Seattle will always have a special place in my heart. After all, it was my first home away from home when I left for college at the University of Washington. Prior to my departure, I had a preconception that Seattle was just a rainy city with great coffee. But after spending four years living in U-district dorms and apartments in Seattle, I discovered that there was more to the city than a delicious Pike Place Roast coffee.
I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to sharing my expertise on the city. I had an immensely difficult time narrowing down my list since there’s just much too much to do and see. But for starters, I thought I’d present you with a list of my top three favorite points of interest and views and work my way over to everyone’s favorite topic: food.
Points of Interest
1. Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market always gets first priority when I compile lists of places to visit for friends visiting Seattle. Even as someone who lived there, Pike Place never got old. Any rare day that the sun was out, I was on the next bus to downtown Seattle to check out the fresh produce, flowers, jewelry and artwork along the stretch of the market. Home of the first Starbucks in the U.S., it’s also a fun place to do your grocery shopping or take a nice stroll. Cheese enthusiasts will be happy to know that every May, there’s an annual Seattle Cheese Festival held at Pike Place. Visitors can sample over 250 cheeses and watch cooking demonstrations using cheese as the main ingredient.
2. Chinatown / International District
Coming from Hawaii where Asian food is everywhere in sight, I really missed my rice and chicken katsu. I was ecstatic when I heard that there was a whole district full of Asian food! The number 73 bus that went from the U-District to the International District became my favorite bus! This district within the downtown Seattle area offers anything Asian you could ask for. Need an Asian ingredient that you can’t find at Safeway? Uwajimaya will have what you’re looking for. Do you like bubble tea? Ambrosia will tickle your tummy. Hungry for dim sum? Jade Garden is sure to satisfy your cravings.
Photo Credit: Impact Capital
3. Experience Music Project
Seattle is home to some of the biggest names in music history including Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana and Pearl Jam. No doubt, you can go to any of the music venues in Seattle and experience some great local music. But you haven’t really experienced Seattle’s music history until you go to the Experience Music Project. The museum includes rare artifacts from music history, including some of Hendrix’s old guitars, and interactive exhibitions which allow visitors to create their own music.
Photo Credit: art.com
Views of the City
1. Kerry Hill Park – Queen Anne
In 2008, I took my visiting friend Jessica to Pike’s Place Market. We were looking at a photograph of the Seattle skyline on display. It was that same, frequently photographed view of the Space Needle in front of high rise buildings and Mount Rainier faded in the backdrop. Until this day, I’m so glad that I opened my mouth and asked the photographer where he took that picture in which his response was “Kerry Hill Park.” Once you get to the park which is located in Queen Anne, you just can’t help but gasp at how breathtaking the view is. It almost seems surreal. Take my advice when I say that you shouldn’t leave Seattle without stopping here first. You’ll thank me later on.
2. Gas Works Park
Gas Works Park is located on the north side of Lake Union and contains remnants of the sole remaining coal gasification plant in the U.S. That wasn’t the reason I frequented this park though. I enjoyed going there because the view is, like Kerry Hill Park, simply breathtaking. But unlike Kerry Hill Park’s typical Seattle skyline view, Gas Works Park offers a different perspective of the skyline. On a sunny spring day, this is a great place to just sit on the hill, have a picnic, chat with some friends, and enjoy the scenery.
3. Seattle Space Needle
If you’ve got an extra $15 to spare, I recommend going to Seattle Center and purchasing a ticket to the observation deck of the Seattle Space Needle. Standing at 605 feet tall, it is one of Seattle’s most well-renowned landmarks and offers amazing views of the city skyscrapers, Mount Rainier, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Baker, Elliott Bay and the surrounding islands. You won’t be able to get that many different views in one place just anywhere else.
1. The Crab Pot
I’ve never eaten so much seafood in my entire life until I went to Seattle! When people say Seattle has the best seafood in the nation, they’re not lying. If you love seafood like I do, The Crab Pot is the place to be. Even Adam Richman of the Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food” thinks so! And even if you’re not a seafood lover, you still need to go to The Crab Pot if not for the food, at least for the experience. When you order the famous Seafeast menu item, your server will literally dump a bowl of seafood on your table and let you go to town. How neat is that?!
Photo Credit: Zoom and Go
2. Ivar’s Salmon House
Yes, I have a slight obsession with seafood. Out of all the food genres in the world, I chose another seafood restaurant to add to this list. But I can’t help it! The seafood here in Seattle is just so good! Especially at Ivar’s Salmon House which has the best salmon in the Pacific Northwest in my opinion. Order any of the salmon dishes on the menu and you’re pretty much guaranteed a high-quality meal. Not only is the food delicious, but the environment–a cedar replica of a Northwest Indian Longhouse which overlooks Lake Union and Seattle’s skyline–makes for a perfect restaurant experience.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Latson
Mmm, just thinking about the food at Cedar’s makes my stomach growl and my mouth water. Not only does Seattle offer some of the best seafood, but it also offers a diverse range of food from all of the world…including India. The mango curry dish–meat and/or vegetables sauteed with mango chutney and some cream–is a perfect blend of sweet and savory. And the tikka masala dish–a cream-based curry cooked in ginger, cilantro and a tomato sauce served with Basmati rice–is simply delectable.
So there you have it. There’s my quick guide to Seattle. I have to admit, compiling this list made me nostalgic. I’ve made so many memories from the four years I’ve spent there and am grateful to have lived in such a beautiful city with good food, coffee, scenery and people. I’m curious–have you been to Seattle? And if so, what places did you visit and what did you do?