Let's just start with a disclaimer up front.
I'm a snobby, dedicated, north Seattleite and it takes quite a lot of motivation me to be willing to cross one of the many bridges over Salmon Bay, the Fremont Cut, Lake Union, or Portage Bay into the central Seattle area. There's the chaos of a higher quantity of tourists, erratically driving taxi cabs, crazed bike messengers, and the terrifying price of parking. All that being said (written), there are still a couple of things to do, shops to frequent, and meals to eat that make all the crazy of the central downtown core worth it. So, when The Edgewater Hotel invited us to spend the night, we seized the opportunity to experience some of our favorite Seattle waterfront activities and eats.
Walk the Elliot Bay Trail
While in general, I spend my free time at home walking many other less urban routes - the Elliot Bay Trail remains a favorite of mine for experiencing my city. Carving it's way along the water, this accessible paved trail crosses through three parks; the Olympic Sculpture Park, the Myrtle Edwards Park, and Centennial Park. The entire route is somewhere between 7.5 and 12.5 miles depending on what source you consult, but I enjoy just walking from the very southern edge of the Sculpture Park up to Pier 90. It's just under a mile and half (one-way) of grassy fields, beaches, and plenty of picnic tables.
Brunch at Local 360 in Belltown
Much to my disappointment, there are not a whole lot of safe lunch options along the waterfront for the gluten free among us. Fortunately, as a very walkable city, options can be usually be found within a 10-15 minute walk. My favorite, reliably safe spot, is Local 360. True to their name - they source most all their food from within 360 miles and share many of their suppliers with you on their website. What I enjoy the most about their menu how it's cooked like real food - you won't find strange filler ingredients here. Instead, creative pairings like clam chowder with a dukkah crusted pork rind and highlights of local ingredients like a chickpea cake with goat's yogurt.
If you are gluten free, let your server know how severe your needs are and they can advise you accordingly. For instance - no granola for me since they don't use certified gluten free oats and no fried goodies since it's a shared frier. While their website no longer shows you the gluten free options, be assured, they cook real food and many of their options will be friendly for you. When we visited in late May 2015 their print menu did indicate items which either are or can be made gluten free.
Grab a Tasty Beverage at Rachel's Ginger Beer in Post Alley
Not a crowd person? Neither am I, however if you are still looking for a reason to check out the craziness that is Pike Place Market - let it be a stop at Rachel's Ginger Beer. Located in the little nook street of Post Alley, Rachel's serves up creative flavors of this long-time stomach healing beverage like Mango-Mate and Pineapple Thai Basil. You can pick up a half or full growler or try out a custom cocktail or ginger beer float. One thing I love; they keep all their current flavors on tap - so a freshly filled jug is just an ask away.
Perhaps I'm a traditionalist when it comes to flavors, but the original is still my favorite with blood orange pulling in a close second. On my list to try though; hibiscus and the extra strength ginger!
Picnic Among the Art in Olympic Sculpture Park
A classic Seattle activity to be sure, but picnic in Olympic Sculpture Park can be a pleasing enough activity for just about everyone. For the art lovers there are plenty of modern sculptures to be pondered, for those more interested in the environment the views across the bay to the Olympics are superb, for the boating enthusiasts there's always ferry watching, and the park is also dog friendly - so no need to leave the pup at home. There are a couple of shady spots amongst the young trees to throw a blanket and some sculptures are also large enough to cast a shadow for a spot to beat the heat.
If you're into people watching, the Sculpture Park is a prime location for engagement and wedding shoots - so there should be plenty of bridesmaid dresses to judge and photography gear to gawk at. Oh wait - is that last one just me?
Watch the Sunset from Pier 70
In late May, the sun sets in a northwestern position from the waterfront - so you won't catch a straight on western view over the Olympic Mountain Range. However, from the northern tip of Pier 70, that's the last pier you'll pass on your way to the Sculpture Park and the Elliot Bay Trail from the waterfront, you'll get an unobstructed view as the sun sets over the Magnolia neighborhood.
Again, if you're like me, and enjoy gawking at photography gear, you should see plenty here. Although, fair warning, selfie-sticks and iPhone-video-self-narrating-tourists may also make an appearance. Like I said, it's a good spot.
Settle Down for the Night at The Edgewater Hotel
A big thank you to the folks at the Edgewater Hotel for hosting us for a night's stay and dinner at the Six Seven Restaurant.
I'd be hard pressed to suggest any other hotel on Seattle's waterfront to rest your head for the night. As the only over-water hotel in the city, the Edgewater clearly has the edge (yes, pun-intended). However, that's not to say that they lean on that attribute in any way to make up for some other deficiency. The Edgewater takes the Pacific Northwest vibe seriously to the extent of fuzzy bear footstools in it's immaculately furnished and pet-friendly rooms. Inside, the Six Seven Restaurant defies the bland reputation of most hotel restaurants with highlights of local flavors and artistic presentation. For more of my take and my tips on spending the night at the Edgewater, head on over my review here.