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3 Days in Seattle: Where to Eat, Drink, and Stay

A balanced itinerary for unearthing a few cultural, culinary, and stylish gems in the Emerald City


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Downtown Seattle

Day One:

Morning:

Head to the heart of downtown to check in at Motif Seattle. The former Peoples Bank high-rise underwent a $10 million guest-room renovation last year to add a touch of the Pacific Northwest to every floor. Think a “rainy-day corner” with hooks to dry your gear, homages to Seattle musicians in the decor, and an Amazon Alexa in every room that sends your requests directly to the front desk, like “Alexa, I need a mimosa.” Follow up your bubbly a few blocks away at the kitschy Moore Coffee for Instagrammable hot drinks and a menu of sweet and savory waffles to fuel up for a day of sightseeing.

Museum of Pop Culture

Afternoon:

Wander over to the Seattle Center and into the Museum of Pop Culture to brush up on the city’s roots in grunge rock, like special exhibits on Pearl Jam and Nirvana on view through the end of the year, and the opportunity to nerd out in the museum’s largest exhibit to date, Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, with costumes and props from The Avengers and more, through January 6, 2019. Just a quarter-mile away, you can take in massive sculptures at the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, curated by iconic glassblower Dale Chihuly (you may recognize his work from the lobby ceiling of Las Vegas’ Bellagio Hotel). End the afternoon atop the Space Needle for panoramic views of the entire city—and the street 500 feet below, thanks to new glass floors installed in August.

Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum | Photo courtesy of Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum

Evening:

Find a change of scenery in South Lake Union for a meal at Revel. The Korean outpost with a French twist plates short rib dumplings and noodle bowls. But we encourage ordering the pork belly kimchi pancakes, a favorite of the late Anthony Bourdain, who visited the eatery in his travel series, Parts Unknown. Wash it all down with local brews at the new Flatstick Pub location, also in South Lake Union, over a game of “duffleboard,” which regulars describe as “if mini golf and shuffleboard had a baby.”

 

Pike Place Market

Day Two:

Morning:

If you don’t go to Pike Place Market, have you really gone to Seattle? Check the national landmark off your bucket list with a cuppa from the first-ever Starbucks and light breakfast from vendors at the 111-year-old farmers’ market en route to the West Seattle Water Taxi departing from Pier 52. (Pro tip: Skip the lines by purchasing your ticket ahead of time on the Transit Go app.) After the quick five-minute ride across Elliot Bay, take a break from city slicking with an easy hike through Schmitz Preserve Park.

Fleurt Collective | Photo: Leda Costa

Afternoon:

After taking in the emerald scenery, break for lunch and satisfy your music tastes at Easy Street Records & Café. The 20-year-old record shop slash eclectic café has a bar between the two. You can keep your tab open as you cruise through the stacks of vinyl, CDs, DVDs, and cassettes with a cracked brew—and even your pup, too. Continue your shopping in West Seattle Junction for minimalist giftables at Fleurt Collective, modern prints at Click!, and sweets to-go from Seattle’s first cupcakery, Cupcake Royale. Find your final fix at the uber-stylish Moorea Seal boutique on the mainland after water taxiing back.

The Whale Wins | Photo: Dorothee Brand

Evening:

Continue your neighborhood hopping into dinner at The Whale Wins in Fremont. The James Beard Award–winning outpost, housed in a mixed-use warehouse space, specializes in shared plates with a tie to the Northwest. The halibut pâté is a must and carnivores will love the côte de boeuf, but the star is the zucchini bread for dessert. If that doesn’t put you to bed, tuck into a nightcap at Capitol Hill’s Foreign National, a space so intimate it could pass for a speakeasy.

 

Day Three:

Morning:

Did you dig day one’s glass sculptures? You can try making your own by learning from up-and-comers in Seattle’s world-renowned glassblowing scene. Pratt Fine Arts Center’s glassblowing studio hosts private classes for two to three hours, guiding you through the process of gathering 2,100-degree molten glass and then coloring and shaping it into trinkets like a paperweight, bowl, or ornament just in time for the holidays.

3 Howls Distillery

Afternoon:

Grab lunch at Il Corvo Pasta (open only from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays), where you can see locals snaking out the door for its housemade carbs. Follow up your fill with a visit to SoDo (South Downtown) for tastings at 3 Howls Distillery and Brownrigg Hard Cider. And don’t fear mixing libations. That’s what these friendly neighbors are all about—Brownrigg ages its dry cider in 3 Howls’ whiskey barrels.

Frolik Kitchen & Cocktails

Evening:

Ease into the evening with a dinner on the patio—weather permitting—at Frolik Kitchen & Cocktails. Start with the Dungeness crab tots, consider the seared king salmon for a main, and finish with a Poppin’ Pop—you select your favorite Seattle Pop treat and the Champagne it melts into. Who knew Seattle could be so sweet?

 

Road Trip

Tide to Table

Take a quick drive from the city to a 128-year-old bayside oyster farm to feast on fresh Kumamotos, Pacifics, and Shigokus

Chowing down on oysters on the half shell is an absolute treat in Seattle, since the cold, gray waters of western Washington are the perfect breeding grounds for the briny bivalves. While you can’t go wrong visiting seafood stalwarts like Elliot’s Oyster House and The Walrus and the Carpenter in the city, you can take things to the next level by shucking and slurping right at the source: one of the oldest and largest oyster farms in the country.

Founded in 1890, Taylor Shellfish Farms is only an hour’s drive north of the Emerald City, at the edge of Samish Bay where the Cascade Mountains tumble into the sea. At the farm’s retail shop, oysters that were harvested just steps away—like fluted Kumamotos, Pacifics, and the Shigoku, a variety of Pacific oyster unique to Taylor—are sold by the dozen or individually for mixing and matching. They’re iced, plattered and ready to shuck at a table on the sand or inside a rustic beach shack. There’s not a bad seat in the house—the view of the bay, the oyster beds, and the San Juan Islands makes a fine panorama. Grab a pint of the local Chuckanut Pilsner, or a glass of bubbly if you’re feeling fancy.

Pro tips: Toss the empty shells on the ground, and don’t be afraid to fess up if you’ve never shucked an oyster before—the staff will happily give you a tutorial. Call ahead and ask whether the new grill station, where extra-large prawns and sea scallops basted in garlicky chimichurri and nuroc cham are cooked to order, will be fired up during your visit. The farm is open year-round, and also hosts monthly seafood dinners. Shuck yeah! —Marie Tutko

2182 Chuckanut Drive, Bow, Washington 

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