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.
After visiting some of the main attractions of Seattle on Day 1, here is Day 2 of my itinerary for a weekend in Seattle.
For Day 1: A Weekend in Seattle: Part 1
(1) Have your morning coffee at the original Starbucks
[Photo credit: Starbucks]
I have very little doubt that there's a Starbucks within a 5 minute drive from you (if not 5 min walk, as it is for me)... so you're probably wondering why is Starbucks a recommendation. In any other city... it would not be (except maybe Tokyo, since they do special drinks there)... but in the original city of Starbucks... you simply have to visit the very first store. The one that started it all. 1912 Pike place, located just outside the Pike Place Market, is the original Starbucks store. If it weren't for the long lines outside, you'd probably miss this 1,000 sq foot humble store that looks nothing like its 20,000 global siblings. "The store offers not just all the drinks on the company’s modern menu — from normal coffee and espresso to chai tea lattes and caramel Frappuccinos — but a sense of just how much the operation has changed over the decades" - The Guardian
(2) Catch a salmon at Pike Place Market
[Photo Credit: viator]
Any footage of Seattle includes the iconic salmon tossing at Pike Place Market. What you probably didn't see was all the other incredible things that one of the country’s oldest farmers markets has to offer. Pike Place Market is enormous - nine acres from Pike St. north to Virginia St. and from 1st Ave west to Western Ave... with its historic arcade, winding alleys, stairways and lower levels. There are musicians, local crafts... and all the seasonal foods, brews, and baked goods. Trust me... you can easily make a meal out of buying random snacks here and there around the market. There's also the new Market Front Pavilion. The $74 million expansion project provides a public plaza with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, table space for farmers, craftspeople, and artisan purveyors, retail space, low-income housing, a neighborhood center and parking.
Oh and definitely make sure you catch the salmon tossing. The famed flying-fish ritual began as a way for the fish monger to save steps from walking back and forth to weigh the fish, cut and package it, and then walk back to hand it to the customer.
[Photo Credit: Seattle Times, NYTimes]
Click here for: Walking Guide: Pike Place Market 101
(3 & 4) Lunch at Café Campagne or Pike Place Chowder or both
After a morning navigating the crowd and exploring the market, it's time for a nice relaxing lunch. Pike Place Market has plenty of good options, and Café Campagne and Pike Place Chowder are two of them. You can always start with a cup of chowder before heading to Café Campagne for some delicious French brunch.
I discovered this place through a good friend of mine that relocated to Seattle for work. Located on Post Alley in Pike Place Market... it is one of those rare places deep in tourist country that locals are still willing to wait in line for. Tucked away in the secret little courtyard, this café-bistro is the perfect place for market-watching without being in the crowd. And the food here is delicious. Café Campagne is the quintessential Paris café done right - pan-roasted chicken, oeufs en meurette, French onion soup, pâtés, and mussels in wine. For brunch... I highly recommend their quiche. The quiches here come filled with things like Dungeness crab, comte cheese, or caramelized onion. Oh and definitely pair that with a glass of champagne (you're on vacation after all)!
[Photo credit: Café Campagne, Seattle Met]
Pike Place Chowder
If you read through A Weekend in Seattle: Part 1, then you've already read about my love of Seattle seafood. So if you take some of Seattle's best... and make it with cream and potatoes... and then serve it to me, while I'm visiting a city that can often be misty and cold... you win. More specifically, Pike Place Chowder wins. In 2018, Yelp announced the “The 10 Most Popular Dishes in the Country,” and Pike Place Chowder topped the list and the rest is history. With over 300,000 visits a year, this place gets crowded. Good thing is, you don't have to spend too long wondering what you're going to eat. You can choose from eight chowders... or the sampler if you really can't choose. I'd recommend the traditional clam or the oyster & crab (you ARE in Seattle after all). If you love bread, make sure to get it in the bread bowl. Or you can do it my way... and skip the bread bowl for a chowder plus a seafood roll.
(5) It's sticky at the Gum Wall
[Photo Credit: ABC 13]
I know... it sounds disgusting. The Seattle Gum Wall is covered in thousands of pieces of chewing gum on the side of the Post Alley's Market Theater. This unique attraction makes for a great backdrop for photos and a favorite of kids. Given the highly "interactive" nature of this... you'll find that each time you visit it, it looks slightly different. Also... no idea how some pieces got that high up on the wall! Fun fact - in Nov 2015, the wall was stripped clean of all gum and steam cleaned. The work took 130 hours, scrapping off 2,350 pounds of gum that accumulated over the 20 years. Naturally once this was done, visitors quickly began adding gum to the wall again.
(6) Take in the culture at the Seattle Art Museum
The Seattle Art Museum, located one block from Pike Place Market, offers global art collections, temporary installations, and special exhibitions from around the world in a beautiful open area. Collections include modern and contemporary, African, Meso-American, Ancient Mediterranean, Islamic, European, Oceanic and Australian Aboriginal, Asian, American, and decorative arts. There are remarkable Native American galleries featuring Northwest Coast art for those interested in understanding a bit more about Seattle's history and culture.
(7) Shop til you drop at University Village
If you have some time between checking out the Seattle Art Museum and dinner, definitely head north in the city to University Village for some shopping. Right by Washington University, this outdoors shopping center has tons of options regardless of your taste or style. From Allbirds to lululemon to The North Face, there are over 60 stores to choose from. If you find yourself staying until dinner time, there are also lots of restaurants in the village including the Taiwanese eatery, Din Tai Fung, and the New York based burger, Shake Shack.
(8) End the weekend with The Walrus and the Carpenter
You've heard me say it before, but I'll say it again... oysters are perhaps Seattle’s greatest food resource. And there are few places better than The Walrus and the Carpenter. This raw bar is a tiny (oyster) farmhouse with French flair. Oysters, vegetables, grilled sardines, pork rillettes, even the bread - it’s all going to be stellar. This place is small and the wait can be long - so while you wait, swing by and have a well crafted cocktail at sibling Barnacle Bar next door.
"Make sure to order more oysters than you think you want, tasting your way up and down the Northwest coast with bivalves with Narnian names like Sea Nymphs, Emerald Pool, and Flapjack Point. For real Norman appeal, order rye bread from wonderful Sea Wolf bakery and spread it with too much butter. Drink plenty of Muscadet." - Bon Appetit Magazine
[Photo Credit: Bon Appetit]
For Day 1: A Weekend in Seattle: Part 1