How To See Seattle Right: Tips From A Local

by Emily Iris Degn

Anyone who’s done a search on Seattle will tell you that you have to see the gum wall, Pike’s Place Market and the Space Needle and that you must get an espresso from the original Starbucks. We agree. These are definitely spots worth paying a visit to and are good to experience, but we’d like to suggest some additional places for you to explore. For all you Pacific Northwest die-hards, coffee enthusiasts and wannabe Seattleites, here’s how to see Seattle the native way.

Growing up in the Seattle area, my family always did the same things when we would come into the city. We would stand in line for an hour outside Starbucks just to get a picture in the original coffee shop, sit on the bronze pig at the Pike’s Place Market and watch them throw the fish, and then ride to the top of the Space Needle.

As I’ve grown up and become more independent, I’ve come to realise just how much more Seattle has to offer.

Getting off the beaten path will bring you art and insanely good food during your visit to the Emerald City.- I promise. Morning in Seattle is a time of fog, boat horns and the smell of espresso. Note: traffic is bad and parking can be pricy but we suggest public transportation is readily available and a good option for Seattle visitors who want to see the city through the eyes of a local.

First, you must get a coffee. You’re in the coffee capital of the United States so try some of the spots that the locals love. Make sure you swing by the original Starbucks eventually, but we’d recommend:

  • Anchorhead Coffee – it’s phenomenal. It’s on 7th and is chalked full of nautical nostalgia, staying true to the port town. Think ropes, anchors, navy blue, dark greens, bottles, ship models and sea shells.

The thick leather arm chairs and rustic wooden lamps bring me to a place of seaside whale watching. If you want to go simple, their lattes really are insanely good, but their iced pistachio matcha was too good to pass up.

  • Elm Coffee Roasters. This place can be found on 2nd Avenue and is full of natural lighting, white walls, pristine decor, sharp lines and of course incredible beverages. Their iced macchiato is perfection, especially with soy milk.

Morning in the city is so brisk and full of floral vendors and sea breezes.

Although Pike’s Place is busy and loud, you should walk through the top level. Maybe grab a bite at the bakery stands, grab some flowers or just cheer on the flinging fish sellers. While you’re there, go ahead and smash some gum on the Post Alley Gum Wall – it’s insanely cool to see. The history of it is fascinating, so feel free to look that up before you go and look for the old theatre signs!

Seattle is perfect for wandering and exploring. Make your way to the Seattle Art Museum and catch some Monet’s and Van Gogh’s. It’s a huge museum and admissions are worth it. Feel free to grab some falafel or bulgogi after because the street is peppered with tiny exotic food stops. Seattle embraces many cultures and ethnicities, and you’ll get the chance to experience the variety. Walk on over to the International District and get a taste of Korean flair, the friendship arch, and authentic ramen.

Enjoy the lantern shops, Chinese dessert shops and the street performers.

Feel like grabbing a snack a little more French? Make the trek up to Capitol Hill and visit Bakery Nouveau, which has been voted the best bakery in Washington multiple times. Imagine rainbow macaroons, sugary coated cookies, salmon shaped croissants and mountains of rosy fruit tarts. The space is small, but there’s a park across the street where you can take your treats if it gets too crowded. Try the samples of cake or for something saviour pick up a tomato and mozzarella sandwich or a rustic French baguette.

Walk around the vine-covered neighbourhoods and make your way to the rainbow crosswalks, art shops and liberal bars. Capitol Hill is an open neighbourhood, welcoming people of all orientations. It really is the heart of Seattle.

Nightlife is great too, and this is the best time to visit the Space Needle. See it at night for a magical view in the rotating top. If you really want to splurge a little, grab dinner on the top and enjoy skyline views. If you want a change in scenery, ride the Great Wheel and enjoy the night views that way. Explore the fancy malls, clubs and if you have time, take an underground tour of the city. The great thing about nighttime in Seattle is that it is not only full of lights and music, but the ferries decorate the harbour with their golden windows. Every detail of the city is magic.

As great as it is to see the basics and must-see spots, remember to branch out and see the raw pieces of Seattle, because that’s what makes it special. Enjoy the Emerald City.

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