It’s not every day that one of your best mates from Dubai lands a layover in Seattle; so when my friend Maysie asked me if I wanted to come stay with her, I eagerly booked a bus to the Emerald City.
One of my favourite parts of living on the West Coast is the luxury of having Washington State and California in our backyard. Growing up in Kingston, a four hour drive and fifty dollars could get you to downtown Toronto or to Syracuse and the Carousel Mall. But from coastal Vancouver, you can end up adventuring to some of the most beautiful places.
Emirates usually puts their Crew up in busy, downtown locations and we were fortunate to spend the weekend at the Marriott Renaissance on 5th and Madison. The hotel was located in the heart of the CBD and conveniently for us, was an easy walk away from some of Seattle’s most colourful neighbourhoods.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is one of the cities biggest tourist attraction’s and it’s almost impossible to miss visiting when you’re there. I wouldn’t say that it’s worth spending your whole day at but it’s a memorable place to visit for a couple of hours. Pike Place Market is exactly what you think it will be: a colourful, crowded and covered farmer’s market that offers some of the West Coast’s freshest seafood and artisan fare. Make sure that you stop in at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese and sample/purchase some of their flagship cheese or order a quick “World’s Best Macaroni” to go.
Some other stops worth making while near Pike Place are:
Lowell’s: this tourist trap makes legit fish and chips and offers a third floor view of Puget Bay. It was a great place to split a bottle of local white wine and rest our lazy legs.
Pike Place Chowder: this little legend boasts about being awarded the best chowder in America and for good reason, it always has a line around the corner and offers five different traditional types to try.
Local Color, Art, Coffee and More: this little hole in the wall art and coffee shop won us over with their “4$ Any Beer, Any Time” sign. In the middle of the cities most touristy neighbourhood, anything cheaper than ten with tip was impossible to find.
I didn’t have any expectations when we wandered up to Capitol Hill so I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived on Saturday night to find a bustling, energetic night life and to streets that were bursting with people our age. I quickly learned that Capitol Hill is a historically wealthy neighbourhood and as a result is still home to some of the cities most impressive real estate. But over the last few decades the neighbourhood has also been transformed by a new generation of artists and musicians who’ve built Capitol Hill into a vibrant, cultured community featuring some of the coolest restaurants, taverns and coffee shops in town.
For brunch, I couldn’t ignore my craving for Eggs Benny and proceeded to drag May on my pursuit for the Manhattan Steakhouse, a restaurant whose online menu promised me gourmet flavours at reasonable breakfast prices. Both the Seafood Trio Benny and the Steakhouse certainly satisfied my craving: my breakfast was beautiful in presentation, rich in flavour and had generous portions of snow crab, lobster and shrimp. Enjoying two perfectly poached eggs on golden english muffins with velvety avocado, all the while seated in a plush restaurant fitted with iron chandeliers and high, wooden ceilings was a great way to start the day. Manhattan, 1419 12th Ave, www.manhattanseattle.com
Other places worth mentioning are:
Poquitos or Barrio for Mexican: Both restaurants were warm, welcoming and proud of their taco’s and tequila. We were able to get a table at Poquitos and shared ceviche and the al pastor tacos: three marinated pork tacos that were decorated with sweet pineapple salsa and sour pickled onion. www.vivapoquitos.com online and 1000 E Pike Street in Seattle
Terra Plata: a restaurant located in a corner building on Melrose Avenue, the space had the oddest shape but doubled in size when you consider it’s large, rooftop patio oasis. Sitting in the sunshine, sipping on a craft beer, surrounded by buildings above and hipsters below made for an enjoyable break in our tireless walking. Terra Plata,1501 Melrose Avenue, www.terraplata.com
The only reason that we ended up in Bell Town was because we were on our way to the Space Needle and to the International Beer Festival that was supposed to be there. And while we were disappointed by the early ending of the Festival Sunday afternoon, we weren’t disappointed by the pint-size Mimosa’s that we enjoyed at the unapologetic Five Point Cafe. This unlikely cafe / dive bar combination is a Bell Town beauty and stays open 24 hours a day, serving everything from jalepeno mac and cheese poppers to five different kinds of salad. They have a juke box, a lot of attitude (their slogan is that we cheat drunks and tourists) and is one of those wonderfully rare establishments that is loved by locals and tourists alike.