Recently I’ve had lots of out of town visitors to Seattle which inspired me to write about the places I recommend when people visit. Rather than suggesting the typically touristy spots (which can be fun too!), I like to endorse the lesser-known-but-still-totally-awesome-spaces in Seattle. These are my absolute favorites:
Ok. Ok. So, Pike Place isn’t exactly a “hidden” gem, but it made the list because avoiding the more popular spots (the gum wall, the flying fish) can make the trip much different. When here, check out:
- Rachel’s Ginger Beer – My favorite alternative to the “first” Starbucks. RGB is like no ginger beer you’ve experienced before. Trust me, you’ll love it. In fact, go ahead and bring a growler. You can skip the ‘Bux.
- The Pink Door – On the weekends call ahead and make a reservation for this beautiful Italian-American spot tucked away in Post Alley. In the summer months you can’t beat the views of the sound from their outdoor deck.
- My husband and I also love venturing down the stairs inside the market to our favorite compulsive shopping spots: Golden Age Collectables and Polish Pottery Place.
If you’re not into visiting Pike Place Market, a great alternative is the Ballard Farmer’s Market. It’s open year round on Sundays and the experience rivals (and maybe even surpasses a good day at Pike Place Market).
You can grab some nosh from one of the many food vendors, wander through the market and peruse the stalls full of locally made jewelry, fresh cheeses, baked goods, pasta, honey, and more.
I walk my dog here nearly every afternoon. We park in the lot off of W. Emerson and wander into the old military barracks. Sometimes we follow the Loop Trail to Magnolia Bluff where there are absolutely stunning views of the Puget Sound. Either route you travel, you’ll never believe you’re just a 15 minute drive from the Space Needle. Discovery Park feels like another world.
Admission to Ballard Locks is totally free and it’s a great place to spend a sunny day with a picnic basket. You can lounge on the grass and watch the boats go by, walk through the garden, and/or visit the fish ladder to see if you can spot some salmon.
Once upon a time there was a little old lady who refused to sell her home to the rich developers. Reminiscent of something part Joni Mitchell melody, part Disney classic, I love sending people to Edith’s house because I think the story of this little old standout is the perfect representation of local Seattle pride and spirit.
In the mid 1880’s there was a large wave of Japanese immigrants who settled in Seattle.
The Japanese have strong cultural roots in Seattle, and despite our rocky history, Seattle has greatly benefited from the priceless art, architecture, gardens and family values these citizens brought to our beautiful city. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Uwajimaya an amazing Asian Market where you could easily get lost for half a day in the bookstore or amid pottery and other Asian goods.
Also, while you’re in South Seattle check out Kubota Garden. As the website says, “Hidden in South Seattle, Kubota Garden is a stunning 20 acre landscape that blends Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest plants. The city acquired the property, which is an historic landmark, in 1987 from the estate of master landscaper Fujitaro Kubota.”