Since I'm usually the person choosing and coordinating our expeditions, this time Dad chose where we were going. He's really enjoyed his other trips to the Pacific Northwest so Seattle was our obvious next destination. When compared to the other major cities in the Northwest (San Francisco and Portland), I'd say that Seattle ranks somewhere above Portland and below San Francisco (though I am a very biased Californian). In some respects, including the weather and the fresh food available in markets, I'd say Seattle ranks high above the other two. Here's a couple things that really stood out to me, good and bad.
The biggest hassle of our entire trip was something we didn't plan for: children aren't allowed in breweries or pubs. This, of course, is a huge deal for a beer nut on vacation with his family. We took a very long trip out of the city center to visit Holy Mountain Brewery only to find out that Jenny and I had to hang out at Starbucks instead. Beer culture in Southern California is very much a family-friendly experience so it was pretty irritating to find the opposite was true in Seattle.
Let yourself be as basic as possible and have the full experience at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. We didn't spend nearly enough time here, but I was struck by the very surprising lack of your typical Starbucks souvenirs.
We took a City Sightseeing tour on our last day in town. I wish we would have done it the first day to get our bearings and learn more about the Seattle Center, which was an area I had no idea about.
Pioneer Square transit station is UNDERGROUND. We walked around in circles for a very long time before we figured this out. Google Maps was no help in this case.
Here are the details of our trip:
Where We Stayed
For our Seattle trip, we chose to stay in an Airbnb. I'm personally conflicted about using Airbnb for a multitude of reasons but our Seattle holiday home couldn't have been more perfect. Currants, gooseberries, and strawberries right out of the door; chickens, fruit trees, a veggie patch and a picnic table in the yard. Seriously, so perfect. Because our stay was only two full days we didn't explore the neighborhood very well.
How We Got Around
The one drawback that we found in the Mt. Baker neighborhood we stayed in was our Lyft drivers. We took a Lyft several times during our stay and the drivers we had from our home were awful and in one case, pretty dangerous. In another instance, the driver called me and told me to cancel the trip since he was going to the airport.
These disappointing trips were at the very beginning of our stay so we doubled down and figured out the bus system to avoid the hassle. We downloaded the Transit Go Ticket app that allowed us to purchase all the tickets we needed on the go.
One of my favorite "touristy" things to do in a new city is to take the City Sightseeing bus to the main sights. If you purchase your tickets online you can easily find a coupon code for 10% off, which seems to be their largest possible discount. We've taken these busses in many other cities and it has always been worthwhile. The one drawback of the Seattle bus was that they stop picking up at 4:00 pm which is very early, especially in the summer.
One of the main takeaways from our trip to Seattle was an almost total lack of children in the downtown and main tourist areas. The waiter in one restaurant, Maximilien, seemed thoroughly irritated that we had the audacity to bring a child. For the record, everyone else was lovely and seemed charmed by Jenny's whimsy. I wouldn't say that Seattle isn't family friendly, but I think that it would be best experienced on an adults-only trip (or with a babysitter or family member). The city itself was very stroller friendly, including the busses and trains we took.
Where We Ate and Drank
Poquito's via Grubhub - Get the chicken suizas, 11/10 would recommend food-wise. Grubhub, as usual, had issues.
Rachel's Ginger Beer - I LOVE ginger. Love love love. This ginger beer did not disappoint. I got the extra ginger flavor and Dad got the passionfruit vanilla flavor and both were great. If we had enough time to go back, I would have taken a growler home.
Hot Cakes - S'mores was amazing, peanut butter chocolate was very rich.
Pike Place Market - Get as many berries and cherries as you can. Seriously.
Glo's Coffee Shop - Breakfast was ok, my husband's hash browns were delicious.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery - Head over to the pastry side and get the eggs in purgatory. We could have spent our entire vacation here.
Harbor City - It might be due to my own ignorance, but I wasn't super impressed with the Dim Sum here. I was really excited to take my husband to his first dim sum experience and we were both pretty let down. It suffers in comparison to our trip to City View Restaurant in San Francisco. The service was actually really good though!
for tips on how to create your own itinerary, check out my article on Google MyMaps.
We scheduled our first Experience with Airbnb which was a photo shoot in Pike Place Market. Since I'm the main photographer of the family, it was nice to be able to have some family photos with the three of us in them. However, it's been a week and I still haven't received the photos back so I can't speak to the quality of them yet. The days we went weren't crowded so navigating Pike Place Market was fun and the flower and berry selection was A+. We didn't get the chance to catch a fish since you have to buy it first (the vendors will supposedly pack it for plane travel).
Another pleasant surprise was the Museum of Pop Culture, which had a Marvel exhibit while we were in town. The Marvel exhibit had a ton of compelling costumes and comic panels, including costumes from just about every film in the MCU. The rest of the museum was well worth the admission and included an interactive indie video game exhibit and some really cool themed areas.
One thing we did not do was go to the top of the Space Needle. Jenny isn't into heights and it was expensive, so we just skipped it.
Seattle has tons to do and see, especially in the summer. Have you been? What part of town did you stay in?
Let me know in the comments!