Although I am leaving for Thailand come this August, I can still appreciate the beauty of Seattle and be thankful for all the treasures we have here. For those of you who plan to visit, or who are new in town, here are my top 10 recommendations on things to do in Seattle to experience it like a local (not in any particular order):
1. Try A Local Delicacy – Seattle Dogs!
Food carts serving Seattle Dogs can be found throughout the city and offer a variety of toppings. The traditional Seattle Dog sports a toasted bun with a hot-dog cut down the middle and topped with cream cheese. YUM! Popular optional toppings include grilled onions, sauerkraut, jalapenos, and condiments. Snag one after a sporting event or take to Pioneer Square or Capitol Hill for a night out on the town.
2. Go on a coffee date, but find a local spot.
It’s a pretty well-known stereo type that Seattleites love coffee. Yes, while on vacation we may even be known to stop in at the first Starbucks we can find to feel a little more at home away from home…but the real gems that we’ve grown to love are the local mom and pop owned coffee shops. Experience the character and culture that YOUR local shop has to offer; you won’t regret it.
3. Take a walk around Green Lake
Green Lake offers all sorts of fun activities when the weather permits. Take a stab at stand-up-paddle-boarding, treat yourself to a build-your-own frozen yogurt cup, roller blade around the lake, walk your dog, rent a paddle-boat and peddle out to view Duck island (Just don’t set foot on it. Duck Island is not open to the public)… You name it! I personally enjoy meeting friends for lunch at the Green Lake Bar and Grill followed by a walk around the lake to aid digestion. There are plenty of picnic tables for a spring or summer BBQ and a basketball court for all the ballers out there 😉
4. Have a late night feast at Beth’s cafe and indulge in the 12 egg omelet!
Beth’s café is Seattle’s premier ‘greasy spoon’ café. It has been featured on the food network multiple times over the years for their humongous and delicious 12-egg omelets. The walls are plastered with crayon drawn works of art from customers off all ages and sobriety levels…Draw a masterpiece of your own!
5. Pike Place Market
Ok, I know what you’re thinking… “But isn’t that a popular tourist spot?” … and yes, you are correct. But locals love it too! It’s a great spot to peruse for local goods, people watch, or grab a bite to eat. It’s also right next to the first ever Starbucks store!
6. Enjoy a hike outside of the city!
This is the PNW! Drive out East on I-90 and take a hike on Mt. Si or Rattlesnake Ridge. Not in the greatest of shape? That’s ok! There are all sorts of trails of various lengths and difficulty levels. I personally enjoyed the Twin Falls trail. It’s easy, family friendly and offers a beautiful view of the falls. NOTE: Many of the parking areas require that you have a Discovery Pass OR that you pay a day fee on-site. If you’re in great shape and want a more moderate or difficult hike, try the 16-mile Tiger Mountain Trail.
7. Walk Alki beach on a sunny day
Looking for some fun in the sun? Alki Beach in West Seattle offers cozy waterfront restaurants, ice cream parlors and lots of outdoor activities. Although it’s not the largest beach, you’ll regularly see a variety of activities including: volleyball, kite flying, bike rentals, and rollerblading. Parking can be a pain, especially when the weather is beautiful so get there early if you can! If you have small kids, you can find a playground at the park on 59th Ave. SW.
8. Be a 12th Fan
Experience the loudest crowd & stadium in the NFL and attend a Seattle Seahawks game! If football’s not your game, root on the Seattle Sounders or Seattle Mariners instead! (I’m biased since I’m an NFL fan).
9. Visit a Microbrewery!
Seattle has many. One of the most popular is the Pyramid Alehouse conveniently located across the street from Safeco Field. They have a beer garden open before and during sporting events. Great food too! Next, there’s the Elysian on Capitol Hill. The atmosphere is crisp and inviting and their food is terrific! They also own TangleTown near Greenlake. One of my personal favorites that has been a common meeting spot for my friends and I, is the Elliot Bay Brewery. My heart skips a beat every time their Coffee Stout is on Nitro… MMMmmmmmm. If I’m not mistaken, I think the Burien location serves half-priced growlers on Tuesdays! My favorite dessert which I highly recommend is their stout float. I know beer and ice cream sounds weird, but don’t knock it ’till you try it! They make their own ice cream with the left over warts from the beer that is used in the float so the two pair very well together.
10. Walk along the pier at the Seattle waterfront
Make a day of it! Whether you plan to bring the whole family or meet a date, there’s a range of fun things to do and shops to explore. Enjoy a ride on the newly built Seattle Great Wheel. Explore the Seattle Aquarium. Poke your head into Ye’ Old curiosity shop to see a mix of oddities that includes two dried human mummies, shrunken heads and a two-headed baby lamb. Freaky!
This concludes my top 10 recommendations to experience Seattle like a local. Remember, Seattle is a gem, that’s why they call it the Emerald City! I hope that these tips will help you to experience the local flavor. If you make any amazing discoveries of your own, please do share your stories with me! Although I’ve lived in the Seattle area for about 18 years, I am still finding lovely neighborhoods to explore, parks to play in, and restaurants to indulge in. Carpe Diem!