Seattle Summer Travel Guide Pt. 1

Staying In Seattle

There are so many options for accommodations in Seattle. For my trip to Seattle, I was thankfully able to stay with family and didn’t have to worry about paying for a space to sleep. They lived in Greenwood, which is a small town feeling neighborhood on the North side of Lake Union, and I would definitely recommend checking it out. Airbnb has excellent options for Seattle with the more adventurous options being tiny houses, houseboats on Lake Union (a la Sleepless in Seattle), and micro apartments.

With excellent options at a variety of price points even during summer, Seattle can be surprisingly affordable despite the city’s reputation for the cost of living. Additionally, it’s important to know that composting and recycling is required in Seattle, so be prepared to pay attention when throwing things away. Many coffee places have compostable cups and straws, which is cool and you don’t have to think about it as much once you’re used to it.

Getting Around

There are plenty of options for getting around Seattle and surrounding areas. The traditional rideshares like Uber and Lyft are an option. However, in my opinion, there are better ways to get around the city. There are conventional car rentals, but for much of the city, you have to pay for parking, which can be really expensive. An alternative to car rental is a car share service like Car2Go or Reach Now. These services require submitting driver’s license information, and approval can take a couple of days, so doing your application for the services before your trip is essential. Think of these like a scooter or bike rental, using an app to locate, unlock, and start the car and not worrying about where you park. This is an excellent option in conjunction with an Orca card, giving you flexibility with luggage or grocery shopping depending on how long you’ll be in the city. Speaking of, an Orca card is absolutely essential for Seattle. If you aren’t accustomed to public transportation, know that the King County Metro system will spoil you. As one of the top 10 transit systems in the country, you have access to buses, light rail, streetcars, water taxis, and the ferries all on a single card. You can order it online before your trip, or buy it upon arrival at the airport light rail station. It’s $5 for the card, and then you add a balance to your digital purse for fares. The bus is $2.75, which lasts for 2 hours and transfers during that time. The light rail charges by distance, meaning you have to tap your card when entering and leaving the station. But if you’ve already paid for bus fare, it only charges the difference. The water taxi is $5 from Downtown to West Seattle, and the same transfer and difference charging applies. I would definitely recommend getting an Orca card even if you intend to use other types of transportation because getting around downtown is much more convenient on public transport than in a car.

Pike Place Market

Obviously, a significant draw for downtown Seattle is Pike Place Market. It was the one crowded adventure I went on my entire trip, and it wasn’t as bad as I expected since I started early in the morning. I began my day with BiscuitBitch at the top of the hill, ordering a Hot Mess Bitch. It was the best thing I ate all day, and I wish I could have it every day for breakfast.

For this day, I planned on a Pike Place Picnic on the grassy shore of West Seattle, so I brought with me a lunch box to put food in as I walked around the market.

Next, I went to Le Panier for a pain au chocolat and macarons. Pike Place Chowder, has award-winning chowder so good, that after winning three years in a row in the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, Rhode Island as the only restaurant from outside of New England, they were inducted into the hall of fame and couldn’t compete at the competition with that recipe anymore. It was THAT good. Their seafood bisque is also award-winning, so naturally, I had to make the trek down the crowded alley and wait in the longest line of my day, but it was worth it. Beecher’s handmade cheese was my next stop for fresh squeaky cheese curds. You can watch from the window, or while in line, as they make fresh cheese in huge vats. The last food place I stopped at was Piroshky Piroshky for a sweet and savory. I had visited Russia as a child, and it threw me back to the delicious warming food. Before leaving, I stopped at the gum wall, which took some time to find but was worth it if you aren’t squeamish or a germaphobe.

The market is right on the water so you can eat looking out at the sound and West Seattle, watching the ferries go by, or you can take a water taxi to West Seattle to have a stunning iconic view of downtown Seattle.

On my trip back from my picnic, I got to see the Blue Angels practicing formations over the city for an event that week, a research vessel from Scripps Research Institute, and a TON of jellyfish. You never know what you’ll see in the busy city. Once docked, the Seattle Aquarium is right off of the ferry port and included if you get the City Pass, but I chose not to because there were so many tourists.