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A Weekend in Seattle Itinerary: Part 1

With its cultural experiences, breathtaking natural views, and undying devotion to coffee, Seattle is a great place to visit for anybody. But if you happen to live on the west coast, Seattle is the perfect weekend escape. You can choose to pack your two day itinerary or you can choose to soak in the city's laid-back vibes and take a more relaxed approach to exploring the city. Below is Day 1 of my itinerary filled with some of the best that the Emerald City has to offer.

(1) Pioneer Square

Start the day with one of the many coffee options (Third Culture, Counter Culture, Cafe Umbria) in the cute Pioneer Square neighborhood. Sip the morning away at the neighborhood known as the city's “first neighborhood." Pioneer Square is a richly historic place known for its Renaissance Revival architecture, First Thursday art walks, night life, delicious lunch spots, as well as quirky boutiques. Walk around and enjoy the storefront mural project, which is creating art to bring joy and a spot of brightness to the neighborhood. Swing by and shop at the many local businesses in the area. If you're there for the holidays, go in the evening when Pioneer Square turns into a light show - featuring various light exhibits by local artists woven into the historic architecture of Pioneer Square.

There's plenty of must-sees in the area:

  • In the heart of Pioneer Square, the land from which Seattle's industrial base grew, stand the Iron Pergola and the Tlingit Indian Totem Pole. Nearby is the elaborate Iron Pergola, erected in 1909 as a stop for the Yesler and James Street Cable Car Company.

  • In 1914, Smith Tower became the first skyscraper in Seattle. Today it features a renovated Observatory with an open-air viewing deck and bar where you can enjoy a locally inspired menu of shareable plates and classic cocktails.

  • Waterfall Garden Park is a secluded park that features a 22-foot waterfall in the middle of Pioneer Square.

Click Here for a detailed map of the area.

(2) Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar

If you love shellfish, and in particular oysters, Taylor is the place to be. Located in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood, Taylor is located in the Washington Shoe Building, with all its historic charm of the original brick walls and warm wood floors. The Oyster Saloon is the perfect place to enjoy a specialty cocktails (including an award winning house Bloody Mary's) with freshly shucked oysters. Pre-game there and enjoy their oyster or shrimp po’ boys with local beers.

(3) Olympic Sculpture Park

[Photo credit: Weiss Manfredi]

After a delicious seafood lunch, head over to the award-winning Olympic Sculpture Park for an afternoon stroll in downtown Seattle. It is free and open to the public, available for everyone to enjoy art and the Seattle waterfront. Wander the park to discover sculptures crafted by influential artists, while enjoying the incredible views and beauty of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. There are also temporary art installations during summer months.

Click Here for a detailed map of the area.

(4) Space Needle

[Photo credit: Yakima Herald]

You can't go to Seattle and not visit the Space Needle. It is the most iconic tourist site of the city. The structure was built for the 1962 World’s Fair—the Century 21 Exposition whose theme was “The Age of Space." The tower’s 520' saucer-shaped “top house” offers visitors Seattle’s only 360-degree indoor and outdoor panoramic views of downtown, Mt. Rainier, Puget Sound, and the Cascades and Olympic mountain ranges. There are two new experiences: an all-glass floor on the lower level to floor-to-ceiling glass on the upper level.

[photo credit: Conde Nast Traveler,]

If you want to extend your stay at the top, try one of the two dining options. Located on the upper observation level, Atmos Café features an espresso bar, beer & wine, and local treats from artisans including Top Pot Doughnuts, Pinkabella Cupcakes, and Whidbey Island Ice Cream. The Loupe Lounge offers sips and tastes of the Pacific Northwest on the world's first revolving glass floor. Enjoy artfully-infused spirits, locally-sourced seafood towers and charcuterie plates, and dessert designed to delight — all while you revolve around the awe-inspiring 360° views.

(5) Chihuly Garden and Glass

Seattle's Chihuly Garden and Glass, located right next to the Space Needle, is a beautiful, colorful monument to "glass as art", showcasing the works of Dale Chihuly. The long-term exhibition features a Glasshouse, an Exhibition Hall containing eight galleries and three drawing walls, and a lush garden that serves as the backdrop for glass sculptures. The garden is at its most spectacular under sunny skies. Try to plan your Chihuly visit when the sun is out. The reflectivity of the glass will make the works pop even more. However, the museum is an entirely new spectacle at night when the glass in the garden is lit up against the dark sky.

(6) Museum of Pop Culture

[Photo credit: Wall Street journal, Visit Seattle]

The Museum of Pop Culture’s mission is to make creative expression a life-changing force by offering experiences that inspire and connect our communities. Its creative expression is best shown by the sheer range of its exhibitions - covering topics like science fiction, fantasy, indie video games, musicians and their instruments, influential films, and more. MoPOP is housed in a 140,000 square foot Frank O. Gehry-designed building. Three-thousand panels, made up of 21 thousand individually cut and shaped stainless steel and painted aluminum shingles, encase the outside of the building. Their individual finishes respond to different light conditions and appear to change when viewed from different angles, reminding audiences that music and culture is constantly evolving.

(7) Spinasse / Artusi

After a full day of exploring... you deserve a good meal. A really, really good meal.

[Photo credit: Spinasse]

Spinasse is one of the best Italian restaurant in this city. It focuses on delicious, modern Seattle inspired interpretation of the traditional cuisine of the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. The homemade pastas are what to get here. Which one? Any one. There’s also a prix fixe option that incorporates every appetizer, pasta, and entree Spinasse offers in a family-style tasting.

Artusi is the aperitivo bar next door to Spinasses, its sister restaurant. It is the perfect stop on Capitol Hill for an expertly crafted classic or modern Italian-inspired cocktail, snacks or dinner. While Spinasse is very much a restaurant, Artusi’s space is mostly filled with a giant L-shaped bar (which is where you’ll want to sit). It's all about the small plates here - but trust me, you can make a delicious meal out of it!

[Photo credit: Artusi]

(8) Tavern Law

This high-end Capitol Hill cocktail spot has a dark, sophisticated speakeasy vibe which is really appealing. There are impeccably crafted cocktails that fit perfectly with the setting. There’s also a not so “secret” upstairs bar called Needle and Thread, which is also a delightful place to sink a drink or three of an evening. Needle and Thread does not offer a beverage menu but rather opts to craft a cocktail that matches the individuality of each of their guests.

[Photo credit: Tavern Law]


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