Other than their beautiful handmade products, we love to mine our Makers for a wealth of information, ideas and inspiration. And when it comes to our travel guides, who better to dish on top spots than somebody who has lived in the city in question? Enter Christine Heidel of Silver + Salt, a BRIKA Maker, jewelry designer and Seattle resident. We asked Christine to round up her favorite spots to see, eat, drink and do in this lively city in the Pacific Northwest.
Big trees? Check.
Awesome views? Check.
Great food? Check.
Vibrant community of makers? Check!
Well, it looks like you’ve landed in my hometown: Seattle, WA, where we literally have it all. Notice I didn’t include rain on my list because as I sit and look out my studio window, it’s 65 degrees and sunny. The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and all 650,000 Seattle-ites are spilling into their neighborhood parks and beaches to celebrate the end of our long hibernation and the coming of spring.
This is a great time to visit Seattle. To help you find your way around, here are a few of my favorite spots:
Take a hike in one of our fabulous city parks. Discovery Park is located on the Magnolia bluff overlooking Puget Sound and has spectacular views of Puget Sound and the Cascade mountain range. There are over 7 miles of trails through the park taking you through open meadow, forest groves, sand dunes, seaside cliffs and over 2 miles of protected tidal beaches. Don’t miss: the nine buildings in the middle of the park were built in the 19th century and are remnants of the park’s early beginnings as Fort Lawton. Also, the lighthouse at the westernmost part of the park was built in 1881 and is still in use today!
Admire the breathtaking glass at the Chihuly Garden and Glass. Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma, WA and this long-term exhibition opened in 2012. Located right in the middle of the Seattle Center, this is the perfect spot to start your tour of several other Seattle landmarks: The Space Needle, the EMP Museum and The Pacific Science Center.
Visit Volunteer Park. Located on Capitol Hill, Volunteer Park is home to the Volunteer Park Conservatory, a botanical garden that originally opened in 1912. The Victorian-style greenhouse has 3,426 panes of glass and is divided into five display houses: bromeliads, ferns, palms, seasonal, and cacti and succulents.
Nearby, the Seattle Asian Art Museum is housed in a landmark Art Deco building built in 1933. It features a broad range of work from China, Japan, India, Korea, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a tour of the Theo Chocolate Factory. The factory is located in the Fremont neighborhood (also known as “the center of the universe”). During a tour, see how they make chocolate from bean to bar and then gorge yourself on samples!
Hungry? Power up to start your day with a bag of fresh, hot mini donuts from the Daily Dozen Donut Company at Pike Place Market. These donuts are hot, crispy and totally addictive. Grab a mixed dozen and then walk on over to the famous Pike Place Fish Market to see the fish fly. Bonus: right across the street, you’ll find the original Starbucks location!
For lunch, grab the water taxi from downtown over to West Seattle and stuff yourself full of Kalua Pork sliders and ginger beer at Marination Ma Kai. Bonus: stellar views of the downtown Seattle skyline across the water with the occasional ferry boat passing by.
Image courtesy of Travel Channel
And for dinner, check out the amazing farm-to-table offerings at Art of the Table. Located in the Wallingford neighborhood, Art of the Table offers an unbelievably yummy seasonal tasting menu that will introduce the fresh, diverse ingredients available in this area. Pull up a chair at the chef’s table overlooking the kitchen and watch Chef Dustin craft you an amazing meal. Bonus: the intimate seating at this restaurant means you are bound to make some new friends!
Lastly, I can’t talk about Seattle eats without mentioning coffee! And for that, I’ll send you to Victrola Coffee Roasters on Capitol Hill. Located in an old 1920’s auto row building, this spot also houses their roastery. They host weekly public cuppings on Wednesdays where you can learn how people in the coffee community taste and evaluate their coffees. Or just settle down with an espresso and a good book and enjoy!
One thing I love about Seattle is its vibrant community of makers and small businesses. Here are a few of my favorite spots to get locally made, slow fashion and handmade souvenirs.
Sassafras is located in the Belltown neighborhood and features an awesome collection of women’s clothing and accessories. Everything is locally designed and made. Amy Tipton is the force behind this shop and a pure delight! Downstairs, you’ll find the Sassafras Studios where designers are hard at work crafting clothing, leather goods and jewelry.
The Handmade Showroom at Pacific Place opened in the summer of 2015 and offers clothing, home goods, accessories and art from to over 80 local artists. This is an awesome spot to pick up Seattle souvenirs for all of your friends back home!
Also, be on the lookout for one of our regular makers’ markets or craft fairs hosted by Seattle Makers Market, Salt + Pine Market or Urban Craft Uprising. These events happen regularly throughout the year.
On Sundays, pick up fresh produce and locally made arts and crafts at the Ballard Farmers Market. Open since 2000, this year-round market sells produce exclusively from Washington state farmers and makers. Bonus: after the market, swing by the Ballard Locks to see boats passing to and from Puget Sound through the Ship Canal. The Ballard Locks are the busiest locks in the US and are also home to a fish ladder where you can see salmon making their way upstream to spawn.