seattle kerry park

Do Seattle as the Locals Do

This week I have the honor to share some wonderful insight tips of Seattle with you guys. Tips provided by Valerie from Valerie & Valise, our Local Seattle Expert (if you have checked out my Twitter account lately, you can tell I am a massive fan of her blog 🙂 ). By the way, I am still taking new posts for this series. Do you want to be featured as the Local Expert of your town? Simply drop me an email

When most people think of spending time in Seattle, they probably plan for how to stay dry from all the rain we get. The reality is that does rain sometimes – especially in the winter – there are many months of beautiful, sunny weather to enjoy all that Seattle has to offer. Most days I spend doing a combination of my job and working hard on my blog in the evenings, but if you gave me a day off to explore my surroundings, here’s what I’d do.

Beat the Crowds at the Market

Any day in Seattle should start early – there’s too much to see for taking a lie-in! If you’re at Pike Place Market by 8:30am, you can wander the stalls as the vendors are opening and the locals (both individuals and businesses) come to do their daily shopping. Within just a few hours this place will be crawling with tourists, so show some travel finesse by turning up early instead. It will make it slightly more forgivable if you fall prey to grabbing a coffee from the “Original” Starbucks… which isn’t actually the original!

Pike Place Market

Brunch at Portage Bay

In the heart of the Amazon campus is a delicious restaurant known mostly for their amazing Belgian waffles and topping bar. This isn’t the kind of place you’ll want to visit on a diet, because the portions are huge and delicious – you’ll also need the fuel for a day of sightseeing and adventuring ahead.

Rent a Kayak and Explore the Waterways

Seattle is a city with a lot of waterways; the great part is that it’s really easy to explore them with boat and kayak rentals. With a two-hour rental, you can explore much of South Lake Union, or ambitiously take the Montlake Cut over to Lake Washington for a more strenuous kayak workout. Don’t forget sunscreen – if it’s a sunny day you’ll be at risk for both overhead and reflected light, and there’s no time to apply aloe in the rest of the day’s itinerary!


Grab Lunch With a Troll and Stalin

Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood is relentlessly alternative, even as the city gentrifies around it. After hopping out of the kayak, stretch your legs with a walk up to the Fremont troll, then back to see the terrifyingly large Stalin sculpture in the heart of this area’s retail core. Pop into Red Star Taco Bar for some tasty tacos, or grab a few plates of sushi off the revolving conveyor belt in Blue C Sushi. There are plenty of other ethnicities of food too, if you’re not up for either of these.

Fremont Troll

Make some Discoveries in Discovery Park

Heading west toward Puget Sound, take some time in the afternoon to explore Discovery Park. With miles of beautiful wooded trails, a cool lighthouse, and a long Washington beach (is it sand or rocks?), there are plenty of ways to get a good sense for why Seattle is known as the Emerald City in Washington, the Evergreen state (hint: it’s the trees!).

Take in the Picturesque View from Kerry Park

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Seattle has a lot of parks! One in particular is a favorite for locals and the tourists smart enough to stop by: Kerry Park has the best view of the Seattle skyline from its perch on Queen Anne hill. As you head back toward downtown from Discovery Park, stop here for a few quick photos in the late afternoon. The city will be aglow and on clear days, you’ll get Mt. Rainier in the background too.


Dine from Space – the Space Needle, that is!

As the sun starts to go down, splurge on dinner to start ending the great day. The SkyCity at the Needle restaurant in the Space Needle makes one rotation each hour, giving you plenty of time for a leisurely dinner and to admire the views of the city, Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, and all of the waterways around. Reservations are probably necessary during the summer, so be sure to plan ahead for the day.

Sip in Bathtub Gin and Let the Day Slide Away

My favorite bar in the city is Bathtub Gin in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood – a perfect stop for a nightcap as it’s between the Space Needle and downtown. They have rotating seasonal cocktails, but also one of the widest range of foreign liquors and spirits I’ve found. Opt for the Charles Lindburgh or Amelia Earhart if you’re feeling worldly, or get funky with aquavit, Becherovka or mescal. Yep, they have it all.


Some of these options may be considered a bit touristy, but they’re popular for a reason. I can’t imagine a better way to take in all of the best that Seattle has to offer in a single day that the many places I’ve outlined above.

Valerie Stimac is the creative force behind her travel blog, Valerie & Valise, and has also contributed to Lonely Planet, Yahoo Travel, and Gogobot. She  spends most of her time in Seattle, but keeps up a steady stream of weekend  adventures to satiate her wanderlust. Don’t forget to follow Valerie on her social media outlets:   twitter-logo-smallFacebook logoinstagram-logo-small


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