With only three days to explore the Seattle area, we decided to take three different perspectives on the city. Day one – downtown.
Waking up early, we headed straight for Pike Place Market in an attempt to beat the crowds. As one of the city’s premier tourist attractions, it can be a very busy place.
Parking garages can be found all around downtown at varying price points. Park at the West Edge garage ($7 flat fee on evenings & weekends) located on 2nd Ave between Pike and Pine – just a couple blocks walk down Pike Street to the main market entrance. Continue walking along Pike Place, in front of the market (photo opp!), past the “original” Starbucks location, to Le Panier for coffee & pastry – but, be prepared for long lines at peak times. Then, start at the north end of the market (just down from Le Panier) by Victor Steinbrueck Park and the outside art vendors.
Work your way back through the flower vendors and foodstalls…..
…towards the famous fish market…
Then, go “down under” to find vintage posters, gemstones, and other treasures. We stopped for lunch at Matt’s in the Market for a delicious fresh fish sandwich with views of the market down below. The entrance to Matt’s can be hard to find. Just up the way from Pike Place Flowers on the corner of Pike & 1st, look for Metsker Maps, where you will find an alcove with an elevator up to Matt’s. Be sure to stop at Metsker’s on the way out for a great selection of vintage maps and books.
Leaving the famous Pike Place Market area, we walked south along 1st Avenue towards Pioneer Square. Yes, most guidebooks list Pioneer Square as a main sight of Seattle, but I would skip it. It’s typical downtown of any city. There are some cute shops, but it was overwhelmed with homeless. I think there are better parts of the city to explore.
From there, we hopped back in the car for a quick drive to Kerry Park. It’s a very small linear park along a residential street, which has become a magnet for tourists enjoying the overlook for expansive views of the city, the Space Needle and Mt. Rainier.
From Kerry, drive along the coast (Elliott Ave to Magnolia Bridge) in the direction of Discovery Park. Wind your way through the Magnolia neighborhood onto Magnolia Boulevard, stopping to admire the beautiful homes and magnificent sweeping views along the route. Stop for photos at Magnolia Blvd Viewpoint.
Continue up the peninsula, along Discovery Park (stopping inside if you have time), rounding around past the Marina, and onto the bridge to Ballard (15th Avenue).
Enjoy drinks, dinner & shopping in Ballard to end the night. Ballard is a hip, waterfront neighborhood with lots of quirky shops, bars and breweries. The main area can be found in what is known as Old Ballard, on Leary, Ballard and Shilshole Avenues. After working up an appetite walking around the shops, we stopped for drinks at Bastille Cafe & Bar, a Parisian style brasserie with a great wine & cocktail selection. Then, we went for dinner at the Annex Oyster House, known for their fresh oysters and shellfish.
Great way to start a long weekend, Seattle! Can’t wait to see what Day Two brings!