Seattle. Home of the most amazing chowder I have ever tasted and of course, the Space Needle. My four day trip was full of eclectic coffee shops, delicious restaurants, and unique museums.
After landing late the night before, I unpacked and relaxed at the Grand Hyatt downtown on Pine Street. I met my husband, Brad, during the tail-end of one of his work conferences. While he was busy during the day, I made the most of my time by exploring the sights on my own.
I walked east from downtown about 20 minutes to General Porpoise for breakfast in the Capitol Hill district. I ordered a vanilla custard donut and a small vanilla latte. After biting into the fluffy cloud, I was surprised by the generous amount of light custard inside.
After a bit of window shopping, I discovered Elliot Bay Book Company. I picked up How to Love by Thich Naht Hanh, a Zen Master. I thought the book was fitting considering it was the week of Valentine's Day and a little perspective on love never hurts.
For lunch I ate at 8oz Burger & Company. I ordered the filet of fish sandwich; a fried piece of thick cod with arugula, onions, pickles, chipotle tartar, and avocado cilantro creme on a soft brioche bun. The truffle garlic fries were AMAZING!
I made my way over to St. James Cathedral and walked inside. I try to visit churches in other cities to marvel at the architecture. I also admired Seattle First Baptist Church from the street.
With our stay at the Hyatt we received a Seattle Museum Pass which offered half-price admission to museums. I spent about two hours at the Seattle Art Museum and enjoyed the interesting exhibits. The layout was modern and had an impressive collection of Pacific Northwest Native American art.
Although I was full from lunch, I planned to eat at Beecher's Handmade Cheese at Pike Place Market for dinner. I decided an 8oz cup of their classic macaroni and cheese would be worth it. Not only did I get to observe fresh cheese being made from the counter, but also tried a few cheese samples. Hello comfort food!
I needed to pick up a Valentine's Day gift for Brad and noticed Fran's Chocolates. As soon as I walked in I was greeted with a milk chocolate caramel sample. After seeing the impressive truffle and caramel display I hand selected a box. The next day we devoured the chocolates! If you are craving something sweet this place is a great choice.
After relaxing at the hotel, I attended a play of Uncle Vanya at the ACT Theater. The play was written by Anton Chekhov and is a satire centered around a family dissatisfied with the choices they have made while imposing their frustrations on each other. The play was entertaining, thought provoking, and the perfect way to end my first day.
I made my way to Anchorhead Coffee for their signature Quaffle; a cinnamon roll made out of croissant dough pressed in a waffle iron. I enjoyed the crunchy and flaky texture along with the sweet maple syrup served on the side. I washed it down with a vanilla bean latte and felt the sugar buzz almost immediately.
No trip to Seattle is complete without a stroll along the seafront and piers of Elliot Bay. Seafood restaurants, souvenir shops, and seagulls kept my eyes wide as I took in the sights. There are so many great lookout points for pictures!
I took advantage of the happy hour specials at Japonessa Sushi Cocina and tried two sushi rolls. The Wicked Sensation roll was filled with spicy tuna, avocado, and cucumber topped with tuna, scallion, and a jalapeño lime glaze. YUM!
I spent about two hours at the Seattle Aquarium and really enjoyed my visit. The highlights of the museum were the jellyfish, octopus, sea otters, and seals. The museum has outdoor exhibits and an underwater dome. It was neat to learn about the different species of trout and other indigenous fish in the Puget Sound area.
I made my way over to Pike Place Market to meander through the vendor stalls. Artisans covered both sides of the walkway on the main street level. Flowers and fresh fish were everywhere and I enjoyed a sample of smoked salmon. Pike Place Market has delectables for every palate!
We had a romantic Valentine's Day dinner at Shaker + Spear and enjoyed the most delicious seafood of the trip! We ordered shrimp, octopus, rockfish, and red snapper. Brad's Thai fried snapper was the highlight of the night with bold flavors and a stunning presentation.
Brad was able to join me during the day and I wanted him to try General Porpoise. Yes, it warranted another visit, it's that good! This time I ordered a chai, which was much sweeter than the latte, and Brad ordered a mocha. We both had the vanilla custard donut and almost succumbed to ordering another.
Before long we made it to Pike Place Chowder for lunch. We opted to share the sampler of four chowders/bisques and two hunks of sourdough bread. Every day the restaurant has eight chowders/bisques to choose from. We selected the New England clam chowder, smoked salmon chowder, shrimp market chowder, and seafood bisque (our favorite).
After meandering through the vendors of Pike Place Market, we came upon one selling figures made out of Mount Saint Helens volcanic ash. The artisan, Kathy Parker, utilizes a special technique to make the ash strong enough to carve. Brad noticed a totem pole for $6! Let's just say the find made my day.
The second course of our lunch was at Market Grill; home of the legendary blackened salmon sandwich grilled to order on a French baguette with lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, and mayo. We split the sandwich and were lucky enough to grab a seat at the counter. Don't be surprised if you have to take your food to go. This place is busy, but definitely worth the wait!
The Space Needle exceeded my expectations. Seeing the views of Seattle on a clear beautiful day was a magical experience. It was fun to see the people down below and the Olympic Mountains in the distance. Seattle's most popular tourist attraction did not disappoint!
On our way back to Pike Place Market, we noticed a variety of shops, cafes, and bars. Interesting and creative murals were everywhere. We decided to do an impromptu wine tasting flight at The Tasting Room and tried a variety of wines from vineyards in Washington.
Don't miss out on visiting The Pink Door for the most flavorful Italian meal. We started with a roasted garlic appetizer with ricotta-gorgonzola cheese spread and bread along with three of their mama's meatballs submerged in the most delectable marinara sauce. The spinach lasagna has layers of pesto, marinara, and besciamella.
Brad had an early flight and I walked back to Pike Place Market for breakfast. I grabbed a hot chocolate and cinnamon roll at Storyville Coffee. The cafe had a wonderful view of Pike Place Market and Elliot Bay.
I didn't want to miss out on visiting the original Starbucks store located in Pike Place Market. I enjoyed my hot apple cider after a 30-minute wait in line, but not the experience. It was a great way to kill some time, but the tiny crowded store was not ideal.
Weekends at Pike Place Market are packed with long lines and crowds. I went back to Pike Place Chowder for lunch and ordered a large seafood bisque after a 40-minute wait. The warm creamy bisque was a perfect last meal in Seattle.
I took a 25-minute Lyft ride to the Nordic Museum. I was excited to see The Vikings Begin exhibition and learn about Nordic culture. The artifacts, written content, and layout of the museum was impressive. I have Swedish ancestry and was eager to learn more about the immigrants who came to the Pacific Northwest. I spent about two hours in the museum before I made my way to the airport.
The Emerald City did not disappoint and I definitely made the most out of my four days sampling intense coffee, breathing salty air, and feeling artistic vibes. Don't forget an umbrella and bring your appetite for your trip to the Pacific Northwest!