Seattle — Coffee, Fish and Designer Fashion

April 25, 2007 at 3:05 pm 2 comments

Seattle is a very walkable, enjoyable city — though a bit hilly in sections. But that along with the waterfront add a charm to the city’s downtown area. I was especially pleased to be introduced to Seattle by a fellow blogger, MaryJo of Fly Away Cafe. It was, in fact, the first time we had met except for e-mails. I’ve been enjoying her travel blog long before I got mine up and going. She was nice enough to meet me at the airport and we were off to a great start.

Pike Place Market was our first stop (after I checked into my hotel, just a few blocks from the market). It’s a farmer’s and fisher’s market — very different from inland city markets. Great flowers at great prices in Pike MarketLots of fresh flowers, big — really BIG fish of all sorts, Washington cherry products and gift shops in between. Pike Market is located at the waterfront at the foot of Stewart Street (also at Pike and Pine Streets)

Shopping. You’ll find plenty of cafes, small boutiques and such along the streets near the marketLooking down Stewart Street toward Pike Market and Puget Sound. and in alleyways, as well. There’s even a shop that has its own cheese factory onsite for everyone to see. A few blocks away is the fashion center of the city with stores like Betsey Johnson, the original Nordstrom, Bebe, Coach, Diesel, Helly Hansen, Escada, Louis Vuitton, Urban Outfitters, Jessica McClintock and more. You also find about 5 high rise shopping malls in the same area, but I did more sightseeing than shopping on this trip, so I didn’t check them out.

Sightseeing. A monorail is available at Fifth & Pike to take visitors to the Seattle Center and Space Needle. Mt. Ranier and Seattle from the Space Needle.Tremendous view of the city from the top. I’d recommend it. The rest of Seattle Center is more tuned to children’s activities. Historic Pioneer Square, south of downtown, is interesting and home to the original Seattle settlers. Even has an Underground Seattle tour there which was interesting but would not rank at the top of my tour recommendation list. Quest and Safeco Fields are just south of Pioneer Square.

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) reopens May 5 after renovations and expansion. Would love to visit it on my next trip.

Hotels. We stayed at the Hotel Max on Stewart at 6th. Great location for all the downtown sightseeing and shopping. Newly renovated, very nice and only $134/night on Quikbook.com. Very clean, nice linens. Coldstone Creamery is 1 block away. Some friends booked their hotel through Hotwire and got the same hotel for $117. But you don’t have a hotel choice on Hotwire and it can put you in a hotel that is well outside of the downtown area and still call it a downtown hotel. You really want to stay downtown, probably not further away from Pike Market than 6th or 7th Street. Nearby hotels I noticed include the Hyatt, Westin, Sheraton, Paramount and Roosevelt.

Dining. MaryJo and I dined at The Harvest Vine which specializes in tapas and Basque cuisine. Our timing was perfect as we didn’t have to wait for a table, but the restaurant filled up quickly after we arrived. It was an exquisite dinner with wonderful tapas choices. Discovered later that The Harvest Vine is a 2006 top Zagat-rated Seattle restaurant. Dinner for two with wine cost about $65.

Coffee. Most folks know that Seattle is home to Starbuck’s original shop and it’s still there near Pike Place Market. Seattle’s Best Coffee also has a major presence around town, so I tried that a couple of times and was unimpressed. Way too strong for my taste. But obviously it is a popular choice.

NEXT: New York City Recap

TIPS:
1) Rent a Car. Public transportation is not Seattle’s best thing. Park it at the hotel or a nearby public lot while you’re visiting downtown. But use it to drive out of town to wine country, the mountains or some of the other areas surrounding Seattle. If you’d rather cab it to the hotel and rent a car a day or two later, you’ll find a Dollar-A-Day car rental about 2 blocks up Stewart from the Hotel Max (about 6th or 7th Street)
2)Consider the Islands. There are plenty of islands just a ferry ride away from Seattle. Lots to explore for a day or longer. I’ll be checking that out on my next trip.

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Entry filed under: Seattle.

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