Blogger Joanna Hawley (who was one of the first Pinterest users ever) is Seattle proud. Though Joanna has also lived in San Francisco and Philadelphia, the Pacific Northwest beckons for her and continues to feel like home. Known for its tech industry as the home base of Microsoft and Amazon, Seattle also offers some of the most beautiful mountains and evergreen forests, all surrounded by water. With a thriving metropolis, even when it’s not raining in Seattle, there’s plenty of unique spots worth poking your head into and paying an unexpected visit to.
While Joanna admits there’s simply no way to fit every fantastic neighborhood within Seattle into one day, she and editorial assistant Gwen have put their heads together to come up with an ideal day spent in this flourishing emerald city. Their most important tip? “Take your time and enjoy wandering,” Joanna says, “from the waterfront up to the top of Capitol Hill.” –Sabrina
9 am: Start your day in Pioneer Square, one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods, and take in the gorgeous brick buildings and tree-lined squares (and where I call home!). Grab a cup of coffee at Elm Coffee Roasters, a gorgeous new coffee shop that specializes in light-roasted beans. Definitely try one of their baked goods from The London Plane, one my favorite restaurants, right around the corner.
There are plenty of great shops like E. Smith Mercantile, a boutique that has a little back bar – if you find yourself in the neighborhood by evening, definitely stop in for a meticulously prepared cocktail. Then there’s Ebbets Field Flannels, a mecca for vintage jerseys and flannels and Velouria, a boutique with some of my favorite womenswear brands.
12 pm: Just a few blocks away in the International District, it’s a totally different vibe. Stop by Japantown for a bite to eat at Maneki or Tsukushinbo, two of my favorite authentic Japanese lunch spots, and check out the historic Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee House for a look back in time and a great cup of tea.
Pick up some beautiful handmade souvenirs at Kobo Shop & Gallery and Momo, then head over to Uwajimaya, a specialty Asian supermarket for some quirky snacks from anywhere you could imagine. On the way out, go through the Kinokuniya Bookstore for a dangerously good stationery section and some awesome international magazines.
3 pm: Next, head towards Capitol Hill, a longtime center for LGBTQ and counter-culture in Seattle. Stop along 12th Avenue for a quick recharge. A visit to Stumptown Coffee Roasters is mandatory in the PNW, and every day at 3 pm there’s a free coffee tasting open to the public. Take a peek at the roasting room downstairs for a surprise. Cafe Presse, a quintessential French bar and cafe, is right next door if a glass of wine is more your speed.
Head towards the center of Capitol Hill for one of my favorite bookstores of all time: duck into Elliott Bay Book Company and check out what the staff has recommended for the perfect read.
Right next door is Totokaelo, a local institution for modern fashion and decor shopping.
Then you’re right on time for happy-hour at Oddfellows Cafe + Bar. Grab a seat by the wall of windows for some of the best people-watching in town. Right across the street is Cal Anderson Park, where you may catch a game of bike-polo, or lounge like the locals and read what you picked up at Elliott Bay.
6 pm: Just a little farther down the hill is Stateside, a modern and laid-back restaurant for the best French and Vietnamese fusion in town — this one is rapidly becoming my favorite.
It’s always an amazing meal and great time, just make sure to make reservations! For a little more shopping, stop by Melrose Market, home to Sitka and Spruce, an adorable flower and home goods shop, and check out the other shops in the market. Wander next door to Glasswing, a stunning boutique full of necessities – like air plants, Ace & Jig and Aesop.
9 pm: If you’re ready for a night out on the town, start at Linda’s Tavern, a Capitol Hill staple for a stiff drink and courtyard to get some fresh air. Barhop down to Still Liquor, a half-underground, super hip establishment with great drinks. If you stay out into the wee hours of the night, Lil Woody’s is a great burger spot open till 3 am. Enjoy!
This is just an overview of places to explore in Seattle and I definitely feel like I’m neglecting to mention some amazing spots in other neighborhoods! For even more Seattle goodness, check out The Walrus and The Carpenter, TNT Taqueria, Green Lake, Discovery Park, The Palm Room, and Prism.