From the Archives :: Seeking Seattle in Spring

pike place[trip style = weekend getaway + urban + sightseeing]

{For this month's installment of From the Archives, I've chosen a post about exploring the Emerald City in spring. With a focus on the weekending trip style, I highlight where to stay, where to stroll, plus some out of the way local faves for brunch, dinner and drinks. I hope it inspires! PS - if Seattle's weather looks good, it's always easy to get last-minute hotel reservations, so what are you waiting for?}

Good weather; check. Great hotel; check. Weekend with no plans; check.

Although I’ve been to Seattle many times, this time was different. This time I wanted to be a tourist, yet avoid tourist traps. So, I did my own kind of sightseeing. The kind that allows you to see a city for what it really is {with hands-on experiences}, and who it really is {sharing it with locals}.

Stay Stay at The Fairmont Olympic {see my detailed review here}, the Pacific Northwest’s only AAA, 5-Diamond Hotel. Although the Seattle area has other great hotels like the swanky W, the understated Ace, or the posh Four Seasons, staying at the Olympic immerses you in Seattle’s past. Open since 1924, this iconic hotel’s old-world charm is a stark contrast to the city’s west coast architecture and laid-back vibe. I love the hotel's complimentary drop-off and pick-up service to restaurants and attractions in the area, the Parisian take-away cafe and the milk and cookies given out when you bid adieu and pick up your keys from the valet.

Do/Eat Coffee/Neighborhood Walk/Breakfast Not sure if it was the coffee culture or the crisp, spring morning, but I was raring to go at 7am. Talk about making the most of the day. First up, driving 10-mins outside the city centre, I grabbed a coffee at Verite and walked around Madrona, an adorable, yet sophisticated neighborhood. The peace of the morning, the sunrise sparkling over the water, the scent of blooming flowers and the mix of modern and Tudor-style homes made my morning picture perfect {no joke---see pics below}. After a jolt of caffeinedecaf, I walked down the road from the coffee shop and put my name in at Hi-Spot Cafe, an always-busy brunch spot. *Make sure you order something that can be paired with their amazing raspberry jam. It’s so good that once I’d eaten my jam-smothered English muffin, I hid myself from other restaurant patrons and savored the rest of the jam with a spoon.

verite coffee sidewalk in seattle sunrise in seattle

Pier/Pike Place/Starbucks We all know Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks, the little coffee shop turned worldwide, caffeinated sensation. But, did you know that the first-ever Starbucks is located near Pike Place Market? But first, the pier. Walking along the pier is not only a quintessential Seattle experience, but in doing so, you’ll also pass shops, restaurants, the Seattle Aquarium and the SAM Olympic Statue Park. Once you’ve had your fill of wind-in-your-hair, ocean-front walking, head up the hill to Pike Place Market. The eclectic and thriving mix of vendors may wow you as much as the famed fish tossing. Once you’ve watched the fish throwers launch the local catch at each other like Seahawks quarterbacks, head to the original Starbucks [1912 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101] to grab a java or drive 5 mins to the newest Starbucks concept for some wine & cheese.

antiques in seattle

Lunching and Shopping One great way to see the downtown core is to lunch 'n' shop. There are multiple restaurants in the shopping district, so stop into any of them to fuel-up with food so you can let-go with cash. To get your shopping fill, visit the flagship Nordstrom or gaze at the Chihuli [instigator of Pacific Northwest glass movement] installation in Barneys.

Evening Dinner and Drinks Don’t miss Black Bottle, a corner eatery and watering hole whose industrial design and downtown vibe makes the flatbread taste better than it already is. Cap off the evening with a bevvie at Zig Zag Cafe. When I told the Fairmont driver where I was going, he said “Zig Zag has the best bartender in the city.” Perfect! This out-of-the-way resto-lounge has grown by word of mouth and loyal clientele. At 8:30pm it’s dead, by 11pm it’s so busy I can’t hear myself speak. A special thanks goes out to my server for her drink suggestion. The French 76 is now in my cocktail hall of fame book—which I should really start.

Related Grande Beer with a Shot of Chardonnay YVR to SEA Must-Stops