Cut to 2016. Catherine now lives in Dallas, Texas, with a baby boy and a husband. I’m a travel blogger who jetsets the world 24/7/365. She got the final rose, I got the job. Scratch that. I think we both got the job. We both scored the friendship. We both win.
Photo cred: Catherine Giudici Lowe, 2013 Photo cred: Mom, 2016
I promise this post is about Seattle. Let’s get to it then. I always wanted to go back to Washington state and visit during one of the three months out of the year when people say you must go. I’m convinced that’s just all talk in order to keep the tourists out of their city. You aren’t fooling me! I’m here to say that Seattle is great rain or shine, even though I never saw a single drop during my entire five day visit. It did a little bit of that a few years ago when Catherine and I were busy discussing roses and cat fights, but what did we care? Couldn’t rain on our parade! But a little rain never hurt anyone, so go visit and do the following:
The one and only place you should ever think about resting your head in this city is at The Thompson Hotel in downtown Seattle. I have a thing for chic boutique hotels with a damn good location…and an even better corner suite. You just can’t beat it. The Thompson’s proximity to Pike Place is straight up dangerous. Go out for a quick bite in the morning to only come back two hours later full of puff pastries, jacked up on quality coffee, five Seattleite friends richer and 250 photos later.
Boeing Tour and Future of Flight Museum – This was a Seattle highlight for me, even though the factory is technically in Everett about 45 minutes away. We grabbed an Uber to and fro, or visitors can rent a car if they so please. We were able to get on the production floor where many people aren’t allowed because shhh! There is top secret stuff happening here. I couldn’t even bring a phone or camera inside, and I understand why, but my travel blogging self wanted to document ev.er.y.thing. Here’s a time lapse of the 787 build.
Because I’m such an av geek, I have to share my favorite fun facts about these things called planes:
- All 747, 777and 787s are born here.
- Boeing is the largest building in the world, coming in at 98 acres.
- A 747 is a 777 with a 737 on top and has 4 engines, but a 777 has the biggest engine of all.
- There is no reverse in an airplane gear box because it’s a waste of 250 lbs.
- In 2020, the 777x will come out with larger wings that will fold up 12 feet so it can fit into original airport gates.
- A 787 is 50% carbon fiber (stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum) which helps with fuel efficiency and lighter weight, allowing it to land/take-off on shorter runways and go longer distances while fighting jet lag by increasing the cabin pressure.
- This year marks Boeing’s 100 year anniversary! Happy 100th, B.
Wings over Washington – I’m not one for virtual reality, or at least I didn’t think so until I gave this new waterfront attraction a visit. Fly over all things Washington as if you are actually the one in command steering yourself through the trees of Mount Rainier or over the Seattle Great Wheel.
Kayak on Lake Union at Agua Verde – Please note that this is an athletic activity, not a leisure activity. Full disclosure: I tried to kayak directly before dinner, wearing a nice yet casual jumper while doing so. There are large boats and thus large waves on Lake Union, soaking me from waist to toe for dinner afterwards! I highly recommend this activity, just be smarter than me when it comes to fashion choices!
Evergreen Escapes to Mount Rainier – You don’t have to be an avid hiker to experience Mount Rainer. Just be advised that this is a long day ahead! We were picked up at 8am and didn’t arrive back to Seattle until 6pm, but the day trip allowed us to hike Paradise Valley, a beautiful spot on the mountain. Guide, transportation, lunch, snacks and wine(!) all included.
Drinks at The Nest – The rooftop bar on top of The Thompson Hotel offers the best views of the city. Order a French 75 and stay while.
CityPASS – I used mine to visit the Chihuly Museum of Glass and the Space Needle. The good thing about these tiny booklets is that you save up to 46% over regular admission prices, and because they are good for nine days, you can visit the attractions at your own pace—see several attractions in one day, or spread them out over your whole trip.
Kerry Park for a skyline city view – Don’t expect a big bustling park. It’s small, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in views. Gas Works Park is another good one!
Run along Alaskan Way – You’ll arrive at the Elliott Bay Trail through Myrtle Edwards Park to Centennial Park. It will take you along the gorgeous waterfront where you can stop and smell the roses (literally, there’s a rose garden) and see pretty beaches!
Wander Pike Place – You can get lost in the many nooks and crannies here. Be sure to find the Urban Garden and Gum Wall.
Scout – Inside the Thompson Seattle, this eatery is amazing for a big breakfast (go with the Congee) or dinner (don’t miss the burrata and peaches).
Vestal – Inventive with a northwestern vibe, Chef Joshua Henderson knocks his brand new venture out of the park. Highlights included the shaved greens, marinated tomatoes, cedar plank slamon, zucchini cake and Argentine fernet meringue.
Westward – Stealing quite possibly the best real-estate in town, Westward is set on the banks of Lake Union. Many people rave about the oysters here, but the wood-fired gigantes beans and the rainbow trout had me waddling home after dinner, in a good way.
Pike Place – If you know anything about Seattle, you’ve probably at least heard of Pike Place Market. You could easily spend a couple of hours here sampling yourself into oblivion going from stall to stall or wandering the various crevices of the market. The speciality foods, stunning $5 bouquets of fresh flowers and other eye candy will have you coming back for more. I promise.
Inside the market, you’ll find the following:
Ellenos Greek Yogurt – Located at the Seth entrance by the Pike Place Market sign, this is my favorite spot of all. My favorite yogurt of all, really. The berry mix and the nutty fruity muesli can only be compared to Heaven, but the best part about it is they let you sample! Whole milk and 100% natural fruits and toppings are the name of the game.
Matt’s in the Market – If you’re looking for a sit-down place for lunch, Matt’s menu is full of the best ingredients possible, sourcing from the Market itself! Executive Chef Shane Ryan creates menus based on the best ingredients the Market currently has to offer.
The Crumpet Shop – Crumpets, scones and teas oh my! This breakfast or snack staple is easy on both the eyes and stomach.
The Pink Door – Along the quaint Post Alley sits an elegant restaurant full of Italian-American cuisine and live music with a patio. Am I selling it yet?
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – I may have received more recommendations on Beecher’s cheese than any other place in Seattle. I like cheese just as much as the next guy, but whoa does this place have a following… and rightfully so! This cheese makes the world go ’round.
Steelhead Diner – If you aren’t up for the rave-reviewed clam chowder of the region or are in need of a big menu to please a diverse group of people, Steelhead Diner will win you over with their soups, salads, sandwiches, comfort food and sweet nothings.
Storyville Coffee – Local and delectable, this coffee house is the one I see in my dreams. With an inviting fire place and mouth-watering breakfast items, I could stay here all day for business and/or pleasure.
Starbucks – The first thing you’ll notice is the line. It’s always there, as much a part of the quaint old shop as the coffee beans. While I’m all for supporting local businesses, this particular Starbucks at 1912 Pike is legendary, being the first ever storefront for the coffee brand and all. You can say what you want about the coffee, but it’s a cool piece of history. If you’re a real coffee snob, snob it up at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in 15,000 square ft. of pure joy at 1124 Pike Street.
Many thanks to everyone at Visit Seattle for hosting my stay as well as the Thomson Hotel, Boeing, and all the excellent eateries in the city! Mother Nature, you were a doll, too. Can’t wait to visit again!
See more images from my time in Seattle Below! Also – I can’t possibly visit all Seattle highlights in only 5 days. Leave a comment and tell me your favorite spots for next time!