Somewhere around the time I was settling in with a cocktail in the bar at the original Nordstrom, the guilt started creeping in. I hadn’t really seen anything in Seattle other than stores and my hotel. While that wasn’t a super big deal to me, being that I was there for the express purpose of finding my wedding dress, I did feel the need to see a couple of sites.
Seattle is a cool place to hang out, grab a drink, and enjoy a killer seafood dish without feeling too much pressure to see and do everything, but eventually, you might start to feel a touch guilty that you haven’t stood in line at the original Starbucks. If you end up leaving minimal time for sightseeing (or you’re just going for a quick trip), here are my tips for spending one day in Seattle.
Start at Pikes Place Market
Kick off your day at Pikes Place Market to try to avoid the crazy crowds (you won’t avoid them entirely, but it’s worth a try). Stand in line at the original Starbucks and enjoy your latte as you wander around enjoying the fish stalls and tasting jerky, cherries and honey in the market. Follow the crowd to try to catch a glimpse of the famous fish throwing.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of the market area, check out some of the shops nearby. We loved the cheese at Beecher’s, and there was a really cool map store called Metskers that any travel nerd could spend hours in. Looking for breakfast? You’re only a couple of blocks away from Biscuit Bitch, where you can enjoy biscuits and gravy or breakfast sandwiches with a side of sass.
Head Toward Pioneer Square*
Walk along the waterfront streets or one of the parallel streets, stopping into adorable shops, like Watson Kennedy, along the way as you see fit, toward Pioneer Square. This neighborhood is so adorable, and a huge relief from the throngs of people at Pikes Place Market. There are still tourists milling about, but they stick pretty solidly to the park, so once you get beyond that it gets way better.
Here you’ll find the famed Seattle Underground Tour. There are actually 2 different tours, and we did the Bill Speidel one, which I was led to believe was the original one (but who knows?). It was a very entertaining tour, if a little cheesy at times, and mostly it was super interesting to learn about how they raised the city of Seattle to put it above the flood zone. I appreciated that the tour guides were actors, so they were very engaging and good at storytelling. The tours run daily on the hour, or you can plan ahead and check out the adults-only underground tour or the paranormal underground tour.
After your tour, wander about and enjoy all the cute little shops in Pioneer Square. Have a meal among the flowers at the London Plane, check out the vintage-style dresses at Diva Dollz, shop at Velouria and Clementine’s. Even though Cone and Steiner is a market, stop in for cute local gifts, souvenirs, and Seattle postcards.
*unless the Space Needle in super important to you, in which case go do that. Keep in mind that there will be some construction going on for a while, so that may make it less appealing to check out for now. The Space Needle wasn’t important to us, so we didn’t go. If you only have one day in Seattle, decide for yourself whether it’s really a priority.
Cheers to One Day in Seattle
Find dinner by googling “good fish near me” or just walking into any restaurant with fish on the menu, pretty much. I love seafood, so I was very happy to just sit back and enjoy the fresh, delicious fish Seattle had to offer.
We loved Scout PNW, which was the restaurant in our hotel, where we spent hours and hours eating practically everything on the menu (all amazing, btw!) and by the end of the meal, the waiters and managers were just pouring prosecco in our glasses for free (we didn’t question it!).
On our last night, we ate at Shaker + Spear, where we had an incredible meal as well. The kitchen is open to the dining room, so it’s entertaining to watch as your food is cooked—and perfect if you’re too tired from your busy day to come up with much dinner conversation.
Toast your fantastic day with a drink at the rooftop bar of the Thompson Seattle. This was my second time staying in a Thompson hotel and this new hotel has a spectacular view of the waterfront, the ferris wheel, and the giant cruise ships coming in and heading out all the time. Plus, drinking on a rooftop is always a good idea.
Have you been to Seattle? What would you add to my crazy awesome jam-packed one day in Seattle schedule? Let me know in the comments.
PS: Hanging around the Seattle area a little longer? Where to Wander Around Victoria, BC