Seattle glows in pockets. While the bustling downtown shopping scene is a great place to find the latest sneakers, the real Seattle is tucked into its eccentric neighborhoods and scattered along its fringes. Parks nestle next to homes and against eateries big and small. Statues pop up across the city, resting next to bus stops, underneath bridges, and outside restaurants. Shorelines are speckled with beaches, docks, and views of ferries. Though the frequently drizzling climate might make you inclined to carry an umbrella, it’s hardly a reason to stay indoors. Simply don the Seattleite form of mittens – a strong cup of coffee – and take to the streets.
4:30 PM – Volunteer Park
Tucked among some of Seattle’s oldest homes, on the north end of Capitol Hill, is a conservatory packed with plants from across the globe. It’s hard to decide which is more beautiful – Volunteer Park’s idyllic setting or the view of the city, mountains, and water from the top of its brick water tower. (If you can pick, let me know.) This century-old garden, built by the Olmsted Brothers, offers playgrounds for the tots and strolling for adults. Young adults can frequently be caught starting impromptu games of freeze tag and capture the flag. Warm your hands and your belly at the nearby Volunteer Park Café where they offer a daily selection of house made pastries and warm cups of caffeine.
Volunteer Park – 1247 15th Ave. E, Seattle 98122
Volunteer Park Café – 1501 17th Ave. E, Seattle 98122
6:00 PM – Dinner at Momiji
Just as Seattle embraced former M’s right fielder Ichiro, it loves Japanese cuisine. Momiji transports you from the Seattle’s streets to a quaint Japanese restaurant in moments. The refined sexiness of woven paper lanterns and hand carved woodwork are a date night’s ideal. Ask for a table near the enclosed garden. Its imported tile roof and decorative drain spouts come alive in the rain. The standard menu won’t disappoint, but the Kaiseki (a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner) is the star.
Momiji – 1522 12th Ave., Seattle 98122
9:00 PM – Kung Fu Movies and Drinks at Ba Bar
Head to Capitol Hill for a combination of eccentric hippie and urban chic at Bab Bar. Housed in a former motorcycle shop, its walls of paned glass windows and sparse decorations take on a soft glow at night as candles light the restaurant. Following their dinner rush, Ba Bar continues serving a selection of elevated Vietnamese street food and an impressive selection of single malts and bourbon. For added Friday night entertainment, Kung Fu movies are projected on a large wall.
Ba Bar – 550 12th Ave., Seattle 98122
8:00 am – A Homegrown Breakfast
Homegrown’s Queen Anne location is a bright way to start the day. Their menu selections walk the delicate line of belly filling goodness and sustainably conscious ingredients for a meal that’s both satisfying and green.
Homegrown – 2201 Queen Anne Ave., Seattle 98109
9:30 am – Parks with a View
A tiny green oasis, Marshall Park offers stunning views of the sound. Be sure to check out the concrete walkway where prominent Northwest artists such as Morris Graves, Margaret Tompkins, Victor Steinbrueck, Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, and Charles Stokes have done some unsigned work. Head across the street to Parsons Gardens. Don’t worry about the gates on this hidden Queen Anne gem, it really is part of the Seattle Parks Department. Keep strolling east to Kerry Park for one of Seattle’s most famous views of Elliot Bay and downtown. On clear days, Mount Rainier makes a guest appearance. In need of a hand warmer? Head down the hill to Caffe Ladro for a slice of fresh made apple pie and cup of their Medici – a mocha with a twist of orange. On nice days, take your goodies outside and snag one of their Adirondack chairs lining the street for a people-watching extravaganza.
Marshall Park – 7th Ave. W & Highland Dr., Seattle 98199
Parsons Gardens – 7th Ave. W & Highland Dr., Seattle 98199
Kerry Park – 211 W Highland Dr., Seattle 98127
Caffe Ladro – 600 Queen Anne Ave. N, Seattle 98109
11:30 am – Pacific Science Center
Head to Collections Café at the Pacific Science Center for lunch where you’ll find a mix of Pacific Northwest (PNW) ingredients and artistic flare. Here you’ll find your first introduction to internationally renowned glass artist Dale Chilhuly. The restaurant displays his collections such as radios, cameras, and tin toys. Next door you’ll find the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. It features an exhibition hall filled with tributes to the sea and PNW. It includes an outdoor garden where Dale’s installations are paired with the natural environment. The star of the show is the Glasshouse. The 40-foot tall, 4,500 square feet glass and steel structure is dominated 100-foot long sculpture which has the look of blooming flowers.
Collections Café – 305 Harrison St., Seattle 98109
5:30 pm – Cocktails at Bastille
In Ballard, you’ll find one of Seattle’s most exciting food scenes including tacos worth the wait at La Carta de Oaxaca, Southern comfort bites at The Sexton, and a huge selection of beer on tap at The Noble Fir. For a small bite/drink combo start at Bastille, where their selection of indoor-outdoor seating is combined with fireplaces and 19th century sconces. From their rooftop garden, freshly harvested honey and herbs frequently grace the menu. Regular favorites include their Poutine – fries covered in a seasoned gravy and topped with crisp pork belly and cheese curds. If you’re up for a stroll before dinner, the area is packed with a selection of boutiques and art galleries that stay open late.
Bastille – 5307 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle 98107
7:00 – Dinner at The Walrus and The Carpenter
A mix of French food and Northwest ingredients, The Walrus and The Carpenter’s menu changes daily. Their fresh oyster selection is a smooth, intoxicatingly salty beginning to any meal. With a seafood focus, main courses such as albacore tuna and rockfish ceviche, are simple – letting the ingredients shine.
The Walrus and The Carpenter’s – 4743 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle 98107
8:00 am – Breakfast
Wander the Pike Place Market for breakfast. Start at the original Starbucks for a cup of joe and a glimpse of the not-so-covered mermaids on their front windows. Head south to Le Panier where you’ll find a selection of freshly made pastries and baguettes. Across the street, in the heart of the market, visit one of the seafood vendors for a small bite of smoked salmon. Don’t miss Rachel the pig, the market’s bronze mascot located next to Pike Place Fish, famous for their flying seafood. If your feet need a rest, start with an early breakfast at Etta’s, another one of Tom Douglas’ masterpieces.
Starbucks – 1912 Pike Place, Seattle 98101
Le Panier – 1902 Pike Place, Seattle 98101
Etta’s – 2020 Western Ave., Seattle 98121
10:30 am – Art by the Water
Stroll down to the Seattle waterfront where you’ll find the Olympic Sculpture Park, a free extension of the Seattle Art Museum. This 9-acre gallery features a selection of statues and gardens, along with a picturesque fountain.
Olympic Sculpture Park – 2901 Western Ave., Seattle 98121