This summer, I channeled my inner globetrotter gal. With a few short days in a few awesome cities [Seattle, SF, NYC, and a course, Boston & London], I faced the task of Making The Most Of My Time. Here’s my advice, and as a bonus, my Seattle itinerary!
Part 1: Gather your Sources.
Ask friends. If you know friends who know the area, shoot them emails.
Ask Facebook. I posted “Wanted: recommendations for totally awesome daytime activities and destinations in NYC. Go!” and received about 20 comments in a couple hours.
Search your favourite blogs. Even if they’re not travel blogs! I search The Cherry Blossom Girl to find things to do in Paris and Gala Darling for NYC. Chances are you read blogs by people who are similar to you or interested in the same kinda urban adventures. Xandra from Fashionably Light writes about Oxford and London as well as Seattle [hi].
Get the local Wallpaper guide. Ever seen those cute little city guides? [yes. My Seattle one is pictured above; you just scrolled past it]. They are the perfect intro to any major city – each book gives an overview of the city and its neighbourhoods’ personalities, and offers some chic things to do, organised in tabs. Wallpaper is a design magazine so selections are iconic but also have amazing aesthetic.
Use Happy Cow. I love to travel by food. If you’re a herbivore like me, search Happy Cow before you go to find some inspiringly healthy places.
Part 3: Write a List.
See my notebook papers above? [I wrote “NEW YORK” in old nail polish btw; that was fun]. I wrote a list of everything I came across that looked interesting, using this format:
Name / short description [to remember what this place is anyway] / location or address
I starred my favourites, then brought up Google Maps to plan days by area. For Seattle I printed out these neighbourhood-based maps, but when I can I buy the local Moleskine city notebook. They provide maps and a notebook of blank pages so you can fill in your favourite places.
Epilogue: What I Did in Seattle, As Told By Food
LUNCH: The perfect post-airplane meal – brunch at Portage Bay Café. Tofu and seasonal veggies that are making me hungry just looking at this.
Mama and I then headed to the Experience Music Project, which I already wrote about here.
DINNER: French/Korean cuisine at Revel in Fremont. [recommended by Wallpaper]
Here I sampled The Best Dessert Ever: Miso Devil’s Food Cake with Caramel Mascarpone Cheese, 5-Spice. Revel is rustic chic, cosy and classy, and Mama and I sat at the bar to watch the food prep [which, as you know, is a favourite foodie activity of mine].
We wandered Fremont, then caught a bus back to the Marriott. I verified my future Seattle plans with random locals: a guy carrying a longboard on the bus as well as the hotel concierge. Both recommended Oddfellows, so boom – lunch sorted for Day 2.
We had breakfast at the hotel, then browsed Pike Place Market, where the fish vendors put on a show and flowers are $5 to a beautiful bouquet. As Instagrammed, I picked up some face products at Moon Valley Organics’ little booth. We stopped at Cupcake Royale on the way to Capitol Hill, and I awarded them a place on my list of Best Cupcakes Ever.
Breakfast at the hotel followed by a colourful trip to SAM [see here!] and a bus ride up to Red Mill Burgers, as my Seattleite friend Sara demanded I do. It’s like a West Coast indie Five Guys. Yum. [Oh and there were lots of Starbuckses. Surprised?].
We wandered down to Ballard, which became my favourite neighbourhood. It’s filled with indie and vintage shops and cool coffeehouses. I fell in love with Trove and its Anthro-esque interiors [read here!].
Our final Seattle meal was at Tilth, a Happy Cow-approved omnivorous ultra-yummy and beauuutifully simple restaurant in Wallingford.
And the restaurant is in this little house. How cute!
Before leaving Wallingford I insisted we stop at a little bookshop [book house more like] I spotted on the way over: Alphabet Soup Books. Fairy lights, tiny chairs, labelled series. J’adore.
And so, my Seattle adventure ended with a bedtime story. Goodnight!