1. The number #1 tourist attraction in Seattle, the Space Needle, really is worth the trip! Not only is it architecturally beautiful, but also it really does have the most amazing view of the city, Puget Sound, and the surrounding Cascade Mountains.
The structurally stunning Space Needle
A view from the top with beautiful Mt Rainier in the background...rarely visible through the clouds
Puget Sound and snow-capped mountains...so gorgeous!
There are some super cool sculptures like this one at the base of the Space Needle - cool, huh?
2. Vios Cafe and Marketplace is the most quintessential Greek restaurant in the beautiful Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle...let me just say, if I lived in Seattle and had an unlimited budget, I'd live in this area. The food was absolutely sublime, the service was fantastic, the decor made it so inviting, and the best part - they have a toddler play area inside the restaurant so parents can have a few minutes of their meal together while keeping an eye on the entertained little one(s). A must go, if you're in the area!
Pastisio entree, some divine house wine, and pita with feta cheese/roasted red pepper dip...YUM!
Loved the ethereal lanterns, the picture rail molding, and the colors...
The kid area...what a great idea in a nice restaurant!
3. The Seattle Aquarium was such a fun and educational stop for kids and adults alike. It sits on Seattle's Waterfront, a great place to walk along for some spectacular views and fresh seafood. The aquarium is on the smaller side but doesn't lack for anything. There is a nice indoor area with several interactive tide pools areas, large water habitats where you can watch them feed the fish, along with several smaller tanks for specific species like (my favorite!) sea horses. The outdoor section has sea otters, seals, and a few other fascinating creatures.
Great indoor tide pools where little ones can touch star fish, anemones, and sea cucumbers...among others
Many of the tanks are down low so wee ones can look in at their level
A pic of the sea otter pup that was recently born...she was so adorable. It was fascinating to watch the momma otter, grandmother otter, and baby otter interact - loved it!
(pic from seattleaquarium)
The waterfront hosted some picturesque harbors with a few yachts I'd like to go out on...
4. Right across the street from the Aquarium is the famous Pike Place Market. I could have stayed at this market all day - eaten three meals, shopped til I dropped, then maybe chow down some more! This market has a spectacular view of Puget Sound and offers every item you can imagine. Most of the market is indoors which is nice for those rainy Seattle days, and right across the narrow brick street you can find a smorgasbord of fabulous delis, bakeries, cheese shops, and the original Starbucks. A must-visit for pastries is the Piroshki Bakery where we had a to-die-for Cheese Onion Garlic Roll and Cinnamon, Orange, Cardamon Roll.
The market was a true photographer's paradise...the colors, the lighting, the wares...amazing!
The most colorful tulips...
Not many markets have this nice of a view...
5. Now for some retail therapy - the Seattle REI store is HUMONGOUS. A beautiful building surrounded with exquisite landscaping, this flagship store is multi-leveled and has everything under the sun for the most adventurous outdoorsman and outdoorswoman. A 4-story rock wall anyone? Your visit will result in you wanting to take up at least two new outdoor hobbies!
pics from REI
6. Right around the corner from REI is the coolest little restaurant called Lunchbox Laboratory. Their offerings included the most eclectic menu with everything from miniature corn-dogs to buffalo chicken wanton bites and eclectic build-your-own burger options. The Tangerita (tang margarita) was a total winner...that's coming from a picky margarita connoisseur. You could tell this was a hip restaurant whose clientele at 10pm probably differed from the parents and kids there at 5pm...but that's usually a good sign - a little somethin' for everyone! Oh, and there were adorable vintage lunchboxes all over the place.
The Tangerita - wish I had gotten the recipe...
A build-your-own burger with tots!
During happy hour they had $4 shakes that came in science beakers...how fun is that?!?
(pics from lunchboxlaboratory)
7. About a 10 minute drive from downtown, the Ballard area is a must-go place for some casual window shopping. A seemingly up and coming spot for Seattlites to call home, this area hosted all sorts of fun shops and restaurants. My two favorite stops were a boutique called Horseshoe that sold the quirkiest combo of dresses, accessories, "apothecary", and cowgirl boots, and then a cupcake bakery called Cupcake Royale that honestly has the best store-bought cupcakes I've ever had...and that's saying a lot because I never pass up a cupcake shop.
Dresses, bangles, candles, and such at Horseshoe
(pics from thesoho)
My pick at Cupcake Royale: Meyer Lemon Drop cupcake
My chocolate-lovin' hubby's pick: Royale with Cheese cupcake
(pics from cupcakeroyale)
8. Our final destination is the Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum - the quirky cool stop for all you music buffs in the audience. We went here for my husband because I don't know the difference between Nirvana and Green Day (ok, that might be a stretch), but I'm so glad we did because it was a pretty neat place. The outside of the building is beyond cool (see below) and they have a really fun area where you can try out tons of instruments in a recording-studio atmosphere. There were a lot of other highlights like a Nirvana exhibit...I had no idea the Pacific NW was the birthplace to so many bands.
The uber cool facade by architect Frank Gehry
An aerial shot so you can take it all in...
(pics from wiki)
The guitar vortex in the foyer - it spanned floor to ceiling, about 5 stories.
Now it's time to get your bags packed and saddle up for a trip to Seattle. It's a great city for all ages, with so many different things to offer for both its visitors and residents alike. Hope you enjoyed a little travel info post for a change of pace! Please let me know what you think of this sort of post. -Kristen