Monday, August 12, 2013

The Real To-Do: Seattle, Washington

photo taken by me in 2008, from the ferry coming into Seattle from Bremerton

I've been missing Seattle quite a bit lately, especially the part about leaving my little apartment near the park and having umpteen restaurants/bars/activities at my fingertips. In the three years I called Seattle "home," I set out to devour all of the food, cocktails, hikes, and sights I could manage on a very (very) tight budget.

My dear friend, Jessica, is moving up there this week and all of our discussions leading up to the Big Move made me yearn for the city that I left nearly two years ago. So much has changed (new restaurants and bars!), but so much has stayed the same, too.

I arrived in Seattle with virgin eyes, and a fantasy of what this city and its surroundings would hold. I grew up outside of San Francisco (arguably one of the best cities in the world), so my standards were fairly high. And when you're poor like I was, a lot can be said about a city that has places to go and things to do that don't cost an arm and a leg.

In that respect, Seattle rules all.

There's so much to enjoy in that city, and despite my complicated feelings about living there, I loved it—and still do—very much. I could go on and on about the restaurants, bars, and hot spots that made a lasting impression, because I had the pleasure of going to so many in a multitude of price ranges (thanks mainly to Jonathan's concierge job); the list feels infinite and would be 10 pages long if I just named every good meal or drink I ever had here. However, I certainly have my favorites—ones that top my list of places to go if I had just a week to visit. That being said, I thought I'd share my personal recommendations for what to eat, drink, and do in the Emerald City if you've got the time to spare and money to spend.

So. You're visiting Seattle for the 2nd or 10th time and you're tired of Pike Place Market and Seattle Center trips; or you've just moved there and have no idea where to go or what to do and just want to stay away from the tourists... Here are some of my suggestions* of ways to keep your belly full, your head a little fuzzy, and your body aching from exertion.

Sun Liquor (Capitol Hill & First Hill)
Tini Bigs (Lower Queen Anne)
Dilettante (Capitol Hill)
Zig Zag Café (Pike Place Market, Downtown)
Suite 410 (Downtown)
Tavern Law (Capitol Hill, Pike/Pine Corridor)

Beer & Wine
White Horse Trading Co. (Post Alley, Downtown)
Brouwer's (Fremont)
Stumbling Monk (Capitol Hill)
Pike Place Brewery (Downtown)

Coffee & Tea
Victrola Coffee (First Hill & Capitol Hill)
Fonté (Downtown)
Remedy Teas (Capitol Hill)

Weekday Breakfast
Glo's (Capitol Hill)
Toulouse Petit (Lower Queen Anne)
Serious Biscuit (South Lake Union)

Weekend Brunch
Americana - previously: Table 219 (Capitol Hill)
Oddfellows Café & Bar (Capitol Hill, Pike/Pine Corridor)
Smith (Capitol Hill)
Portage Bay Café (South Lake Union / Ballard / U-District)

Poquitos (Pike/Pine Corridor)
Boat Street Café (Belltown)
Skillet Street Food (food truck / Central)
Rom Mai Thai (Capitol Hill)
Red Mill Burgers (Phinney Ridge)

Delancey (Ballard)
RN-74 (Downtown)
Black Bottle (Belltown)
Café Selam (Central)
Annapurna (Capitol Hill)
Brad's Swingside Café (Fremont)
Purple Café & Wine Bar (Downtown)

Happy Hour (Food) - when the deals are so good that I wouldn't go any other time
Serious Pie (Downtown / South Lake Union)
Deluxe Bar & Grill (Capitol Hill)
Poppy (Capitol Hill)

Schmitz Preserve Park (West Seattle)
Green Lake (Greenlake)
Discovery Park (Magnolia)
Seward Park (Sewart Park)
Volunteer Park & Conservatory (Capitol Hill)

Frye Art Museum (First Hill) - free
Olympic Sculpture Park (Belltown) - free
Seattle Art Museum (Downtown)

Uwajimaya (International District)
Fremont Sunday Market (Fremont)
Ballard Farmer's Market (Ballard)

Elliott Bay Bookstore (Pike/Pine Corridor)
Theo Chocolate Factory Tour & Shop (Fremont)

Note: I don't shop, hence the length of this list. I was poooooor. But I did buy books. And chocolate, because I was never too poor for that.

I hope you enjoyed my list of places that make me happy, even thinking about them years later, and if you're ever in Seattle -- I hope you'll check out a few of them.

Also, I know there are some Seattle friends who check in here, so tell me: what are your favorite spots that I totally need to eat at/visit next time I'm up there?

* These are a collection of my favorite spots in the city, which are limited to the areas (districts) I frequented, most notably Capitol Hill since it was my home for 2 years. There are loads of spots I liked a lot but didn't go often enough to think of it as a favorite, as well as many that I never had the chance to enjoy (Paseo, The Walrus and the Carpenter, to name a few). I am recommending these particular places/eateries/bars because they are spots I would try to go if I were to visit for an extended period. There are innumerable "must" lists that expand on this one, especially since new things have opened up since I've been away.

** All images property of The Sleepy Peach


  1. This list is everything, ugh. Makes me miss visiting you in Seattle and cramming in as many restaurants, bars, museums and parks into our itinerary as possible!

    Only thing missing from this list is like... social fun things to do, like take the ferry to Bainbridge and eat toast (TOAST PLACE!!!), or do karaoke in the Rock Box place (no idea if that was actually its name). Or even day trip options to surrounding cities or towns.

    Seattle was always the most fun, out of any of the cities I would visit. Thanks for posting this list!

    1. The Rock Box! I completely forgot about that! Definitely a MUST if I'm there if I want something to do in the evenings -- or day drinking on a Sunday afternoon!)