Seattle: it’s low-key a super easy trip from Pittsburgh

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I wrote about Seattle a few years ago. That post, entitled How to Visit Seattle Like a Local can be found here. I just reread it and… I know I’m bias… but it’s great!

I visited Seattle again last month. I had a wonderful time and visited many charming spots via the recommendations of my best friend (and Seattle local), Jane.

I intentionally didn’t tell Jane I was coming to Seattle so I could surprise her…

…and surprise her I did! It was the most successful surprise of my life. So successful, in fact, that I less surprised her, and more startled her. My presence rattled her. After I pulled down my menu and yelled, “Surprise!” I watched the cogs turn in her head as she tried to process why I was in Seattle… on a random Sunday…. sitting at a brunch table… in Fremont?

Success! Thanks for helping me coordinate, Daniel!

I flew to Seattle directly from Pittsburgh and via Alaska Airlines I CANNOT emphasize how easy it was. Seriously. I felt more refreshed after that 4 hour flight than I do after car trips half the length.

Get this: the Pittsburgh to Seattle flight arrives in Seattle at 6:00 PM, providing plenty of time to grab dinner (and drinks!) before going to bed. And once in bed, you’ll immediately fall right to sleep because of the 3 hour time difference.

In the morning, you’ll wake up at 7:00 AM (or earlier) feeling refreshed (see: that 3 hour time difference). If the trip is short (I was gone 3 days), you’ll never adjust to the time difference, meaning you’ll wake up around 6:30-7:00 a.m. every day feeling great. The flight back to Pittsburgh from Seattle takes off at 7:30 AM, and I had no issues waking up at 5:00 AM to catch it.

Below are the recommendations I gleaned from Jane so you can also have an awesome trip to Seattle! They are organized via neighborhood.

Without further ado…

Neighborhoods to Visit in Seattle:

Pioneer Square

Just south of Downtown is the captivating neighborhood of Pioneer Square. Because it’s a historic district, the buildings are charming and it’s fun to meander the streets, which are crammed with restaurants, cafes, and shops.

We ate cake and drank cider at The London Plane, an ethereal restaurant/flower shop. Across the street is Drygoods Design, a shop specializing in knitting/sewing goods. Cute!

Jane knows me pretty well, so she took me to her favorite donut shop in the neighborhood, General Porpoise.

Also in the nearby:
Flatstick Pub - a mini golf bar (yes, a mini golf bar)
Damn The Weather - trendy cocktail bar and damn - what a great name!
Lady Yum - macaron and champagne bar
Il Corvo - Jane’s favorite restaurant in Seattle, so my favorite restaurant in Seattle by association.
Moorea Seal - trendy seattle boutique

I can’t speak to it as I’ve never done it, but I’ve heard good things about the Pioneer Square Underground Tour.

More recommendations on Eater Seattle.

pasta and bread at il corvo

pasta and bread at il corvo

donuts and chai from General Porpoise.

donuts and chai from General Porpoise.

cake and cider at the london plane

cake and cider at the london plane

Downtown

I stayed in Downtown Seattle, right next to Pike Place Market.

I was ready to write off the market because it’s so touristy. However, I’ll give a shout out to my dad, because he found not one, but two hidden gems WITHIN the market.
1: Sound View Cafe - Foodwise, nothing super special (the salmon omelette and coffee were fine), but the view is A+! Fun/convenient place to start the day by watching ferries go in and out.
2: Place Pigalle - Total hole-in-the-wall located right behind the market. Great view and a local menu of some the freshest seafood in the city. If you want to try Dungeness crab (you should), this is a good option.

Other Downtown spots that I passed and looked interesting:
Great State Burger
BB's Teriyaki Grill
Fonté Coffee Roaster - Fancy coffee shop

To see:
Seattle Art Museum - Wonderful collection… especially the Native American art!
Arc'teryx store - Arc'teryx has very few stores in the country!
Seattle Public Library - A unique library that’s interesting to walk around

More on Downtown Seattle on Eater.

art at the seattle art museum

art at the seattle art museum

Fremont

We ended up here because I did some sleuthing on brunch restaurants equidistant from Jane’s apartment and my hotel. I found a place in Fremont, which ended up being a fun area to walk around. It’s right by the water with tons of restaurants and shops, and is perfectly situated between southern neighborhoods like Downtown & Pioneer Square and northern areas like Ballard.

A few places to seek out:
Vif Wine|Coffee - "Vif is a natural wine shop, restaurant and cafe"
Fiasco - Where we got brunch! As soon as I saw “breakfast pizza” on the menu, I knew this would be the spot!
Brooks Store - Paradise for runners!
MiiR - Like a Hydroflask, but made in Seattle. Shop is cool because they sell coffees/beers that you can put in their products.
Gasworks Park - Industrial park with a killer view of the city. Made famous from the paintball scene in 10 Things I Hate About You
Fremont troll - This big troll art installation under a bridge that people like taking pictures with. (As Jane said, “And he is holding a VW bug in his paw.” Paw? I know it’s a troll but I’m still pretty sure he has a hand.)
Sunday Market - “Seattle's fun, year round European-style street market for brunching and browsing, farmers, street food, hand crafts”
Fremont Brewing - It’s a brewery, but as Jane says, “It’s so crowded all the time.”

gas works park

gas works park

pizza at fiasco

pizza at fiasco

Ballard

Jane grew up in Ballard, and now it’s a very trendy neighborhood with lots (and lots!) of shops and restaurants. I had visited on my previous trips, but it’s expanded a lot in the almost 3 years since I’d last been to Seattle.

Frankie & Jo's Ballard - Vegan ice cream that’s so delicious, you would never know it contains no dairy. Damn! Now I’m craving it.
QFC - Just a local grocery store, but it has a selection of regional foods and drinks you wouldn’t be able to find in Pittsburgh. (See: rows and rows of Stumptown Coffee). In particular, the local wine selection is top-notch.
PCC Community Markets - Again, a local grocery store with local foods/drinks. Smaller than QFC
Larsen's Bakery- Scandinavian bakery
Cute boutiques: Lucca Great Finds (lots of paper goods), Baleen (AMAZING jewelry!), Prism (fancy and expensive pastel-colored goods)
Sunset Hill - Technically it’s own neighborhood, but boarding Seattle on the western (sound-facing side). As the name would suggest… wonderful sunsets! Head to the park in the late afternoon if you’re nearby. Check the pic below from a memorable 2015 sunset I witnessed in the park.
Sunday Market - “Ballard Farmers Market is Seattle's first year-round neighborhood farmers market selling produce exclusively from Washington state farmers.”
Ballard Locks - Touristy area where you can see the salmon jumping if the season is right. Pretty park.

ice cream from frankie & jos

ice cream from frankie & jos

JEWELRY at baleen

JEWELRY at baleen

pretty things at prism

pretty things at prism

What’s your favorite spot in Seattle? Leave it in the comments below!

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