If you ask the right person, any day in Seattle is a great day. They of course may add, “that is, if it’s not raining.” No matter how you get there, whether bus, car, ferry, or foot – downtown Seattle has everything you need for a grand day out in the Northwest – rain or shine.
Start your morning at Café Minnie’s on Denny Way. Minnie’s is arguably one of the best diners in Seattle. They’re known for some of the best breakfasts around including the “don’t miss” cheese blintzes. You may have to wait a few minutes for a table, but its well worth it. If you’re a vegetarian, Minnie’s can fill your appetite, too. While they have great coffee, save yourself for a real treat at one of our next stops.
Head towards the water, and park yourself at the Pike Place Market. This public market has dazzled crowds for over a hundred years. While the market is vast; including three floors of artisans, fishmongers, and buskers, there are must see vendors that shouldn’t be missed.
The Pike Place Fish Market is the epitome of fun at work – and you can’t help but catch the enthusiasm as you watch the fish fly and hear the mongers shouting. This company boasts a work philosophy that can inspire even the most pig-headed CEO. If you’d like to enjoy your job like those fish-flinging fellas, check out the FISH! book written about these mongers and their inspirational work ethic. Before moving on, order some fresh fish to be shipped home or just stop to take a picture and swim in the atmosphere.
Just around the corner is Market Spice, home to some of the best and most sought after teas and spices in the Northwest. They also sell all kinds of teapots and teacups. The aroma alone is reason enough to wander in. Grab something fantastically unique to pack in your suitcase for the trip home.
Throughout the market you can pick up interesting and unique treats. From dried fruit, nuts, fresh produce, or sweet bread, you can delight any craving as you make your way through the crowds. You’ll walk by jewelry, clothing, blankets, art, and much, much more.
To enjoy a bit of modern American history, head across the street from the market to the birthplace of the coffee craze and the World’s first Starbucks coffee location. The baristas still pull shots- there are no push buttons monkeys at this store. You may find some items necessary to take home – a Pike Place mug or a pound of Pike Place blend coffee – available only at this location. If the lines are a bit long, just enjoy the sweet melodies coming from the buskers just outside the front door. (And you if happen to arrive when the gospel quartet are entertaining, it is your lucky day and don’t forget to pick up a CD!)
For a light lunch, stop at Le Panier, just down the street. This french café has fantastic croissants and baguette sandwiches. If french isn’t what you’re craving, your options are endless. Try Turkish, Greek, Russian, or classic American – all available as you make your way down the street. You could head up Post Alley, just off of Pike Place and take a left for a Seattle favorite, Kell’s Irish Pub. This is a perfect stop for a pint, or a classic Irish feast. Don’t pass up the chicken pasty with tarragon sauce, or the Potato Farl Wrap. There’s a good bit of craic – or ‘fun times’ to those of us not fluent in Irish lingo – to be had at Kell’s, so drink up and enjoy the surroundings.
If you’re dying for a laugh, wind your way back down the market alleys to Unexpected Productions, Theatre Sports. These improvisers take your suggestions and turn them into hilarity at this local night spot. Feel free to shout at the jokesters and blend right in.
No matter what you do in Seattle, you can’t help but love the ease of lifestyle and culture of the Pacific Northwest. If it rains, you can always pick up the greatest Seattle souvenir – an umbrella. This of course means, you’re always ready to come back.
What & Where:
Café Minnie’s (101 Denny Wy; 206-448-6263)
Pike Place Market (1531 Western Ave; 206-682-7453)
Pike Place Fish Market (86 Pike St; 206-682-7181; pikeplacemarket.org)
Market Spice (85a Pike St; 206-622-6340)
World’s first Starbucks (1912 Pike Place; 206-448-8762; starbucks.com)
Le Panier (1902 Pike Pl; 206-441-3669)
Kell’s Irish Restaurant & Pub (1916 Post Alley; 206 728-1916; kellsirish.com)
Unexpected Productions, Theatre Sports (1428 Post Alley; 206-325-6500)
Mary Stover is a freelance travel writer focusing on the world’s best coffeehouses, traveling on a budget, and more. She is a frequent contributor in Spokane’s alternative newsweekly, The Pacific Northwest Inlander. The Washington native has lived, traveled, and studied abroad; including multiple journeys around England and Ireland. She recently moved to the heart of Washington’s Wine Country; in Richland, WA with her dog, Crabapple and a sizeable bronze statue of Shakespeare. She can be reached at www.myspace.com/marystover.