It’s been almost a year since I left New York, and after spending a lot of time playing tourist in my old stomping grounds, I’ve realized all the Seattle area offers. We have a distinct culture; Mother Nature’s beauty is everywhere; there are pockets of luxury shopping for discerning fashionistas; and the food is incredible. Of course, if I could wave a magic wand and be back on the Upper East Side with an affordable apartment, I would. But the Pacific Northwest is a wonderful place to visit, and it was easy to come up with a list of top Seattle experiences for New Yorkers.
Walking around Pike Place Market.
When I was little and living in Hawaii, my parents and I would always stop by Pike Place Market when visiting Seattle to watch my brother play football for the Washington Huskies. To this day, I still love my annual trips to this open marketplace, checking out stalls from local vendors, and taking in the crowds. New Yorkers can definitely appreciate the Washington-made products here, from handmade Native American jewelry to apple butter. And if you’re looking for a lunch spot, stop in to the Athenian for some fish and chips – the site of one of Tom Hanks’ scenes in Sleepless in Seattle.
Visiting the original Starbucks.
While you’re at Pike Place, you might as well visit the original Starbucks. Established in 1971, it’s where the worldwide coffee empire began.
Eating West Coast sushi.
I love those sushi lunch specials in NYC, but sushi on the West Coast reigns supreme in my book (except for sushi in Hawaii, of course). New York foodies will love the bevy of posh sushi spots in Seattle, such as Wasabi Bistro & Izakaya. The ultimate dinner for two at Wasabi: fried calamari, the “Avocado Kamikaze” (a tempura avocado stuffed with spicy tuna and crab), some salmon sashimi, the Rock Star roll, and a couple “Hello Kitty” cocktails.
Wine tasting – obviously.
Seattle is cool, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t take your Washington vacay on the road to sample wines from the Evergreen State’s fabulous wineries. Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Columbia Winery are two local favorites near Seattle, and I’ve even spotted their bottles on the shelves of several New York wine stores.
Paying musical homage at MoPOP.
Formerly known as the Experience Music Project, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is a great place to pay homage to some of Washington’s biggest musical talents – including Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. Located just steps from the Seattle Space Needle, you can check off two major tourist attractions in one go.
Ordering soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung.
There’s always an ongoing debate about where to find the best soup dumplings in NYC, but Din Tai Fung is tough to beat. This Taiwan-based restaurant only has a handful of locations in the states – a few in the Seattle area, and the rest in California. So if you’re traveling through the Pacific Northwest, do yourself a favor and order up at least a couple steamer baskets of these savory favorites.
Whale watching in the San Juan Islands.
For city-dwelling nature lovers, I can’t express how much you’ll love taking a ferry from Seattle to the San Juan Islands. The San Juans are the Pacific Northwest at its best – pristine scenery, cool waters, salt air, and a slower pace of life. Treat yourself to the ultimate bucket list experience with a whale watching tour, where you’ll spot wild orcas, minke whales, sea lions, harbor seals, and more. Some onlookers have even spotted humpbacks there. It’s truly my favorite part about Washington State, and I have no doubt any visitor will appreciate it.
For more info about Seattle experiences, head over to the tourism website.
San Juan Islands photo By Maia! via Wikimedia Commons
And, escape New York for a long weekend in Montreal.