I visited Seattle for the first time over Labor Day weekend with my husband—a city I’ve wanted to visit since I watched The Real World: Seattle from my small hometown in Michigan. I instantly fell in love with the Emerald City—and it wasn’t just because my tour guide was pretty much the cutest thing in the whole world. If you don’t have an adorable Frenchie to show you around, read my suggestions for what to do in Seattle.
Luckily, we didn’t experience any of Seattle’s famous rain; the weather was absolutely perfect the whole week, and it made exploring the city by foot even more amazing. We stayed in Pioneer Square, which was extremely convenient because we were able to walk to major tourist attractions like Pike Place and the Space Needle.
The Space Needle
Much to my husband’s chagrin, I like to visit all of the typical tourist spots when I visit a new city. You can’t go to Seattle not go to the top of the Space Needle!
We ate lunch at Sky City, the Space Needle’s rotating restaurant before venturing to the observation deck. The food is extremely overpriced—I’m talking $30 salads—and it really isn’t great; you’re paying for the experience and view, which is beautiful. The real upside of eating at the restaurant is that you don’t have to pay for observation deck tickets, which are $29 per person if you pay at the door or $21 if you purchase in advance online. If you’re going to spend $30 anyway, you might as well get a salad out of the deal.
After the Space Needle, head next door to EMP (Experience Music Project), a music and pop culture museum.
In addition to some really cool exhibits like the Guitar Gallery, Women Who Rock and Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses, you can can get hands-on in the Sound Lab. I had a blast pretending I could play guitar and DJ.
What to do in Seattle? Duh. Of course you have to visit Pike Place. I’m not a huge fan of crowds, so I felt a bit claustrophobic inside the market. I put that feeling aside for Daily Dozen Donuts, which was a must-go recommendation from my tour guide, Milford. (OK, it was actually a recommendation from Milford’s owner. Milford doesn’t eat donuts. He needs to keep his studly figure.) You can watch the donuts being made as you stand in line—it doesn’t get any more fresh than that!
After you devour your donuts, go to Beecher’s Cheese to get to-die-for mac ‘n’ cheese. The line at Beecher’s was pretty long, so while my husband waited, I walked over to The Tasting Room’s stand, where they were serving Wines of Washington. (I never pass up free wine.) I loved the Wilridge 2012 Rose, so I bought a bottle to bring back to LA with me. That’s a souvenir I’ll actually use and enjoy.
I hope all of the walking around Pike Place has left you hungry because I have one more food suggestion, and I saved the best for last: Pike Place Chowder. My husband and I waited 30 minutes in line and ate clam chowder in 80-degree weather. Totally worth it.
Did you know that the current city of Seattle is built on top of the original city? I certainly didn’t, so I found Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour fascinating. Founded in 1965, the tour begins in Doc Maynard’s Public House, a restored 1890’s saloon, and takes you under Seattle’s Pioneer Square. The tour guides are great and infuse a lot of humor along the way. If you’re looking for a little more fun, do the Underworld Tour, which includes a cocktail and focuses on the history of the Red Light district.
Still Hungry? More Places to Eat in Seattle
You might see a theme in this article: food. My husband and I love to eat. Here are some of the other Seattle restaurants we checked out during our trip.
Linda’s Tavern: Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Linda’s Tavern was our first food stop in Seattle, for brunch on Saturday. Though the food was nothing to write home about, Linda’s had a great atmosphere (I love dog-friendly places) and they serve up a giant pitcher of mimosas for only $20. Puppies and mimosas are really enough to make me happy.
Molly Moon’s Ice Cream: I eat so much frozen yogurt in Los Angeles that I almost forgot how delicious real homemade ice cream can be. Molly Moon’s ice cream puts frozen yogurt to shame. I’m a bit chocolate obsessed, so I opted for the chocolate ice cream. Yum.
Skillet Diner: I’m not ashamed to tell you that I got pancakes for dinner at Skillet Diner. They came with a lemon butter and a raspberry compote—and they were incredible. My husband ordered the fried chicken sandwich, and he was a huge fan.
Elliot’s Oyster House: If you’re an oyster fan, you must visit Elliot’s. We got a mixed dozen including Baywater Sweet, Calm Cove, Stellar Bay, Shigoku and Sunset Beach. They were all delicious, but the local Baywater Sweet oysters were both mine and my husband’s favorite.
Revel: This restaurant is a favorite of my tour guide’s owner and it did not disappoint. Self-described as “urban-style Korean comfort food,” Revel’s husband and wife chef duo know what they are doing in the kitchen. We ordered approximately half of the menu and everything was fantastic. The short rib dumplings were my favorite.
Palisade: My husband and I ended our trip with a romantic dinner at Palisade to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Located right on the water, you get a beautiful view of the Elliott Bay Marina. You definitely need to order the Warm Dungeness Crab & Lobster Dip. You can thank me later.
What are your favorite things to do in Seattle?