The Best of Seattle – Where to Go, Stay & Dine
Seattle “the Emerald City” is surrounded by evergreen forests, lakes, mountains and the Puget Sound. It’s the largest city in Washington State and the Gateway to the Pacific Northwest.
There are many landmarks to visit including the Space Needle from the 1962 World’s Fair, a myriad of museums, and the iconic century old Pike Place Market. Adventurers love to explore this region – hiking, cycling, kayaking, boating and more!
Sharing our list of recommendations with Top Places to stay, dine & spa and what to see & do in Seattle!
THINGS TO DO
1. Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
Dale Chihuly is a world famous local glass artist and his creations are showcased at the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and its’ gardens. After you visit the museum, stop at the Collections Café. Chihuly’s collection is on display at the cafe from 82-of 500-accordions, bottle openers, fishing tackle, rod iron dogs, carnival chalkware, radios, cameras, and shaving brushes to tin toys. And to top it off, the fresh, local, healthy menu –watermelon salad, salmon, scallops – so flavorful.
Located at Seattle Center adjacent to the Space Needle.
2. Duck Bus
We started our morning riding on the Duck Bus—a land/sea bus giving a full, unique tour of old and new Seattle! Our driver was excellent: part singer, part comedian with fun and interesting facts about this great Port City. Highlights for our boys were his ever changing wigs, entertaining soundtracks—that we actually drove into Lake Union and back out again(!?)–the Sea Hawks and Mariners Stadium, and the story of the 1829 fire that burned 29 blocks of downtown Seattle and how the people took 20 years to rebuild. Mom loved olde town—the beautiful hanging flower baskets and intriguing shops. Our boys said “the driver was fun and crazy!”
3. The Bullitt Center – Green Building of the Future
The Bullitt Center is the greenest commercial building in the world, and demonstrates accurately how the modern workplace can be transformed into a living building using the principles of sustainability. Tours of this living building are offered twice weekly to the public.
4. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
A meaningful highlight on our list of Seattle Things to do was a visit to the visitor’s center at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its buildings are shaped like boomerangs signifying that what we give to our world comes right back to us. Each participant is invited to “Enter Curious” and “Leave Inspired.” Our boys learned how it feels to carry water, build a shelter, and think about how to solve problems of hunger, needed vaccinations, and education. Daniel was surprised “the buckets are so heavy, and it’s hard to believe that people carry these every day over long distances”. A great center to visit and learn how you can help to make a difference in the world.
5. Space Needle
Seattle’s Space Needle is a must! Built for the World’s Fair in 1962, this structure towers over the city offering spectacular 360 degree views of the Olympic Mountain Range, Queen Anne neighborhood, Lake Union and Lake Washington as well as the Puget Sound. We travelled to the top in an exterior capsulized elevator—lots of “WOW’s” here! Will, our 7 yr. old, exclaimed “It’s really high! And I liked the binoculars.” Elijah, our 15 yr old, “I don’t do well with heights but the views are sweet in every direction, and I forgot about how high we were.”
Along the Puget Sound waterfront, the Seattle Art Museum has a beautiful outdoor Sculpture Park and we enjoyed some shadow play, as well as interacting with the latest installation by local artist Heather Hart’s “Western Oracle: We Will Tear the Roof Off the Mother”.
6. Boat Ride on Lake Washington
Ended our sunny day with a speed boat ride on Lake Washington—doesn’t get better than this! “I loved the waves—so fun!” “Got to see where Boeing builds their airplanes!” “Favorite part? Learning to drive the boat!” “Stewart Park and Mercer Island—green retreats so near to downtown.”
6. Amazon Spheres
Visit The Spheres, Amazon’s three connected glass-domed green spaces — home to 40,000 plants from the cloud forest regions of over 30 countries.
It’s incredible to see this unique architectural structure filled with thousands of plants, from orchids and passion flowers, to spike moss to fan-leaved aloe curated with the help of botanical gardens and universities world-wide. Open to the public two Saturdays per month. Book your tour 30 days in advance – click here!
7. Pike Place Market:
Seattle’s iconic marketplace is located in the heart of downtown near the waterfront. Pike Place Market has been here for over 100 years where locals find the freshest produce, flowers and visitors come to shop for souvenirs and to see street bands and entertainment.
WHERE TO STAY & SPA
Sharing our favorites in downtown Seattle and the surrounding area.
Inn at the Market is the only downtown Seattle hotel located in Pike Place Market. Our stay was an authentic Northwest experience, just steps away from the market and Seattle’s waterfront. Jay Baty, Director of Sales & Marketing shared, “The Inn at the Market offers modern Pacific Northwest style and comfort surrounded by downtown Seattle’s most acclaimed restaurants and iconic landmarks.”
Guests can choose from 76 rooms and opt for a water view room or a city view. We stayed in the spacious and comfortable city room with airy floor-to-ceiling windows that opened up to views of downtown. Love the way this inn supports its city and region by showcasing local products to amenities in the rooms – roasted coffee, Seattle’s Chocolates, and world class luxury – Hypnos bed and custom Sferra linens . At sunset, we visited the rooftop deck and sat on lounges and deck chairs to watch the ferries come and go in Elliott Bay.
So many reasons to visit Seattle and why not stay close to everything? Sight-seeing in Pike Place Market, setting sail from a Seattle vacation on an Alaskan cruise, visiting the Seattle Art Museum, or experiencing the newest exhibit at Seattle Center.
This luxury boutique hotel is a favorite among locals and visitors who return and stay here. We can’t wait to return!
It’s not a surprise this hotel won awards including Top 10 Hotels in the USA by 2018 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice, and Top Hotels in Seattle by Condé Nast Reader’s Choice Awards 2018.
Good to Note: Check out the packages and specials (massages, shopping, dining, tours, etc.) that enhance your stay when you book your reservation.
We checked into one of the hippest hotels in Seattle, the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Seattle! As soon as we entered the lobby, we were enamored with this hotel’s playful design. The colorful decor and friendly welcomes made our stay even more enjoyable.
Only minutes away from shops, restaurants, the public library and the stadium, this hotel is in the heart of the city.
Our suite was spacious with a living area leading to our bedroom with a king size bed and large bathroom with a jacuzzi tub.
Hungry? Grab a bite for breakfast, lunch or dinner at the hotel’s restaurant Outlier on the lobby floor. The avocado eggs benedict with dungeness crab is popular as well as the cheeseburger & fries. All American fare.
Good to know: the hotel has bicycles to borrow and ask for the yoga class schedule. There’s also a daily happy hour with complimentary wine & light snacks.
NEAR SEATAC AIRPORT
Located just minutes from SeaTac, Cedarbrook Lodge is a Pacific Northwest sanctuary. We absolutely love Cedarbrook Lodge!
It’s the perfect place to start your vacation and stay for a night before flying out on a trip from SeaTac. Or a relaxing way to end a vacation and stay for a night returning from a long journey. It’s also ideal for a “staycation” or a great venue for a corporate retreat.
We indulged ourselves and got pampered at the award winning Spa and afterward dined on the terrace at Copperleaf Restaurant.
Copperleaf Restaurant is located in a beautiful high-ceiling lodge with a large stone fireplace and outdoor views. The menu offers a range of Northwest farm-to-table dining. The Chef selects seasonal produce from the Lodge’s onsite garden. Our dinner included the summer salad with peaches and burrata, followed by a risotto with english peas and our shared entree of fresh wild salmon – delish!
The Cedarbrook Spa is a haven for the body, mind and soul. Even though my treatment was only for 1 hour, I felt totally relaxed and wanted to stay longer. My therapist used natural botanicals and herbal fusions from ethical companies focused on sustainability with brands like Éminence, Farmaesthetics, and FarmHouse Fresh.
Click here to find a list of treatments. I loved my petrified wood & river stones massage. My therapist shares, “the smooth, heated pieces of petrified wood on your back, this is must do. The energy of the earth is a calming, soothing antidote for any worries on your mind.”
WHERE TO DINE…
Stop at The Gerald for a premier craft cocktail and stay for dinner. The Gerald restaurant & bar is located in the heart of Ballard.
We loved the colorful retro interiors and settled into our booth. Some favorites from our meal included the pan roasted brussels sprouts with maple & whole grain mustard topped with bacon bits & bee pollen, deep fried mac n’cheese with tomato marinara & basil, and their brioche bun burgers with housemade remoulade, bacon, jalapeno jam & caramelized onions.
Their gastropub fare draws in crowds heading out for a night in Ballard as well as brunch lovers on the weekends. Check out the expansive spirit library!
Need a private room for a party, reserve one here.
Sawyer is one of Seattle’s newest restaurants in heart of Ballard. This is where Owner & Chef Mitch Mayers works his magic. Mayers is a Washington native, named one of Zagat’s 2018 “Eight Under the Radar Chefs to Know” and his American fare bistro has been selected as one of the semi-finalists for James Beard Award for “Best New Restaurant.” He’s got our vote!
The whimsical menu is inspired with comfort food in mind, dishes that people savor… like cornbread muffins, nachos, burgers, but with a modern twist. The restaurant’s name “Sawyer” alludes to the building’s history when it was a 1920s sawmill and has been beautifully restored with high ceilings, exposed beams, old wooden floors, expansive windows that let the natural light in and a patio dining option.
In our cozy booth, we shared our family-style dinner starting with Wild Boar Ribs surrounded by mustard bbq sauce, chili oil and cornbread muffins, then the Asparagus Salad with avocado, pickled rhubarb, buttermilk mascarpone, pea tendrils topped with a thin puffed rice crisp Wood-Grilled Artichoke with anchovy hazelnut remoulade — divine! Our food frenzy continued…the Half Rotisserie Duck was succulent. Wood-Fired Sirloin Steak with duck fat tater tots, roasted mushrooms…then there was the Animal Style Wagyu Beef Burger. Service by Lauren was excellent.
Don’t Miss! Dessert – we devoured the Choco Tacos, a graham waffle cone with peanut butter ice cream, and the Quatro Leches Cake, crème fraiche, huckleberries and salted pistachios.
Tip! Take time to stroll the boutiques and galleries along the historic main street in Ballard before dinner.
Check out more PNW vacations below!
We’d like to thank those mentioned above for hosting us.