Destination Guide

Seattle

Open Your Heart to Seattle

With a booming tech industry, Seattle is the fastest-growing major city in the United States over the past decade and the proximity to mossy forests and hidden beaches is perfect for outdoor recreation. Summer is an especially beautiful time to visit, when you can eat Rainier cherries from Pike Place Market with a view of snow-capped Mt. Rainier on the horizon. 

Refuel and Hydrate

Taku is a casual new restaurant slinging Japanese fried chicken – chicken karaage – by chef Shota Nakajima in Capitol Hill. Many of the best restaurants in Japan specialize in just one thing – ramen, sushi, yakitori or tempura – and Nakajima captures that same spirit by perfecting his light, crispy twice-fried chicken, inspired by his favorite meal growing up. You can also catch Nakajima competing on the current season of Top Chef.

Spinasse makes the best pasta in town and the menu is a regional collection of Northern Italian recipes, served in a warm and romantic setting. Juicy meatballs, tajarin al ragu and tiramisu are staples, along with ever changing seasonal specials by chef Stuart Lane. Come winter, splurge on pungent fresh truffles overnighted from Italy.

Half-Day Escapes

The Space Needle is Seattle’s most famous landmark and the observation tower received a massive “spacelift” $100 million renovation in 2018 to give guests better, unobstructed views, including the addition of the world’s first and only revolving glass floor. You feel like you’re walking on air, suspended 500 feet above the city for an entirely new perspective on the Space Needle’s sleek architecture. 

Seattle is surrounded by water and the best way to experience the city on the water is a  kayak tour on the Puget Sound with Ballard Kayak. You can paddle next to seals and sea lions while kayaking through the Ballard Locks and there are shorter sunset tours too, great for working up an appetite before dinner. The guides are all passionate, young locals with a wealth of knowledge about Seattle’s history and ecology.

 Wine lovers can bike all the way to Woodinville with Evergreen Escapes for an afternoon of wine tastings. Chateau Ste. Michelle has the grandest tasting experience and Novelty Hill and Januik are lovely as well, two independent wineries that share a tasting room with lovely food pairings to complement your flight of wine. It’s not just wine around here either. Woodinville Whiskey is nationally acclaimed for their bourbon and rye whiskies.

Snap the Photo

Pike Place Market is Seattle’s original farmers market, open year-round with hundreds of local shops and vendors selling fresh local produce, seafood and crafts under the covered arcade and along the cobblestone streets. A new extension of the market houses local artisans Honest Biscuits, Indi Chocolate and Old Stove Brewing.

Chihuly Garden and Glass is a colorful indoor and outdoor museum in the Seattle Center, featuring  magnificent blown glass sculptures by Dale Chiluly, who made Seattle a hub for glass blowing. On weekends, there are garden tours and live flameworking demonstrations and in summer the gardens often host live concerts.

Refresh with Holistic Healing

Yuan Spa in Bellevue is Seattle’s best day spa, best known for its relaxing hydrotherapy circuit and Eastern holistic healing therapies including cupping, warm bamboo massage, gua-sha and acupressure treatments. Owned and managed by AAPI women, Yuan Spa is a true urban oasis and you’re guaranteed to walk out feeling more grounded and rejuvenated.

Coffee Shop Insights

Tourists may flock to the original Starbucks location, but the line here is long and the coffee does mimic every other Starbucks location. To try something new, head a few doors down to Storyville, a local roaster that represents Seattle’s still thriving coffee scene. Every afternoon, the kitchen serves free fresh-baked chocolate cake made with dark chocolate from local bean-to-bar chocolatemaker Theo Chocolate.

Meet the journalist:

Amber Gibson is a freelance journalist specializing in travel, food, wine and wellness with bylines in Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, Robb Report, Travel + Leisure, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Artful Living, NBC, NPR, USA Today and many more. Dark chocolate, champagne and gelato are her biggest weaknesses.