Staycation: A Seattleite’s Guide to the Emerald City

Let’s face it. There’s not always room in the budget for spontaneous jaunts across the globe. But budget or no budget, there’s still that itch to explore something new.


Seattle is such a vibrant city, that it’s fairly easy to scratch that itch without going too far from home. I put together a list of some of my favorite spots both in and outside the city.

  1. Pike Place Market: Yes, it’s touristy. But it’s popular because it’s worth it! Wander the vendor stalls for fresh produce, flowers, and handmade wares. The recent addition has a great view of the waterfront, and you can stop by Piroshky Piroshky for a snack.
  2. The Gum Wall: It’s disgusting and weird, but also oddly instagrammable? This one isn’t a MUST for me, but it’s right next to Pike Place Market, so you might as well stop by.
  3. The Fremont Troll: Yes we have a troll under a bridge. Located in Fremont, a couple blocks up from the main street, it’s definitely worth a look and a photo op.
  4. Gas Works Park: A short walk from the troll, Gas Works Park has a lovely view of the city from across Lake Union. The steampunk-y structures in the middle are fenced off, but they’re still fun to look at while you enjoy the view.
  5. University of Washington: Year-round, it’s a lovely university and its famed Suzzallo Library looks like it was snatched from the pages of Harry Potter. In early spring, however, it’s downright magical because the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, raining tiny pink petals all over the quad.
  6. Capitol Hill: This Seattle neighborhood boasts an interesting mix of stately older houses and a happening bar scene. Vibrant street art, rainbow crosswalks, and interesting shops and restaurants abound. Be sure to stop by Molly Moon’s for ice cream!
  7. Ballard: Another cute Seattle neighborhood, Ballard has a great farmer’s market on Sundays, and I highly recommend visiting Ballyhoo Curiosity Shop for antiques, oddities, ephemera, and surprisingly adorable taxidermy.
  8. Underground Tours: There are a number of various underground tours for those that want to explore the buried city.
  9. Kerry Park: The view from Kerry Park may trigger deja vu for Frasier fans. The park overlooks the Puget Sound and the Space Needle; if the sky is clear, you’ll also be able to see Mount Rainier for the quintessential postcard-perfect photo of Seattle.
  10. Smith Tower: Arguably better than the Space Needle, the underrated Smith Tower is the oldest skyscraper in the city and offers spectacular views of the city.
  11. International District: Check out Seattle’s International District for a variety of flavors. From bubble tea to dumplings, they’ve got something for everyone.
  12. Franklin Falls: Located about an hour’s drive away from the city, Franklin Falls is an easy hike that culminates at the bottom of a gorgeous waterfall. It’s lovely any time of year, but be prepared for potential road closures in the winter.
  13. Rattlesnake Lake: Approximately 30 miles east of Seattle, this is a must-see full of hiking trails, BBQ pits, and biking trails.

Whew! That should keep you busy for a weekend. I’ll probably write up an entirely separate blog post featuring my favorite restaurants, so stay tuned!


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