During my visit this summer, I was fortunate enough to stay with a friend at her home on Mercer Island. If you’re looking into hotels, some design-driven options include the Ace Hotel, the Palladian, and the Thompson.
Totokaelo: This multi-brand fashion boutique has a strong edit of cool RTW and accessories from the likes of Jacquemus, Off-White, Ellery, Ganni etc. alongside minimalist chic ceramics and homewares, artisan perfumes from Vilhelm and D.S. Durga.
Glasswing: Welcome to the jungalow. This concept store welcomes you with full-on landscape of plants and flowers, tucked into antique apothecary and library cabinets, exposed brick walls and reclaimed wood décor. Aside from plants, there’s an interesting mix of men’s and womenswear plus natural beauty brands.
Homestead: Home décor goals. This store sells an expertly curated assortment of vintage rugs and furniture, mid-century modern planters for your plant gang, and bohemian crystals and candles. Need more plants? Head over to their Plant Shop down the street for options from tiny to tree-sized.
Stock Pantry: More home décor and gifts. A small, carefully selected offering of Japanese and Scandivanian-inspired pieces.
Bar Melusine: Bright and modern with design inspo all around. Sleek white marble tops, turquoise bar stools, white and green mosaic tiles, and Scandi-style wooden booths. Bar Melusine specializes in seafood, order a mix of small plates, and make sure to try the variety of freshly-shucked oysters. Save room for dessert next door at the vegan ice cream shop.
Bateau: Tired of mollusks and fish? This is carnivore heaven. The focus is on steaks obviously, with meats both butchered and dry-aged in-house. The seasonal salads are presented like pieces of art, and are a perfectly delicate complement to your boeuf.
Oddfellows: Your all-day café for breakfast or lunch, this Capitol Hill café oozes with hip vibes. The combination of industrial fixtures, big windows, marble bar, exposed kitchen, vintage furniture, and of course plants, makes it the perfect office-away-from-the-office.
Stateside: For your southeast Asian fix on the edge of Downtown and Capitol Hill, find great Vietnamese favorites and killer cocktails served in coconuts with a little umbrella.
Frankie & Jo's: It may seem like all of Capitol Hill had the same idea as you – but stay patient, it’s worth the wait in line for this unique and absolutely delicious ice cream. Luscious and creamy with just off-the-press waffle cones, you’ll never believe this treat is vegan and gluten-free.
General Porpoise: What’s better than a donut? A cream or jam-filled one, of course! Couple that with artisan coffee from local, small-batch roasters, prepped by your barista on a fuschia pink La Marzocco machine. This café has several branches, with prime spots in Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square. Light-filled spaces for setting up your laptop and fueling your work with delightful sugar clouds and sophisticated brews.
Barnacle Bar: Mediterranean-inspired tapas with a focus on seafood. A cozy aperitivo destination in Ballard. Pull up a stool at the copper-topped bar and fill up on a series of small plates.
Westward: Make sure to time your visit with the sunset here. On the banks of Lake Union in Fremont with city views on the horizon, park yourself on one of the wooden trunks around the campfire or in the perfectly positioned Adirondack chairs, and watch the golden hour do its magic. Not only is the ambience great, but the wide selection of oysters and fresh seafood small plates makes this a must-go.
The Whale Wins: The Pacific Northwest has a wonderful bounty of seasonal produce and this farm-to-table restaurant brings vegetables to life. The chef sources from all around the area – the beaches, gardens, and farms. This is one of the Sea Creature group’s (helmed by James Beard award-winning chef Renee Erickson) best spots.
Walrus and the Carpenter: A tiny oyster bar in low-key Ballard with an American take on the quintessential fishing village pub. Come for a few just-shucked treasures, stay for the creative small plates and convivial bar mates.
Momiji: Fine sushi in a relaxed Capitol Hill setting, with a mix of traditional favorites as well as eclectic speciality rolls. The calm zen garden is a lovely option during the summer. With its proximity to the Pacific, the sashimi is nearly as fresh as it would be if you were in Japan.
Seattle is surrounded by stunning scenery. There’s water everywhere, whether you’re bordering the Puget Sound or one of the many lakes. Snow-capped peaks dot the horizon and lush forests make for perfect hikes. Make sure to balance your city exploration with a day of nature. Some good day trips include: Rattlesnake Ledge (the trailhead is just 40 minutes outside the city), Summerland (Mt. Rainier’s national park), Dungeness Spit (in the Olympic Peninsula), Discovery Park (still within Seattle city limits), Twin Falls and Mount Si.
Downtown will be touristy, and Pike Place Market can feel chaotic and overwhelming. Make this a quick stop only if you must, and instead opt for exploring the hipster neighborhoods of Capitol Hill, Fremont, and Ballard. You’ll find a laidback atmosphere, independent boutiques, friendly and design-driven cafes, and excellent food.