It was hard to narrow down what to do and where to eat on a recent three day business trip to Seattle. Seattle is a beautiful, unique, quirky, elegant city, with so much to do and eat, and I had such a limited amount of time! Unfortunately, being there to work, I had to spend much of my time actually working. However, I was lucky enough to have sun and 65 degrees in the middle of November, which apparently is an anomaly.
Business Lunches with Co-workers
I enjoyed lunch with my co-workers for two of the three days. The first day we went to a place called Shawn O’Donnell’s, which serves a pretty mean Reuben sandwich. The next day we ate a dive bar called the Soundview Tavern, apparently known for their chicken fried steak. I was skeptical at first, but that all dissipated once I took my first bite. It was one of the best chicken fried steak meals I have ever had. The last day I stopped at a place called the Grub Hut in Kingston for a burger on my way to Bremerton from Everett. They’ve got many choices, all sounding amazing, but I opted for the Reid’s Right Way Burger with gorgonzola and bacon.
The cities/towns in the Seattle area are located all over Puget Sound, making ferry travel a popular means of commuting. I took Edmonds-Kingston ferry in the morning and took a nice 30 minute drive to Bremerton (for work), and then the Bremerton-Seattle ferry on my way back to Seattle. The ride to Kingston was about 30 minutes long and was quite beautiful, with great views of Mt. Rainier.
The trip from Bremerton to downtown Seattle was more impressive, winding through many inlets and also providing great views of Mt. Rainier. It took closer to an hour, but the views as you head toward the city are amazing! With exception of eating all the great food, riding the ferries was my favorite part of the trip. The ride is peaceful, the scenery beautiful, providing the perfect atmosphere to feel peace and quiet in your life – put down your phone and enjoy the ride.
Seattle is very well know for it’s oysters and oysters are one of my favorite foods, so guess what my first dinner was? Oysters! There are an overwhelming number of oyster bars to choose from, and after significant research, and input from the boyfriend back home, I settled on The Walrus and the Carpenter. I ordered the local oyster sampler, because well , why not? They were all great, but my favorite was the Hama Hama, which has a brinier flavor than some (however, supposedly sweeter in the spring and summer months). I also ordered the steamed clams, steak tartar and the roasted dates, however the oysters were the star of the show. I was lucky enough arrive during happy hour for half off oysters, which was good because they were $3.75 EACH! Also note they automatically add a 20% service charge for all guests.
If you’re looking for some other options for great oysters, check out Taylor’s Shellfish, Shuckers, Momiji, Blueacre Seafood and Elliots (among many, many others). These have already been raved as some of the best oyster houses in the Seattle area.
What to do in the City
First of all, if you drive, beware of the parking prices. I paid $14 to park in the heart of downtown, however, I am sure you can find cheaper options if you try parking a little off the beaten path and walk. There are a lot of different attractions in the city, with some of the most popular as follows:
- Pike Place Market: Market with rows of fresh fruits and vegetables, locals fish and seafood, restaurants and eateries, and arts and crafts.
- Seattle Art Museum
- Pioneer Square: The historic part of Seattle, rich in history and culture and known for its Renaissance Revival Architecture. Considered the city’s original downtown, it also has First Thursday night art walks, quirky boutiques and night life.
- Kerry Park: Some of the most amazing views of the city can be found here on the south side of Queen Anne Hill.
- Lake Union: A lake right in the middle of the city. Rent a kayak and head out to explore the lake.
- Space Needle: Enjoy 360 degree views of Seattle. There is also a fine dining restaurant at the top, but you’ll need a reservation.
If you’re looking for a more inclusive list of some activities to do in Seattle, check this article out.
Downtown Seattle include many different neighborhoods such as Belltown, Capitol Hill, China Town, Denny Triangle, First Hill, SoDo, Uptown, Union and Waterfront (among several others).
- Belltown is one of the more hip neighborhoods, catering to the younger generations. There are many trendy restaurants, bars, nightclubs, music venues, and unique local shops. This is the place to be!
- Chinatown is typically my favorite area of any city! Lined with restaurant, shops, dragons and lanterns and oh so delicious smells, this is a great place to hang out for the evening.
- Capitol Hill includes a good mix of young professionals, families and students. There is both an eclectic and elegant vibe to this part of town, with tree lined streets, mansions, coffee houses, tattoo parlors, as well as many music venues. Converted warehouses are mixed in with brick mansions making for an interesting area to visit.
- Denny Triangle is a newer area of development and one of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods.
- First Hill has classic homes, gardens and churches and is one of the first areas of Seattle to be settled.
- SoDo is the industrial part of downtown, with business headquarters such as Starbucks, lofts, art galleries and pubs.
- Uptown is home to the Space Needle, also including the Seattle center, science center, Key arena, etc.
- Union is home of Amazon’s new warehouse, may Biotech companies, as well as many other warehouses and industrial complexes. This is another fast developing area of Seattle.
- Waterfront includes spectacular views of the bay, many seafood restaurants, ferry rides, and souvenir shops. Also the home of Pike Place Market
Soup for a Chilly Evening in Lynnwood, WA
I worked late one evening and did not feel like driving down to the city (I was staying in Lynnwood), so I did a little research and found a place called Traditional Korean Beef Soup. I had never tried Korean Beef Soup before, so I was pretty excited. The restaurant provides the traditional banchan, and their Kimchi and radish were both delicious. I ordered the knee bone soup, which is served with noodles in an thick, milky, unseasoned broth and a cup of green onions on the side. There are bowls of salt and chili paste on the table to season your own soup. I poured in the salt, onions and chili to taste and off I went. It was a tasty, satisfying soup for under $10! If you’ve never had this style of soup, I highly recommend it.
Because I only had one more evening, I opted for Belltown, and after much internal debate, decided to try my hand at Shiro’s Sushi. I did not make reservations as I arrived at about 5 PM, however, it was packed with people waiting when I left an hour later. The restaurant opened in 1994, and focuses on local, seasonally available seafood and produce. They use an Edomai technique, which is the traditional Tokyo way of preparing sushi, but using fish from local sources. I went with the sashimi tasting menu to get the full experience (well as much of the full experience as I could afford). Every dish was beautifully presented, served with the perfect accompaniments. The fish was incredibly fresh, and the fatty tuna and salmon belly (my personal favorite) melted in my mouth.
If you’re not feeling like sushi, Seattle has many other great restaurants to choose from. Some great options are Pike Place Chowder; Piroshky Piroshky (Russian bakery); Toulouse Petit (Cajun/Creole – I’ll definitely try this my next trip); The Pink Door (Italian); Lola (Greek/Mediterranean); Biscuit Bitch (Breakfast); Tilikum Place Café (American)and Harbor City Restaurant (Cantonese/Dim Sum).
Well, I packed in as much eating as possible during my short trip. It gave me a good taste of Seattle and I am looking forward to getting back for a real vacation. What are your favorite things to do and places to eat in Seattle? I’d love some ideas for next time!