As hockey fans rejoice at the news of Seattle joining the NHL in 2021, those in the know are circumstances beyond cool that have been brewing in this Pacific Northwest metropolis for some time now. In January 2020, TopGolf introduced the world’s first Lounge by TopGolf indoor virtual gaming complex to great fanfare; and just recently, Atari announced plans to build a video-game-themed hotel here. It’s obvious that sports franchises are far from the only ones eager to get connected with all that Seattle has to offer these days!
If you want to feel like a local the next time you visit Seattle, look no further than this 48-hour itinerary from Forbes Travel Guide. We’ve taken care of everything from what sights to see to where to eat so that you can just relax and enjoy your trip.
Thompson Seattle will be your home for the next few days Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel’s prominent positioning — the 150-room downtown property sits just minutes from Pike Place Market and Puget Sound.The modern midcentury vibe of nautical navy hues, warm hardwoods and Audrey Hepburn silhouettes is irresistible. The first-level restaurant, Conversation, with its seasonally driven dishes and spectacular drink menu is already the talk of the town. Thanks to all this, locals flock to The Nest – the rooftop lounge
After you check into your hotel room and unpack, explore the area around your hotel. Walk to Seattle Center Monorail– it’s a short walk from most hotels in downtown Seattle. The monorail will take you straight to Seattle Center, where the Space Needle is located. If you have time before your tour of the Space Needle (which you should pre-purchase online), explore the grounds. You’ll see stunning sights such as Museum of Pop Culture and International Fountain.
The Space Needle, one of the most globally recognizable structures, had a $100 million makeover in 2017-18 that brought new life to the landmark. You can now touch interactive screens and take digital photos while walking across the first revolving glass floor of its kind when you visit. But even with all these added gadgets, visitors can still enjoy classic views of Puget Sound, Seattle and stunning Mount Rainier. Plus, there’s a great angle of the under construction New Arena at Seattle Center–the future home of an NHL team (whose name has yet to be released).
When you’re back on the ground, you have two options: marvel at legendary glass sculptor Dale Chihuly’s jaw-dropping works at Chihuly Garden and Glass or indulge in delectable turkey panini and clam chowder from the Collections Café. The former is a treasure trove of colorful interior exhibits as well as spectacular outdoor gardens that amaze the mind every time. During your meal, Chihuly’s accordions, dolls, and other collectibles fill the area, but you’ll be so absorbed in your crab and bay shrimp wrap that you won’t notice.
Make the 10-minute drive to Elliott Bay Book Company, a long-standing local institution since 1973 (though it’s only been at its current location since 2010). You’ll discover everything from the most recent work by Seattle native Lindy West, The Witches Are Coming, to a fantastic selection of Moleskine notebooks. Get a latte at Oddfellows and go nuts.
If you’re ever in Seattle, go watch the Mariners play at T-Mobile Park. The ballpark is great and the atmosphere is usually enjoyable, even though the team itself isn’t doing too well these days.
If you’re in town when the team is away, you’ll go back to your hotel room for some rest. Before your 7 p.m. dinner reservation at Conversation, though, pick up a glass of wine (we recommend Columbia Valley’s Wiseguy Sauvignon Blanc) at the bar or move over to one of the leather chairs in the cozy alcove. The rooms are elegant without being overly starch-collared.
At mealtime, you can expect an experience unique from the average restaurant. You’ll find cards with questions like “What is something popular now but in five years will people be embarrassed of?” Instead of depending on social media, ask your guests to participate in the discussion at table instead.
The cuisine in this region is as vibrant and diverse as its population and natural surroundings. The kitchen at Conversation strives to tell this story through its food, which is colorful, inventive, and delicious. When the dishes start coming out of the kitchen, you’ll want your phones handy to take pictures–the food is that beautiful. A local green salad sprinkled with yellow flowers and purple beet dust looks like an artist’s canvas covered in bright acrylic paint. But if the pan-seared trout topped with caramelized onions is worthy of being framed, then the head-turning crispy split pig head belongs in the Seattle Art Museum!
You’re in Seattle, so why not grab a cup of Starbucks? Not this time. You’ll go past the old standby and head straight to Pike Place Market (but take a photo of the chain’s first location, the Pike Place Starbucks). There, you’ll discover a smorgasbord of bakeries and cafés prepared to satisfy any caffeine cravings.
Furthermore, in the morning, you’ll want to be inside the market, especially between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., when vendors set up for the day’s trade. Don’t worry if Ryan’s Seafood moved locations; he and Sam have been throwing halibut from that location for years.
Although the market is amazing, it is also underappreciated (and, likely, undervalued). There are over 500 distinct businesses onsite, ranging from florists to honey producers to baseball card sellers and artisans such as Sabando Design where you may buy beautiful handcrafted jewelry presents..
Our advice is to lose yourself among the stalls for a while. We guarantee you’ll find something ancient (the notorious gum wall at the Market Theater), current (Marketfront, which opened in 2017) and strange (Pike Place Market has a senior center, preschool, and full-time housing).
Depending on the ever-changing Seattle weather, you have a couple of options after walks around. If it’s a nice day out, take the short walk to Colman Dock and get some clam chowder from Ivar’s Fish Bar along the way. Then, hop on the 35-minute ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. Once you’re there, charming parks and quaint shops await you, as well as some much needed peace and quiet.
Eight Row is the perfect place to go on a rainy weekend. The bright, plant-filled eatery in Green Lake Led by brothers David and Ian Nichols reminds you of Washington orchard country. A midday meal at the farmhouse promises freshness in every dish, from house-cured bacon and fried oyster hash to sourdough waffles with whipped bee pollen butter.You’ll learn that there’s nothing quite like good ol’ bee pollen butter to cure a soaking Saturday .
If the weather outside is discouraging, there are plenty of museums in Seattle to explore. The Pinball Museum, Frye Art Museum, Wing Luke Museum, and The Museum of Pop Culture are all great options that will cater to your specific interests.
Whatever your afternoon activity, retire to your room for a bit of rest and relaxation. It’ll be time for one last meal when you’re calm and refreshed. We don’t know if there’s a better place in town to think about your brief stay than the Sawyer (a James Beard finalist for 2019 New Restaurant of the Year). With its décor (exposed rafters and herringbone-patterned walls in a former sawmill) and cuisine (rotisserie duck, potato gnocchi), the location lives up to the hype (one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants).
For dessert, try a Dilly Bar, a sprinkle-covered chocolate treat sandwiched between two scoops of cookie dough. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful conclusion after galivanting around Seattle for a few days.