Greetings, sugarplums! The holidays are among us, so it feels fitting to share this vvv wintery city guide to the slushy and slurry Pacific Northwest. Last week our blog copywriter, Rebecca Sanders (hi!), traveled to Seattle for her final trip of 2023 and returned fortified with the rich nutrients of the Puget Sound and some pretty hot takes regarding west coast oysters and coffee consumption. We hope you enjoy this week’s pacific perspective!
To kick things off frankly, a disclaimer is needed. Do not listen to any haters who tell you Pike Place Market is overhyped or touristy. It is so much more! From the moment you step inside your senses will be flooded with sounds, sights, and salmon. We were completely overstimulated and mesmerized by all its offerings. Local merchants set up shop and you can purchase anything from crystals to art to honey to cheese. There’s also a fabulous array of food stalls. We opted to sink our teeth into pork and chicken hom bows at Mee Sum Pastry. These savory meat-stuffed clouds were fabulous and held us over during our walk through the market and visit to the Seattle Aquarium, a must visit.
So, the seafood in Seattle is truly intense. As a Tennessee, landlocked lady, I had never experienced oysters, sushi, or shellfish on this level. Everything tasted as though it had been plucked right out of its habitat and deposited directly to your plate. The flavors were truly of the sea, almost on a spiritual level. One of our absolute favorite dining experiences was had at Shiro’s Sushi. We had 19 artfully crafted pieces of seasonal nigiri that nourished our souls and stomachs. This intimate establishment is so special with welcoming service and edible art in every roll.
As Christmas is just around the corner, we could not pass up the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s rendition of the Nutcracker at McCaw Hall. We didn’t think we could be impressed any further after Shiro’s Sushi, but boy were we mistaken. The artistry. The stage design. The costumes. The strength. The grace. We were blown away! P.S., long live the rat king.
For a cozy and magical day trip, take the ferry to Bainbridge Island. The tickets are ten dollars, and you can spend the 40 minute ride exploring, snacking, or going up top and almost getting blown off the deck by the gail force winds. Honestly, the ferry was one of our favorite parts of the trip. The views were beautiful and low key romantic! Once you arrive on the island all the shops and restaurants are walkable and so charming. We grabbed coffee at Pegasus Coffee, a glass of wine at the Eleven Winery Tasting room, and a delicious lunch at Ba Sa (phenom Vietnamese spot). Later in the day, we made our way further inland for more wine at Bainbridge Vineyards. Note: Lyft’s are limited on the island, so manage time accordingly. We returned to the ferry with bleary eyes and full hearts. It was honestly the best day ever.
Other destinations we adored were visiting the University of Washington, the Ballard Locks, and Discovery Park. Before wandering around the University and fantasizing about being 21 again, we grabbed breakfast and coffee at Saint Bread, which is basically on campus. The pastries were groovy, and I’m sad we split the best-breakfast-sandwich-I’ve-ever-had, rather than getting two for both of us. The University is dreamy with a library similar to that of Hogwarts. After we’d spent adequate time feeling old and surrounded by students preparing for exams, we headed to the Ballard Locks to stare at crazy rushing water and boats scooching around slowly. Honestly, one of the most soothing experiences of my career. Then, we wandered up to Discovery Park where we experienced major Twilight vibes, and I thought about what it would be like to be Bella Swan, torn between the life of dating a vampire and trying to fix up her dad’s old truck. We also took the opportunity to spread more of my grandfather’s ashes here. A note I’ve chosen to leave out until now!
Once you get tired of being a cultural snob, there are plenty of awesome dive bars, pizza places, and breweries to slither into and embrace your true inner slug. We loved Montana, Screwdriver Bar, Cloudburst Brewing, Fremont Brewing, Pine Box, and Cornelly. Each of the places can best be described as cozy and comfortable, and we could have spent hours at each.
At the end of the day, Seattle is such a gem of the city, plus there’s so much to behold beyond it’s limits. We hope this inspires you to try some new food, check out a new spot, and do some general exploring of your own as we enter into the new year. We hope 2024 brings you more of life’s colorful adventures, and we look forward to seeing you and your SCOUT in the wild!