We're no strangers to the one day itinerary and when the Edgewater Hotel invited us to spend a night literally on top of the water, we jumped at the chance to film our perfect day on the Seattle Waterfront. As per our typical trip, we explore as many parks as possible, walk an urban trail, and dine on the most delicious local offerings - all with our pup, Parsley, in tow.
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.
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.
To be blunt, I've never been all that impressed with the hotel options offered in my city. When I get asked for recommendations, I struggle to suggest something interesting as opposed to your standard chain hotel experience. Seattle, a city surrounded by both the mountains and the sea, really ought to have options which bring you closer to those features. Thankfully, after experiencing the Edgewater, I've got my go-to recommendation for anyone traveling to Seattle and looking for a hotel stay.
Situated on Pier 67 along Seattle's waterfront, the Edgewater is the only over-water hotel in Seattle - due a zoning change made shortly after it was built. The interior of the hotel is creatively decorated for a Pacific Northwest vibe with faux trees, branches, and nautical elements - it's almost a little exciting walking into the lobby with all these fun yet tasteful elements. Add to the package, a delicious gluten-free friendly restaurant and it's quite the spot to spend a night. Oh, and did I mention it's just a short walk away from some of my favorite activities on the Seattle waterfront like the Elliot Bay Trail? More to come on those next week!
About the Hotel & Room
Like all my favorite hotels, the Edgewater is also dog-friendly and offers furry guests a treat at check-in. Fun facts about the Edgewater include that it's played host to both the Beatles during the era of Beatlemania (thus a Beatles themed suite) and as the setting for an episode of one of my favorite '90s television shows; Northern Exposure.
The standard king rooms are large by city hotel standards, with room for a small desk and two arm chairs to look out on Elliot Bay. As a side note, the foot stool provided for the chairs was actually a fuzzy bear - and now I totally want one. The bathroom opens up with sliding doors to the rest of the room, you know, so you can watch the boats come and go in the harbor from the comfort of the clawfoot soaking tub. Our room faced south giving us a direct view down the waterfront to the cruise ship terminal (talk about people watching), the Seattle Great Wheel, the Port of Seattle, and Mount Rainier in the distance.
Pro-Tip #1: Often the only parking option at the Edgewater is valet and this being a major metropolitan area, that fee doesn't come cheap. On our visit on a Saturday in late May, valet parking was a whopping $41 plus tax! If you want to avoid this kind of impact on your budget, there is a public parking garage across the street that clocks in at half the price - however, there are no in-and-out privileges there if you plan to be jetting around the city in your car.
The Six Seven Restaurant
When visiting Seattle (assuming you are at least a pescetarian), you are hereby advised to eat at least one meal containing seafood. Along the waterfront there are a number of traditional touristy spots to do so, however if you're looking for something more - the Six Seven Restaurant is where it's at. Inside the Edgewater Hotel, the Six Seven defies the norm of the hotel restaurant - the food is high quality, full of flavor, and immaculately plated. The menu has a considerable amount of choices for those who prefer the "turf" from the "surf," but their fresh seafood dishes is where the food really shines.
If you plan to dine on the outside over-water patio, which of course you always should, make sure you either paint yourself silly with sunscreen and bring your sunglasses or plan your dinner accordingly to your level of sun comfort. And of course, provide your sympathy to the servers and waitstaff who smile and bear it looking straight into the sun as they take your order.
Another way the Six Seven defies the typical hotel restaurant is found in it's room service breakfast options and quality. Brûléed grapefruit with brown sugar and rum? Yes please! We splurged for breakfast in our room despite budgeting anxiety, and couldn't have been more pleased - this was fancy, high-quality, and appropriately proportioned goodness. So if you're on the fence about breakfast in bed - the Edgewater is the place where you immediately jump the fence and say yes please!
Pro Tip #2: If you forgot your sunscreen, the adorably curated hotel shop carries some good stuff and it's right across the lobby from the restaurant.
Pro Tip #3: If crowded restaurant's aren't your thing, it appears you have at least a limited menu of food and beverages served in the quieter hotel lobby - which has some great little nooks to whole up in by the picture windows.
Around The Edgewater Hotel
Just a short walk down the waterfront and you'll find yourself walking the Elliot Bay Trail through three different parks including the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park, the Myrtle Edwards Park, and Centennial Park. With picnic opportunities abound along this route, I'd highly recommend first walking down to Pike Place Market to pick up some artisan food goods and then back along the trail to find your perfect spot either among some sculptures, on the beach, or in a grass field.
The Seattle neighborhoods of Belltown, Queen Anne, and the downtown core are all within easy walking distance of the Edgewater. Of course as is the rest of the waterfront area.
Prompted by a few gentle nudges, I've got a brand new style of travel video to share it with you today. Until about a couple of weeks ago - Zeke and I had never filmed in a city or placed ourselves on camera in a "host" capacity. Frankly, we never thought of doing either because it's just not typically the kind of travel show we personally enjoying watching. That being said, we realize some of you may very much enjoy that type of video - so we decided to give it a try!Read More
When I moved to Seattle in 2010, I was absolutely thrilled by the relative abundance of gluten free friendly restaurants. Prior to that, I was living in a little town on the California coast with NO options - in fact, I was frequently told by restaurant staff that I could not be accommodated. So moving to Seattle was like moving to a gluten free friendly wonderland. Three years and a heck of a lot of travelling later, I think Seattle is just starting to catch up with it's biggest rival in terms of gluten free friendliness; Portland, Oregon. More and more restaurants are including information on their regular menus to indicate gluten free items or ones that can be adapted.
Since Seattle has just over 300 people descending upon it this weekend to attend the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) and I'm positive I'm not the only gluten free one in the bunch, I thought I'd share some of the spots I keep returning to for great gluten free eats throughout the city. I've also included a number of links to other resources to query for even more ideas.
Let's take this one step further as well; if you find a great gluten free friendly establishment during your weekend at IFBC - share it on twitter or instagram with the hashtag; #IFBCgf.