Emerald City Itinerary

Day 1 – Welcome!

You have arrived in Seattle and are ready to start your vacation. Perhaps you arrived through the nearest airport, SeaTac, which is located closer to Tacoma than Seattle. You may have even driven yourself as part of a Pacific Northwest road trip vacation or arrived by train after a bit of railroad exploration. No matter your mode of transportation or budget level, Seattle has something for everyone.

If you want to stay in a social and budget-minded hostel, Seattle’s Green Tortoise Hostel (1525 2nd Avenue) is the place to be. It is located one block from Pike Place Market and close to most downtown attractions. Dormitory-style accommodations cost $23 to $25 per person per night. Private rooms are available for a single or couple for $48 and rooms accommodating three people cost $65 per night. Special offers for discounts are posted on their website, if interested visit: http://www.greentortoise.net. If you prefer to stay in an inn or B & B, focus your search on Capitol Hill or Madison Park. These neighborhoods have a more residential feel and historic architecture. For a standard hotel experience or a boutique hotel stay, there are scores of places within walking distance of Pike Place Market.

One thing to keep in mind while in Seattle is that summer is its time to shine. The slight, but nearly constant rainfall the rest of the year nourishes the city’s lush landscape to be emerald green. To get a feel for local music and the city’s passion for it, tune your radio to 90.3 FM, KEXP. It’s a listener-supported station that is known for its independent thinking and appreciation for up-and-coming and legendarily talented folk, blues, and alternative musicians.

Day 2 – Pike Place Market

Start your day at The Pike Place Market, a nine-acre gem and home of the first Starbucks. To get an overview of Pike Place Market’s history and what it has to offer, visit: www.pikeplacemarket.org. With so many options, you will undoubtedly find a breakfast you’ll enjoy. Three Girls Bakery has wonderful baked goods or grab a Russian pastry from Piroshky Piroshky. They have delicious a smoked salmon piroshky that costs about $5 that has its pastry shell shaped like a fish. Both places cater to on-the-go eating with limited in-shop seating. Both bakeries are a good value and are located on Pike Place directly across from Pike Place Market.

Roam the shops of Pike Place Market. This is a historic and expansive market that embodies the spirit of Seattle ? fresh, local, and friendly. There is something for everyone and many hidden hallways with curious and amazing items. Don’t forget to stop and admire the World-Famous Pike Place Fishmongers as the fish fly. The fresh seafood can be ice-packed and mailed or packed for your return travel so you can bring some real Pacific Northwest Salmon home with you. For a less perishable souvenir, buy some smoked salmon or a coffee mug. If you love fresh sausage, look for Uli’s Famous. His non-pork spicy sausage raises the standard for sausage. To check out his work, visit: www.ulisfamoussausage.com. Don’t forget to say hello to Rachel, the life-size piggy bank who stands guard near the World-Famous Pike Place Fish Market.

For a quick and casual lunch costing less than $10 per person, order up a sandwich and soda at Sound View Cafe in Pike Place Market. There is an amazing view of Seattle’s Elliot Bay. If you don’t mind taking a little time to stop and smell the fresh air, dine at The Pink Door (1919 Post Alley, behind Piroshky Piroshky). It is not well-marked so just look for a peachy-pink door in the alley. It is closed on Mondays. Lunch ranges from $8 to $15. To view their menu, visit: http://www.thepinkdoor.net/

Sit down for a casual, but elegant dinner at Alibi Room in Post Alley (85 Pike Street, 206-623-3180). The entrance is in an alcove of the brick alley somewhat beneath the World-Famous Pike Place Fish Market, so it’s not obvious to passerby, but worth seeking out. The portions always seem smaller on the plate than in your stomach. For something you will remember for years to come, try their Caesar salad to start and their “New Mac” as your main course. A full bar is available. Meals at Alibi Room cost less than $25 per person.

To enjoy a late-night pint, visit Owl ‘n Thistle in Post Alley. They have large screen TVs for big game nights, but also host live local music.

Day 3 – U District & Fremont

Go to the U. District and have your morning coffee and a bite at one of the eclectic bakeries then check out the Burke Museum. Admission to this museum on the University of Washington’s campus costs $8. Once inside, you will enjoy a feast of Pacific Northwest art and artifacts. For information on the museum’s current exhibits, visit: http://www.washington.edu/burkemuseum.

Enjoy some shopping while in the U District. Be sure to check out Buffalo Exchange (4530 University Way NE), Newberry Books (4760 University Way NE), and Earth River Records Blue (4744 University Way). Earth River Records Blue has a huge upfront shelf selection and also an extensive stockroom so don’t be afraid to ask for something obscure since the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. If it reminds you a little bit of the record shop in High Fidelity, you’re not alone. If you prefer more commercial shops, such as those you’d find in your local mall, visit University Village. There you will find the Rosanna store. This shop carries the designs of Rosanna Bowles who specializes in household items, such as china. To learn more about her creations, visit: http://www.rosannainc.com/ret_directions.asp. While at University Village, enjoy a cup of coffee at Zoka, a two cafe company that sticks close to its mission to make good coffee. Zoka’s menu and location information can be found at: http://www.zokacoffee.com.

Head over to Fremont to enjoy lunch with a Caribbean flair at Paseo (4225 Fremont Ave N). Some say they have the best sandwiches on the planet, but you will have to decide that for yourself after dining at the HoneyHole on Day 3. Paseo is cash only and averages $25 or less per person for a full meal.

Drive to see the Fremont Troll and the statue of Lenin.

Then go to the neighborhood of Ballard to take visit the Hiram M. Chittenden Government Locks (3015 NW 54th St.). While in Ballard, visit the zany, retro, and eclectic Archie McPhee store (2428 NW Market Street). If you can’t get enough of the store while you’re there, you can shop online at: http://www.mcphee.com.

Make your way back to Fremont for dinner at Bizarro (1307 N. 46th St.). An amazing Italian place with a quirky decor. If you are a group of six or more, it is a good idea to call ahead and get reservations. After dinner, have an imported beer at Brouwers Cafe (400 N. 35th St. at Phinney). With a wide selection of brews, this Flemish grand cafe has a beer to suit your taste. To check out their selection, visit: http://www.brouwerscafe.com.

Day 4 – Capitol Hill

Go to Fuel (610 19th Ave E) on Capitol Hill for a cup of authentic Seattle coffee and a freshly baked something for breakfast. This place is one of a kind so you will be enjoying a genuine Seattle morning, but rest assured they also serve tea and a variety of other beverages. To learn more about Fuel, visit: http://www.fuelcoffeeseattle.com. Pick up a copy of The Stranger or Seattle Weekly to peruse special events and activities taking place while you’re there. Both are free publications and readily available throughout Seattle.

Browse the unique shops on 15th Avenue East and on Broadway then visit the Washington Park Arboretum located between the bottom east side of Capitol Hill and Madison Park. If you’re there on the third Saturday of the month, enjoy the Ceremony in the Japanese Tea Garden at 1:30pm. To learn more about the Arboretum, visit: http://depts.washington.edu/wpa.

Have lunch at HoneyHole Sandwiches (703 East Pike Street). This little find is only for locals so appreciate the reasonable prices and funky decor. Every sandwich is a delicious experience. HoneyHole is open late and table service is available after 5pm when it takes on a nightlife vibe.

As the day winds down, have drinks at Linda’s Tavern (707 E. Pine St.)or the Tiki-style Cha Cha Lounge (506 East Pine St). Both have beer specials and get crowded after 9pm so if you want a table, arrive early.

Day 5 – Music

Grab a booth at Hurricane Cafe (2230 Seventh Avenue near Denny) and order up a late breakfast. Arriving after the breakfast crowd and before the lunch-goers still leaves you with a potentially distracted server, but not having to wait for a table. Their coffee is not characteristic of Seattle’s reputation since it is not made to order, but otherwise their menu selection is fairly good. It’s main attraction is that it is open 24/7 and it isn’t overpriced. Breakfast there is under $10 per person. To check out the menu for yourself, visit: http://www.hurricanecafe.com.

Check out the Space Needle on the grounds of the Seattle Center, which was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. At 605 feet tall, it is a great navigation tool and a fun part of Seattle’s skyline. A ride to the top to enjoy the view from the observation deck costs $14 per adult. For ticket information, visit: http://www.spaceneedle.com.

Have a late lunch around 1pm at one of the restaurants in nearby Belltown. If you like Japanese cuisine (not necessarily raw fish sushi), try Wasabi Bistro (2311 2nd Avenue). Menu items range from $2 to $12. To read the lunch menu, visit: http://www.wasabibistro.biz/menuLunch.asp.

After lunch, your adventures in Seattle music begin. Take a tour of the Experience Music Project at Seattle Center. Admission is just under $20 per person with special events and shows as a separate admission fee. For ticket information, visit: http://www.emplive.org/visit/visitor_info/admission.asp.

That night, attend a musical performance. To Seattle residents, music is like water or air or organic food. Check out a venue’s calendar and if you see something you like, you have a plan for the evening. Showbox (1st & Pike by Pike Place Market) is a great venue that tends to host established musicians who still prefer the small club vibe. Their calendar of events is available online at: http://www.showboxonline.com. Chop Suey (1325 E. Madison) has shows nightly. To view their current calendar of performances, visit: http://www.chopsuey.com/calendar.html.

Day 6 – Alki

Sleep late recover from your night out on the town. After a cup of the nearest coffee, drive to Alki Point, which is southwest of downtown Seattle. Stroll along the promenade and enjoy a different view of the Seattle skyline. Explore the shore-front shops and bask in Seattle’s amazing summer weather. Have lunch at Bamboo Bar & Grill (2806 Alki Avenue Southwest). Bamboo has a delicious salmon and avocado sandwich. To check out their menu and drink specials, visit: http://www.bamboobarandgrill.com.

Depart the Emerald City having had a glimpse into what it is like as a resident, not as a tourist.

Evin Bail

Filed Under: 2006 Summer vacation plan writing contest entries

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Comments (2)

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  1. A.J. says:

    I agree that you should experience a place like a native. When I was younger I moved to places got jobs and really experienced the terrain and the people:

    Seattle 6 mo.

    L.A. 2 years

    Sanfrancisco 9 mo.

    Santa Cruise 3 mo.

    New Orleans 3 years

    San Antonio 3 mo.

    Key West 1 year.

    My favorite was New Orleans, the “big Easy”

  2. Diana Chambers says:

    I love the Puget Sound area. I lived there for 2 years a long time ago. My daughters live in Port Orchard and Belfair. Whenever I go back for a visit, we invaribly head for Seattle. Evin Bail has given me a broader view of what to see and where to eat that we tourists typically do not experience. I will save this review and send to my daughters for their other visitors. This is a wonderful overview of my favorite city in the USA. Thank you Erin!

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