Leave the tropical destinations for your winter escape from the shitty cold. This time of year, we’re all for heading west. To Seattle, that is. The city’s known for its serious coffee drinkers, indie scene, and, yes, gloomy weather. But don’t let that stop you. Your next move? Print this itinerary, and get packing.
Stay: Hotel Ballard
On the inside, you’re surrounded by velvet headboards and contemporary gray walls. Outside, you’re living like a local in a real Seattle neighborhood, within walking distance of some of the city’s best shopping and dining. Plus, there’s a beautiful 50,000-square-foot fitness center for you to hit if the rain moves your workout indoors.
Bar Sajor: The once abandoned-looking Pioneer Square neighborhood isn’t quite so grim anymore. That’s thanks to restaurateur Matt Dillon, who’s recently opened two restaurants on the same block. Our favorite of the duo is Bar Sajor, where the building’s old, historic bones stayed but were updated to look light and airy. You easily could feel like you’ve just touched down in Europe instead of far, far from it. We could go on, but you’re coming here for the food, not the decor. The Mediterranean-inspired menu features lamb leg, homemade sourdough bread, and fresh octopus with smoked potatoes that don’t disappoint.
Westward: We like restaurants that turn a meal into an experience. And with a lakefront view of Seattle, blankets, and a fire pit roaring, that’s just what you’ll get at Westward. This setting also probably helped the restaurant nab the No. 5 spot on Bon Appetit’s best restaurants list in 2014. Grab an Adirondack chair and take it all in before heading into the nautical-themed restaurant for oysters.
Matt’s in the Market: Seattle is where you came, and Seattle is what you’re going to get at Matt’s in the Market. It’s situated right over Pike Place Market’s famous sign (you know, of original Starbucks fame), and the perfect spot to order outstanding seafood and fresh vegetables, many from the market below.
Chihuly Garden and Glass: The name Dale Chihuly may not ring a bell now, but after a visit to the Chihuly Garden and Glass, you’ll see why people rave about the glass artist. As you walk from room to room, you’ll see spears, cones, and shells all made of glass. It continues as you head outside, with glass taking the form of plants in the outdoor, open-air garden space for a seriously mesmerizing display.
Central Public Library: We know you didn’t travel all the way to the Pacific Northwest to go to the library. But this one is not like your local setup. It’s worth a visit for the four-story nonfiction book spiral alone. The floor slopes at 2 degrees for a continuous—well, four-story—loop.
The Original Starbucks: We did our best to resist adding this to the list, but come on, it’s a cultural phenomenon. This is the Starbucks that started it all. Swing by to pay tribute to the birthplace of your daily fuel, but then walk a few blocks to grab a coffee or art-like lattes at Moore Coffee Shop, something you can’t find along your usual AM commute.
Photo Credit: Chris Vlachos