The Best of Authentic Seattle
When you think of Seattle what pops into your mind? The Space Needle? Salmon? The Emerald City is chockablock with iconic images representing things to do and places to eat and sleep. So many things, in fact, that it’s hard to pick and choose among the options. I’ve lived in Seattle and visit frequently. What follows is my highly-opinionated advice.
Pike Place Market
Of course, you don’t want to miss this somewhat chaotic and very colorful public market. The trick is to find a time to visit when you won’t be trampled by other folks ogling the gorgeous displays of fish, flowers, fruits and veggies.
My solution is to stay at Inn at the Market, a charming boutique hotel just steps from the buskers, vendors, and fish throwers that everyone wants to see. My husband and I were guests here for five days in July. In addition to enviable proximity to the market, the hotel offers Seattle’s most wonderful water views.
Early every morning we foraged the market for the best breakfast goodies. My favorite raspberry muffins came warm from Three Girls Bakery, and we had the pick of the first peaches being set out on display. We could have waited in line for coffee at the original Starbucks, but it didn’t take long to decide that this just wasn’t worth the bragging rights.
Instead, we enjoyed Inn at the Market’s free brew and ate our goodies on the hotel’s private rooftop deck. Here, among hanging flower baskets, we watched ferries coming and going, vendors setting up, and the crowd starting to swell. (www.innatthemarket.com)
Speaking of fish vendors, we enjoyed some tasty Northwest salmon served with a celeriac remoulade at Café Campagne in Post Alley adjacent to Inn at the Market.
We also had dinner at Six Seven in The Edgewater Hotel — right on the water less than a mile from Inn at the Market. Here, we watched the Victoria Clipper and cargo ships glide past to ports in Canada and farther afield while we savored a great meal.
The wild arugula and pear salad with candied walnuts and Rogue Creamery Oregonzola was wonderful. And my scallops with wild mushrooms, kale, and almonds in a red wine reduction? Out-of-this world. (www.edgewaterhotel.com)
Back in Post Alley, I fell in love with the lasagna at The Pink Door. Made with fresh spinach pasta, this dish has been on the menu since the restaurant opened 33 years ago.
Tip: book well ahead.
Chihuly or the Space Needle? The Needle is Seattle’s best known icon, but I prefer the nearby Chihuly Garden and Glass. Here, the work of renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly is exhibited in several galleries, a large glasshouse, and a stunning garden where live plants bloom alongside glass ones. The work displayed in the galleries is breathtaking — colorful, imaginative, almost magical — but when I walked out into the garden, I was actually rendered speechless.
Bill and Melinda Gates live in a 66,000-square-foot house on the east shore of Lake Washington. Tourists drive by every day, but I think it makes much more sense to spend time at the beautiful Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center (steps from the Space Needle). The state-of-the-art interactive exhibits are inspiring, educational, and refreshingly upbeat. Which would you prefer? Seeing the outside of their house or getting an inside view of their plans for helping the world become safer, healthier, and smarter?
Green Lake or Pioneer Square?
Ride the Seattle Great Wheel or a Washington State ferry?
Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island and have lunch at The Harbour Public House overlooking the yacht harbor.
I know we all adore our Aerospace Museum in Balboa Park, but Seattle’s Museum of Flight is equally impressive. This is, after all, Boeing’s historical hometown.
A personal favorite? “Ballard Locks.” North of the city, this link for boats between the salt water of Puget Sound and the fresh water of the Ship Canal, Lake Union and Lake Washington was built in 1917. I was first taken here by my beloved Aunt Mable and Uncle Neal, hard-working Minnesotans who migrated west in the 1930s. We spent many a happy hour watching the parade of sailboats, tugs, and barges pass through, as the locks’ water levels were adjusted to allow their safe passage. Mable, Neal, and the Ballard Locks — quintessential authentic Seattle. Elizabeth Hansen
Ballard Locks: Photo courtesy of Visit Seattle All other photography courtesy of ADAMS / HANSEN STOCK PHOTOS