Seattle Secrets: A Travel Guide to the Hidden Gems of Emerald City
It has been a hot second since the last time I was in Seattle, but back when my bestfriend used to live in Emerald City, I made it a point to visit every year. Through that I was able to discover a couple secrets to see the city even better past the typical tourist attractions that everyone opts for. I strive to find lesser known spots on any trip!
Since there are already so many guides on the internet of the MUST SEE and MUST DO things while you are in Seattle, this guide will be a bit of a different take and will provide you with all my personal recommendations that you probably will not find online. I purposely left out the typical things you might do since you can easily find that online.
Note: These are all things I have done or places I have gone to, so I am speaking purely from personal experience.
Notable Things To Do
Columbia Sky View Observatory
The Columbia Sky View Observatory is the tallest public observatory in the Pacific Northwest and has the most stunning view of the city. Nestled on the 73rd floor of Seattle's tallest building (standing at 76 floors tall) in the Columbia Center, the Sky View Observatory simply put has a WAY BETTER view than the Space Needle (hands down) and it is WAY cheaper.
-Adults (14+): $22 ($20 if you purchase online here)
-Senior (65+): $19 ($17 if you purchase online here)
-Youth (5-13): $16 ($14 if you purchase online here)
-Child (4 and Under): Free
-Buy your tickets downstairs before heading up to the 73rd floor
-If you buy a ticket, it is good for the whole. This is important to note because it means you can go in the morning when the sun is out and you can go again at night time to see the city lit up.
-Bring your Student ID for a discount (it is $9 with ID compared to the $30+ the Space Needle costs!)
Alki Beach Park
With a gorgeous view of the Seattle Skyline, Alki Beach Park is a long beach strip that runs from Alki Point to Duwamish Head on Elliot Bay. There are a number of things to do here, but my favorite thing is to definitely sit and enjoy the beautiful view of Seattle.
-The water taxi to get there is only $5.75 ($5 with an ORCA card). Click here for a schedule.
-You can buy your ticket on the vessel itself, but you must pay in cash. If you would like to pay with card, make sure to purchase at the kiosk before hoping on the water taxi.
Notable Neighborhoods to Visit
Capitol Hill Neighborhood
Out of all the places I visited throughout Seattle, Capitol Hill was definitely my favorite one. It was so vibrant and full of personality. Plus it had all the best foodie places! Here were my favorites:
Seriously the one of best tea places I have ever been to (and this is saying a lot because I am a tea aficionado and quite picky about my tea).
Try: Lavender Cream Earl Grey (I still dream about it till this day)
Address: 202 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11AM-10PM; Friday-Saturday, 11AM-11PM
Contact: (206) 829-0055
Ada’s Technical Bookstore and Cafe
Ada's is the kind of coffee shop they write books about. I went there on a rainy and foggy night, so I felt like a character in a dramatic movie about Seattle. The bookstore section of Ada's is very picturesque and has many cozy little nooks for you to just hang around and chill in. Not interested in reading or getting cozy with a book? They have a bustling cafe too!
Address: 425 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 8AM-9PM
Phone: (206) 322-1058
Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream
A trip for me is not complete until I find the perfect ice cream shop, so finding Molly Moon's Ice Cream Shop was such a cherry on top of a perfect trip. Their ice cream is handmade in store and they have some of the best flavors. What I love about this place is the fact that their homemade ice cream is made from hormone free cows.
Try: Honey Lavender and Salted Carmel
Address: 917 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 12PM-11PM
Contact: (206) 708-7947
I was still really full when I went to Melrose Market, but had I not been, this would have been a perfect place to grab dinner. There's a bunch of tables around the market to eat at and there are also a number of cute boutique shops.
Address: 1532 Minor Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
Hours: Varies by Store
Contact: (206) 932-1059
I was really debating on whether or not I should include this because it's Starbucks, but I feel like this deserves a mention because of how unique it is compared to any other Starbucks I have been to. Also, what is really cool about this is that they serve coffee not offered at any other locations. It’s also pretty cool to see the beans being roasted.
Entrance is free -- it is modeled as a Starbucks factory
Address: 1124 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101
Hours: Sunday-Saturday 7AM-11PM
Contact: (206) 624 0173
The Gokan by Musashi
There are so many good places to eat at in Capitol Hill (it's basically foodie heaven), but being a sushi connoisseur, I always make it a personal goal to find a good sushi place wherever I am visiting. This one was definitely a jackpot! It had more of a upper scale atmosphere, good for a nice night out with your friends.
My Tip: Go during Happy Hour for great deals! There is such an extensive list of options to choose from (at a really great price too). Happy Hour is 4:30-6:30PM except on Saturdays and Sundays.
Address: 954 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 4:30PM-10PM; Friday-Saturday, 4:30PM-12AM
Contact: (206) 325-3534
Pioneer Square Area
Pioneer Square is a very charming area. It particularly stood out to me because of its rustic old buildings and the trees that lined the area. There are a number of cute cafes and boutique shops in the area and is just the perfect place to spend an afternoon strolling around.
Grand Central Arcade
This was a place I just stumbled across while walking around the Pioneer Square Area. It attracted my attention because of its ornate brick exterior covered in ivy. The inside felt like a scene right out of a Harry Potter movie.
MUST for Harry Potter fans. It looks like Diagon Alley!
London Plane (MUST EAT Brunch Place!)
Until this day, The London Plane in Seattle is hands down one of the most aesthetically brunch places I have ever been to in my life, and I have been to many. It has such a bright and airy atmosphere, you just feel instantly happy upon entering. It also helps that it is adorned with flowers that also happen to be on sale.
Address: 300 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 8AM-9PM, Saturday, 9AM-9PM; Sunday, 9AM-3PM; Monday, 8AM-5PM
Contact: (206) 624-1374
Your visit to Seattle definitely isn’t complete without a visit to Pike’s Place/Downtown area. While the Gum Wall, the Public Market, Great Wheel and the Original Starbucks are all places that are a must visit for your first time in Seattle, these next few places are definitely must visits that are just a little lesser known.
Elliott’s Oyster House
Elliot's Oyster House was such a sweet surprise while walking around this area. It was raining hard, and I had just left Waterfront Park hungry and tired when I ran into Elliott's. It had just opened for the evening so I was able to get one of window seats that overlooks the Puget Sound. Perfect for the oyster aficionado!
My Tips: Happy Hour is 3-6 pm and the oyster are very cheap, there are other items available on the Happy Hour Menu as well.
Address: 1201 Alaskan Way ste 100, Seattle, WA 98101
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11AM-10PM; Friday-Saturday, 11AM-11PM
Contact: (206) 623 4340
Nestled within the quaint Post Alley, The Pink Door is one of Seattle's Most Beloved restaurant destinations serving delicious Italian food and at times, live music. Perfect for a romantic evening.
My Tips: There are actually no signs and this is definitely not a restaurant you will just stumble by without recommendation as the door just seems like any other door.
How to find it: Look for the Pink Door on the west (water) side of Post Alley and just walk in!
Address: 1919 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11:30AM-11:30PM; Friday-Saturday, 11:30AM-1AM; Sunday, 4-10PM
Contact: (206) 443-3241
Craving French food? This place is perfect for it. The feel of this restaurant was very vintage and homey--tres bien!
Address: 1600 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 8AM-10PM
Contact: (206) 728-2233
Within the city, this gelato shop was definitely my favorite one, mostly because of their unique flavors such as rice flavored gelato as well as plum wine flavored gelato. Plus it is a close walk from Pike's Place and the Downtown area in general, just not as busy!
Address: 1400 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10AM-8PM; Friday-Saturday, 10AM-10PM; Sunday, 12-8PM
Contact: (206) 467-9563
Seattle Public Library (Central Library)
The Seattle Public Library is actually another thing I stumbled upon in an effort to get away from the rain. I know, I stumble upon things a lot, haha. Simply put, it is a very nice library in the sense that its interior architecture is one of the most unique I have ever seen.
Address: 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10AM-8PM; Friday-Saturday, 10AM-6PM; Sunday, 12PM-6PM
Contact: (206) 386-4636
Moore Coffee Shop
The Moore is known for their amazing latté art which including adorable creations like cats, teddy bears, and butterflies!
My Tips: For the best instagram shots make sure to grab a table near the window for natural light.
Address: 1930 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 6:30AM-4:30PM; Saturday, 8AM-4:30PM; Sunday, 8AM-2:30PM
Well there you have it! All my favorite hidden gems of the beautiful Emerald City! Have you ever been to any of these? What other places are on your list?
Til' Next Time,