What are the best things to do in Seattle?

We’re really proud of our land, our surroundings and the geography here. So definitely you have to get out into the mountains. You can head either east or west — either way you’ll hit an amazing mountain range. Go into them and explore them; they’re unbelievable. The Olympic Mountains has a rainforest — we have a rainforest an hour away. And we’ve got some of the world’s biggest trees. It’s just so fun to be out in the mountains and the forest.

At the same time, we’re also surrounded by islands, and all of these islands are so fun to explore. They’re called the San Juan Islands. There are a dozen of them. Every one has its own culture, its own little tiny restaurant scene, its own beauty, and its own adventure. And it’s a different ferry to each one. So definitely, exploring the islands.

I’m a big-time sports fan. I love the culture here of our fans. Going to a Seahawks game or to a Mariners game is so fun. We have amazing stadiums with great food, and at least one of those teams is a winning team right now. I always encourage people coming from out of town to go see a game. From the stadiums, you have views of the city, of the mountains, of the water. It’s so fun. Even if you don’t like sports, it’s still fun because you kind of explore the city and the whole culture around the stadiums.

I would say exploring some of the local markets. We have some of the greatest produce in the world right here. Because of all the farmer culture all around the state, we have markets. And not just Pike Place Market, which is the big fancy famous one that everyone goes to, but the neighborhood markets like the Queen Anne Market, the University Market — it’s unbelievable, the local markets. Just go and eat and explore the neighborhoods.

Our restaurant looks down on Lake Union, and my favorite thing on a summer day is to go rent a kayak on this little lake that we’re on and just explore. There’s restaurants that you can kayak up to, get a meal, have a beer and get back in your kayak, then kayak to another restaurant and get out. You can kind of bar hop in a kayak on a sunny day. It’s the greatest thing ever. That’s really fun.

  • On July 15, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What is public transportation like in Seattle?

    Seattle's public transportation tends to be pretty reliable; it's generally easy to get from one part of town to another, especially if you're headed to or from the airport, downtown, or the University District, as these areas have the most frequent service and are served by many routes.

    King County Metro buses are the most common way to get around via public transportation, though we also have ferries, trains, and streetcars. It can be a little overwhelming! To use the bus, simply determine your route, stand at the stop, enter at the front, and pay when you enter. If you need help, bus drivers are friendly and are great resources for questions on where to get off or how to pay.

    Seattle recently built a light rail that runs from the airport to downtown, with an extension to Capitol Hill currently being built. In the coming years, there are plans to further extend with additional lines to other parts of town, but for now, there's just one line. The light rail makes fewer stops than the buses do, and it's a traffic-free way to get around. Just remember to pay at a kiosk in the station before you enter.
  • On July 2, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best neighborhoods in Seattle?

    Seattle is stitched together from many unique neighborhoods, each with their own personality. So it's tough to pinpoint the "best" neighborhoods, because it really depends on what you're after. Here's a rundown of some of the most popular:

    Fremont: Fremont rocks its "funky on purpose" vibe. Weird statues (including a massive troll under the Aurora Bridge and one of Lenin), bizarre architecture (a building that incorporates a missle into the facade), and a colorful cast of characters makes this 'hood interesting.

    Capitol Hill: Cap Hill is a mix of students, hipsters, and increasingly, young families. It's widely considered the hippest neighborhood in the city, and the soaring rent prices attest. Once run-down, the neighborhood gentrified in the last decade or so, with shiny new condo buildings and more restaurants and bars than you could possibly patronize in a lifetime. There's a thriving party scene here, so this is a favorite 'hood for those seeking nightlife.

    Ballard: Ballard was once a separate municipality before Seattle annexed it. The fishing village was colonized by Scandinavians, and the heart of Ballard still shows its Nordic roots a bit despite modern condos and gentrification. Find Ballard's history on Ballard Avenue, with its "old town" feel. High-end boutiques are mixed with some of the city's best restaurants and bars.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best antique shops in Seattle?

    The best antique shops in Seattle include the Fremont Vintage Mall, an large collective with furniture, clothing, housewares, and knicknacks galore. Finds here range from antique oil lamps to beautifully restored Schwinn bikes to avocado couches.

    Another great spot is the overwhelmingly spacious Pacific Galleries. This place is like the Vatican Museum of antique shops -- you'll feel like you've walked for miles and seen so much, but where does it end? The warehouse-like space is also a collective, with each "room" operated by a different vendor. These carefully-curated spaces house treasures big and small: furniture, jewelry, and cool rustic finds like old shutters or tin buckets.
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  • On June 24, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best places for brunch in Seattle?

    Brunch is an artform in Seattle. In my experience, the best spots for brunch are Oddfellows Cafe, an all-day eatery in a rustic, airy building on Capitol Hill. They source food from local purveyors and create dishes like french toast on dreamy brioche, indulgent beignets with jam, and homemade biscuits with thick gravy. The coffee's great here, too.

    Another favorite is Coastal Kitchen, for its split menu: half is permanent, half rotates a place-based theme every few months. There's always something new here. Omelettes bursting with quality ingredients like wild King salmon or locally-made chorizo, plus their spin on standards like gingerbread waffles or hazelnut-cinnamon pancakes.
  • On June 21, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best coffee shops in Seattle?

    Many first-time visitors to Seattle are surprised to hear that Starbucks is not most Seattleites' favorite coffee shop.

    Instead, we like to sip artfully-crafted espresso from award-winning baristas in our neighborhood coffee shops. Walk into just about any small coffee shop in Seattle and you're likely to receive a delicious cup of coffee.

    My favorites are Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Victrola, both of which use exceptionally sourced beans. They will often offer single-origin beans, so you can taste test coffee grown in different regions of the world. It's the terroir of java. My other favorite is Espresso Vivace. Get a Cafe Nico, an espresso shot, cream foam, and orange zest. Happiness in a tiny, tiny cup.
  • On June 20, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best parks in Seattle?

    Seattle is home to some pretty incredible urban parks. Kerry Park, on Queen Anne Hill (Seattle's highest), sports views extending across the city, all the way to Mount Rainier on clear days. This is the view you've seen a million times in post cards; go here to capture your own.

    Gas Works Park is stunning too, in part for its view over Lake Union and of the skyline, but also for its weird steampunk ruins, the site of a former plant that converted coal to gas. On summer days you'll find the skies above the park strewn with colorful kites.

    Another favorite is the Washington Park Arboretum, a 200-acre chunk of land that includes carefully maintained forest and beautiful wetlands along the shores of Lake Washington. Come in spring, when the enormous tulip, cherry, and pear trees are abloom.
  • On June 18, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best farmers markets in Seattle?

    The best farmers markets in Seattle are undoubtedly the University District market and the Ballard Farmers Market.

    The University District Farmers Market is Seattle's oldest and largest food-only market, and it's been running every Saturday since 1993. It's even gained national recognition: the Boston Globe named it #3 in their list of top farmers markets in the U.S. Vendors sell piles of beautiful produce, much of it organic. Heirloom varieties bring lots of color: rainbow chard, purple tomatoes, you name it.

    My favorite is the Ballard Farmers Market, set in the historic Ballard neighborhood. The market runs year-round on Sundays, and you'll find some vendors other than produce here. You'll find jewelry, candles, and clothing, though the emphasis is certainly on food and produce. 

    Both markets are lively and festive, with musicians performing and families toting dogs and kids and carrying bundles of flowers and produce. These are true neighborhood gathering places, and the farmers are friendly and knowledgeable about their products. It's fun to ask them how they'd cook with a certain potato variety, for example, or advice on cooking a particular cut of meat.
  • On June 13, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best bars in Seattle?

    Photo Courtesy of The Gerald Seattle has many great watering holes, from sophisticated cocktail lounges to happening beer bars. My favorites include Canon, with its dark and cozy interior and incredible variety of booze (36 vareties of absinthe!). The Gerald will put you in mind of Mad Men with its midcentury vibe and appropriately themed cocktails. Try the Draper Point, The Gerald’s take on the Manhattan. On Capitol Hill, Grim’s has a steam-punk feel with Edison bulbs and reclaimed wood, and the food is just as good as the drinks.

    Beer lovers should head to Brouwer’s Café, in the Fremont neighborhood, for an inspired—and huge—beer selection ranging from local staples to international treats. Two of my favorite microbreweries also have tasting rooms that feel more like bars – and serve great food. The Gastropod at Epic Ales has oyster nights and ingenious food pairings with their envelope-pushing brews, and SchoonerEXACT’s tasting room also serves tasty dishes that complement their beer.
  • On June 12, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best restaurants in Seattle?

    Seattle is a foodie’s dream. Renown chefs are pushing the envelope on Northwest and American classics, churning out one incredible meal after another.

    The standouts include Canlis, which has been known as one of Seattle’s best – if not the best – since the 1950s; the Walrus and the Carpenter, an airy oyster bar in the Ballard neighborhood; Rover’s, in Madison Valley, serving Northwest cuisine with a French twist; the elegant Georgian, in downtown’s Fairmont Olympic Hotel, known for its fine dining and seafood-centric menu; and The Herbfarm, in Woodinville, with a carefully-sourced menu and farm-to-table focus.

    You can’t go wrong at any of these top restaurants, which showcase the best Northwest ingredients and show off Seattle’s culinary prowess.
  • On June 12, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    Where can you get the best view in Seattle?

    My favorite view in Seattle is from Kerry Park on Queen Anne hill. From the park, you can get the iconic Seattle postcard view, with the Space Needle looming large in the foreground, the Seattle skyline stacking up behind it, and, on clear days, glacier-studded Mount Rainier peeking over the stadiums. The park is packed at sunset, so be sure to get there early.

    You can get a great view of the skyline from Alki Beach, which is particularly impressive as the sun rises behind downtown. Summer sunsets are incredible at Golden Gardens Park, in the Ballard neighborhood. Here, you're looking out over Puget Sound, the islands, and the spires of the Olympics.