Seattle is a vacation paradise. Hike in the mountains or sail the Puget Sound by day and take advantage of all that the city has to offer at night. During summertime, the dense foliage gleams a vibrant green that inspires the town’s nickname, the Emerald City.
There’s no shortage of places to imbibe, but your first stop should be downtown’s RN74, and its not-to-be-missed, train-board-style wine list of daily specials. RN focuses on Burgundy and Rhône wines but also has pours from around the world. Looking for the hottest Washington wines? They’ve got that. Thirsting for an 1877 Lafite-Rothschild? They’ve got that, too (for a cool 20 grand). For cocktails, head to Canon, a Seattle icon. Make sure to carve out some time to ponder its 100-drink menu. Want to explore the urban wine scene? Check out SODO Urban Works, a collection of nine tasting rooms and wineries just south of downtown. While there, stop by Schooner Exact Brewing Co., located in the same complex, for a pint of beer.
An explosion of top restaurants has kept pace with the city’s growth over the last decade. These create a great reason for exploring Seattle’s many neighborhoods. At Adana in the Capitol Hill district, Chef Shota Nakajima elevates traditional Japanese comfort food, while keeping dishes clean and simple.
The secret is out about JuneBaby in Ravenna, where French Laundry-alum Chef Edouardo Jordan digs deep into Southern cuisine and culture. In South Lake Union at Revel, multiple James Beard Award nominees Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi offer Korean street food with a perfect combination of flavors, textures and depth. Wallingford’s Manolin captures the freshness of Northwest fare with incredibly innovative, tropical-influenced dishes.
Yes, you at least need to get an up-close look at the Space Needle, even if you don’t take a ride to the top. Right next door is the must-see Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition at the Seattle Center dedicated to local glass artist Dale Chihuly, whose mixture of colors and form has made him world famous. Also check out the countless local parks that abound in Seattle. Some, like Kerry Park Hill on Queen Anne are postage-stamp sized but offer picture-perfect views of downtown with Mount Rainier as a backdrop. Others are sprawling, like Ballard’s Golden Gardens Park, which provides breathtaking looks at the Sound and Olympic Mountains.
No visit would be complete without a stop at Pike Place Market, which displays an abundance of fresh fruit, fish, vegetables, crafts and kitsch. In season, there are numerous neighborhood farmers markets around town, too. A stop at Ballard Farmers Market allows you to take in Old Ballard and its quaint selection of shops. Fremont, meanwhile, is the place for boutiques. And in Madrona, stop into glassybaby to see its rainbow of hand-blown glass candleholders that have taken the city by storm.
Though less than a 45-minute ferry ride from downtown, Bainbridge Island seems like a world apart, with towering evergreen trees and a slowed-down pace of life. Stroll from the ferry dock to the small village of Winslow, where the Blackbird Bakery offers a selection of pastries, pies and breads. You can taste Puget Sound-grown wines at Bainbridge Vineyards or visit any one of the island’s six other wineries. Grab lunch or a beer at Harbour Public House and meander along the boardwalk. Planning to stay for dinner? Hitchcock is renowned for its ultra-fresh, locally sourced food. Take in views of downtown Seattle on the ferry ride home.