What To Do:
Volunteer Park: We actually live closer to Cal Anderson Park, but because of the construction, and the magnetization of homeless bums and potheads, I prefer to walk the extra distance to go the Volunteer Park. There’s a lot to do, with a park for kids, the Asian Art Museum for adults and kids, the Water Tower for a pretty great view of the city and the small Conservatory for an escape from the heat or cold outside. I might be biased, but I definitely think it’s the best park in the city, with lots of space for reading without being disturbed (my heaven).
Melrose Market: This is just a really cool spot. If I made more money, I think I’d like it even more! First thing, there’s a Homegrown (and you know how much I love Homegrown) and a butcher with hunky butcher dudes. When you step a bit farther in, there’s an adorable shop upstairs, a cheese shop, a tiny bar and a flower shop. Also attached is a bunch of highly acclaimed restaurants that I’ve never been to, a record store and an event space. Basically, Melrose Market is the coolest place to be in Seattle.
Havana: Full disclaimer: I’ve only been once and it was a couple of years ago, but it was a GREAT time. I love dancing, and I love finding an environment where I feel safe dancing without a gross man standing behind me or feeling judged. Havana reminds me of the hipster clubs in San Francisco where everyone is a girl who wants to have fun, a gay man or foreign. Basically, people who aren’t interested in touching each other, talking to each other, but just letting loose. The one time I went to Havana was Soul Night and true to a hipster bar I didn’t recognize a single soul song, but it was still fun and freeing. I’d love to go back again!
The Garage: I’m not really one for sports, but I’m GREAT at bowling. The Garage is a really cool bowling alley/bar/pool hall without all the cliches (ugly bowling themed carpet, gross burgers, etc). Great for a date night, or fun with friends.
The Arboretum: This little hidden gem is technically a bit far to be considered Capitol Hill… but too bad! Basically it’s a really big park in the middle of the city that feels empty and peaceful. I remember going for the first time as a little kid and thinking that I’d never seen such big leaves or big trees in my whole life. We really do take our big trees for granted in the Pacific Northwest!
Well, while writing this, I found out that the Harvard Exit Theatre closed as of 2 weeks ago… which was news to me! It was such a great little theater, super old and quaint. I’ve seen so many great movies there! They did reopen the Egyptian Theater, which is good news, but I’ve never been there so I can’t recommend it… yet!
Where To Eat:
Volunteer Park Cafe: A beautiful little Seattle-esque local, hippy-ish spot tucked away in the neighborhood surrounding Volunteer Park. Pastries, quiche and coffee are all good little bits from the cafe!
Wandering Goose: Fried. Chicken. Grits. Greens. Biscuits. With The Raspberry Jam. YUM. (Go early on a Friday night)
Espresso Vivace: This was recommended by the owner of Blue Bottle Coffee as someone who knows coffee and oh my, they do! I’ve loved my drinks each time I go and everyone is NICE. (I can’t stand snobby coffee shops)
Poppy: I’ve been twice and had two very different experiences. They serve with several tiny dishes, so you can mix the seasonal, local and unusual flavors together. While the summer menu we tasted was great, I think I actually preferred the winter menu with the heartier, more comforting, tastes.
Oddfellows: This is where you take people when you want them to get the quintessential Seattle experience. It’s the ultimate hipster restaurant, with a staff to match, but the food is actually delicious, the decor beautiful the only bad part is the noise… it’s always packed and super loud. I’d recommend the patio out back or the sidewalk tables if the weather is nice! PS: Try the eggs benedict!
Queen Sheeba: I’m admittedly not the most adventurous eater, but I do like some Ethiopian food. I love the idea that you mash everything together with your hands and that bread is quite delicious, even though it reminds me of a sting ray. If you’re looking for good Ethiopian, this is a great spot. It’s always quiet when we’ve been, which makes it a great date spot for a Friday night for us, when we just want to relax and unwind.
Quinn’s Pub: This is another quintessential Seattle spot. The food is amazing, their beer selection is great (this is where I had my first cider!) and the atmosphere is absolutely beautiful with it’s dark and rustic look. It makes for a good date night spot!
Skillet: I love diners, I really do, and Skillet is a cool take on a modern diner. Everyone who works there wears plaid, the decor is a nod to the 50’s and the food is jazzed up classic favorites. I’d recommend getting a burger and fries with a vanilla milkshake (don’t forget the milkshake) and getting there early… it fills up fast!
Tavern Law: It’s just a really, really pretty place to get a drink or two. I’d been dying to go and I just went with a friend. We shared mac and cheese with bread crumbs, duck fat and a pork belly. Um, YES. Do yourself a favor and order that! And apparently there’s a cool hidden part of the bar (the decor is very Prohibition influenced) that I wasn’t cool enough to know about.
Cafe Presse: J’aime french food at this place. It’s honestly a pretty weird set up, the front half looks like a modern European bar, but there’s a back room that’s completely separate. I always order classics, like the Croque Madame and I’d definitely recommend!
Hot Mama’s: This place totally reminds me of New York pizza places, and if you go, try the Pesto Pizza. I don’t even LIKE pesto and I love that pizza!
The Tin Table: John and I went here for a fancy, romantic dinner and we were not disappointed by the service or the food. I had the steak with wine butter sauce (as good as it sounds) and he had the wild boar schnitzel (better than it sounds!). We both left happy and full.
Kedai Makan: Take out Malaysian? Sounds kinda weird… tastes super good! The restaurant is tiny and all kitchen, so you order at the front door/window and bring the food home, or to your next bar. I admit, I ordered the most tame item on the menu, but John ordered the most outrageous and we were both happy!
Where To Shop:
Elliot Bay Books: Hands down, this is my favorite store in Seattle. I love a good bookstore, and I think this is the best. They have a great fiction selection, a decent magazine selection, a stellar cookbook section and a really great assortment of non-fiction!
Everyday Music: This is more just a browsing spot for me, but John has left here with handfuls of used DVD’s and music! It’s massive, has a great variety and again, the people that work here are actually nice!
RetroFit Home: A great spot if you’re looking to add some cute pieces to your home. They have great furniture and clocks upstairs and downstairs there’s all sorts of accessories that you never knew you needed.
Nube Green: This is a teeny tiny store (Nube Green and the Tin Table are all in the Oddfellows building!) has fun little pieces. They really pride themselves on having all USA made merchandise, so you’ll be oohing and ahhing over Woolrich blankets and local prints in no time!