This past summer I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Seattle for a few days! It was my first time in that city, heck it was my first time in Washington! I didn’t capture the trip as much as I had wanted, I was too busy meeting up with old friends, making new ones, and exploring the Emerald City to keep track of when I should be taking photos. But below are my thoughts (and reviews) of this too-short weekend in July.
Saturday (Day One)
We (my boyfriend, Bryan and I) landed late in the morning after a short flight from SoCal. Our first priority: Checking into the hotel (pro tip, impossible for 11 AM). Our second priority: coffee. After dropping our bags off at the front desk we started wandering the city, making our way in the vague direction of Pike Place Market.
We came across Post Alley and the famous (or infamous depending on who you ask) Gum Wall quite by accident! The number of people there taking photos against the wall and adding their own contribution was enough to make me chuckle. We didn’t bother much with the wall as our goal was at the end of the alley: Ghost Alley Espresso. Bryan got a cold brew and I got the Mystery Mocha. We took our drinks and found a quiet spot of the market to chill and wait to meet up with a very close friend of mine, Ashley.
We met up (or rather found each other) a little while later and went to go get a bite. Bryan and I were starving at this point so Ashley suggested a local favorite for lunch: Piroshky Piroshky. It is a magical place that makes massive, immensely satisfying pastries and hand pies. Bryan and I split the Beef and Cheese hand pie and, because we had to try a sweet one, Oscar’s Star which was ridiculously delicious.
After a satisfying lunch the three of us wandered around the market. We found a cozy nook by the name of Northwest Tastings. A lovely spot with a $6 wine tasting menu that I can’t recommend more. We posted up there for a while and I got a chance to catch up with Ash, and she got a chance to get to know Bryan.
For the rest of the afternoon we just strolled around different parts of the city including Pioneer Square (where I got a killer espresso from Slate) and South Lake Union, Ash’s part of town. We had an amazing dinner at Revel in that neighborhood. Korean Street Food inspired cuisine in a trendy spot. Only managed to snag a photo of dessert (the Revel Motherload. Rightly named) because we dived into everything so eagerly. Top favorites for me there were the Squid Pancake and the Short Rib Rice with Egg Yolk. Bryan and I were fairly tuckered out from our travel day so we bid Ashley good night and turned in early.
Sunday (Day 2)
We woke fairly early on Sunday as we wanted to get a jump start on our adventures. Our goal for the day was to head up to the Fremont Art District and spend the majority, if not the entirety, of the day there. But first, breakfast. We took to the streets of downtown from our hotel once more, this time with a solid destination in mind. A magical place known as Biscuit Bitch and HO-LY COW does that Bitch pack a punch! Probably the best biscuits I’ve ever had in my life. I got the Straight-Up Bitch (a biscuit smothered in divine sausage gravy) and Bryan got the Bitchwich breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese, and SPAM. We took our breakfast (and the coffees we picked up from Fonte) down to the water-front to eat and chill before catching a bus across Lake Union.
We arrived in Fremont at about 9:30am. Our first intended stop was the Fremont Sunday Flea Market, which didn’t open until 10. We killed time while waiting for the market to open by visiting the famous Troll. Despite the early hour there was a small group of visitors already there taking photos with the bridge guardian. While it is a very “touristy” thing to do in Seattle, I do recommend popping under the bridge and saying hi to him.
After saying bye to the Troll we made our way to the market which was just opening! The Fremont Sunday Flea Market is a wonderful collection of food, drinks, handmade crafts, and vintage odds and ends that is open every Sunday year round from 10-4. I found an awesome vintage jean jacket there for $10 and Bryan found an early edition collection of poems by Henry Longfellow at an antique book stall. If you’re in Seattle on a Sunday I do suggest at least stopping by, especially if you’re looking for something unique to bring home from your travels!
When were done shopping we migrated to Milstead & Co for, you guessed it, more coffee and to meet up with our friend George, who was also in Seattle for the weekend. The three of us moseyed our way through Fremont to the Gas Works Park. This park offers
extensive lawns for picnicking, gorgeous views of the city across Lake Union, and contains the remains of the last coal gasification structure in the US. It’s a really bizarre piece of work that looks like it came out of a Steampunk novel. There were lots of families and people with dogs milling about and enjoying the sunny afternoon.
The three of us were very hungry from all the walking so we wandered back to the main town of Fremont to track down some lunch. We happened upon a really amazing spot called Brouwer’s Cafe and settled in for the next couple of hours. Brouwer’s offers a wonderful Belgian inspired menu (the Appetizer Plate is a thing of wonder), a large array of beers on draft, and an extensive Whiskey list which made Bryan ecstatic. We lazed over our meal and drinks and discussed the rest of the day’s plans. We ended up wandering over to Theo Chocolate factory across the street, where we ate our combined body weight in sweets, and then happened upon a local distillery called Mischief where we indulged in a flight of their latest offerings of gin, whiskey, and vodka.
All of this drinking could only lead to one thing: more drinking. We posted up at Fremont Brewing to meet up with two friends of mine from college who lived in the city. What followed was one of the most fun nights I’ve had in a long time. The 5 of us closed out the brewery and made a pilgrimage to our final destination for the night: The Back Door. A very eclectic Speakeasy located in the back of Roxy’s Diner, this was easily my favorite spot we visited in Seattle. They have an amazing menu, for both food and cocktails, and a very knowledgeable staff. We spent the rest of our evening here together drinking, laughing, reminiscing and all of us getting to know each other a little better. We all made our separate ways home/back to hotel rooms to crash for the night and rest a little for tomorrow’s adventures.
Monday (Day 3)
This is it. This is the day. One of the parts of the trip I was most excited about. HIKING DAY!! I was up, probably far too early considering the extravagant night before, and raring to go! But Bryan was not, understandably so. While he slept in I ventured into the city alone to hunt down breakfast. I managed to track and kill a small box of doughnuts from General Porpoise (highly recommend the Rainier Cherry filled one) and two coffees from Pegasus. I returned triumphantly to my hotel room and revived my boyfriend with these treats. Now to plan the day!
I had picked out a trail for us to go to before we left for our trip that was located about and hour and a 1/2 outside of the city in the Snoqualmie Valley. But first, we needed to make a few detours on our way out there. Last night Bryan and I received a vital piece of information. We learned that the area we were trekking out to was where much of Twin Peaks was filmed. Oh yeah. This was happening.
Our first stop was Snoqualmie Falls, which is where a portion of the opening credits for the show was filmed. It was a magnificent sight and definitely one of the largest falls I have seen in my life. We spent a while there gazing out at the gorgeous scenery but soon moved on as we had another destination in mind. This destination involved Cherry Pie and a “damn fine cup of coffee”. Yes that’s right. We went to get lunch at the Double R
Diner (called Twedes Cafe in real life). Bryan and I posted up at the counter at this old school diner and split a patty melt and, naturally, cherry pie. Our bellies full and our Twin Peaks sight seeing satisfied it was time to work off those calories!
The trail I had chosen for us was Franklin Falls. It was a short trail (4 miles round trip) that ended at the base of a spectacular waterfall. The trail wound through lush evergreen forests along the stream the waterfall spilled into eventually. The water was crystal clear, fast running and very cold. We wandered between the tress with the ever faithful stream by our side. There was no rush, no distractions. Bryan and I made the decision to dedicate a day to hiking because connecting with the natural world is essential for us. This was the breath of fresh air we needed, the revival of our spirits that had become a little worn from the hustle and bustle of SoCal life.
We lingered by the falls for a little while, but there was a good amount of people there so we decided to mosey back down the trail to find our own quiet corner. It came to us in the form of a large, flat boulder towards the middle of the stream, about 2/3 of the way back down the trail. Perfect. We rock-hopped our way to it and lounged in the sun. I taught Bryan how to use a natural luge in the icy stream as a waterslide and we splashed around until we were too cold, then hopped back up on our rock to get warm. It was 88°, sunny, our own slice of heaven.
We had to tear ourselves away from the woods eventually as we had made dinner plans with George. Bryan and I made the journey back to the city and swung by George’s hotel to collect him. We crossed Lake Union once again, this time heading for Ballard instead of Fremont. The three of us had one thing on our minds: oysters.
The Walrus and the Carpenter changed my mind about oysters. I had been sitting on the fence about them for a while. I couldn’t decide wether or not I liked the strange mollusk
served raw. Turned out I did like them! When they are of very high quality and very well done. The Walrus and the Carpenter accomplishes both to great extent. It is a little pricy, but for our final dinner in Seattle is was perfect. Well, first final dinner. As it often happens with oyster bars we were still a little hungry. George pointed us in the direction of a Seattle fast food staple: Taco Time. Now these weren’t the street tacos I was used to back home but goddamn were they satisfying. And on top of that the majority of the ingredients used were all natural and locally sourced! If you need a quick, cheap bite this is the place. This concluded our evening together as Bryan and I were exhausted from our adventure earlier in the day. We headed back to the hotel for one last sleep in Seattle.
Final Day, Final Thoughts
Bryan and I woke early to pack and get ready for each of our departures. I was heading to the airport to journey home, and he was off to the docks with George to board a cruise liner and have their own adventures in Alaska. We got breakfast sandwiches from a little walk-up counter called Mel’s Market that was in an office building not far from the hotel. It was a delicious hunk of carbs and protein that each of us needed to get through the day. I bid farewell to Bryan and George and took a Lyft to the airport.
I arrived veeeeery early for my flight. Sea-Tac is huge and I felt unsure about navigating it by myself. Turns out it was very easy and I now had lots of time at my terminal to reflect on the weekend. One of the things I (naturally) did once I settled down was to look through Craigslist for apt/housing rentals. I love SoCal, but I’m always looking to see what else is out there on the West Coast. I scrolled through, picturing what a life in the PNW would be like.
I very much wish I had had more time in Seattle to really dig into the local style. I see myself heading back again in the not too distant future (though my next planned trip is Portland). If you have the opportunity to visit the Emerald City take a few moments to just stop and breathe it in. It’s truly the place at the end of the Yellow Brick Road you’ve been looking for.
Links to the places I mentioned:
- Ghost Alley Espresso: ghostalleyespresso.com
- Piroshky Piroshky: www.piroshkybakery.com
- Northwest Tastings: whiteheronwine.com/northwesttastings.html
- Slate Coffee Roasters: slatecoffee.com
- Revel: www.relayrestaurantgroup.com/restaurants/revel/
- Fonté Coffee Roasters: www.fontecoffee.com
- Biscuit Bitch: biscuitbitch.com
- Fremont Troll: fremont.com/explore/sights/troll/
- Fremont Sunday Market: www.fremontmarket.com
- Milstead & Co: milsteadandco.com
- Gas Works Park: www.seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/gas-works-park
- Brouwer’s Cafe: www.brouwerscafe.com
- Theo Chocolate: www.theochocolate.com/factory-retail-store/
- Mischief Distillery: fremontmischief.com
- Fremont Brewing: www.fremontbrewing.com
- The Back Door: www.backdooratroxys.com
- General Porpoise: www.gpdoughnuts.com
- Pegasus Coffee: pegasuscoffeeroaster.com/coffee-bars
- Snoqualmie Falls: www.snoqualmiefalls.com
- Twedes Cafe: www.twedescafe.com
- Franklin Falls: www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/franklin-falls
- The Walrus and the Carpenter: www.thewalrusbar.com
- Taco Time: tacotimenw.com
- Mel’s Market: www.melspickup.com