November, 2018

A Local's Guide to Seattle 

I've done my fair share of tour guide duty when friends come to visit Seattle, but I've yet to do a blog post on it. Why? Well, Seattle has SO many cute and quirky things to do, hidden corners, secret photo spots, etc. that it totally overwhelmed me to even begin putting together a list of off-the-radar activities for the Seattle visitor. And, to be totally honest, I'm still a little hesitant to put this out there because it's just a sampling of what Seattle has to offer! So my advice to you is to start with this surface-level coverage of my favorite not-so-touristy spots as inspiration, and wander in between each stop to find the historic painted brick walls and hipster quirks that lurk behind every corner. 


With that, let me provide you with a list of a few of my favorite local Seattle attractions!



Daylight Adventures



  • Indoor Sun Shoppe

    • If you're an aspiring plant mom, DO NOT MISS THIS STORE. It's not instagrammable perse, but they have all of the trendiest plants (and more succulents than I thought possible) at an incredible price. And, if you go on a Sunday, hope right out front to find yourself at the Fremont Sunday Market!

  • Fremont Sunday Market

    • The one stop shop for everything vintage. I purchased my vintage sherpa Levi's denim jacket here along with a sick 80's jacket, a 100% red and green wool flannel, and my adventure headband here, and if my wallet allowed, I would've walked away with so much more!! They also have an extensive food truck collection that shows up each week, insanely awesome homemade items (great for gifts or personal pick-me-ups), and you're in the heart of the adorable af Fremont neighborhood. Seriously, if you're around on a Sunday, hit up this fabulous market. 

  • Ballard Consignment Store

    • It's not the cheapest, but if you're looking to decorate your home/appt with the coolest, most unique, and stylish-as-all-get-out stuff, hit up Ballard Consignment Store in the heart of downtown Ballard. They have products for all styles and sweet decor too!

  • Tides and Pines

    • Also in Ballard, Tides and Pines is a trendy boutique that carries all the typical Pacific Northwest stylish clothing/gear/magazines/stationary/everything! The sad thing is that they know it too, so I run straight to the sale section every time I walk through their door. Then I slowly stroll by all the adorable Pendleton backpacks and bags, road trip and adventure magazines, stunning artwork, leather gear, beautiful jumpsuits, and more drooling and promising myself that I'll someday be able to shop here.

  • Melrose Market

    • Head on up to Capitol Hill (Cap Hill as the locals call it), right off of the I5 exit is Melrose Market set within historic automotive buildings from 1919. It's a stunning food and retail space with some of the areas best local eats! Even if you're not hungry, stop in for the experience because it's a beatiful sight! Then, stop in Glasswing for some more succulents and high-end local goods. 

  • Chophouse Row

    • Deep in the heart of Cap Hill and a little hidden amongst the tall buildings is a beautiful courtyard with more local stores that offer delicious all-day dining and stunning retail options! It's similar to Melrose Market, but both are beautiful places to simply stroll!​​


Parks and Public Spaces:

  • Carkeek Park

    • Totally off the radar to almost all tourists and most locals, Carkeek Park is a gorgeous Pacific Northwest beach that is only accessible after a beautiful drive down a winding tree-covered road (that feels like you're driving on the Oregon Coast) and a walking bridge across sound-side train tracks. A river spills out into the Sound and the beach is still natural - unlike Golden Gardens, which has sand trucked in every once in a while to keep it sandy and nice. 

  • Golden Gardens

    • Golden Gardens is the place to go for beach fires, volleyball, and a children's park - it's popular but for good reason. But, because of the beach fire perk, the sand turns your feet black, so bring shoes or just embrace it!

  • Discovery Park

    • Discovery Park might be my all-time favorite Seattle beach. It's over in the Magnolia neighborhood and it featured a gorgeous historic lighthouse at its sandy point. Down south, beautiful orange sediment cliffs tower overhead, and the beach is full of stunning driftwood! The only downside is that it's about a mile's hike to the beach - parking is available beach-front only for those who obtain permits for special needs.​

  • The Red Hall

    • Seattle Public Library's architecture is incredible. It's made almost entirely of windows - the natural light is awesome. But in the interior lies a hidden red hall that's a fun little local secret to many photogs! Check it out if you have the time!

  • The Secret Garden - Pike Place

    • Pike Place. Yes, I know, it's touristy, but the thing is, the locals love it too. Once winter comes around and the tourist crowds die down, many often shop there for groceries! They have great deals on fresh, locally-caught fish and hand cut flowers. A massive bouquet is just $15 down there. Try getting that at QFC! You'd be paying at least $40 for the same thing! What I'm saying is, check it out, look at the first Starbucks but order a coffee from the local (and tastier) Storyville coffee roasters instead, watch them throw fish around, taste the local honey and chocolate pasta, visit the Gum Wall in Post Alley, explore, and then sneak back behind the fish throwers on the far south side of the market's main entrance all the way to the back to find a beautiful and tiny public garden full of character with a gorgeous view over the rooftops and out to the Sound! It's a nice and often quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle that many don't know about. Oh, also, while you're there, get a Moscow Mule from Rachel's Ginger Beer and then hit up Cold Stove Brewery for tasty eats and local brews.

  • Ballard Locks

    • If you're looking for a piece of Seattle history, take a trip to the Ballard Locks. These locks were dug in the early 1900s to connect Lake Union with Puget Sound. The first ship passed through in 1917 and they've remained virtually unchanged ever since! Check out the beautiful garden on the north side and try your luck at catching salmon navigate the salmon ladder on the south side. 

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  • Purple Glass + Underground

    • When walking around Pioneer Square you'll see a bunch of purple glass squares below your feet. These are little windows to the Seattle underground: the city that stood before the Great Seattle Fire took out 31 Seattle city blocks. The city was also originally built on tidal floodlands, which means it flooded quite often, so when they rebuilt, they decided to build one or two stories higher than before to prevent future flooding. They literally built on top of the old city, which created the Seattle Underground. If you have the time, take a tour of the buried city, walk along Seattle's first sidewalks among buried storefronts, and discover its former meat market remnants. Look up through the purple glass to see pedestrians walking above you. Some Pioneer Square businesses use sections of the underground for storage, and if you ask they might show you! It's an awesome historical Seattle thing to do, even if it's considered to be a little touristy.

  • Columbia Tower

    • Forget the Space Needle! Instead, take a trip up to the top of the Columbia Tower for unobstructed 360 views of the city (including views of the Space Needle). It does cost more to get in, so if you're trying to save a buck, visit the Starbucks on the 40th floor. Not quite as spectacular but still a free view of the city! Another awesome attraction in the similar scope is the Smith Tower.

  • Smith Tower

    • The Smith Tower was once the tallest building in Seattle at 484' high. Now, it looks tiny in comparison to the Columbia, but the outdoor viewing area wraps around the top for more epic views of the city. Walk inside for a speakeasy-esque bar and the Wishing Chair - rumor has it that any single woman who sits in the chair and sincerely wishes for marriage will be married within the year. Take it with a grain of salt, but cool nonetheless! Adults: $19 (they also have a AAA discount!).



After Dark:

  • First Thursday Art Walk

    • Every first Thursday of the month, many Seattle galleries open their doors to the public for free. It's an epic opportunity to check out local art and the Seattle creative scene - something we're all proud of here. Check out the map to strategically plan your route - my favorite place to go is Pioneer Square because every art studio is SO different and all are in walking distance from one another! Some even have wine. The Seattle Art Museum and other larger museums also partake in this event too! Check out the linked website for details. 

  • Sunset Tavern

    • Live music in an intimate space is how I like to spend my Seattle evenings! The Sunset Tavern often has a mix of alternative and relatively undiscovered bands along with a few well-known artists perform in their back room behind the bar. Tickets are always reasonably priced, and artists almost always offer a meet and greet following the show if you stick around! Visit their website to see who's playing!

  • The Cabaret

    • Head underground after the sun goes down in Pike Place Market for a spectacular dinner and a show at the Can Can Cabaret. Tables surround the bar-flanked isle that stretches out from the stage and across the entire room. This is not a family ordeal. Leave the children at home and hold on to your drinks!! It's SO much fun for a girls night out, and it's right downtown; can't get much better than that!

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