Hello and welcome to my Seattle City Guide!
September really has been the month of travel content here on Fashion Et Moi and I’m certainly not complaining! Last week I shared My Montreal Travel Guide and the places I frequented the most whilst living for a year in that incredible city. Today, it’s Seattle’s turn, another amazing city that Lewis and I were lucky enough to visit for four days back at the end of August. As you can see for the above photo - which was taken at Kerry Park - Seattle is an absolutely stunning city, set on six main hills with views of snow topped mountains to both the East and West and surrounded by lakes. Get ready for some serious food porn, tips on where to vintage shop and things to do with my Seattle City Guide.
WHERE TO EAT
BEECHER'S HANDMADE CHEESE & PIKE PLACE MARKET
The first stop on our (rather accidental) culinary tour of Seattle was Beecher’s Homemade Cheese. Located at the famous Pike Place Market, we explored to see what some of the other hundreds of stalls and cafes had to offer before finally deciding on cheese, naturally. We shared a portion of mac ‘n’ cheese and a grilled cheese, which came to around $14. Rather expensive for lunch but it was so worth it – the mac ‘n’ cheese had a lovely smoky flavour thanks to added spices and the grilled cheese was no frills, just cheese and toast, just as we like it. As we ate, we watched the cheese being churned, separated and packaged in the glass walled room next door. For dessert, we shared a delicious cardamom and cinnamon bun from Pirousky Pirousky, a Russian bakery just a few shops down, which always has a queue. I came to realise afterwards that Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is rather famous in Seattle, with their flagship cheddar featuring on many menus we look at throughout our trip. If you’re a cheese lover - and more specifically a cheddar fan - I would definitely recommend that you try out Beecher’s Handmade Cheese on your visit to Seattle.
FIND IT: 1600 Pike Place, Seattle
Our trip to Seattle will always be remembered as the time we discovered "biscuits". I'm not talking about those round, flat and hard things us British know of as biscuits but rather Southern American "biscuits", which are like English scones…but better. Morsel is a no frills and understated cafe specialising in these biscuits and just serving around 5 different meal options. I went for roasted garlic butter and melted Beecher's cheese accompanied by roasted tomato jam, so called the "Cheesy Biscuit". It was absolutely delicious and the perfect quick comfort food that was needed after a rainy Thursday morning. Later on during our stay, we went to Morsel’s sister café in Ballard called Biscuits and Bean. There was already a queue coming out of the door at 9am on Saturday morning but it was well worth the wait. We both went for a buttermilk biscuit dosed in leek and mushroom sauce and I added a fried egg on top. It was such a great alternative breakfast to the usual smashed avocado and poached eggs that we enjoy oh so much here in the UK. We finished things off with another buttermilk biscuit topped simply with some honey butter, which was just divine.
FIND IT: 4754 University Way NE, Seattle
MOLLY MOON'S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM
Oh how I miss Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream already! During our four-day trip to Seattle we visited this amazing ice creamery three times! Thanks to being to try as many flavours as you like before ordering, I soon knew that salted caramel and melted chocolate was the perfect combination. The salted caramel ice cream is without doubt the best I have ever had - Molly doesn't hold back on the salt and I applaud her! It might not be to everyone's taste as there are even small salt crystals in the ice cream but I absolutely loved it! Melted chocolate is a great contrast; being milder and creamier it goes perfectly with salted caramel all squeezed into a handmade waffle cone. Tip - just order a "single scoop" for $5, choose two flavours and you'll have plenty of ice cream, trust me!
FIND IT: 917 E Pine Street
Find other Molly Moon locations.
ADA'S TECHNICAL BOOKS & CAFE
I am a big fan of concept stores. One of my favourite places to eat brunch in Boston is in a bookshop so when I read about Ada’s Technical Books & Café, I just had to check it out. It was the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat after having explored the shops of Capitol Hill. It felt so calming to be surrounded by books, people studying and others having a quiet chat over coffee. Ada’s Café offers an extensive menu of vegetarian food, which was another thing that drew me in. The biscuit obsession continued as we ordered one buttermilk biscuit smothered in mushroom gravy to share as well as a roasted vegetable hash, both topped with a fried egg. It was a delicious lunch, well priced and just the right amount of food to precede a trip to Molly Moon’s…told you I was obsessed.
FIND IT: 425 15th Ave E, Seattle
WHERE TO SHOP
RED LIGHT VINTAGE
As soon as I walked into Red Light, I knew it was my kind of place. I loved the dark red walls and long rows of clothes, all organised by colour, of course. As I delved a little deeper, I noticed that the rails were arranged not only by colour but also by size and sometimes by era too! As a girl who has spent three of the past four years working in vintage shops, I know how much effort this type of organisation takes and it just shows how much Red Light has the customer's ease of shopping in mind. What is also fantastic is the little description written on each individual clothing tag, stating the decade and style of the piece, which is so useful if you are a vintage shopping novice. Details like this aside, Red Light is a really excellent vintage shop - the choice of both men's and women's clothing is great and the prices are reasonable too. Pick up a cute sixties dress for $20-30; find that must-have pair of denim shorts for $15-20 or dig around in the $1 t-shirt bin if you're really looking for a bargain. Red Light also buys your clothes too!
FIND IT: 4560 University Way NE, Seattle
Just a couple of blocks up University Way is Lucky Vintage, a smaller but equally excellent vintage clothes shop. Here, the decade is also written on the labels and each category of clothing is organised by size and then colour - what joy! This really makes vintage shopping a lot more accessible for all and it is super useful if you are looking for something in particular. The prices are more mid-range. For example, dresses go for $25-40 and top for $15-25 but I always say that it is so worth it if you find yourself the perfect piece. Alternatively, they do have a 10$ bargain rail if you're not bothered by the odd stain or are up for repairing an old item. A definite must visit!
FIND IT: 4742 University Way NE, Seattle
VALLEY OF ROSES
The final vintage shop I visited on University Way was Valley Of Roses, which has that great “organised mess” vibe I love so much. With shoes piled on more shoes and every rack jam packed with vintage goodies, it certainly is a fun place for a rummage. From dresses priced at $30+ and our favourite high-waisted jeans at $18-30 to cowboy boots and first nations accessories, this place really does have something for everyone.
FIND IT: 4748 University Way NE, Seattle
Located on the bustling Broadway East in Capitol Hill, Revival is a beautiful boutique boasting both vintage and second hand contemporary clothing. Items are arranged by item and then by colour, as is common practice in many second hand stores. A brief description is written on each label, which is a great if you need help identifying if something is vintage or not (as both the vintage and second hand pieces sit side by side on the rails). As to be expected from a smaller boutique vintage shop, prices are higher to those on University Way. Find a perfect seventies dress for $25-50; a patterned sixties jacket for $35+ or a cute blouse for $15-30. Revival also offers new jewellery, sunglasses and these adorable cushions made by the owner’s mum! How cute!
FIND IT: 233 Broadway E, Seattle
WHAT TO DO
SEATTLE GUM WALL
You can’t go to Seattle without visiting the famous Gum Wall. Yep, a wall covered in gum is one of Seattle's biggest tourist attractions and it is exactly how it sounds. An alleyway just down the side of Pike Place Market is simply covered in red, pink, blue, green and white bubblegum and it really is quite something. Many probably think it’s totally disgusting but I saw some beauty in the colourful gum stuck to the brick walls, windows and hanging off pipes like stalactites. Of course, it is a great place to people watch, as tourists have their loved ones patiently take photos of them blowing a bubble in front of the Gum Wall or see others’ exclamations at this rather bizarre attraction.
FIND IT: 1428 Post Alley, Seattle
We were lucky enough to stay with my uncle, who has lived in Seattle for over ten years, near a rather cool area called Ballard. In fact, I would go as far to say that Ballard was my favourite area of Seattle due to its diversity, architecture and cool vibe. My uncle recommended that we visited Ballard Locks, which constantly have boat traffic coming in and out as well as millions of salmon passing through their fish ladder during the summer months. It sounds pretty geeky but it was really fascinating. Plus, the setting is just beautiful, with the rich neighbourhood of Magnolia to the south and views out to the Puget Sound beyond an industrial railway bridge. Afterwards, take to a stroll down the nearby Ballard Ave, where you will find lots of cool shops, restaurants and cafes that will definitely entice you back for an evening explore.
FIND IT: 3015 NW 54th St, Seattle
Known for its amazing views of the nearby Olympic Mountains and its stunning sunsets, we headed to Golden Gardens on our last night in Seattle to watch the sun set. The Golden Gardens are actually a beach, not a park, which was an amazing surprise. On this Saturday night, there were people out in their droves - playing beach volleyball or having picnics, enjoying the last of the long summer evenings. We walked along the beach to a quieter spot and watched as the sun gradually disappeared behind the Olympic Mountains. As you can see from the photos, it was just such a magical moment. It was at Golden Gardens when I realised just how lucky Seattle residents are - to live in such a vibrant, cool city but also to have the nature right on their doorstep. I would totally live there!
With panoramic views across Lake Union to downtown Seattle and the Space Needle as well as stunning neighbourhood hills, Gasworks Park is a must visit. Sit on the shore and watch boats go by and sea panes take off and land from the docks by downtown. If, like us, you watched some Seattle located films before your trip, you will definitely recognise the Gasworks Park as the setting for Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger paint balling scene in 10 Things I Hate About You and the view across Lake Union to the house boats in Sleepless In Seattle. However, if you haven't swotted up on Seattle films, don't worry - you will still enjoy Gasworks Park as much as the next person.
Seattle is situated on various lakes and the beautiful Puget Sound to the north so I highly recommend getting out onto the water, one way or another. We were lucky enough to be staying with my uncle who owns this utterly charming old motorboat, on which we took a couple of early morning trips. There is simply nothing like seeing the sun rise and having fresh air running through your hair to wake you up properly and reassure you that that 6am start was totally worth it. We got to see a sea lion flopped on a buoy; a cute seal's head popped up over the gentle waves and a few herons nestled in the trees. Wow, I love nature. If you don't know anyone with a boat in the city, take the ferry over to Bainbridge Island where you might see some sea creatures if you’re lucky!
Phew you made it to the end of the post! Apologies that this Seattle city guide was such a long post but as you can see, there is a lot to do in this amazing city! Whether you like to eat, shop or get back to nature, there is something for everyone and I am already thinking of ways I can get back there next summer! So watch this space, there may be part two of this Seattle city guide coming to Fashion Et Moi at some point! Next up is my guide to Vancouver, coming up next week! X