We spent a great week on the west coast exploring three amazing cities: Vancouver, British Columbia, Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon (more posts to come!). We took a bus from Vancouver, where we had been for a conference, to Seattle. We rented a car to have the freedom to explore the city and later take the three hour road trip to Portland. The entire trip was an absolute blast, we were also super lucky with the weather during our visit. Seattle is notorious for their rainy grey weather, but it never even rained while we were there! We could even see Mount Rainier from the city harbor which is only seen a few days out of the year.
Before arriving, we purchased the Seattle City Pass which was a great deal for all of the attractions we wanted to visit, plus it was good for the entire time we were in the city as it is valid for 30 days after your first use. Below are the inclusions and options for the city pass:
- Space Needle
- Seattle Aquarium
- Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
- Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) OR Woodland Park Zoo (we chose the Zoo)
- Chihuly Garden and Glass OR Pacific Science Center (we chose Chihuly)
Our first day in Seattle we visited the famous Pike Place Market, the oldest continuous farmer’s market in United States. Throughout the market you can purchase souvenirs, flowers, fruit, meat, fish, baked goods, and anything else you can imagine. Here are some must-sees in the market:
- The First Starbucks is a must-do if you enjoy the coffee chain.
- Le Panier is a cute French Bakery (an obvious stop for me!) to get fresh bread and pastries.
- Pike Place Chowder for some local clam chowder.
- Beecher’s Handmade Cheese where you can watch them make the cheese through a street window and try the delicious creamy Mac and Cheese!
- The Gum Wall is a public art piece nearby on Post Alley under Pike Place. This alley is covered in wall-to-wall wads of gum. A fun place to chew some gum and vandalize – in a socially-acceptable manner.
Later we went to Kerry Park where you can see beautiful panoramic views of the city, including the space needle of course, from a small neighborhood park. Here is where many shots and footage is taken for shows and movies set in Seattle. Down the street from the park you can see the home that is used for Meredith Grey’s House: 303 W. Comstock Street. Since I have been watching the show since the very first season, I had my “Grey’s Anatomy” fan girl moment before heading back to the hotel for the night.
On the second day we fueled up at Caffé LIeto aka “Biscuit Bitch.” There are a couple locations, with great biscuit sandwiches and funky ambiance before spending the day in nature. We first stopped by the Fremont Troll, an enormous Troll sculpture under the Aurora Bridge, to snap a quick picture. We explored Discovery Park that has 534 acres of trails and beaches and saw the beautiful Snoqualmie Falls. We later went to the Woodland Park Zoo where they have a huge lush rose garden.
On our last full day in Seattle we did a bunch of the touristy things, all of which is included in the City Pass.
- Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour is a 1-hour harbor cruise, on the City Pass. You should make a reservation ahead of time to secure a spot. This was a lot of fun because we had perfect weather and the tour guide was very informative.
- Seattle Aquarium is near the Waterfront and Pike Place (on the City Pass).
- Waterfront Park includes a boardwalk lined with shops, sculptures, and restaurants and the Seattle Great Wheel.
- Space Needle is also on the city pass, the ticket is good for one visit in the morning, and a visit at night.
- Chihuly Garden and Glass was a surprisingly fun and memorable experience. It is on the City Pass and right by the Space Needle. Here you can watch a documentary on Chihuly, who we did not know much about prior to our visit, and see some of his incredible art. The gardens have glass sculptures throughout the museum and garden that make for really awesome shots of the Space Needle. Now we recognize Chihuly’s work everywhere we go!
Travel Day to Portland
On our last day in Seattle we packed up and made our way to Portland, Oregon. Along the way we stopped at Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helen’s State Park. Both Locations are so pretty and worth spending some time. We were able to drive pretty high up Mount Rainier and play in the snow for a little bit. When we began our way to Mount St. Helen’s we lost cell service. So we stopped at a little burger stand on the side of the road in the middle of no where for some lunch and directions. The lovely old women gave us seemingly the longest and most obscure directions, but somehow we made it to the park so her directions must have been spot on!
Places to Eat
- Places we tried and recommend:
- Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: according to their signs they have the world’s best Mac and Cheese
- Dick’s Drive In is an old-school drive-in Burger Place (Cash only). It is a bit outside of the city so you will need a car or an uber.
- Pike Place Market: Starbucks, Le Panier, and Café LIeto “Biscuit Bitch”
- Places we didn’t make it to, but look great:
- Coyle’s Bakeshop- Cretzels
- Piroshky Piroshky- Russian Bakery
- Serious Pie- Pizza
- Sweet Iron Waffles
- The Pink Door
Where to Stay
We stayed in The Arctic Club Seattle which was in a great location and had really cute and unique architectural features. The restaurant in the hotel, previously called Jack Rabbit, is also highly rated, and delicious. Our room rates included breakfast, which did not disappoint.
Other things to do
- Center for Wooden Boats is a Museum and Boat rental shop. It looks like a neat place to visit, but we did not have enough time on our visit.
- Volunteer Park is a landmark, museum and conservatory that looks like a fun place to visit.
What are your favorite things to do and eat in Seattle?