Joe and I visited Seattle about a year and a half ago, and I asked my close friend (and roommate at the time), Mackenzie, to make us an itinerary of where to go and what to see since she was born and raised in Seattle. Mackenzie's list was absolutely perfect, and we had an amazing weekend full of good food and awesome views thanks to her. I truly fell in love with Seattle's charm that weekend and I definitely recommend you visit ASAP if you haven't recently! I asked Mackenzie to be a guest blogger for The Urbanite Insight so she can share the city's sparkle with all of you too! Read on to hear about Seattle's staples and hidden gems from Mackenzie's perspective:
Download this city guide (with GPS maps) on your smartphone here to have it handy for your trip!
Mackenzie rocking her Seahawks gear, per usual.
Seattle is known as the Emerald city - many know it as such because of the vibrant color scheme of green forests through out the entire city or maybe some tourists think it's just because everywhere you look the 12th man pride is around you. (Seattle loves representing it's Seahawks blue & green!)
To me, Seattle is the Emerald City because it's the true gem of the northwest. Yeah, yeah, yeah it rains a lot. Ok, we get it. But, being surrounded by luscious green scenery & owning all the best fashionable rain gear can be a plus. Hunter boots, I'm looking at you. Honestly, the 3 to 4 months out of the year that are beautiful, sunny and bright make you forget the last three seasons of rain and make you appreciate the outdoors. My favorite thing about in Seattle is when the weather takes a turn and everyone is outside and I mean, everyone. The beaches are packed (Golden Gardens being my favorite in the city), the Safeco roof is lifted and the games are sold out so you can enjoy a Mannys beer with your best buds in the outfield and kids and adults are riding their bikes through the Burke-Gilman trail for hours to reach their final destination of Gasworks Park. If you travel to Seattle, my suggestion is to go from July to September. You won't be disappointed.
View from the top of the Space Needle
Leaving Seattle and my family (especially my two older sisters and nephew, Gino!) was one of the hardest things I've ever done and there isn't a day that goes by I don't think of the place where I grew up into the girl who pursued her dream to move to San Francisco. But, whenever I fly back into the Emerald City, it welcomes me back with open arms and I know it would do the same with all of you.
View from Kerry Park
Here are 12 reasons I love Seattle (thought 12 for the 12th man was appropriate):
1. The water! It makes for beautiful scenery as well as the perfect asset to your summer: boating, kayaking, and paddle boarding on Lake Union, Lake Washington & the Puget Sound are always great summer time activities. If you watched Grey's Anatomy (like most of us did), you'll also understand the appreciation of a ferry boat ride for the best view of the city.
2. Coffee - Starbucks has my heart, as most Seattleites would agree. There's a Starbucks on every corner, so your caffeine fix is easy. There are great local coffee shops in every neighborhood as well. You'll never go thirsty.
Fresh blooms at Pike Place Market
3. FOOD. It would take me too long to elaborate, but whatever kind of food you're looking for - Seattle's got it and they do it right with world class chefs & restaurants. P.S. Seattle style teriyaki, I miss you.
4. You're constantly surrounded by intelligent & driven people. Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Nordstrom - big company names bring awesome people to the city with great ambition & big dreams.
5. Parks (Gasworks, Kerry, Discovery, Greenlake) AND Beaches (Alki, Golden Gardens, Madison Park). The list goes on.
6. Neighborhood charms - Seattle can seem HUGE at times because it is spread out. But once you get locked into one neighborhood, you find you've got all you need. Each neighborhood has its own unique charm and reason to visit. (Ballard, Queen Anne and Capitol Hill being a few of my ultimates).
7. The love of music. Nirvana, Dave Matthews Band, Head & the Heart, Macklemore, Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam, Death Cab for Cutie. Ever heard of them? Enough said. Go see a show at the Showbox, Paramount or the Crocodile.
8. The pride for Seattle sports is unlike any other city. My Dad is 59 years old & has yet to see the Mariners win a World Series yet is legitimately still the biggest fan I know. When the Sonics got taken away it was like the world had ended. But then, something happened. Pete Carroll came to the Seahawks and won us a Super Bowl (no team in Seattle had won a championship since the Sonics in 1979). And suddenly, Seattle changed over night into mega fans with more pride then most cities could handle. The 12th man is real & ain't going anywhere. Go Hawks! And Go M's, you're next. (UW football games at Husky stadium are also great Saturday activities.)
9. Nightlife! Never a dull moment in the city whether you want to go dancing with girlfriends, go to a secret speak easy bar for fancy cocktails or sip local brew with the boys. Every neighborhood has a different scene, but every night usually ends with a Seattle street dog - cream cheese & grilled onions, please.
10. Convenient proximity to other great places. Other major cities like Vancouver & Portland are only a couple hour drive away. There are also many, many mountains close to the city for snow activities in the winter.
11. Unique landmarks for days - The Fremont Troll, the Space Needle, EMP museum, the Underground Tour, the Ferris Wheel, the Ballard Locks, International Fountain, Smith Tower and Chihuly Garden & glass museum to name a few...
12. Outdoor markets! Pike Place Market is undoubtedly the most famous and the most prestigious. The amazing $10 flower bouquets are breath taking and the craft booths are endless. My other favorite outdoor market is Ballards. Tons of treats and fresh flowers and always great for a Sunday stroll.
Pike Place Market
Mackenzie's Seattle To-Do List
download it here!
City guide by neighborhood.
Barrio - Great atmosphere, good Mexican food & fun drinks.
Poquitos - In the heart of Cap Hill where everyone goes out at night. AMAZING guac & mole enchiladas. Fun place to start a night out for dinner.
Tavern Law - Fancy cocktails, little bit more pricey but has a "speakeasy" feel.
The Unicorn - Crazy two-story bar with tons of weird artwork & cheap drinks. It has a carnival theme so they serve elephant ears until 2 am. Definitely where all the Hipsters hang!
Elysian Brewery - Fun brewery, one of the oldest in Seattle.
Molly Moons - Best ice cream in the city.
Sights - Pike Place Market, visit the Gum Wall, walk the piers on the waterfront & go on the Ferris Wheel, go to first ever Starbucks, get $5 AMAZING flower bouquets! Go up on the Space Needle of course too!
Pink Door - Really fun Italian dinner with live bands, usually have to make a reservation far in advance, but worth a try!
Alibi Room - Underground bar with yummy pizza in the market
Etta's Seafood - Great brunch!
Umi Sushi - My favorite sushi in the city
Lola - Fancier brunch, but worth it downtown!
Shop a little bit downtown. The first ever Nordstrom is HUGE and fun to walk around on 4th and 5th up and down Pike & Pine Streets
Pike Brewery in the Market
Serious Pie - Pizza.
PORTAGE BAY CAFE - Best brunch EVER with make your own French toast bar next to South Lake Union.
Peso's - AMAZING Mexican brunch. Super fun on Sundays to watch football and have some food. It gets pretty busy though.
Toulouse Petit - Owned by the same guy as Peso's, but it's French/New Orleans style food. Best happy hour in the city. It's a must.
5 Spot – Restaurant at the top of Queen Anne Hill with amazing brunch to cure a hangover.
Kerry Park - Best view of the city on top Queen Anne Hill. Best place to take pics!
Sunday farmers’ market - The cutest farmers’ market, right in the heart of the neighborhood.
The Gerald - Cute cocktails & drinks.
King's Hardware – My favorite bar with lots of hipsters & bearded men. Great burgers! Fun for a drink before going out.
Bitterroot BBQ. Bomb.
Skillet Diner - Great for brunch!!!
Bastille - Staple for fancy cocktails & drinks in the back bar before a night out.
Shelter - Also cool for drinks before going out. Big bars and open seating.
Staples & Fancy - Great dinner place, a little bit more expensive but delicious.
Hot Cakes - Best dessert of ALL TIME. Brownies and hot fudge sundaes in mason jars; to die for after dinner.
Paseos - BEST CUBAN SANDWICHES EVER. Yum.
Gasworks Park is really cool, great views of the city.
Ivar's Salmon House - Yummy seafood close to Gasworks Park.