today’s seattle city guide update comes to us from cassandra lavalle, local seattle-ite blogger, stylist and owner of coco+kelley. after several readers approached her to design their own homes and weddings, cassandra seized the opportunity to officially launch her own business as an interior + event designer in her hometown of seattle in october 2008. now she offers us a stylish guided tour through seattle’s best shopping and dining!
CLICK HERE for the full city guide after the jump!
Seattle City Guide
An area that has continued to grow in the past few years, Ballard is well known for its fabulous dining and perfectly procured boutiques. About 15 minutes from Downtown Seattle, it is well worth a visit just to discover the unique and still-growing list of locally owned establishments, including a few of our top picks:
Lucca: With dramatic black walls, and wonderfully unique items, Lucca is a must see for Ballard. Their selection includes new and vintage curiosities, apothecary, cards, and home décor, and some of my favorite chandeliers.
Souvenir: For some of the most beautiful eye candy you’ve ever seen, you must, must, must stop in Souvenir where owner Curtis Steiner cultivates a curio shop exhibiting delicate cards and stunning jewelry amongst his other collections.
RE Store: If you’re in the market for salvage pieces, this is your place. With everything from schoolhouse chairs and rows (and rows and rows) of old windows and doors, antique hardware, and great vintage lighting, this is a treasure hunt worth going on!
The Palm Room: If there is such a thing as a plant boutique, this is it. They specialize in Palms and Cacti (perfect for sustainable gardens). If you’re in the neighborhood you might as wells stroll in just to get a dose of green.
dolce vita: A little NYC in Seattle? Yes, it’s possible, and dolce vita has proved that its glamorous and sophisticated style isn’t too much for some Seattlites to handle. Perfect if you’re shopping for some well-made investment pieces to add to the wardrobe.
Other Shops Worth a Stop:
• Space Oddity: With a focus on mid-century modern furniture, this place is a must for those searching for Eames chairs, mini bars and perfect credenzas
• Velouria: Lots of pretty little goodies from independent designers line the shelves of this beloved boutique. Stop in for anything from bags to art and jewelry!
• Camelion Design: With classic and contemporary designed furniture and accessories, this large space offers customized furniture pieces, interior design services and even a small children’s section.
• Blackbird: Originally known for its men’s collection, Blackbird now has wardrobe offerings for men, women and home. Simple, beautiful design is their forte.
For the Foodies:
• Delancy: The much anticipated pizza place established by blogger Molly Wizenberg, aka Orangette has a loyal following, but be prepared to wait for your little slice of heaven.
• Cupcake Royale*: Before cupcakes were the next big thing, there was Cupcake Royale. Try their award winning Lavender or go with a classic Red Velvet. You can’t go wrong.
• La Carta De Oaxaca: Most locals will agree – good Mexican and Latin fare in Seattle is hard to come by. This is the exception. If you love the real deal, then go now, but be prepared to wait as they don’t accept reservations.
• Ocho: One of my favorite hidden spots, you’ll likely find yourself waiting for a table, but it’s worth it! Amazing Spanish tapas and a simple but fabulous wine list. Or opt for a signature cocktail!
• Bastille: The décor in this restaurant is enough to transport you and lure you into this gorgeous French bistro. The food just happens to be almost as amazing, too.
Capitol Hill is the cultural beacon of Seattle. It is home to more than a few excellent local coffee houses and bars, a healthy indie music and arts scene, and neighborhood parks. Within Capitol Hill are the Pike/Pine corridor, Broadway, and 15th- all areas that have become ‘hoods within one ‘hood. The dining and nightlife list alone would require its own guide, but there are a few standout shops that we can easily recommend:
Area 51: New and vintage modern furnishings in a huge space with a great selection. Definitely a stop for those looking for clean and stylish home décor.
Revival Home & Garden: Color reigns supreme at this fabulous shop where refurbished vintage pieces are paired with custom and designer pillows and lamps. Gorgeous finds from owner Leah Steen take on a trendy twists make this store a must!
Square Room: A mix of fabulous indie art, jewelry, ceramics and other home décor and delights, this place is easy to miss, but you really shouldn’t.
Other Shops Worth a Stop:
• La Rousse: Indie shopping at its best, La Rousse features uber cool up and coming designers that make unique additions to the wardrobe.
• Kobo: A focus on northwest and Japanese style and décor sets this shop apart from the rest. Expect some very original finds in by real craftsmen in organic materials.
• Retrofit Home: True to its name, there is a retro pop vibe to this shop that houses cool pieces from modern designers like Angela Adams, Kartell and Philippe Starck accessorized with fun books, tabletop, bags and more.
For the Foodies:
• Café Presse: Award winning coffee and gourmet lunches during the day, a full bar and ever changing menu at night. You can’t go wrong!
• Joe Bar: A sweet little hidden spot for fresh morning crepes, coffee and local artist displays.
• Quinn’s: If we’re out on Capitol Hill, chances are you’ll find us here enjoying delicious small plates and an extensive wine list amongst a crowd of fans of this gastro pub.
• Kingfish Café: This restaurant has long been a favorite of Seattlites for their delicious traditional Southern fare and infamous red velvet cake.
• Anchovies & Olives: The latest restaurant from another beloved local chef, Ethan Stowell, this Italian-inspired seafood and pasta joint has everyone talking.
• Sitka & Spruce: One of those restaurants where you instantly feel at home, Sitka & Spruce’s limited menu means you get served whatever the chef is in the mood for – and it’s always something fantastic. A recent move from its smaller Eastlake location up to Capitol Hill should be interesting!
Perched on Puget Sound, where you can watch ferries come and go to the local islands, you can’t beat downtown Seattle when the sun is shining! You’ll find all the big stores down here including the flagship Nordstrom, and everything from Anthropologie and Barneys to H&M, as well as tons of wonderful spots to dine. Since we can’t list them all, here are the best on our list:
Great Jones Home: You’ll feel like you’ve just stepped into the pages of Elle Décor with this shops over-the-top gorgeous mix of refinished vintage and new furniture pieces and home accents. This space is worth a visit simply for the inspiration.
Velocity: The stop for modern home décor, Velocity lives in a bright open space near Lake Union to accommodate their mix of pieces from popular designers of today as well as local artists. (Pssst – if you miss the store, don’t worry – the website is even more extensive!)
Watson Kennedy: Owner Ted Watson has some of the most exquisite taste and style in Seattle, and it shows in his stores – one located near Pioneer Square and the other smaller store by Pike Place Market. The shop has a French flea market feel, and boasts a fine selection of tabletop, paper, art, jewelry, and candles.
Ornamo: A selective showroom of some of design’s best and more innovative pieces including BDDW, Malm, Flocks, and more.
Other Shops Worth a Stop:
• Fireworks: You’ll want to spend hours at this store with all the Indie treasures they feature – unique art, jewelry, pottery, wall decor and more! Always a great place to find an original gift.
• Maison Luxe: Gorgeous case pieces from Oly mixed with vintage and antique home goods and furniture, this small shop on an upper floor near Pioneer Square operates on an appointment only basis.
• Luly Yang Couture: The only true couture house in Seattle, Luly’s shop is a delight to browse and a must on the schedule if you’re looking for a special piece.
• Pike Place Market: Do we even need to tell you to be sure to stop by the market? There you can nibble on Beecher’s Cheese, visit the original Starbucks, dine at Matt’s in the Market and delight in loads of fresh produce, seafood and flowers.
• The Seattle Art Museum which
• includes the Olympic Sculpture Park closer to the water always boasts engaging collections and exhibits.
• Sur La Table: THE Seattle kitchen store, Sur La Table is a must for any chef. A large variety of cookware and tabletop items, cooking lessons, and a very helpful staff.
For the Foodies:
• Le Pichet: Delicious French fare in a casual setting, you can find diners here all times of the day
• Tom Douglas Restaurants: A trip to Seattle may not be complete without visiting one of Tom’s fantastic restaurants. There’s a reason he’s a favorite local celebrity chef!
• Salumi: Armandino Bitali’s traditional Italian cured meats and small dishes are a popular pick for the lunch crowd downtown as well as any true Italian lover.
• Macrina Bakery: Where do we go when we need a delectable birthday cake? Macrina of course! If you’re wondering which of the many many coffee shops to stop into, we’d suggest this one if only do enjoy their delicious bakery offerings.
• The Pink Door: On a sunny day, enjoy their comfortable patio. By evening, the dining room is transformed into a nightly cabaret for serious entertainment. All accompanied by delicious Italian-American fare.
This quirky neighborhood has gone from artsy and hippie to hipster and urban, and now settles for something a bit in between. You can still feel the neighborhood’s true roots in the form of street art and statues, unique shops, and the annual (sometimes clothing-optional) parades and fairs. For a true taste of Seattle culture, this area is the perfect place to explore with shops lining every inch of this small neighborhood. Our personal favorites:
o Les Amis: The most gorgeous collection of clothes you’ve ever seen with plenty of independent labels and carefully selected pieces.
o Deluxe Junk: The name says it all. Deluxe Junk has everything from fabulous chandeliers and retro furniture to kitschy and hard to find items like clown shoes and stork statues (perfect for a baby’s room!) A Fremont staple, this is not one to pass by.
Fremont Sunday Market: If you’re a treasure hunter, then this is your Mecca. Over 150 vendors with great antiques, vintage finds, and estate pieces fill the streets every Sunday.
Essenza: Stunning original jewelry, perfumes, beauty products and baby clothes.
Kimberly Baker: The flagship store from Baker features her curiosity inspired line.
Fremont Antique Mall: With a focus on “collectibles and popular culture” this Antique mall has a more retro modern feel than most, and features tons of great selections in home accessories, as well as a small variety of furniture and clothing.
Willow & Bloom:This sweet flower shop not only boasts beautiful bouquets, but also has a small selection of papers and ribbons.
Theo Chocolate: The only organic, fair trade, locally made chocolate factory in the country, Theo’s storefront is connected to its factory so you can taste, take a tour, and learn all about their amazing chocolates from bean to bar, as they say. My personal favorites are the Bread &Chocolate and Spicy Chile.
Other Shops Worth a Stop:
• Burnt Sugar: Bright and retro styles for the table, selective books, bags and fun cosmetics, and a variety of other fresh finds make this little shop in Fremont the go-to place for fun gifts and unique items. They also house a second store within a store – Frankie – devoted completely to shoes.
• Dream, Finch & Sparrow and Bliss: Three boutiques within a few steps of each other, each with its own vibe and price range. This trio is owned by Neil Silverman who knows how to cater to the Seattle shopping crowd, and all are worth a browse in if you’re walking by.
For the Foodies:
• Homegrown: This newcomer to the neighborhood has become a fast favorite with their ‘sustainable sandwiches’ and fresh ingredients.
• El Camino: An outdoor patio combined with the best margaritas and plantains in Seattle make this a must in the summer.
• 35th Street Bistro: Transport yourself out of Fremont and into France in this café styled restaurant where a more sophisticated crowd enjoys the tiny bar and a fabulous menu.
• Paseo: Locals swear by this Caribbean sandwich shop, and you’re sure to find a line down the sidewalk during lunch hour. If you can take the wait, it’s well worth it.
• Rialto: I have to put in a shameless plug for my father’s own restaurant where he cooks up simple southern Italian fare, makes the best meatballs you’ve ever tasted, and has an outdoor patio for the summer. Just ask for Rudy!
Madison Valley/Madison Park:
Madison Park is one of the oldest and most established neighborhoods in Seattle. Right on the shores of Lake Washington, this area sets itself apart from the buzz of the city with smaller shops and a mellow energy. For a relaxing few hours of browsing and dining, here are the best spots:
Red Ticking: With the feeling of a most discriminate French flea market, this sweet space is known for its beautiful antique linens and European décor and furniture, both old and new.
Veritables: Another favorite, this store has a fantastic collection of statement lighting, furniture and accessories.
Martha Harris: Insanely amazing florals are just the beginning at this beautiful shop. Enjoy garden accessories, fine china, and little decorative pieces for the home.
Other Shops Worth a Stop:
• City People’s: A great local stop with fresh plants, helpful staff, and a small home décor and garden shop.
• Canopy Blue: A sweet little shop to feast your eyes on, browsing through lines from Calypso, DVF and Milly in this heavenly space will make your day!
• Tricoter (Tricoter): For sumptuous yarns and knitting accessories, this is the spot.
• Washington Park Arboretum: Beautiful grounds featuring a notable Japanese garden and Northwest plants. It’s especially inspiring in the fall!
For the Foodies:
• Harvest Vine: Basque dining and an amazing wine list with an organic conscious, Harvest Vine is a Seattle favorite.
• Café Flora: If you’re a vegetarian, then Café Flora is your spot. Even for those who may enjoy a meaty meal, there’s nothing on this menu that won’t sound welcome! Before many restaurants had even began to think about organic product and buying local, Café Flora was on the forefront of this move. Request a spot in the atrium for a lovely experience!
• Crush: Located in a charming remodeled Tudor house, Crush serves up modern Northwest cuisine in a cozy environment.
This is a neighborhood divided. On the top of Queen Anne Hill you’ll find a suburban-esque community of quaint shops and small dining spots, not to mention amazing views of the city. Lower Queen Anne, however, boasts more lively nightlife and dining options. Here are our favorite picks from both worlds:
Stuhlbergs: With a focus on tabletop and paperie, Stuhlbergs offers sophisticated options for both, as well as custom invitation design, and beautiful bath goods as well as a sweet children’s section. Our favorite spot to browse on the hill!
Nancy’s Sewing Basket: Yes, of course there are loads of beautiful fabrics in this store, but it’s the treasure trove of vintage and new ribbons, trims and fabric flowers tucked into a back room of the store that makes it a go to shop for those who appreciate the little things.
Queen Anne Dispatch: Modeled after old fashioned dry goods stores, this small space offers select wardrobe pieces, shoes, lingerie, small home accessories, jewelry and… of course… a mailing service.
For the Foodies:
• Muse Coffee Co.: Yes, there are many many coffee shops in Seattle to choose from, but this is one of our favorites. Designed by local lifestyle celebrity, Kelley L Moore, her husband actually runs the shop and is there most days. Fantastic coffee plus ambiance? You can’t beat that.
• How to Cook A Wolf: Strange name, yes. Amazing restaurant? You betcha. Stop in and sit at the bar to converse with the friendly staff that knows their stuff and enjoy simple and rustic Italian dishes.
• Toulouse Petit: Celebrating the French Quarter and tradition of New Orleans cooking, this hot spot glows with what feels like thousands of candles and wows with delicious dishes.
• Ototo Sushi: This is one tucked away sushi spot that you won’t hear everyone raving about, and that’s what makes it great. Fresh, and usually not full, you are well taken care of at this little spot with fresh modern design.
• Canlis: Usually reserved for very special occasions, Canlis is a Seattle tradition in dining with stunning views to match the indulgent experience.
Other Fine Favorites:
Let’s face it – we can’t possibly cover every neighborhood that Seattle has to offer… but there are always those few spots worth the trip beyond the larger or more convenient areas. Her are our recommendations:
Pacific Galleries: Go straight to the source for beautiful wood antique pieces, and a few more modern goods as well.
24 Karat Antiques & Vintage Interiors: Another must stop for extremely unique vintage and antique pieces that echo everything from old Hollywood glamour and French flea market.
Great Stuff: Truly unique finds like oversized antique signs, vintage school lockers, and more fill this small but amazing shop. If you’re looking for a standout piece for your home, this Georgetown shop should be your first stop.
Earthwise Salvage: Oversized church windows. Gorgeous antique hutches. The huge variety of pieces at this warehouse is staggering and amazing! Perfect for those in the midst of a remodel or looking to add character to their home.
The House: Another very hidden spot worth a visit to the Magnolia neighborhood is The House. Super small but packed with fantastic Mid-Century Modern finds, they have serious quality offerings.
Scavenger Home: Gorgeous, glamorous vintage modern pieces for the home, we love the style of this hidden Redmond secret.
Glassybaby: A local phenomenon, glassybaby is a one-product shop… but what a product it is! Glowing blown glass vessels that come in an array of beautiful colors, glassybabies have become a favorite gift and indulgence for many Seattleites.
Paper Delights: Fresh and modern styled cards, wrappings, desk accessories and more await you at this lovely little shop. They also offer invitation design services for brides-to-be
Clementine: An adorable accessories boutique for any shoe lover to indulge in.
Capers: A lovely home store featuring furniture and accent pieces with beautiful, classic simplicity.
Moxie Papergoods: Who can resist a good paperie? Moxie is one of the best in Seattle, and worth the visit! They also opened a newer location in Bellevue Square for those relegated to the Eastside.
For the Foodies:
Maneki: The very first sushi bar ever? It could be true! Maneki has been around since 1904 (nope, that’s not a typo) and serves authentic sushi and Japanese cuisine to its loyal followers in the International District.
Molly Moon’s: What’s better than homemade ice cream, you ask? Well, nothing, really. Which is why you should definitely stop in to this local favorite for deliciously unique flavors like Salted Caramel, Honey Lavender and Rosemary Lemon. Venture to Wallingford for this delicious treat and explore while you’re there!
Tilth: Also located in Wallingford, Tilth has received serious acclaim as a certified organic restaurant using local produce and offering an ever evolving menu that has many Seattlites constantly coming back for more.
Bakery Nouveau: West Seattleites claim it to be Seattle’s best bakery. Guess you’ll just have to make the jaunt across the water to find out!