!
We still recommend avoiding the traffic and parking nightmare if possible. Once we checked into our Airbnb we pretty much parked the car and either walked or used Uber to get around. If you are new to Uber you can sign up through this link to get your first ride free (and we get a free Uber ride for referring you, thanks!)
WHERE TO STAY
There are plenty of options for places to stay around Seattle, but most of them are not very easy on the budget. Have you tried Airbnb?
We picked a cute little Airbnb apartment in the Ballard / Freemont neighborhood for this Seattle farewell. It was perfect! And well-priced at only $80 per night ($261 for two nights and three people after all taxes and fees). We have our teenage son with us this time around and we appreciate how this stay gave him a taste of life in Seattle since he will be returning to the area to attend a media design school when he graduates next year.
Book it: Here is our official review of the place…
Michael’s place was perfect for our weekend with our teenage son exploring the city! We ended up missing our hosts on check-in because of timing, but even so, everything went very smooth. We felt very welcome and Michael and his family pretty much just let us kick back and enjoy our stay. We loved all the thoughtful details such as ready to bake homemade cookies and the local growlers ready to be borrowed and filled at local breweries… seriously? So cool! Thanks for a great stay guys! We’ve been exploring this city since we were kids, but staying here really let us see a different side of the Seattle. – January 2017
New to Airbnb?
Airbnb has endless options for your Seattle trip. If you are new to the Airbnb community, you can sign up through this link for free travel credit! Give it a try, we have used Airbnb all over the world and absolutely love it!
Where to eat (and drink) in Seattle – FEED ME!
Delancey is the main reason we decided to stay in the Ballard neighborhood, and this book is why. Really, I am not a memoir kind of person, but I read this one. I sort of stumbled onto it while looking for a recipe for the bucketloads of plums we were getting from our Asian plum tree. I found the perfect plum recipe on a blog called Orangette by Molly Wizenberg. I fell in love with her quirky, honest writing style which eventually led me to her book, a New York Times bestseller. If you are a foodie, you might like it too.
The book details Molly and her now husband Brandon’s ordeal of opening what I would say is the best pizza restaurant that I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Strange thing is, I am really not a pizza person but this stuff was soooo good!
We had the sausage pie with their housemade pork fennel sausage ($17), wood oven-roasted Brussels sprouts with leek vinaigrette and goat gouda ($10), and washed it down with a Lucifer’s Box cocktail (gin, pineapple rum, Genepy des Alpes, and lemon $12).
They source all their ingredients from local and sustainable suppliers and farms throughout the region and it shows in the quality of what they will bring to your table. Their menu changes regularly and everything is made in house.
Oh, and you’re going to want to save room for dessert at this place, which I never do. To be sure I got to try their Meyer Lemon Budino (Meyer lemon curd mousse, candied pistachios, flake salt $9), I ordered it before our meal even came. I was not going to miss this, and it did not disappoint. More, please?
Okay, not everybody is into oysters. We get that. I never used to even consider the seemingly nasty slimy ick that my dad would slurp down his gullet down on the beach any time we were harvesting the tides.
But something changed as I got a little older and now I’m kinda hooked. Yep, I’ve joined the other side. It is so hard for me to say goodbye to this newly found joy in life! If you have never tried raw oysters, you should. At least once. And there is no better place than in the Pacific Northwest. It doesn’t get much fresher than this.
Stay tuned, we will be posting all about oysters in the Pacific Northwest and our favorite places to eat them!
Yes, Oyster shooters are one of the top things we will miss about the PNW so we head to…
The Walrus and the Carpenter. Do you not love the name?
I so wanted to try this place and was hoping that this trendy little Seattle oyster bar would serve the best baby oyster shooters I’d ever had. Unfortunately, rolling in at 7 o’clock on a Friday night is not the way to get a table. Neither can you make reservations. Sadly, the super friendly host informed us that tonight it would be, at a minimum, two hours before we could get a table. According to him, the best way to avoid the wait is to arrive when they open at four. We’ll try again on our next Seattle trip.
O Oysters, come and walk with us!
The Walrus did beseech.
A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach…
~By Lewis Carroll, from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872
Elliott Bay Oyster House was our ‘oyster plan B’ and they did not disappoint.
Right down on the water below Pike Place Market is Elliot Bay Oyster House and seafood is their specialty. Just as soon as you walk in the door you are faced with the beautifully displayed oyster bar. See their website for their current list of what is available. Select from a wide menu of species and locales for a variety of flavors to sample. On this trip, we were able to sample varieties from four of the five species of oysters available around the world. The staff is knowledgeable about the differences and can answer all your questions. Slurp away!
We really just came for the oysters ($2.75-3.75 each depending on variety) but thought a little greenery would be a nice accompaniment. The Elliot’s Pear House Salad was perfect (mixed greens, NW pears, shallot, goat cheese, spiced walnuts, and a balsamic vinaigrette $7). That and some local craft beer to wash it all down and we were in briny heaven.
And please, if you try oysters for the first time after reading this, we would love if you come back here and tell us what you thought!
Okay, now that we have that out of the way…
A great place to hit for breakfast before a morning of exploring the market. I’ve fallen in love with Piroshky, Piroshky’s orange cardamom roll, but everything here is good. You know how I can tell? The line. There is usually a line for this place that extends to the sidewalk outside.
Grab a coffee to go with your piroshky, you have a couple choices…
You can always wait in line at the original Starbucks, but why? You can get Starbucks anywhere. We prefer to support the little guy so we like to grab our morning joe for wandering the market at this place, Local Color. Excellent coffee without the ridiculous line you will find at the 1st & Pike Starbucks. Bonus tip: Local Color also serves beers for $4, any beer any time… In case you grab that piroshky for lunch.
Pretty much any place in Seattle is going to have great coffee. They have to be good. There is no way they could survive the competition if their brew was lousy. So, you really don’t have to stick with the big chains to ensure you are getting a quality dose of caffeine.
The Pike Pub & Brewery
After some time exploring Pike Place Market, pop into the brewery for some of the best craft beer (and root beer) in the Northwest. The food is pretty chronic here, too. Do you see the size of that lump of crab meat in their famous Dungeness crab chowder? Oh good golly, we’re gonna miss this place.
Today we stuck with our go-to favorites. The super-chunky crab chowder ($8-12), ale glazed wings (locally farmed chicken wings tossed in Monk’s Uncle wing sauce and served with chili-lime cream and carrots, $13), and a Pike Sampler because I was having a hard time deciding which beer to order! In the end, I went with my fav, their Space Needle Golden IPA, and Jim had their go-to Pike IPA.
Don’t forget to grab some swag on your way out the door!
All Ages Fun
Pike Place Market
We’ve already introduced you to the market with a few of our favorite places. But there is so much more to Pike Place than street performers, fresh flowers/produce, and expert fish tossers that you will find on the upper level.
This is one of the oldest, and maybe busiest, farmers markets in the country and, to be honest, some people can’t stand the crowds. It can get very busy, especially on weekends. Sometimes there is barely room to move, but if that’s the case just head downstairs where the people tend to thin out. Explore the quirky cool shops in the market underground and all the unique wares they have to offer.
Check out a puzzle room!
Do you watch The Middle? Just a week or so before we made this trip to Seattle, an episode of The Middle aired where the Hecks went to a puzzle room. We had never heard of puzzle rooms before (also known as escape rooms), but since this time in the city we were looking for some all-ages fun to have with our older kid we googled it to see if there were any in Seattle.
Puzzle/Escape rooms are immersive experiences where you and your group work together in a scenario set up by the Game Makers. You have to solve some mystery based on the clues inside the room. It is kind of like being in a game of Myst.
We went to ETA, Epic Team Adventures and did the first adventure in their ‘Vault of the Volcano God‘ series. It was fun and the whole family loved it! We would definitely go back. Book your tickets for ETA here!
Sorry, we have no photos to share of this experience… no spoilers allowed! You will just have to trust us on this one.
Pay a Visit to the Freemont Troll
Carved out of the earth underneath the Aurora Bridge in the Freemont neighborhood you will find a massive troll. For real. He looks like he’s been there forever, because he has. You can read about him, and find more wierd Washington, in this book.
Lastly, simply go for a walk and explore!
See what makes Seattle, Seattle. We love just walking around a city and feeling its vibe. Seattle is a fun place to do that. There is so much to discover and it definitely has a culture all its own. Walking around Seattle, I love the smell of salt and coffee in the air. Perched right on the edge of Elliot Bay the smell of the saltwater tide reminds you that you are in one of the best places in the world to get seafood. And coffee in the Pacific Northwest is simply a necessity. We need something to lift the spirits of the gray-gloomy-rain-saturated wet season.
A final tip… if it just so happens that you visit Seattle during the rainy season (October thru March), get yourself a good rain jacket and ditch the umbrella, or you will look like a tourist for sure. 😉
That about wraps up our 3 days in Seattle
So, farewell Seattle. We will miss you. We will be back, we always come back. But for now, it is goodbye while we venture off for whatever is coming next.
You guys explore and enjoy the heck out of this place in our absence! If you have a minute, we would love to hear from you! Don’t forget to tell us in the comments about what you love, what you discover, and maybe what you will miss about this amazing city. We’ll need recommendations about what to hit on our next visit!
This is by no means everything we love about Seattle. This is just what we could fit into our last three-day visit before we moved to Outdoor Magazine’s 2016 City of the Year. Be sure to check back for an upcoming post of all our favorite Seattle haunts!
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