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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?