Seattle Skyline at Night

Seattle – more than just grey’s anatomy

Seattle is one of my favourite places I’ve visited in the last few years. While planning the trip I saw some articles that suggested locals might not always be very friendly to outsiders but my experience was nothing but positive. So, here are the things you should not miss in Seattle.

Seattle Space Needle with fireworks

Space Needle

An obvious choice given that it is the main landmark in the Seattle skyline.

It’s not as tall as you might expect given the scenes we see on screen. It it is worth a visit. I love viewing a city from a high vantage point. It’s an icon of Seattle and not to be missed. 

There’s something special about seeing a building in a film or tv show knowing you’ve been to the top. Anything featuring Seattle will always show the Space Needle and, for me, that is reason enough to go. 

Columbia Centre – Sky View Observatory

This is actually the tallest building in Seattle and has a great observation deck with a café/bar. Sitting watching the Seattle sunset with a glass of wine is a pretty good way to end a day!

It also puts the height of the Space Needle into perspective as you look down on it from this skyscraper.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

I loved this so much that I went twice!

I first saw Chihuly’s work in an exhibition in Toronto. After booking my Seattle trip I was extra happy to discover that Chihuly has a permanent exhibition in Seattle. I’d never considered glass as an art form to be admired in the same way as a painting or sculpture, but Dale Chihuly has changed my mind. 

The exhibition is stunning. From massive foliage-like structures, to small delicate bowls and a garden with glass sculptures perfectly entwined with plants, there is nothing I didn’t enjoy about this. 

Extra tip – it has a great cafe with friendly staff who served me possibly the best salad I have ever had (the fact that it had really crunchy bits of bacon may have influenced this review…)

 

Chihuly Glass House and Space Needle

Pike Place Fish Market

 

Another Seattle icon, featuring tiny, yummy donuts, Lowell’s diner (great breakfast), loads of options for gifts and souvenirs, and of course more fish being thrown around than you would otherwise experience on a daily basis.

It’s also right by the original Starbucks. It’s worth visiting even if, like me, you are not generally a fan of Starbucks. They have far more blends than a typical Starbucks. Just go early – the lines get very long later in the day.

sports

Ok, I can’t lie and say I am a massive fan of sports, but I do love watching something in a city with a great team and passionate fans. Enter, the NFL Seattle Seahawks.

 You can’t help but get excited when surrounded by enthusiastic people, whether at the stadium or at a sports bar. And some very friendly Seattleites explained those aspects of the rules that I hadn’t been able to wrap my head around on Wikipieda… It was the first time I had ever watched an NFL game and the locals were really nice to me about that and didn’t mind my questions. Bonus points all around.

It also really gives an insight into the feel of a city. I spent a couple of hours at the Yard House in the city centre, tried a few beers, some food and generally had a great time. If I could have afforded the tickets I would have gone, but they seemed a little too pricey given that I didn’t really know the rules of the game. 

I also really liked that after checking my ID the servers all referred to me by name. A small thing, but still one that made me smile.

If you want to get out of the city…

I can recomment two great options.

1. Alki Beach

Take a ferry over to Alki Beach. It’s a lovely walk by the beach with views across the Sound to the city. Cities are great but sometimes you need to leave the hustle for a little bit. Alki was perfect for that. Easy to get to, chilled out, and worth a visit.

2. A wine tour.

One of my favourite days in Seattle was not actually in Seattle.

I took a day tour with Bon Vivant Wine Tours to Woodinville. The are lots of wineries in this area and you could easily visit yourselves, but the ease of being driven around to some of the best was wonderful.

The guide was excellent, the other members of the tour were friendly and inclusive (I was the only non-American) and it was just generally a brilliant day. It is a full day tour so perhaps difficult to fit in if you are only in Seattle for a short time, but I would definitely recommend it.

Museum of pop culture

‘MoPop’ is right by the Space Needle in a very unusual building. From a room full of guitars used by famous musicians, to a sci-fi and fantasy hall with costumes from tv and film, there is lots to see. I haven’t been to many museums like this one, and it’s a definite change from archaeological artifacts and art works. Give it a go – it’s definitely worth a look.

great eats

I don’t think I had a single bad meal in Seattle, but these were some of my favourites. 

1. Salty’s at Alki Beach

A great meal sitting outside watching the sun set over the water. The food was superb and the staff were friendly. Coconut prawns, scallops with polenta and excellent local wine. A pretty good evening all around.

2. Purple Cafe and Wine Bar

I found this a few hours after I landed by stumbling around in a jet lagged daze to find somewhere to eat before I collapsed into bed. The staff didn’t seem to mind my confusion and served me an amazing lobster mac and cheese. I went back a second time later in my trip when I could fully enjoy it, as well as the wine flights they offer. There is also a branch in Woodinville where we stopped for lunch on the tour.

3. Andaluca

Another amazing option, the paella at Andaluca. It’s always nice to have seafood in a city that is actually by the sea (also why I had oysters several times in Seattle), and Andaluca did seafood paella very well.

P.S. Try the local wines (it’s hard to find outside of the US), and drink lots of coffee (Seattle is after all the birthplace of Starbucks, but there are a myriad of independent cafes to try)

So, add these to your plans for a trip to Seattle. It’s an amazing city to visit and has lots to see and do. Try the local wines and seafood, watch beautiful sunsets over the sound and explore to your heart’s content!