We recently returned from a week-long vacation in Seattle. Our list of cities to visit is incredibly long, but Seattle jumped up the list when we realized we could time the trip to coincide with a video game convention (PAX) . The convention was an incredibly nerdy experience – some of the best people-watching I’ve ever experienced. We were also able to fit in some time to catch up with old friends who live in the area.
After the convention was over we set out to do touristy things in Seattle. I’m not going to give a boring day-by-day breakdown, but thought I would highlight the best places we visited, ate, and stayed.
Pike’s Place Market
Pike’s Market is a quintessential Seattle experience. We spent several days wandering around and enjoying the food and sights. It’s an enormous farmers market with iconic signs, fish, fresh produce and more. The Original Starbucks can also be found there.
Renowned for one of the best skyline views of Seattle, this did not disappoint. It’s accessible by bus from downtown Seattle if you don’t have a car.
Across the water from downtown Seattle, this park provides another great skyline view. The gasworks were restored and remain here for some interesting photo opportunities.
Argosy Cruise – Harbor Tour
We took a 2 hour harbor tour with Argosy Cruises. The tour guide was full of entertaining facts about Seattle (such as how they regraded the landscape by shortening many of its hills back in the late 1800′s/early 1900′s). The boat also provided yet another great view of the city.
Mt. Rainer National Park
This was a full day trip from Seattle. We hiked around the Paradise visitor center area, ascending to great views of a glacier and the mountain. The wildflowers were incredible in this alpine meadow area. We saw a few deer and marmots enjoying the sunny day. The most surprising thing for me was how difficult it was to adjust to the thin mountain air – I was entirely out of breath for the first part of the hike. Also surprising was how snow-covered many of the trails were, even in August. It was a fun challenge to navigate through the mounds of snow.
Chateau St. Michelle Winery
This winery is one of the most popular US producers outside of California. Their large estate gives free tours and tastings, which we thoroughly enjoyed. They source their grapes from eastern Washington as do most wineries in the state. Despite the lack of extensive vineyards on-site, their estate did feel luxurious and reminiscent of a French winery. I was also surprised by how many premium wines they produced – I had always thought of them as a standard American value wine producer.
Each one of these restaurants could have its own review, but I’m just going to make this short and sweet and list them by location and cuisine type. I feel like we made good choices for our meals, trying new things and not settling for fast food or chains that we have back home. Well, except for Starbucks…
- The Pike (Brewpub)
- Tap House Grill (Gastropub)
- Fado (Irish)
- Seattle Bagels
- Pieroshky Pieroshky (savory and sweet Russian pastry)
- The Crumpet Shop (breakfast)
- Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (mac & cheese)
- Etta’s (seafood)
- Wilde Rover (Irish)
- Brix Wine Cafe (Wine bar)
- Noah’s Bagels
- Amazon Grill (Brazilian barbeque)
- Hotel Executive Pacific
- Courtyard by Marriott, Kirkland
For more photos from the trip, check out the full album