When you think of the West Coast, California might be the first state that comes to mind — but there’s plenty to be explored in the Pacific Northwest, starting with sleepless Seattle in Washington State.
The city shares borders with Canada’s British Columbia province, and its natural borders by the Pacific Ocean make it an excellent destination to indulge in fresh-caught seafood. Of course, it’s also home to Starbucks, the most famous coffeehouse in the world.
Sample locally grown berries like raspberries, blueberries and blackberries; take your pick of fresh salmon, crab and fish; or browse around for organic home products and knick-knacks all at Pike Place Market, a collection of farmers market stalls and artisanal crafts shops right by Elliott Bay. The entire market takes up 9 acres and boasts more than 200 retail points—as well as the first-ever Starbucks outlet.
West of 2nd Avenue, between Lenora Street in the North and Union Street in the South.
Coffee lovers must make a trip to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room, a grand cafe-slash-retail-space with high ceilings and Willy Wonka-esque machinery that magically transforms raw coffee beans into fragrant roasts. Order a sample flight of limited-edition brews and coffees of the day; talk to the resident roastmaster; and stock up on coffee grounds, Starbucks coffee mugs and other specialty souvenirs.
A 47-kilometer drive from downtown Seattle lies Snoqualmie Falls, a serene patch of parkland with family-friendly hiking trails and—of course—an 82-meter-tall waterfall that can be viewed from two separate observation decks. On the right side of the top of the falls is a rather unsightly power plant, built in 1899 and apparently here to stay. On the left side is the Salish Lodge, a stately building best known as the Great Northern Hotel in cult TV series “Twin Peaks.”
Got time to spare? Head over to Seattle Premium Outlets, where more than 100 brands’ worth of goods are up for grabs, at deep discounts. American and European mid-range to luxury labels make up the bulk of the offerings. The outlets are about a 30-minute drive from downtown Seattle, and shuttle bus services are available.
For a delicious waterside experience, Chinook’s at Salmon Bay more than delivers. The sprawling restaurant is attached to a fish market, and offers indoor seating with generous views of the Seattle’s Fishermen’s Terminal as well as shaded alfresco tables. On the menu are seafood dishes of all sorts, from fish tacos to clam chowder.
1900 West Nickerson Street, (+1) 206-283-4665.
The Walrus and the Carpenter is where it’s at for scrumptious local oysters and prized international varieties. The achingly hip space offers bi-valves by the dozens, special tasting platters, and lots of other sharing-style (mostly seafood) dishes to go along.
4743 Ballard Avenue NW, (+1) 206-395-9227.
If you’re after bang for your buck, rent a cool apartment from Airbnb and see what it’s like to live the Seattle lifestyle.
You can snag a direct flight on Delta, which runs the route on the regular. Local and regional airlines also offer routes, but mostly via another connection.