Seattle is so close to where I live in Bellingham, yet just far away enough that we don’t worry about traffic. I grew up just outside of Seattle, my parents still live there, and I have a crew of friends who still live there…so we like to visit a lot.
Sometimes we are there for a couple of days, but most of the time, it’s a quick 24 hour or less trip that we have to cram all the “big city stuff” into.
So as a self-proclaimed Seattle “expert”, I know what’s up. As a visitor, I know how precious time is on a trip and as a single mom, I want to make my dollar go as far as possible.
So, from south (near the train depot, where the Bolt Bus drops off and where the sports stadiums are) to the north (where there are quite a few hotels to choose from), here are…
- Uwajimaya. This is my favorite grocery store in all the land, and yes that includes Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (and y’all know how I feel about them). It’s just on the edge of the International District, surrounded by telephone poles with cool Chinese dragons wrapped around them.They have a produce section chock full of things you don’t normally see (ugli fruit? Check. Durian? Yuck, but check), a really extensive seafood section, a whole aisle of fun treats from Japan, China and beyond and a kitchenware section with really nice woks for a low price, and chopsticks and soup bowls that make great Seattle souvenirs.
- Cupcake Royale. Hit the location that’s right up the street from the Pike Place Market to minimize travel time (which eats into your 24 hours). This location also serves ice cream. With cupcakes IN IT. During the summer, that ice cream can seriously hit the spot. Also, they have cupcakes and some really unique cupcake merchandise.
- The Gum Wall. People think this is totally unsanitary and it might be – but it’s also one of the coolest and most unique landmarks you’ll visit in your travels. (Incidentally, they steam cleaned it a couple of summers ago, and here’s a pretty rad time lapse video of the cleaning!)
Bring your own gum (though, the last four times we’ve visited, we went empty handed and others were more than happy to share theirs), and make sure you visit the Ghost Alley Espresso, it’s tucked in down there, right as the road turns to the right to lead up to the market.When you’re done at the Gum Wall, head down the cobblestone path and to the right to head down to the water!
- On the waterfront, head to Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. This place has been around for 100+ years, and has the crazy treasures to prove it.
A four-legged taxidermied chicken. A “mermaid” (that might not be for the faint of heart – it’s pretty creepy!). A mummy. An antique “one armed bandit”. And so many funky souvenirs to take home to family and friends, all at a pretty reasonable price.
Hit up the Ivars next door for EXCELLENT fish & chips, and sometimes you can watch them dock or launch the fire boat from the waterfront fire station right next door!
- Seattle Center is just up the street from the north end of the waterfront, and if you’re not faint of heart, you could hike that hill (past the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is worth a stop) on foot. Or call a cab or a ride-share, I don’t judge.Seattle Center holds a lot of stuff to look at, take photos of, and do.
If it’s hot outside, hit up the enormous fountain. If it’s cold outside, visit the Pacific Science Center, the Armory for lunch and then MoPop for your dose of pop culture and sci-fi history. Or catch a play at the Seattle Rep, or Shakespeare at the Center Theater! (Or a movie at the IMAX theatre!)
There on a summer weekend? Check out the Movies at the Mural, where you can lay out on the grass and watch the sun go down near the Space Needle and then watch a movie.
There’s NEVER a shortage of things to do in Seattle, especially during the summer. Stay tuned – I’ll be sharing a lot more of my favorite places in Seattle in future blog posts!
Side note: I LOVE using my Google Maps to keep track of where we have gone and help others with our suggestions! <3
The purple markers are the 5 spots from this post, the green are restaurants or coffee shops, and the red are clubs and bars (or places that are more adult-appropriate).
It’s a work in progress, so I will have more colors and more markers soon! <3