Go Travel: 10 Things To Do in Seattle, and Roooooad Trip

The last time I was in Seattle, I spent a lot of time in the company of bearded men. I’m driving back soon for Bumbershoot and PAX, so when Ella Dorband offered to put together her favorite stops for Go Mighty, we took her up on it.

10 Places You Should Visit in Seattle

Though I’ve been a few times, I still feel like a relative Seattle novice. So if you have any other Seattle musts, or anywhere you think I should stop along the way up the coast, please let me know in comments.

More From Go Travel:

See Brooklyn Like a Local
10 Things To Do In San Francisco
10 Things To Experience In Los Angeles

19 thoughts on “Go Travel: 10 Things To Do in Seattle, and Roooooad Trip

  1. A visit to the downtown Central Library, architect Rem Koolhaas, is entirely worth it. It’s swell. I also am partial to the SAM, and there’s an amazing all-poetry bookstore called Open Books that I love and you might as well, if you’re a poet or you like poetry. We always make a stop at Left Bank Books (in the Pike Place Market) for leftist art/books/pamphlets etc. Seattle is awesome. (there also happens to be a rather inspiring Nordstrom downtown.)


  2. This list needs more food!
    – croissants from Cafe Besalu in Ballard
    – breakfast (or lunch or dinner or boozy milkshakes) at the Skillet Diner on Capitol Hill
    – eat Malaysian noodle take-out from Kedai Mekan in the awesome bar Montana, which has Moscow mules ON TAP! (Olive Way on Capitol Hill)
    – Salumi or Il Corvo in Pioneer Square for a weekday lunch.
    – Matt’s in the Market for a nice ($$$) and classically Seattle dinner. Their dining room faces the Pike Place Market clock.


  3. Kedai Mekan and Montana were on the short list! Other honorary mentions: Low Fi for dancing, Crumble and Flake for baked goods, the James Turell Skyspace at the Henry Art Gallery, (window) shopping at Totokelo, biking the Burke-Gilman trail, sailing on Lake Union, square dancing at the Tractor Tavern.


  4. Go to the observation deck of the Smith Tower, complete with elevator operators, for a good look at the city. 35 floors up, only $7.50, plus you can see the Space Needle from there. A lot of interesting history/architecture in that little building.


  5. Oh wait also – the EMP is having a “Women Who Rock” exhibit that is super fun. AND the SAM is having a Japanese fashion exhibition that is so amazing.

    I am also going to Bumbershoot and my guy is also going to be at PAX. I hope to see you around. I will say hello if I do!


  6. I second Smith Tower, plus it’s nuts that there is an apartment with actual people living in it ABOVE the observation deck (in the pyramid). We like to take people to the Ballard Locks (Hiram M Chittenden Locks, to give their full name). You can walk across and watch the boats go through and there is also a glass walled salmon ladder that is pretty cool. The gardens on the Ballard side are also nice for a stroll or picnic. And if you want a more structured tourist activity, the Locks boat tour is actually really good and fun AND there is a full bar on the boat. It’s run by Argosy Cruises – there are a couple of options, but I really like the Locks one. Go on a sunny day and sit on the outside deck and drink margaritas as a tour guide tells you all about Seattle. All of the normal tourist stuff is good, too – Pike Market, Pioneer Square, Seattle Center, etc. A cheap way to get out on the water is to walk on the ferry over to Bainbridge Island, kill some time in the little village there, and then head back. No better views of downtown. Go in the afternoon so the sun is in the west.


  7. If you get hungry for some Mexican food, La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard is really your only respectable option. Southern food and awesome mint juleps? Kingfish Cafe is your place. Something sticky and gooey all down the front of you? Cuban sandwich from Paseo in Fremont (to. die. for.). If you visit Elliott Bay Book Company in the evening, you should know that Tin Table is in the building right next door and it is delicious at dinner time (or later). It’s on the 2nd floor, which I say to distinguish it from the more obvious first-floor restaurant that is also right next to the book store.

    I second the suggestion to hop a ferry. If you go to Bainbridge and have access to a car, driving to the Bloedel Reserve is lovely. I prefer the more hippy/arty island of Vashon, but the ferry leaves from West Seattle (not as convenient if you’re downtown without a car). BUT, Vashon has a bicycle-swallowing tree, so there’s that. (Just Google any combo of Vashon+bike+tree.) If you do end up on the West Side (West Seattle, that is), Bakery Nouveau wins at baked goods.

    I should clearly wait to make my suggestions until after I’ve eaten dinner. Food is on my mind…


  8. Breakfast at Lowell’s in the Pike Place Market is a pretty great way to start your morning. Talk nice to the hostess to get a water view table. The Deluxe on Capitol Hill is a pretty great place to get a good burger.


  9. One more! the Olympic Sculpture Park. There is a fantastic Richard Serra piece called “Wake” that is one of my all time favorite pieces of sculpture. It is huge and walking through it is kind of transformative.


  10. Hi! I live in and am from Seattle. Didn’t read your list/the comments too extensively but these are things I think are GOOD:

    The Alibi Room in Post Alley (right by Pike Place Market and the Gum Wall, kind of hard to find but so good)

    Everyone talks about the Ballard Locks, which are cool, but I think that the park connected to the Locks are wayyyy better. You walk through them to get to the Locks from the Ballard side but keep going west instead of walking towards the water. There’s a cool house inside that people live in (!) and some of the best burgers and fish and chips across the street at the Red Mill Totem House (Lockspot is good too).

    Ba Bar on 12th and James (I think?) has great drinks and fancy-ish Vietnamese food. Everything is good but my favorite thing to do is to get a bunch of the appetizers and split them amongst 2 or 3 people.

    Volunteer Park is probably mentioned but worth mentioning again. Also good to walk around in the graveyard next to it and the neighborhood around it. There’s a really good Greek place close-ish by on 19th and Aloha and a pretty good (albeit crowded) cafe, aptly named Volunteer Park Cafe, a few blocks away (17th and Galer?).

    Bar Ferd’nand in Melrose Market on Melrose between Pike and Pine is really good. They have good wine and maybe drinks (I’ve only had wine there) and really good snacks like avocado toast with anchovies. It’s in a cool little open space with a butcher, a cheese shop, a sandwich shop, a few good home-goods shops, and a restaurant called Sitka & Spruce that’s supposed to be great (I’ve never been). There’s a really good Italian restaurant around the corner on Pine called Machiavelli and a really great dog park on the other side of the block that faces downtown (and also the freeway but oh well).

    I guess I like to eat. Hope this helps!


  11. Ahhhh, Seattle.

    Take the west seattle water taxi over to west seattle from downtown. Eat at marination. Walk on Alki. Do this at sunrise or sunset ish for amazing glows and views of downtown. (You’ll be tempted to eat at Salty’s. Don’t.)

    Another hidden gem in West Seattle is La Rustica for dinner.

    Seconding Molly Moon’s for ice cream, Discovery Park or Lincoln Park. The great wheel has nice views too even if it’s a bit tourist trap-y.

    Finally, if you’re into it, rent kayaks then get yummy taco’s and drinks at agua verde.

    Hope you have a great trip!


  12. I moved up to Seattle 5 years ago from the Bay Area. Some (foodcentric) suggestions:

    I finally had a chance to eat at Il Corvo earlier this week and it is amazing. Lovely fresh, al dente pasta with great sauces (went with 3 other people so we were able to sample quite a bit!). Delancey for pizza! Marination Ma Kai for Korean fusion, Ma’Ono Fried Chicken and Whiskey for fried chicken and everything else, Bakery Nouveau for delicious twice baked almond croissants (these 3 places are in West Seattle).

    I second Smith Tower for a great view for not much $$ and you get to SEE the Space Needle. The daughter of the couple that live above the observation deck is very friendly and loves to tell you about the building. I also recommend Gas Works park or Kerry Park for lovely skyline views.

    If you do stop in Portland, I highly recommend eating at Pine State Biscuits, Pok Pok, and Salt & Straw! If there is a wait for Pok Pok, you can always walk up a block and have dessert first at Salt & Straw šŸ˜‰


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