Ok, I'm FINALLY writing up this Seattle city guide from our trip in early June. Seattle is in my top 3 favorite cities (can you guess the other 2?), and I could absolutely see myself living there. It's a green wonderland - driving through the streets, you end up feeling like you're driving through a national park. And it's such a large city that there are endless possibilities for exploring. I already wrote a Seattle city guide last year, but figured I'd update it with new spots. Enjoy, and tell me your favorite parts of Seattle in the comments!
Where to eat
Sano Cafe, 7605 SE 27th St #111, Mercer Island, WA 98040
Mercer Island is a super cute little town on an island between Seattle and Bellevue, and is totally worth the short drive! Definitely stop by Sano Cafe for a super yummy and healthy breakfast. We loved the GF avocado toast and the delicious customizable smoothies, but they also offer heartier meals like bowls and salads.
Bounty Kitchen, 7 Boston St, Seattle, WA 98109
Suuuper cute and healthy organic farm-to-table spot in the cutest little neighborhood, Queen Anne. Bounty Kitchen is especially great if you're gluten free, vegan, or any other variety of healthy diet lifestyle. We each had a soup and one of their bowls. The portions here are huge, so be ready to eat!
Cafe Flora, 2901 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112
This is hands down THE most delicious and healthy vegan/vegetarian place I have ever eaten, AND they offer everything gluten free (helllooo gf vegan pizza!). We had an incredible meal, trying everything our hearts desired, including the aforementioned pizza, an amazing salad, the falafel plate (with gf pita!), and sweet potato fries. They even had tincture cocktails and mocktails, like, they're actually healthy for you! Everything was vegan and gf without trying too hard - it just tasted really good in its own right. If you go anywhere to eat in Seattle, let it be here.
Where to stay
Embassy Suites, Pioneer Square
255 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104
Make sure to go read my separate blog post reviewing this hotel, because this hotel is GOOD. I'd never thought much specifically of Embassy Suites, but this one is brand new, with incredible views and even more incredible amenities, like their modern fitness center and a beautiful sunning deck overlooking both downtown and the stadium. The location is super central (it took us no time getting to any part of Seattle), and the actual suites are stunning, with 2 rooms adjoined by a gorgeous huge bathroom. They also have a super cute lobby bar, Zephyr, with a 20s theme, where you can grab cocktails and light bites.
Where to explore / take photos
Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109
Ok, so I'm not a big art person, I definitely don't visit museums on my trips. I'm also not a big glass person, I mean glass is cool but whatever. But, I'd heard so much about this specific exhibit that I had to check it out. And to my surprise, I was FLOORED. It is SO beautiful, and the most magnificent part is that much of the exhibit is outside in the gardens, and the glass sculpture is actually integrated into the landscape, as if it naturally sprouted there. Definitely don't miss this one.
The Space Needle
400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109
I mean, this is an obvious one, but it's SO FUN!! They just finished rebuilding the top of the needle, so now not only are all of the outlook windows pure glass, but the floor IS ALSO GLASS. Whaaaat. So yes, this is super worth it. For the views, for the photos ops. You know you're going to do it, so just go already ;)
Pro tip: there's a day pass you can get that lets you in twice, so you can view the needle during the day and at night. Do it! The views are completely awe inspiring in both light and darkness.
Willburton Hill Park / Bellevue Botanical Garden
12001 Main St, Bellevue, WA 98005
Sure, there are a lot of parks in the Seattle area, but this one was an instant favorite. You should actually enter at 12400 SE 4th Place, which is a total residential neighborhood, but then you can do a fun, short hike through this drawbridge and forrest, and be greeted by the botanical garden. Completely breathtaking nature. Really easy trails, we saw a lot of families and groups of all ages. It's an amazing experience to be in a residential neighborhood and slip through an opening in the bushes and end up in this enchanted forest.
Lynn Street Park
2291 Fairview Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102
This tiny little park might be my favorite water view in Seattle. While the big guns like Gas Works Park are amazing, this mini park is home of the Floating Homes Association and dons a small tiled bench and plenty of other seating to relax and enjoy the sunset. The view of the water here is incredibly calming, and the area is slow and quiet, so you can just enjoy.
MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture)
325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Let me remind you again that I'm not usually someone who goes to museums, but this one was SO MUCH FUN. The exhibits truly center around both current and iconic pop-culture, and everything is super interaction (they have a sound lab where you can record a track and a gaming room where you can play any game from Super Mario to whatever the cool new games are that I'm not aware of, hah).
For those of you who know me well, you know that I'm a total comic book geek, and their current main exhibit is ABOUT THE HISTORY OF COMIC BOOKS!!!!!!!!! And not only is that super cool, but they actually set up a bunch of different lifesize characters that you can take photos with (witness my Spidey experience below), and have a huge collection of costumes from the superhero movies. Each room is a different comic book world, and you get to read about the history, the big moments, the alternate endings, everything!
So, friends, if I haven't already convinced you, trust me, you HAVE to visit Seattle. It's such a beautiful escape into nature, where everyone is pleasant, the air smells like forest, and life is just a little slower and more peaceful. And you know they lie about it raining all the time - they just tell that to people so that there isn't a mass migration to this beautiful sunny city.
What's your favorite city and why? Tell me in the comments below!
Julia O Test is a lifestyle blogger and photographer based in San Francisco.