In October, my fellow Copywriter Jamie and I found ourselves headed to Seattle for a conference. Since neither of us had been before, we decided to head out for the Emerald City a few days early to do some exploring. Not only was the city beautiful (even with its notoriously rainy weather), we were impressed by just how much there is to do there. Here are five of our favorite places to visit in Seattle.
Pike Place Market
86 Pike Place
Out of all the different stalls and shops you can stop by at Pike Place, the fish market is one of the best, even if you don’t like seafood. Once you get used to the fresh-from-the-ocean smell, it really is a remarkable place. Vendors proudly display the day’s catch—everything from oysters and squid to salmon and bright red rockfish peek out from the ice. But the real pièce de résistance is its fish-throwing mongers. For decades, they’ve been delighting crowds with this unique tradition. Unfortunately, you can’t really plan your day around it, since there’s no set schedule for when the fish start flying. It only happens after a purchase, so be sure to build some extra “waiting around” time into your schedule.
1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59
With tanks teeming with tropical reef fish, a resident giant Pacific octopus (the largest species of its kind), a colony of puffins, and much more, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon here. While each display is mesmerizing in its own way, the sea otters and seals steal the show with their playful antics. If you’re feeling brave, venture on over to the touch tank and find out what a starfish feels like or just how squishy sea cucumbers really are. And the animals aren’t the only remarkable thing about this place: The aquarium is involved in both conservation (it’s Washington’s only recognized sea turtle rehabilitation facility) and sustainability initiatives, so it’s nice to know your entrance fee is helping out.
1908 Pike Place
This is one of those wonderful bakeries that you can smell before you see it. That’s because fresh piroshkies (traditional Russian hand pies) are constantly being made by the nice folks who run this small shop. Whether you’re in the mood for a savory snack or something to indulge your sweet tooth, Piroshky Piroshky has a mouthwatering menu that features flavors like cherry white chocolate, smoked salmon, and cheddar and garlic. A word to the wise—something that tastes this good always draws a crowd, so be prepared to wait in line.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison Street
Located in the shadow of the Space Needle, the Chihuly exhibition is a nice add-on after a trip up Seattle’s iconic tower. Admission may be a little pricey ($22 for a regular ticket) considering the relatively short time it takes to pass through, but it’s worth every penny. Inside, you’ll be treated to a collection of imaginative glasswork worthy of Dr. Seuss. From whimsical sculptures to brightly colored blossoms that cascade from the ceiling, each exhibit has its own unique character. If you find yourself in the neighborhood and don’t feel like shelling out the price of admission, the towering 40-foot “Sonic Bloom” flowers just outside of the museum’s front doors make for a fun few minutes. Hint: step up close to hear them sing!
Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
1124 Pike Street
If there’s anything Seattle is known for, it’s coffee. The city is home to the first ever Starbucks location after all. While a visit to the flagship shop is a must for diehard fans of the chain, the overwhelmingly long wait might not be worthwhile if you’re more of a casual coffee drinker. If this is the case, but you just can’t be in Seattle without having some sort of Starbucks-related experience, we’ve got your answer. The Roastery is where the company’s limited-batch beans are expertly prepped by a team of master roasters. Pop in for a look at the massive copper vats where the magic happens, or sit down in the tasting room to sip on rich brews and handcrafted specialty drinks.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Seattle? Let us know what we missed in the comments below!