Maximize your time in Seattle with this three-day itinerary of things to do, eat and see.
Breakfast – Sound View Café
For over 40 years, the Sound View Café has been tucked just west of the Pike Place Market’s fish-flinging crew. While the space here may be narrow, the view is anything but. Elliot Bay and the Olympics spill out in front of you at this long time favorite. Service is sometimes slow, but the prices are incredibly reasonable, the seafood is fresh and the coffee is packed with caffeine.
Sound View Café – 1501 Pike Pl #501, Seattle
Explore – Pike Place Market
Wander through Seattle’s Pike Place Market where fresh flowers, flying seafood and the occasional street performer fill the cobblestone streets. Make sure to visit Rachel, the Market’s pig mascot. Pop down to Post Alley where the Market Theater’s wall, better known as the Gum Wall, is covered with sticky color. Head further south to the Harbor Steps, a pedestrian walkway connecting 1st Avenue, Post Alley and Western Avenue. Looking for a caffeine refill? Head up to Café Fonté on 1st Avenue where the beans are expertly roasted and the coffee is exceptionally prepared.
Café Fonté – 1321 First Ave., Seattle
Lunch – Wandering Goose
Flour sack lampshades and tabletops carved with creative rhymes and poems give this small neighborhood eatery charm. But, it’s Wandering Goose’s food which steals the show. While the buttermilk biscuit sandwiches and the fried oyster po’ boy may be tempting, it’s the cast iron skillet concoctions that really scream for attention. From the veggie packed hash to Bubble and Squeek – veggies with braised beef brisket – the dishes are well seasoned and topped with poached eggs. If you can save room for dessert, their prominent display case shows off an impressive selection of moist cakes and chewy cookies.
Wandering Goose – 403 15th Ave. E, Seattle
Explore – Volunteer Park & Broadway
Tucked among some of Seattle’s oldest homes on the north end of Capital 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. Once you have your nature fill, head up to Broadway, where the people watching thrives and thrifting (a popular Seattleite pastime of hunting for finds in thrift stores) is strongly encouraged.
Volunteer Park – 1247 15th Ave E, Seattle 98122
Dinner – Sitka & Spruce in the Melrose Market
Tucked in the back of the Melrose Market – a mecca for restaurants and shops committed to all things local and sustainable – you’ll find Sitka & Spruce. The space is reminiscent of a loft apartment. It might make you feel like you should be perpetually in your 20’s, walking around in your underwear and eating grapes from a chipped bowl. But thoughtfully crafted dishes at this quaint restaurant are a far cry from those you’d pull together on a two-burner stove. Sourcing ingredients from their own Vashon Island farm – the Old Chaser Farm – their menu is similar to what you might find in your own backyard garden. Dishes are meant to be shared. And, while reading the menu might make you might feel the need for a foodie dictionary, the staff is knowledgeable and quick to answer questions. For the full experience, request a seat at the communal table, a large wooden chefs table attached to the kitchen’s own prep station.
Sitka & Spruce – 1531 Melrose Ave. E, Seattle
Drinks – Von Trapp’s
Raftered ceilings soar above Von Trapp’s five, centrally located bocce ball courts . Reminiscent of a Bavarian beer hall, they feature ‘beir’ (aka beer) in sizes ranging from 2-ounce tastes to 1-liter steins. No expense was withheld in this Capital Hill hot spot where crystal chandeliers and fireplaces give the wood interior a warm glow.
Von Trapp’s – 912 12th Ave., Seattle
Breakfast – Portage Bay Cafe
This casual café, focused on local, organic and seasonal ingredients, is designed for people who like to “Eat like they give a damn.” Baking their own bread and pastries, smoking their own meats and seafood, and making their own sausages, you can be certain your meal at Portage Bay Cafe was made from scratch. Breakfast favorites include the farmer’s hash – a scramble packed with veggies – and the oven baked French toast packed with blackberries. Big eaters will love the Breakfast Bar where you can top your own carb loving pancake or French toast with a selection of seasonal fruit, organic syrup, whipped cream and nuts.
Portage Bay Cafe – 391 Terry Ave. N, Seattle
Explore – MOHAI
A large aircraft, sans wheels, hangs from the ceiling. It’s Boeing’s first commercial plane. Built in 1919, it used to regularly land in Lake Union just like our Kenmore Air seaplanes do now. Only then, the building this water-landing baby now calls home didn’t exist. The former Naval Reserve Armory wasn’t built until 1942. Today, the expansive 50,000-square-foot building that hangs over Lake Union’s shores is now known as MOHAI – the Museum of History and Industry. Its exhibits feature Seattle’s past and capture its future achievements.
MOHAI – 860 Terry Ave. N, Seattle
Lunch – Brouwer’s Café
It may be the 64 beers on tap, the 300 different bottled brews and the 60 different scotches that have earned Brouwer’s Café a loyal following in the Seattle area. But, their impressive food menu doesn’t hurt either with choices such as ham and Gruyere sandwiches and an open faced, veggie-packed sandwich medley.
Brouwer’s Café – 400 North 35th St., Seattle
Explore – Fremont and the Theo Chocolate Factory
Across the street from Brouwer’s Café, you’ll find the Theo Chocolate Factory where they offer regular, hour-long tours from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Discover and taste what makes this free-trade chocolate so amazing. From the Theo Chocolate Factory, stroll east to the famous “Waiting for Interurban” statue which is frequently decorated by locals. Heading north, to the center of Fremont, you’ll find the Center of the Universe – a large pole which points to, what many Fremontians consider, the universe’s center. Moving further east, you’ll find the Fremont Troll, a large stone statue holding a real VW bug.
Theo Chocolate Factory – 3400 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle
Waiting for Interurban – The Corner of N 34th St. and Fremont Ave. N
Fremont Troll – 3405 Troll Ave. N, Seattle
Center of the Universe – The intersection of N 35th, Fremont PL N and Fremont Ave. N
Dinner – Walrus and the Carpenter
Considered the place in Seattle to indulge in oysters, chef Renee Erickson and co-owners Jeremy Price and Chad Dale gather and shuck oysters by the bushel. But, while you enjoy these icy shellfish at the Walrus and the Carpenter, save room for the small plates this Ballard eatery is throwing down. Selections vary from a duck broth soup to dates, roasted and seasoned with sea salt.
Walrus and the Carpenter – 4743 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle
Breakfast – Crumble & Flake
While Crumble & Flake’s 1-hour sell out crowds have died down, these butter packed indulgences still deserve attention. Opening in the morning and serving customers until 3:00 PM, or when they sell out, this small bakery often closes early. Pastry chef Neil Robertson transforms both sweet and savory baking into an event. His hand-held treats leave you licking your fingers, your plate, and occasionally the little white bags your pastries come in. (Don’t worry. If no one sees you, no one judges you.) Favorites include the filled-to-order cream puffs; the classic croissants; and the salty, sweet caramelized Kouign Amann (pronounced “kween a-mon”). This delectable French specialty is similar to a croissant, but with salted butter and rolled in sugar.
Crumble & Flake – 1500 E Olive Way, Seattle
Explore – Sites with a View
Start at Marshall Park where this tiny green oasis 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 contributed 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, Mt. Rainier makes a guest appearance. Head down the hill to the Space Needle for a trip to the top of the 605-foot-tall tower. Package Admission options will allow you to easily and affordably visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass later in the day.
Marshall Park – 7th Ave. W & Highland Dr., Seattle
Parsons Gardens – 7th Ave. W & Highland Dr., Seattle
Kerry Park – 211 W Highland Dr., Seattle
Chihuly Garden and Glass – 305 Harrison St., Seattle
Lunch – The Armory
Like most of the Seattle food scene, this food court isn’t your typical sub-par fare. The Armory at the Seattle Center features outposts for some of Seattle’s most recent to-die-for restaurants including Eltana – a local bagel joint that’s frying up bagels with a crisp outsides and chewy centers – and Skillet Counter – a stationary location for one of Seattle’s favorite where you’ll find homey comfort food with elegant flare.
The Armory – 305 Harrison St. Seattle
Explore – Chilhuly Garden and Glass
The 45,000 modern glass conservatory features an incredible selection of chandeliers and towers by renowned Northwest glass artist Dale Chihuly. Like much of his other works, the sculptures at the Chilhuly Garden and Glass are inspired by both flowers and the sea. The star of the show is the Glasshouse. The 40-foot tall, 4,500-square-foot glass and steel structure is dominated by a 100-foot long sculpture of blooming flowers.
Chilhuly Garden and Glass – 305 Harrison St., Seattle
Dinner – Dahlia Lounge
The first of Tom Douglas’ restaurants, the Dahlia Lounge opened in 1989. From the smell of its wood-burning stove to its nationally renowned Dungeness crab cakes, it offers the full bodied taste of the Pacific Northwest. Committed to locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, menu specials can change daily. While the savory side of this meal might have you searching for extra belly room, be sure to save a little. Next door, the Dahlia Bakery is crafting equally enticing bites.
Dahlia Lounge – 2001 4th Av., Seattle
Getting Around Seattle
While you certainly could take to the streets for a walking tour, and at times probably should, Seattle’s hilly topography and drizzly weather might make you more inclined towards covered – less strenuous – forms of transportation. Though not always on time, Seattle’s bus system can get you nearly anywhere in the city. Just make sure you have exact change. A variety of rental car services are available, as are taxis. (Google for your closest location.) The King County Water Taxi offers trips between West Seattle and downtown. And, the Seattle Monorail will help you move between Westlake Center in downtown Seattle and the Seattle Center.