Moving to a new city, let alone a completely different coast has led to many friends and family to head out this way for a visit (mostly because I keep bugging them!), and this morning 3 of my very good friends are flying in for a visit!
I love having the opportunity to play tour guide and show them around this amazing new city and show them my favorite spots. I am really proud of the fact that I moved to Seattle without knowing anything about the area, and discovering new places on my own; being the host and being able to show them my new West Coast finds is really exciting for me.
With a couple of unsuccessful attempts at trying to fit everything Seattle into a small time frame, (alright, alright – I admit I try and fit all of Western Washington into the 3 or 4 days I had with my visitors) I have finally narrowed down my itinerary for when I have company!
With that being said – I do believe I have come up with a favorable three-day itinerary that I have used for quite a few family and friends: a balanced mix of the tourist-musts and my local favorites.
Day 1: Friday
Tourist to-dos: Downtown Seattle is so much fun, but can get packed on the weekends. This is why I like to do the tourist outing, specifically Pike Place Market, on a week day in the morning. You are able to take your time, and get the chance to see more without feeling rushed through the market. Hey! you might even get to catch a fish!
There are so many fun things to see and buy, so taking your time is ideal! Also taking your picture in front of the iconic Pike Place Market sign is a lot easier when there are not tons of people walking in front of the photo.
I do like to snack my way through the market, however for lunch (particularly when you have a few people in your group) heading to Beecher’s and Pike Place Chowder are my favorites (and then you can share!). At Beecher’s the fan favorites are the grilled cheese or mac and cheese. The best part: sampling the many varieties of cheese and watching it being made while waiting in line. To top it off: make your way to Rachel’s Gingerbeer (right in the same block) for a Moscow Mule to eat with your lunch!
Next stop is the monorail, taking us to the Seattle Center to check out the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and MoPOP (formally known as EMP). Out of all three the MoPOP museum is by far my favorite, and I can spend hours wandering around inside. This isn’t your typical stuffy art meseum! They feature exhibits from Horror Movie favorites, to the history of the grunge music scene (Nirvana, Jimmy Hendrix need I say more?). MoPOP has a little bit of everything for everyone! They even have a rotating exhibit space – a Jim Henson exhibit will be opening in May 2017– oh the nostalgia.
For dinner on that first night, I like to take my guests to a tiny little restaurant that I stumbled upon on my first night in Seattle. Its back by Pike Market Place, and it’s down many, many flights of stairs. It’s called Zig Zag Café; it has the best drinks, food and atmosphere and it hasn’t disappointed yet!
Day 2: Saturday
Hiking: Central and Northern Cascades – The whole reason I moved to Washington was because of the Cascades. I was itching to get out there and climb some mountains, and chase waterfalls I hadn’t found yet. So, this is by far, my favorite day of the trip, it literally never gets old. My favorites for taking my friends and family include but are not limited to: Bridal veil Falls/ Lake Serene, RattleSnake Ledge, and Lake Twenty-Two.
I prefer the Lake Twenty-Two hike. It gives you the ultimate Washington package. Beautiful views of the surrounding mountains on the way up to the lake, easy to moderate incline, and a gorgeous view of the lake (that yes you can swim in!).
I like to pack a lunch (and maybe our bathing suits) and stay awhile once we get to the top! It’s a beautiful space, with lots of great photo opportunities!
One of my favorite things to do after a hike is to get pizza and a beer, and take the backroads home. Washington is full of beautiful backcountry and since we have nowhere in particular to be on the way back, it’s fun to take your time and enjoy the ride home. This is a great time to stop in the small towns along the way and find a little diner or restaurant to grab a late lunch or early dinner (depending on how long we were on the mountain for).
Day 3: Sunday
Brunch and local farmers market: Ah Sunday, there is nothing better than a Sunday-funday with your company than a wonderful brunch and a trip to the farmers market. I typically like to steer in the direction of the important questions in regards to brunching; where is the best bloody mary, and where is there a great view? Lowells in Pike market combines both perfectly, whether you are lucky enough to get a booth that overlooks Puget Sound (trust me it’s worth the wait), or a booth overlooking the market (who doesn’t love people watching!?) you are getting an amazing breakfast and the very important bloody mary!
There is nothing better than a leisurely stroll through one of the many farmers markets Seattle has to offer on a Sunday afternoon. From West Seattle to Ballard, there are so many great local choices!
So there you have it – my go-to itinerary for your first-time-to-Seattle visit.
There are so many other options, from Ferry rides to Kerry Park, local wineries and the downtown night life; I wish that I could take everyone to every inch of Washington that I love, but I only have so many days! So I guess I’ll wait for the next visit! Let me know if you think I’m missing anything, or I should add something! I’d love to hear from you.