Monday, August 13, 2012

seattle recap

After a wonderful week in the Pacific northwest, I am back to my home state of Texas. Let me just say: Seattle was amazing! My husband put it best when he said it was one of the most underrated cities to visit. There never seems to be much hype about it but maybe that's a good thing. It's kind of our secret!

First of all, August weather is fabulous. Not a drop of rain [is this normal?], overcast/cloudy mornings that hovered around 60 degrees, and sunny afternoons that didn't top 80 degrees. As far as scenery is concerned, the Olympic mountains are visible to the west and looked especially beautiful at sunset; Mt. Rainier, though two hours away, looms majestically in the southeast; the Puget Sound sparkles along the west; and hilly terrain to the north and east surrounds Seattle and its suburbs.

Seattle has fantastic sights and restaurants--there's so much to explore! If you ever plan to visit, here are a few of my suggested sights, eateries, and activities. As I was researching this myself before my trip, I was disappointed that there wasn't much on the web about exploring Seattle like a local [I guess this is part of the whole underrated, under hyped thing I mentioned previously.] I don't like to mesh with the throng of tourists but instead prefer to find my own spots and follow my own paths [though of course there are always the few must-see's and must-do's that I keep on my list.]

Japonessa - This sushi joint just outside of the Pike Place Market area had phenomenal sushi, not to mention a pretty good happy hour. I've found the best way to have a nice dinner in new cities is to try out the happy hour menu. Great deals on food and drinks! Eat in the bar area for good service and fantastic views of the water if you sit by the windows. Try: Calamari Japonessa, Mexican Ninja Roll [this was a roll of the month], sushi set B, California roll, Manny's Pale Ale [a local favorite].

Top Pot Doughnuts - After seeing this place appear on Food Network and recommended on various Seattle websites and blogs, I decided it would be a must on my list. I was not disappointed--we went for dessert after dinner our first night and I was blown away! If you like doughnuts and ice cream, definitely visit this place. Try: Plain glazed cake doughnut, espresso chip ice cream.

Sea Town Snack Bar - Another fantastic happy hour spot. Rainier beer for $2 each made for a fun evening; the rotisserie sandwiches looked great, but we opted for seafood dishes on the regular menu to make the most of our close vicinity to the ocean [and fresh seafood.] Try: Rainier beer, gulf shrimp cocktail, dungeness crab blt, clam/mussel/salmon chowder.

Dick's Drive-In - We stumbled upon this diner after a visit to the Space Needle, located in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood [with other establishments scattered around Seattle]. We were famished and I remembered seeing this featured on the Travel Channel website, so I figured we should give it a go! Besides the fact that it is cash only, the food was pretty good! It's your typical fast-food burger joint but the prices are pretty unbeatable. Try: Kid's cheeseburger, Deluxe burger, fries.

Other noteworthy eateries: Jack's Fish Spot, Le Panier, Mililani, Cupcake Royale, Kukuruza.

Sights & Activities
Space Needle - Obviously this is something you should put on your must-see list. The Space Needle is a little bit outside of downtown, but easily accessible via the Monorail and offers stunning 360 degree views of the city and the Puget Sound.

The Great Wheel - Newly constructed, this giant ferris wheel is a fun way to see the city. It is located on the pier and also offers 360 views of the waterfront, mountains, and downtown.

Pike Place Market - One of the most "tourist-y" spots in Seattle, it's also one of the coolest! Go here for fresh seafood, souvenirs crafted by local artisans, and fantastic people-watching. Don't miss the Gum Wall [a wall covered in various colored gum. Unsanitary, yes. Awesome? Yes.]

Downtown - The hub of Seattle has hands-down some of the best shopping in such a relatively small area! Conveniently, our hotel was caddy corner to H&M, so I definitely did some damage there. Forever 21, Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, J. Crew, Loft, Banana Republic, and Old Navy are also all within a block or two of each other, in addition to many other places.

I obviously didn't get to see everything this city has to offer, and didn't venture too far from our hotel since we wanted to limit most of our transportation to walking, but I think we got to enjoy a lot during the short amount of time we were there! I definitely would like to return someday and explore more of the outer neighborhoods that surround downtown. Hope you enjoyed my abbreviated guide to Seattle and hope you get to visit someday, too! xo.

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