I follow a couple of bloggers that live in Seattle, and as such, having seen a lot of the local side of the city online, had added it to my travel bucket list. Luckily, my Mum is always up for a US road trip, and after researching the National Parks in the area, the trip was booked.
Unfortunately, our house move didn’t exactly line up timing wise, and so I ended up picking up the keys for the new house on Thursday afternoon and flying out to the Pacific North West on Friday morning. I am forever indebted to Tom for moving all of our earthly belongings across Berkshire!
I relied heavily on readers and instagram followers for our Seattle itinerary, and had a number of requests to share the highlights, so here is our whistle stop tour of the Emerald City.
Best things to See
We found Seattle to be a very walkable city, especially in the downtown area. We stayed in a slightly dodgy part (did you see my instagram stories about a human poo next to our car? apparently this is actually a problem in Seattle!!) however, we were able to walk and bike a lot. I’m glad we did have a car though, especially to get to some of the running and shopping areas.
Pike Place Market – a must-do. We walked around this Seattle institution a couple of times, and if we had been staying in an Air B&B or at a friends house, I would have bought all the fresh produce and flowers I could carry. As it stood, I had to settle for some cherries, peaches and nectarines – and a lot of photos! They give out free bruised fruit at some of the stalls first thing in the morning, in the hope that you’ll come back. I had a free breakfast to enjoy along with my coffee on our first full day!
The First Starbucks – it took us two attempts to find the right first Starbucks, I know ridiculous but we went to the wrong ‘first’ Starbucks on Pike, before discovering the huge queue outside the right one. Apparently the first hour and last hour of the day are the best times to visit. They also have their own brew and merchandise.
Kerry Park – we cycled (some of the way!) up to Kerry Park from our hotel, borrowing their free bikes, to see one of the best views across the city. Of course, we then earned our Molly Moon’s ice-creams!
Bubble Gum Wall – I only did this because James (aka Shoulder Runner) told me to. It is totally gross, and there’s not much else to say about it. I did add a blob of my own gum to the wall, although it promptly fell off because I didn’t want to touch anyone else’s chewed bits!
Chihuly Exhibition – a beautiful art exhibition on the work of Chihuly, a glass blower, who has created pieces for locations around the world. Personally, this isn’t really my thing and I found the $30 entry a little steep, although I did love the garden exhibit. My Mum loved the whole thing!
Space Needle – situated next to the Chihouly Exhibition is the Space Needle. We decided to give it a miss as the visibility wasn’t great but I have heard people rave about the views from the top.
Bainbridge Ferry – we left Seattle via the Bainbridge Ferry, but numerous people suggested this as a trip in itself, with views across the city skyline and some good restaurants on the other side. I would love to go back and take a night ferry to see the city lit up.
Where to Shop
I’m not embarrassed to admit that shopping is a big part of travelling for me, especially when I come to America. Top of my list for my Seattle trip were Oiselle and Brooks. Both sportswear brands host their only retail shops in the city, and as such, it was a great opportunity to try on items that I have only seen online, not to mention the in-store exclusives.
Try out Brooks Run Signature offering, where they’ll test your natural movement patterns against your running style and recommend a type of shoe based on your personal requirements.
Campers and outdoor enthusiasts will love REI – we spent a good hour wandering around and planning future trips. The fact that I don’t actually camp didn’t deter me…
Where to Eat
It seems that runners the world over think breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and therefore the most recommendations I received were for brunch and brekkie spots. Our favourites were;
Morsel for amazing ‘biscuits’ (like scones, only savoury and more buttery) which was in perfect striking distance of the Oiselle shop!
Portage Bay Cafe – this was the most often recommended, and it was good, but not as great as I was expecting. I liked the toppings bar, complete with seasonal fruits, compotes, whipped cream and butter. But our service was lacking and the coffee was only OK. However, I would go back again (perhaps to a different one of their locations) for the food.
Geraldine’s Counter was the best breakfast spot of the weekend, with it’s famous French Toast (a half portion was more than enough) served with a seasonal side – for us this meant honey soaked peaches! Heaven!
Local 360 – the only non-breakfast spot I would recommend. All the produce comes from within a 360 mile radius, and the staff were top notch. Would definitely have the Mac & Cheese again…
Where to Run
Seattle is pretty hilly, like serious hills that had me puffing and my heart raised to 152 just walking/pushing a bike up them. So when it came to running, I was looking for something a little more…flat.
Green Lake – the perfect run location. I found parking easily on Saturday morning, and ran 1.5 loops of the lake (one loop is 2.8 miles on the inner circle, the outer circle is 3 miles). The route provides a predominantly flat, paved surface with the option for a softer trail for those that prefer. Not only that, but there are water fountains dotted throughout!
Gas Works Park – this is a great destination to visit in Seattle, but doesn’t make for the best running route. The park is small and i had to do a number of loops to get up to 2.5 miles! I would tag this onto some mileage along the Burke-Gilman walking/cycle path – a long, paved path that takes you from Fremont to Kenmore. The views over downtown Seattle are worth stopping by, as is the juxtaposition of the industrial landscape that has allowed nature to take its course (80s/90s kids will also remember this as one of the 10 Things I Hate About You locations!).
Seward Park – probably not on most tourist’s maps but I had signed up for a local 5K race in the park. It made for a very flat out and back, with easy parking and bathrooms. The park would be big enough for a 10K loop/out and back and has the option of flat or a hillier route.
Next time I’d love to ride the ferris wheel on a clear day, track down some Puget Sound Kombucha and obviously go to the Boeing plane museum with Tom!