Seattle Skyline

In November 2008, we flew to Seattle for a long weekend. We were really into Grey’s Anatomy at that point---you know, before it turned into the self-absorbed mush it is now---and for the entire trip, we kind of made believe we were in one of the episodes. Before we left, we asked the Internet for suggestions, and were blown away by all the fantastic recommendations and ideas. We stuck fairly religiously to the list, which you’ll find below. We particularly enjoyed the mac and cheese at Beecher’s, the tiny cinnamon donuts at Daily Dozen, the Underground Tour, browsing Elliott Bay Books, taking the ferry over to Bainbridge Island, the view from Queen Anne Park, the pizza at Serious Pie, and the desserts at Dahlia Bakery. If you’re looking for a place to stay, we were at the Pan Pacific Seattle for three nights and found it most delightful. We could see the Space Needle while taking a shower.

55 Reader Suggestions

Stephanie says:

Holly,
Another Seattle-ite here.
First, I cannot believe anyone hasn't told you to go to Voula's yet. You MUST go to Voula's for breakfast. If you like Greek food, and you like breakfast, you will LOVE Voula's. http://www.voulasoffshore.com/
Her restaurant was featured on the Food Network for best places in the nation for breakfast, and is a Seattle institution.

I agree with those steering you toward the Freemont district and Ballard...both very Seattle, with cool local shops, pubs and restaurants/cafes. Of course, you must do Pikes Place Market; you can't come to Seattle and not do Pike's Place.

You could skip Seattle Center and really not miss much.

Also, Gas Works Park is really cool, and Sean can get some REALLY cool shots from there.

Finally, I agree with Jen, Kerry Park on Queen Anne hill has nice views, but you can get cooler shots from West Seattle and you will avoid the tourists.

Remember the scene in "Sleepless in Seattle," where Meg Ryan stalks Tom Hanks' character and his son and follows them to the beach where they play with the football? That's Alkai Beach in West Seattle.

Marie says:

Just found your blog today through my google reader suggestions and couldn't stop reading after I started.

I'm not flying anywhere this Thanksgiving but riding in a car. I'll have to check in to see how your report goes though! It's definitely very creative.

I've never been to Seattle but I've heard it's a wonderful city. Have a great time and I hope you have access to an abundance of coffee while doing your report!

ellbee says:

WAHHHH!!! Why couldn't YOU be the one posted to Denver? I would totally show up at the airport 4 hours before my flight just to meet you, and then you could report on how stupid I am to schedule a business trip out of Denver on Tuesday and back in on Wednesday right before Thanksgiving. It would be awesome. I'd even bring you Starbucks.

Jen says:

Hi Holly,
Seattleite here! You should come to our house for Thanksgiving, where my husband will be cooking a free-range turkey and all the trimmings ... just for the two of us, as I'm too pregnant to travel anywhere, and all our family is waiting for the baby to be born to visit. :( Obviously, that might be weird, seeing as we've never met, but we did once correspond with each other about lip gloss. :)

All of the above recommendations are good ones, for sure. If you want an amazing cupcake, skip Cupcake Royale in Ballard and go for one at Trophy in Wallingford. If you're lucky, they'll be serving their world-famous s'mores cupcake (and you might spot Dave Matthews walking around that neighborhood, as he has a house there, and supposedly has been holed up in Seattle with the band, recording a new album). Kerry Park is definitely THE spot for photos of Seattle from afar, though if you can get over to West Seattle, you'll find great views of the city from across the bay, which is a nice change of pace, as Kerry Park will likely be swimming with tourists, as it always is.

If you want a more comprehensive list of things to do, places to go, restaurants at which to eat - let me know. I'm happy to send you more info via e-mail, with interactive links!

shal says:

I've lived in Seattle for 8 (wait, 9?) 9 years. I won't go into food recommendations because you have plenty of good ones there already, but should you not already have enough to do with all those suggestions, I suggest also looking at:
The locks in Ballard (and Ballard in general--if you go on a Sunday, there's a farmer's market)
The EMP at the Seattle Center
The Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library (can walk from Pike Place if weather is not terrible) (also won a bunch of awards)
Taking a ferry somewhere (Bainbridge or Vashon--but there is nothing much on Vashon except residences and farms and water (pretty though))
Going to a farmer's market somewhere in the city (the one in the University District on Sat. mornings is my favorite)

Oh, I would skip the zoo--butterfly exhibit is closed until May.

Patrick says:

I second the above (assuming no one posts in between)--Vegas on Thanksgiving. Ick.

Whatever happens in Vegas can, thankyou, stay in Vegas.

Rachel says:

Hi Holly,
I’m a true Seattleite- born and raised. One of my favorite things about Seattle is the food and drink scene here. I hope you have an AMAZING time!

Food recommendations:
Barolo (Downtown): Italian, pretty atmosphere, Gnocchi w/pheasant is beyond words good.

Quinns (Capitol Hill): Amazing bacon cheeseburger, upscale gastropub, hip Seattleite scene.

Makrina Bakery (Belltown): Great brunch, get the signed cookbook

Alki Café (West Seattle): My FAVORITE breakfast place in Seattle. On the ‘beach’, views of surrounding islands, mountains, and, just around the corner, is probably the best view of Seattle.

Serious Pie (gourmet pizza) or Palace Kitchen (Downtown): Both of these are owned by Tom Douglas, and have great food.

Places to visit: Victrola Coffee (Capitol Hill), Elliot Bay Book Co. (Pioneer Square), everything around the Pike Place Market, Mac n’ Cheese from Beechers (P. P. Market), underground tour (if the weather isn’t too nasty), Seattle Art Museum, stop in at Watson Kennedy Home Store (you’ll love it), Fremont (on the outskirts of Seattle proper).

I would visit http://www.nwsource.com/ to get more information on the goings-on in Seattle. This is the site I use to figure out what I’m going to do for dinner, or what show to see. I would be happy to recommend more if you’re interested.

Sarah says:

Hee, I'll be in Vegas this week, too! I won't get a Holly Burns celebrity sighting at the airport, though, because we fly in tonight, and leave again Thursday morning. Oh well, maybe I'll confuse my husband by insisting on watching the news. :)

donna says:

If you are in Seattle on Sunday, you should visit Mars Hill. (marshillchurch.org)

HouseofJules says:

I know you're doing it for work, but you're a brave soul, Holly Burns. The Vegas airport (and the horrifying mile-long, twisty taxi line) nearly squashed my desire to ever travel anywhere again. That airport is, just, UGH. Have a fabulous time in Seattle! You should see everything you can by glass artist Dale Chihuly. He's a personal hero of mine and he's from the area. He runs Pilchuck, the glass-blowing school, and I know there are a couple of places with year-round Chihuly installations. Can't wait to see your pictures!

Anne in SC says:

I visited this cool city on the early 1990's for a travel professionals convention. They herded us around mostly, to all of the "touristy" places and I chose the daily excursion of "Brew, Zoo, and Space Needle too".

"Brew" was actually at the end of the excursion at the Red Hook Brewery (back when they were a true micro brewery and you couldn't get it back here in SC). Neat pub and yummy brew - check it out! I hear there's now a winery across the street incase you don't like brew.

"Z00" - pretty standard zoo (smallish) but a neat butterfly habitat.

"Space Needle" - don't you just have to go here while in Seattle? Same with Pike's Place market. I enjoyed strolling through all of the levels there.

There was also a freakishly cool sculpture of a troll under a bridge in a neighborhood somewhere on this "Brew..." route. It was huge and you could sit on his hand for a picture. Google him and I'll bet you'll be able to figure out where it was. Worth some fun photo opportunities.

Some of the neatest coffee shops and nicest people around. I stayed in the conglomerate of hotels in the downtown area and coffe shops and cute pubs were around every corner.

Have fun!

Amy says:

Another Seattlite! I think everyone has covered most of my favorites, but I must put another vote in for Elliott Bay Book Company. Make sure to read a few of the book reviews tacked to the shelves, and the travel loft is my favorite nook in the store.

And another vote for Archie McPhee. The Smithsonian has copies of their catalogs in their collection. No joke (knee slap).

When (not if) you go to Pike Place Market, the mini doughnuts are amazing, and served with pizzaz.

Favorite restaurants:
Quinn's
Six Arms Brewery
Volunteer Park Cafe
Coastal Kitchen

Linda's (for beer and bar food, it's a rumor that Cobain had his last beer there, but who knows).

Huh, I need to get out of Capitol Hill once in a while...

How to remember the downtown streets: John Coltrane Made Sax Universally Prominent or Jesus Christ Made Seattle Uber Pretty (Under Pressure): stands for
Jefferson, James, Cherry, Columbia, Marion, Madison, Spring, Seneca, University, Union, Pike, Pine.

If you don't already know about the busses, for some of them you pay when you get on, some you pay when you get off (this has to do with the downtown shopping district). Just look for the sign on the cash box when you get on, it will tell you when you pay.

Sara says:

When I was in Seattle in 2004, we ate at the Icon Grill (www.icongrill.net). I was about 8 months pregnant at the time, which made the comfort food options even more appealing. I have been plotting a return ever since. The decor is amazing as well!

It looks like you have so many wonderful places to visit in Seattle. Hope you can make it to Portland soon! Best of luck in Vegas.

Ashley says:

I only have a quick second so I didn't read through your comments, I apologize if I am repeating something that has been said 50 times already....I live in the Seattle area and my top recommendation for food is any of the Tom Douglas restaurants. Serious Pie is SERIOUS! good beer, best pizza (mmmm potato Parmesan pizza!) Around the corner is Dahlia Lounge which just simply should NOT be missed. You can google his name and his restaurants pop up. Also if you are here on a Sunday, hit the Fremont Farmer's Market, great feel for the city. Enjoy!

Gretchen says:

I can't think of a less homelike place to visit than Vegas, and I won't see you on the L.A. channels, but there's always the magic of the Internet. Please bring along a very good moisturizer, because every time I set foot in Nevada or Arizona it's like the dehydration fairy pays me a visit and brings me more crowsfeet.

I know nothing about Seattle, except that the humidity is high and it rains a lot. Which means your hair (well, not yours personally, but "one's") will frizz, but your skin moisture will be much improved. Have a good time, and I'm glad the economy hasn't pulled the rug out from under Travelocity. It's certainly done a number on the legal business.

Helen says:

I've been to Seattle twice and loved it. In terms of eating, I'm not best equipped as both times it's only been a one night stay, and one of those times, dinner was a cup of chilli outside the baseball stadium (as we had blown our money on tickets for the baseball!). I do remember seeing some really good fish restaurants down by the Sound, and there's a great bagel place on 1st Avenue just before you get to Pike Place Market, about opposite to the Green Tortoise Hostel.
For sightseeing, I can highly recommend the underground Seattle tour, which tells you all about Seattle's Victorian past and gives you the chance to go underground and see all the old hidden streets. It's in Pioneer Square, which is a great place to visit anyway. Also recommended (albeit cheesy) is the Ride the Ducks tour, where you go on a (duck shaped) tour bus that then turns into a boat and goes into the Sound. I got very excited as on the lake I saw the house used as Tom Hanks' place in Sleepless in Seattle. In fact, if you like that film you'll spend a lot of your visit exclaiming "And that's where Tom Hanks...!" (my boyfriend, who doesn't know it, got a little annoyed after a while). And Pike Place Market is a must - loads of great little cafes, market stalls and the original Starbucks, where they write your name on the cup - I was very excited by that.
Have a great trip!

JG says:

If it cheers you at all, I have at-the-gate reunions with my husband ALL THE TIME. :) There really isn't anything like it, I agree!

Gwen says:

I guess those 5:30 AM start times mean you won't be going crazy at the tables. Unless, of course, you just head straight from the casino to work. After all, you can't smell stale cigarette and bad gin on TV, can you?

Victoria says:

I lived in Seattle for 2.5 years, now in Boston 8 months, and miss Seattle dearly. Admittedly I did not read ALL the comments, so please forgive repeats, but if it's on here more than once you know it's good!

A few of our most beloved places: The Dish (Fremont) which I see someone already mentioned it's awesomness - you MUST get the 'scone'; Dick's on 45th (For that late night, uber cheap, walk up burger joint experience) the later the better, also a Dick's on Capitol Hill, Top Pot Doughnuts, PROST! on Greenwood (I forget the neighborhood) but go to this little place for a great German beer experience. BLUE C Sushi (Fremont or the UDistrict) - can't beat conveyor belt sushi AND they usually have crazy videos playing on a large screen (think Japanese Rockabilly guys dancing in Tokyo, and Miss Japan Contests). If you have a chance and are into architecture, give the library a whirl. It's an architectural masterpiece, and you have to go up to the 6-7 floor, can't recall now and walk out on the balcony to look down into the main area of the library. It'll give you weak knees! Gas Works Park gives great view of the city from the north side, and if you have a car Salty's on Alki is a great place to get some good seafood ($$$) and provides and EXCELLENT view of the Seattle Skyline. Tangletown brewery is good, as is Zoka (2 locations) for coffee, although in SEA you'd be hard pressed to find bad coffee anywhere in my experience, coffee shops abound. 13 coins downtown for that 'dressed up Denny's' feel.

The jewel though and my husband and I's favorite place to go in the entire city is a small little place out in West Seattle called La Rustica. Simply devine. If you have time for an intimate, romantic dinner, try them!

I could go on and on...

It's a great city, totally gorgeous, and hopefully the mountains are out! Glad I could share with you some of the places I love in the city I love. Enjoy and have fun!

Mandee says:

Was just in Seattle a month ago. It is lovely.

My favorites were the food blog sensation, Cafe Lago (highly recommended by Molly of Orangette and Adam of Amateur Gourmet). Favorite dishes there were the slow roasted tomatoes, Olivata and the lasagna.

The Macrina bakery was also excellent and has several locations throughout the city.

I would bet they are going to be closed while you are there, but Salumi is worth seeking out if it is open. Amazing food.

I also second the Beechers recommendation. Grab a loaf of bread from Macrina and then head to the market to make a picnic. The Seattle Times has a great market guide under their travel section--Seattle guide.

Oh, and Matt's in the Market was fabulous as well.

We ate a lot (obviously) and were traveling with a three year old, so I'm sure you don't want to hear about the Pacific Science Center or most of the other things we did. I will say that if the weather cooperates, the Sculpture Park is beautiful. Great views of the water, lots of people out walking their dogs. Worth a stop.

Safe travels!

Cloverity says:

I've lived in Seattle for about a year.. so here are some recommendations..

For food I really only have breakfast recommendations as I don't eat out for dinner too often:

-Breakfast/coffee/doughnut snack - Top Pot Doughnuts downtown location

-Can't remember the name of it.. but there is this place that makes homemade mini-doughnuts at a stand in pike place market.. just south of the fish throwing guys. Get the cinnamon sugar ones.

-If you venture outside of the downtown area, Dish in the Fremont/Ballard area is my favorite breakfast place.

Things to do/see:

-Walking around Fremont downtown streets.. probably my favorite neighborhood.

-Pike Place Market

-The downtown library. You will not regret it. Go up and down all the elevators and escalators. Visit all the floors. Once again, you will not regret it. Sean can take pics inside, just not use flash or a tripod.

-Go to the Seattle Center (where the space needle is). Possibly visit the EMP. Skip the Pacific Science Center.

-Go up to Kerry Park on the top of Queen Anne. Any picture you see of the Seattle skyline? Taken from here.

-Olympic Sculpture Park on the waterfront.

If youre looking for more suggestions.. here's a link to my seattle flickr pics for more ideas.
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=seattle&w=43269903%40N00&z=t

Hope this is helpful!

Henny says:

A couple people have mentioned The Pink Door already -- it really is great. Also, for good French food, Maximilien in the market. For drinks I like the Virginia Inn on 1st and Virginia (they have good food too).

It only just started getting really cold in the past few days, but our weather has been crazy this year so maybe it will warm back up in time for your visit.

Leah says:

1. My parents are having their yearly Vegas vacation this week! How cool would it be if you ran into each other?

2. I highly recommend Seattle's underground tour. I've done it three times and I'd do it again.

Stephanie says:

I was in Seattle on vacation this summer and had, without a doubt, the best sushi of my life at Shiro's on 2nd Ave. and Battery(?). I was by myself, sat at the sushi bar and took the chef up on his offer to just make me stuff. The monkfish liver and ahi handroll stands out as one of the best things I've ever eaten. And once he realized that I wasn't squeamish, he really went to town -- at one point, he held up a shrimp the size of his hand, showed me it was still moving, removed the head (and legs, I guess, now that I'm thinking about it), plopped it on a thing of rice and handed it to me. The deep-fried head came out from the kitchen a few minutes later. It was such a sensual, pleasurable experience that I left feeling like I'd just had really great sex.

Other than that, I spent a lot of time poking around Elliot Bay Bookstore, walking around the various neighborhoods and drinking a lot of coffee. I did some kayaking, but it was August, not November. Ballard is great, though tough to get to by public transportation -- a friend who lives there picked up me and took me to a couple of great bars. The ferry to Bainbridge is worth it for the view alone. I went to Dahlia Lounge for crabcakes and coconut cream pie, but I didn't think it was really worth the $$$. Have a great trip!

hildie says:

Holly --
The Dish serves the best breakfast in town (go for the Seattle to Portland scramble and bring cash)...with a close second going to Senior Moose Cafe (you might think you are in Mexico!). Your mouth will sing if you grab cuban sandwiches from Paseo in Fremont (also cash only).
If you have half a day or so that you want to kill, I would recomend jumping on a ferry to Vashon Island. It is a sleepy and dreamy little place. Not a ton to do -- but really pretty and sweet.
Poke around Fremont, waste hours at Elliot Bay for books, stroll Ballard Avenue, walk through Volunteer Park and climb up the water tower, go to Sonic Boom for music. If you want to see a show, check out Neumos,the Sunset Tavern or The Tractor Tavern.

I am a local. The weather has been nice -- not too wet, just a little chilly and fallish.

Have fun!

Heather says:

You have to go to Paseo's. It is a cuban sandwich shop in Fremont. I took my friend from Devner there and everytime she calls she tells me she has dreams of that sandwhich. FYI - it is cash only and they often run out of sandwhichs (weird I know, how can a sandwhich place run out of sandwhiches?)...

Phil says:

Seattle resident since 1974 here. Too bad it's a bit chilly and breezy this weekend - but I was wearing my down jacket in Charleston last weekend!

I second the recommendations for Tom Douglas' restaurants. We're serial offenders at Etta's and Palace Kitchen. Palace Kitchen is open late if you go to a show. Palisade at a marina on Magnolia has great views and food, kinda spendy.

I just walked to Gasworks park and Fremont to prepare for turkey dinner. If you'd like a little hike, Discovery Park on Magnolia, just north of downtown, has a 3-mile trail that goes through forest, down to a Puget Sound beach and back up to a sand dune bluff with terrific views of Puget Sound and, if you're lucky, the Olympic Mountains.

I took the banner photo on my blog from Kerry Park on Queen Anne. It's a scenic walk up Queen Anne from the Seattle Center.

Have fun!

Teej says:

The at-the-gate reunion will make Vegas worth it. Reminds me of the opening and closing montages from Love Actually, which *always* makes me bawl.

Have fun!

Alissa says:

Read your post this morning and then came across this column "36 Hours in Seattle" (part of the NYT series.) Of course, this means that these are not really "hidden gems" since the NYT is covering them. But might be worth a look for you.

http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/travel/23hours.html

NothingButBonfires says:

THANK YOU SO MUCH for all these wonderful suggestions, everyone! Now I'm GLAD I didn't do any research because you all have much better ideas!

Monkey Girl says:

You do have some great recommendations. Technically I'm not a Seattlite, because we live on Bainbridge Island, a 25 min ferry ride from downtown Seattle. If you're up for a roundtrip ferry ride and a walk around downtown Bainbridge Island, it's $6.50ish/round trip. Ferry ride is a must. Have a great time.

Susan says:

I'll be at O'Hare on Tuesday! In fact, I'll be getting up at 3:00 am to fly, and at 11:00 am I will be making nice for a crew from Chicago's Channel 5. Of course by then, I will be completely insane from lack of sleep. Woo fun!

And enjoy Seattle -- my jealousy is endless.

Ryan says:

the troll is in Freemont and has an entire VW bug in his grasp.

And of course always pick up the free weeklies (Stranger, Seattle Weekly) to find out what's going on.

Kara says:

I think I messed up in posting a nice long comment to you! So here's the abridged version:

1. Do bring a jacket. The weather has been brisk lately; and I hope the clouds don't obscure the view the entire time you are here!

2. Ditto on going to West Seattle for the view of downtown with the waterfront. Go to Duke's Chowder House in Alki for lunch, and enjoy the 720-degree view from the shoreline across the street.

3. Lots of tasty little hole in the wall places: The Stumbling Goat (in Greenlake), El Camino (in Fremont, where you can also see a real live statue of Lenin), The Hi Life in Ballard (the best of the Chow Foods group of restaurants), The Barking Dog Ale House.

4. Remember that it gets dark here at 4:45 now, so do your sight seeing early!

5. Definitely see the Elliott Bay Book Company. It's as impressive just to look at, nevermind buying a book.

6. As others have said, definitely see the Pike Place Market, tourist trap that it is. Get some fresh little donuts, and walk past the original Starbucks to have your picture taken. But avoid the line, it's always long and the coffee, well, it's the exact same!

7. Go to the bathroom at the Macy's (formerly The Bon). It's something to behold.

8. Remember you've got the original Sur La Table and the Nordstrom flagship store right there near Pike Place.

Enjoy our Emerald City!!

NothingButBonfires says:

Guys, seriously, thank you all so much. I want to grab each and every one of you by the shoulders and give you a hearty hug. These suggestions are BRILLIANT, and we are so grateful! I just KNEW the Internet wouldn't let me down. Seattlites (and former Seattlites!) are so friendly ALREADY -- I can tell I'm going to love it there.

e says:

Two things:
1. Say Yes to the Dress returns for season 3 tonight!! Though I'm sure you already have it tivoed.
2. You TOTES look like McKey from ANTM Cycle 11. Especially in the finale when she goes to panel with her hair slicked back... it was Holly Burns at panel! Freaky. I know Meredith (who is my roommate) told you that already... we were freaking out watching it.

Enjoy Seattle!

Rhi says:

Check OpenTable.com - they at least had restaurants in Portland that are serving Thanksgiving dinner - I'd guess the same for Seattle!

Elizabeth says:

I grew up in Las Vegas, so it doesn't seem so weird to me to have Thanksgiving there..hah..but if you don't have family and a house with a turkey cooking, it could be quite odd. Hope all goes well and you have to get a cinnebon while you're there, if only for the sheer ridiculousness of it...they are so tasty and horrible for you and weirdly ONLY in airports(at least they are not in las vegas or oregon)

Carmen says:

I doubt you will still be reporting when I fly home to Vegas Tuesday evening, but I hope McCarran Airport treats you well. It has the best people watching of any airport I have ever been to... for obvious reasons.

andrea says:

Hi Holly,

Lifelong Seattleite here and I have to say you've got some fantastic recommendations so far. You and Sean are welcome to crash our Thanksgiving dinner, I just had a baby so my brother-in-law who happens to have attended culinary school will be cooking for us at our house, apparently they've procured a turkey that is actually still alive and running around as we speak, they'll be picking him up this weekend. Feel free to email me for a list of must see's while here, but here are a few favorites.

1. Trophy Cupcakes in Wallingford Center, delicious! They also use Lighthouse Coffee, which is one of my favorite roasters in Seattle.

2. For a great cup of coffee hit Vivace, either on Capital Hill or their newer location in South Lake Union across from REI. The best coffee in Seattle, hands down.

3. The Dish is indeed one of Seattle's best breakfasts. If you are in the mood for pastries head to Besalu in Ballard and then spend some time wandering around the neighborhood.

4. If you like sushi, Chiso in Fremont is great.

5. Head up to Queen Anne and wander around, make sure to stop at Kerry Park for the famous shots of Seattle with Mt. Rainier in the background.

Okay, I'll stop here, but seriously if you want any more suggestions or a tour guide, let me know!

Melanie says:

Oh Seattle, such a fantastic city!
I head down to Seattle every couple of months (from Vancouver) and LOVE the Capitol Hill area. Lots of great little restaurants. If you want to get out of the downtown area, which isn't too happening in terms of cafes, restaurants etc, you really MUST try The Kingfish Cafe for a really really really good dinner. (http://www.thekingfishcafe.com/).
Get there early for dinner, they don't take reservations. If you're craving some food from the South, this is your place!

Oh and I definitely third (or fourth) the Beechers recommendation. Make sure you try a panini or their famous macaroni and cheese.

Alyce says:

Your readers are awesome. These are terrific suggestions. Just another 3rd or 4th for one of the Tom Douglas restaurants. We usually hit Etta's (at the end of Pike Place Market) if Matt's is too busy - it's one of Tom's stable choices and casual enough to not require reservations. Crabcakes are delish.

Bring layers.

Have a great time!

(Hi to Hilary up there who must be a greener - I've always wondered what greeners grow up to be. I'm an Olympia girl from way back, seeing that brought a smile.)

Kristabella says:

I used to having people meet me at the gate at the airport. Down by baggage claim just doesn't have the same effect.

I have been to Seattle a few times and love it! Last time I was there I went to this nice wine bar (shocking, I know) called Purple. It is downtown.

http://www.thepurplecafe.com/locations.html#seattle

Heather says:

I twittered you this but I thought I forgot to tell you.... Fremont was easy to get to on the bus. Just go to the transit website and it'll give you directions.

Again, Theo Chocolate made my trip. Make a reservation for the tour. Plus you can taste all of their fair trade organic chocolate at the store.
http://www.theochocolate.com/

Brouwers is right across the street from Theo. Great selection of Belgian beer.
http://www.brouwerscafe.com/bier.html

Paseo is within walking distance, as is the Fremont Troll and that Lenin Statue.

Sharon says:

Everyone has such fantastic responses. I'm having a hell of a time trying to think of something that hasn't been mentioned yet. I have family in Seattle, and I lived there several years ago. It's a gorgeous city.

If you're into Starbucks, you should go to their head office, which is on Utah St, right near Safeco Field. I'm not sure if they do tours, but it's a gorgeous building. My former roommate works there, so she took me around once, and I was very impressed.

Walking around Green Lake is fabulous. It's usually pretty busy with runners/walkers and so on, but it's a nice walk, especially if it's not raining, and the scenery is beautiful.

Have a wonderful time!

Blythe says:

I'm a Pacific Northwesterner and have spent a fair amount of time in Seattle. The sightseeing recommendations above are great.

I'd recommend making a stop at one of Tom Douglas's restaurants. I'll second the coconut cream pie at the Dahlia Lounge, it is just heavenly. And the rest of the food at those places is fabulous too. I think someone else mentioned Campagne/Cafe Campagne, which is near Pike Place Market and delish as well. There's also an abundance of fantastic Asian food/culture in the Seattle area, so sampling some sushi would be a good idea.

A friend of mine owns City Coffee in the Pioneer Square area. Stop in and order a latte if you get the chance!

Also, as touristy as the Pike Place Market sounds, it is totally worth your time to visit. The fish-throwing place aside, it's full of local vendors and amazing food/crafts. And it's in a fun part of the city, near the original Starbucks store.

Hilary says:

Oh, Seattle! I went to college in Olympia and the Pacific NW is an absolute treasure. I would say the above recommendations are great and would add these favorites:
1. Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island and go to the Blackbird Bakery. Order a latte and toast- this will be the loveliest toast you have ever had.
2. Go to GasWorks park in Seattle for awesome views.
3. Have a drink here: http://www.mcmenamins.com/index.php?loc=50
4. Skip the Starbucks (and really, dont spend a ton of time at Pike Place, it's not that awesome in my opinion!) but DO head to Caffe Vita for a really yummy coffee/latte.

I could really go on and on here but those things are really worth doing. Enjoy- can't wait to hear all about it!

Emily says:

I was just in Seattle in October and I loved it. (But don't forget your coat...the winds are killer!) I second the earlier recommendation for the mini-cinnamon-sugar donuts at the Pike Place stand...they are flippin' fantabulous! I also had dinner one night at Tulio (in the Hotel Vintage Park) and it was delicious. If you like coffee, I was a big fan of Seattle Coffee Works (111 Pike Street)...the coffee was fantastic and the baristas (are they baristas if they don't work at Starbucks?) were wicked nice! Have fun! And good luck in Vegas!

Amy says:

Another Seattlite! I think everyone has covered most of my favorites, but I must put another vote in for Elliott Bay Book Company. Make sure to read a few of the book reviews tacked to the shelves, and the travel loft is my favorite nook in the store.

And another vote for Archie McPhee. The Smithsonian has copies of their catalogs in their collection. No joke (knee slap).

When (not if) you go to Pike Place Market, the mini doughnuts are amazing, and served with pizzaz.

Favorite restaurants:
Quinn's
Six Arms Brewery
Volunteer Park Cafe
Coastal Kitchen

Linda's (for beer and bar food, it's a rumor that Cobain had his last beer there, but who knows).

Huh, I need to get out of Capitol Hill once in a while...

How to remember the downtown streets: John Coltrane Made Sax Universally Prominent or Jesus Christ Made Seattle Uber Pretty (Under Pressure): stands for
Jefferson, James, Cherry, Columbia, Marion, Madison, Spring, Seneca, University, Union, Pike, Pine.

If you don't already know about the busses, for some of them you pay when you get on, some you pay when you get off (this has to do with the downtown shopping district). Just look for the sign on the cash box when you get on, it will tell you when you pay.

Kelley says:

I really miss at-the-gate reunions. My last one was the summer of 2000 and I'll never forget it. In Seattle I had the best grilled cheese sandwich of my entire life here: Beecher's Handmade Cheese: 1600 Pike Place, Seattle (206) 956-1964 http://www.beechershandmadecheese.com

Chelsea says:

I've actually never been to Seattle, but a friend of mine just went for business and did not stop raving about a restaurant called The Pink Door. They're online here:
http://www.thepinkdoor.net/

It's supposed to be incredible food, an adorable place, and they always? often? have live music.

And I commend you for the airport work. This is my first Thanksgiving in YEARS where I'm not flying, and that's enough for me to be thankful for, to be honest.

Mandy says:

My husband and I honeymooned in Seattle in March and had a great time. You must go to the Local Vine, www.thelocalvine.com, in Belltown. They have an amazing selection of wine, obviously, and the food is really delicious. There's a Thai restaurant, Golden Singha, near the Space Needle that was very tasty.

The Olympic Sculpture park is cool and (bonus!) it's right across the street from Pier 70, where they filmed the Real World Seattle. My husband was not interested in that fact but I could NOT STOP taking pictures.

Emily says:

I definitely second the recommendation for Mcmenamins! I haven't been to any in Seattle, but I have visited several of their establishments in Portland and loved them all. They take old buildings and restore them for new uses...which is awesome. Plus, the brews are tasty!

Jenn says:

Hey Holly,
We vacationed in Seattle last year and loved it so much that we are seriously considering a move from NYC. Here were some of my favorite things (that I did not see mentioned):
*The Underground Tour: Awesome. Basically, the present day Seattle is the second version of the city, built after a big fire way back when. The tuor takes you through the first city. Not just for history nerds, though enjoying history helps.
http://www.undergroundtour.com/
*Blue C sushi in Fremont, which has a conveyor belt of sushi and even thought that sounds a little gross, it's actually pretty great sushi.
http://www.bluecsushi.com/
*I second Top Pot and Pike Place Market. Well, the actual market is no bog deal, but there's some cute restaurants tucked up in the second floor on some of those buildings where the market is.
*We were there for six days and ended up seeing Peter, Bjorn and John at the Showbox--always fun to see venues at other cities, so you may want to check the schedule.
http://www.showboxonline.com/
*For shopping: Fancy/ Schmancy/ Pants a trio of cool stores that sell jewelry, stuff and underwear (in that order). Also, Elliot Bay Book Co. is a lovely, comforting bookstore downtown in Pioneer square, where there are a lot of cool little stores.
*Amazing ice cream at Mora on Bainbridge Island--lovely ferry ride too. Also cute stores tucked away on the island
As you can tell by my effusive commenting, I loved the place and hope you do too. BF and I found it very romantic and charming. Have a great time! (And good luck in Vegas!)

Stacy says:

You picked a great weekend to come to Seattle. I think it is supposed to be sunny most of the weekend, although that means it will be pretty chilly. You've had a lot of fantastic suggestions so far, the only thing I have to add is that I think there are still tickets available for Brandi Carlile's Seattle Symphony show Saturday night:

http://www.seattlesymphony.org/symphony/buy/single/production.aspx?id=71...