This Seattle guide has been a long time coming ever since moving into the city from my childhood home Lake Tapps, about 45 minutes south of Seattle. Now, as a local Seattleite, I’ve completely fallen even more in love with my city as I’ve been able to explore new places all over Seattle and find all kinds of hidden gems… places I was certain Seattle didn’t offer! It’s such a beautiful place, especially during the summer months. I’m convinced that’s what makes people stay in Washington because it definitely isn’t the rain!
Whether you’re just visiting for the weekend or you live in the city, I’m positive these recs will leave you with plenty of things to do and food to eat 😉 Enjoy! P.s. the best time to visit is between June and September to guarantee nice weather!
I categorized my recommendations below based on location and activity.
*= my favorites
($)= more on the pricey end
Portage Bay*: locally sourced, best brunch of your LIFE. They have a drool-worthy pancake/waffle bar with all the fresh fruit, nuts, whip cream & butter you could ever want. My go-to order is their goat cheese omelette with spinach & mushrooms and the vegan, GF banana pancakes, because yes, you need a little of both. Make a reservation on Yelp the day before to skip the wait. But if we’re being honest, the wait is well worth it. It’s always my first recommendation for anyone coming to Seattle.
Mr. West Cafe*: located downtown next to Pacific Place / Nordstrom. They offer coffee, matcha (unsweetened with hemp milk is my fav), toasts (great avocado toast), meat & cheese boards, cocktails, etc. Perfect place to bring your laptop and work or meet with friends – I love the ambiance.
holding my RGE cookie skillet ice cream sandwich from our first collab together at F&J’s!!
Frankie & Jo’s ($)*: The best plant-based ice cream you will ever taste! All their flavors are to die for, but my favorite is their jamocha chaga fudge and their vanilla date shake, sweetened only with dates. It’s a little spendy, but for the quality of ingredients and the fact that everything is dairy-free & vegan (even their waffle cones are GF), you just can’t beat it!! Also, the whole cement, palm tree, and overall aesthetic of the shop gives me all the feels. They have two locations– one in Cap Hill & the other in Ballard. I’ve had TWO amazing collabs with them so far– an ice cream / cookie sandwich using my RGE cookie skillet individuals with their date shake ice cream sandwiched between, and more recently, a deconstructed version of this ice cream sandwich turned into their February Monthly flavor!! Both were insanely delish & sold out. Some say it was the best ice cream they’ve ever had in their life, dairy or non-dairy, and I agree! Another collab coming this Aug. 2019, stay tuned!
Juicebox Cafe*: this has to be one of my favorite spots in Seattle, located on Capitol Hill. They focus on seasonal, vegetable-focused cuisine and fresh juice & smoothies. Plants, matcha & golden lattes, wellness shots, bowls, salads, breakfast… the GOODS. I honestly don’t understand how they make their hen egg scramble SO good. Such simple ingredients, but tons of flavor. That, along with a matcha latte (no maple) with their cashew milk is my usual order.
The roasted veggies, trio of spreads (they were out of hummus this day) and fresh pita at Eve
Eve: yummy little spot in Fremont. Lovely decor, the menu is farm-to-fork. Their tahini goddess dressing is life changing… use the roasted veggies to dip!! I usually get the eve chicken salad and the bison burger is great, too! Unfortunately, the chefs don’t like to modify the menu so be prepared to order as it. Service has been iffy the past few times I’ve gone.
The London Plane ($)*: probably my go-to for a work meeting or whenever I feel like escaping the house to somewhere quaint. Not only do they have great food, but they have a floral section just as you walk inside! You’re more than welcome to put together your own arrangement or get some tips from the florist on staff (I’ve heard they have floral arrangement classes on occasion). High ceilings, lots of natural light, super cute decor and little knick knacks to purchase on the shelves. They have somewhat of a smaller variety of food, but I will say everything I’ve ordered has been incredible.
(the baked eggs at The London Plane are my usual– sub for goat cheese on top –>)
Bounty Kitchen*: located in Queen Ann. The spicy lemongrass basil + peanut salad with chicken is my favorite!!
Sweetgrass Food Co.: build your own bowls, bone broth, lattes, healthy treats, (FYI they’re closed on Sunday’s)
Homegrown*: they source ingredients guided by the Dirty Dozen, which is pretty amazing. The menu includes sandwiches, salads, bowls & breakfasts. They have several locations across Seattle, Bellevue & Kirkland.
Café Hitchcock: wellness lattes (they also offer CBD oil), breakfast, veggies, bowls, sandwiches, and cocktails during happy hour. They’re located in the historic Exchange Building in downtown Seattle.
Poke (no sauce) over salad from 45th Stop N’ Shop
45th Stop N’ Shop*: potentially the best poké in Seattle. It’s located inside a super small corner store in Wallingford & you’d never expect it to have such incredible poké. Take note of the long lines during nice weather.
FOB poke*: build your own poké bar in Belltown, tied for best poké in Seattle with 45th stop n’ shop.
Japonessa*: some of the best sushi I’ve ever had! Tons of healthy options & able to substitute/accommodate for food preferences. Great happy hour. Downtown Seattle & Bellevue locations.
Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill*: super yummy sushi! Definitely recommend.
Barrio*: fresh Mexican food, lots of healthy (vegan and vegetarian) options including jackfruit tacos, cucumber chips with guac, etc. I ordered the ceviche, with chips, guac & shishito peppers… it was amazing! Such a cool vibe, located in a prime spot in Cap Hill. Great place to meet friends for food & drinks. They also serve brunch!
(tortilla chips, cucumber chips, guac, shishito peppers for appiez at Barrio –>)
hummus, baba ganoush, fresh pita, gluten-free crackers, tabbouli, crudite at Mamnoon
Mamnoon: super yum traditional middle eastern food. The hummus, baba Ganoush, pita bread and gluten free crackers are to die for! The staff was very nice and I love the location right next to Melrose Market in Capitol Hill. Great wine selection.
Oddfellows Café and Bar / Little Oddfellows next door: great spot to grab brunch with friends or family. They have a good selection of drinks, coffee & pastries as well. Pretty cozy vibes and good atmosphere.
Tallulah’s: globally inspired, vegetable-driven menu. Great happy hour drinks & eats, dinner and weekend brunch
Sitka & Spruce ($): located inside Melrose Market on Capitol Hill. Super cute vibes. Get a spot at the chef’s table
Black Bottle: Great place for dinner. Get the farmer’s market roasted veggies!!
The Pink Door ($): incredible Italian restaurant and offers beautiful outdoor seating with views of the Puget Sound (or ask for a window seat). The wait staff was able to accommodate my order to be dairy & gluten-free. Includes a burlesque show on occasion! Make a reservation and note that parking can be tough as it’s located in Pike Place Market.
Boat Street Café: food is based on concepts inherent in French rustic cooking. Fresh ingredients.
Seawolf Bakery: you’ll find Seawolf Bakery bread on menus all across Seattle. The sourdough is basically to die for.
Seattle Fish Guys: all the fish and poké
Walrus & The Carpenter: seafood
Stateside: Vietnamese/French fusion
Plum Bistro: vegan
Heartbeet Café: organic superfoods café
Capitol Cider: 100% gluten-free, allergen friendly
Niche: gluten-free café and bakery
NORTH SEATTLE FOOD
Pablo y Pablo*:absolute fav taco kitchen & margarita bar!!! It’s the BEST and we love taking our friends here whenever they’re in town. Everything on the menu is so so good. Lots of vegan/vegetarian options
Retreat Coffee*: located in Greenlake. Tons of healthy options– wellness lattes, toasts, brunch, smoothies, adaptogens, offers Kite Hill cream cheese. I got an insane raw fruit & veggie plate that didn’t know existed anywhere else but my own home. Safe to say I’m glad I live about 25 min away because if I were any closer, I’d be broke and here every day. Ps. the gluten-free seeded toast was AMAZING with avocado, bacon, a fried egg and microgreens on top!
(matcha latte, raw fruit & veggies plate, avocado toast on seeded bread with smashed avo, bacon, a fried egg & microgreens at Retreat Coffee –>)
Gracia*: located in Ballard. Fresh, homemade healthful take on Mexican food. Most of the menu is gluten free and can easily be made dairy free! Their tortilla chips are to die for
No Bones: vegan
Ray’s Boathouse: seafood, views
Poké Square: build your own poké
Pestle rock: Thai food
KIRKLAND / BELLEVUE FOOD
wood-fired meat pizza, farm salad with roasted chicken, beets + pistachio pesto from Deru Market
Deru Market*: located in Kirkland, serving local and organic ingredients. They have amazing wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and cakes the size of, well, 10 cakes in one. The process is a little awkward waiting for your table.. not sure if it was just the day we went, but first you order inside, take a number and get placed on their list to snag a table if there’s a line. We stood outside while there were several open tables and had to ask to sit down at one while we waited for the food. Nonetheless, our lunch was amazing and will be back!
Little Brother: located in Kirkland, serving local ingredients.
Juice & Glow*: easily my favorite juice & smoothie shop in Bellevue. They sell Coconut Cult yogurt, the best ingredient bliss balls I’ve seen in Seattle, chia pudding with only maple syrup to sweeten, yummy snacks, smoothies & fresh-pressed juice.
Just Poké: sustainable ingredients, offers sweet potato
The Lake House*: in Bellevue, farm fresh ingredients– deeeelish and the vibe is so cute!
Jujubeet Café: I prefer their Mainstreet location in Bellevue. Lots of great healthy options as well as to-go items
Healthy Bonez Beverage Company: cold-pressed juice, acai bowls
Juicebox Café*: matcha (I get without maple) with their cashew milk is amazing. They also have the best golden latté I’ve ever had.
Atulea*: Finally, a place dedicated solely to matcha! It’s SO GOOD and they use unsweetened nut milk (Califia, I believe). The golden latte is also amaze– Bridge loves it. It’s located in Capitol Hill
Mr. West*: unsweetened hemp milk matcha
Sweetgrass Food Co.*: unsweetened matcha with alternative milks
Retreat Coffee*: unsweetened matcha with alternative nut milks
Café Hitchcock: unsweetened matcha with alternative milks (including hemp, almond, Oatly), CBD oil
Anchorhead coffee: pistachio milk matcha, lightly sweetened
(golden milk latte from Juicebox Café –>)
JUICE / SMOOTHIES / ACAÍ
Pressed Juicery*: wellness shots, lattes, green juice, dairy free frozen yogurt (“freeze”). The best!
Juice & Glow*: the cutest! My favorite juice shop located in downtown Bellevue. They serve Coconut Cult yogurt, bliss balls, smoothies, juice, etc.
Jujubeet Café: “food that makes you feel good.” Breakfasts, superfoods, cold-pressed organic juice, wellness elixirs, grab n’ go food
Verve Bowls: haven’t been but several of you recommended!!
Juicy Café: haven’t been but several of you recommended!!
Oddfellows Café and Bar
Olympia Coffee: located in West Seattle
West Seattle Grounds: the aesthetic is so clean and white! I love it. The place to be in West Seattle!!
WEST SEATTLE FOOD
Duke’s Chowder House*: prime location looking out over Alki beach. Offers sustainable ingredients, grass-fed burgers, GF available, free-range chicken, famous clam chowder. Honestly, they redid their entire menu somewhat recently and have tons of healthy options! I remember coming as a kid and it was nowhere near how health-friendly it is now.
Cactus*: Southwestern-Mexican cuisine. All kinds of options, great brunch on the weekends, and offers a GF menu! We love this place.
Blue Moon Burgers: gluten-free options, dog-friendly patio located right on Alki beach. Other locations include Fremont & Capitol hill.
view of downtown Seattle from Salty’s on Alki in West Seattle
Salty’s on Alki ($)*: Amazing views of downtown, great seafood and happy hour
Real Fine Coffee
Café Fiore: organic coffee
Olympia coffee*: super cute coffee shop on California Ave. Pastries, Matcha, coffee, the works
Pacific Room: offers local & sustainably-caught options on the menu, brand-new to Alki
Arthur’s: Australian inspired all-day café
Metropolitan Market ($): healthy grocery store with the best spicy poké in their poké bar. I always grab just the poké to take home and make my own bowl using fresh ingredients, in order to avoid all the additives in their bar.
Mashiko Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar: sustainable sushi
BARS / BEERS
view overlooking South Lake Union from M Bar
M Bar ($)*: incredible views of the city and south lake union. Great drinks and great food!
The Nest ($): located in the Thompson Hotel. Pretty fancy, overlooks the Seattle Great Wheel
Marseille: another cute spot located inside Melrose Market. Serves natural wines, coffee and small plates
Spin*: ping pong bar downtown
Flatstick pub*: local beers & ciders and mini golf. Bring your pup because it’s dog friendly!
Rhein Haus: bocce ball & bar
Elysian Fields Brewery: right across the street from Century Link Field. Go before a Hawks game (but make sure to get there early, the place fills up quick!!)
Salty’s on Alki
Ghostfish Brewing: everything is gluten-free
Fremont Brewing Co.
THINGS TO DO
Pike Place Market*: watch the fish throw, pick up a fresh bouquet of flowers, and tour the shops
Gum wall at Pike Place: bring some gum because you HAVE to contribute to the layers and layers of tourists’ chewed & used gum all along this alleyway. I mean, gross, yes, but also but weirdly iconic at the same time. Located right below Pike Place Market.
Melrose Market on Capitol Hill*: I love this place. I see it as a miniature version of Chelsea Market in NYC. A very miniature version. Containing several restaurants as well as Butter Home, a fun little shop with all the things, it’s definitely a must go!
Ballard Farmer’s Market
West Seattle Farmer’s Market*
See the Fremont Troll
Walk Alki Beach*: I may be biased as I live in West Seattle, but this has to be one of my favorite places in Seattle. It’s beautiful. You can walk for miles along the water, watch beach volleyball games in the summer, rent bicycles/roller blades/etc., walk your dog, people watch, relax, have bonfires, get food along the beach, watch the ferries pass by, go for an evening run, watch the most picturesque sunsets… the list goes on. Alki is a spot you have to see!
(we walk Alki a few nights a week to watch the sunsets –>)
Kerry Park: one of the best views of Seattle, located on the south side of Queen Anne hill
Gas Works Park: one of Seattle’s most iconic parks. You’ll recognize it from 10 Things I Hate About You
The Ballard Locks
Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
Space Needle: a MUST when in Seattle! Take the elevator all the way up to the 360-degree glass patio overlooking the entire city
Take ferry to Roche Harbor, San Juan Islands, Bainbridge Island
Ride the Seattle Great Wheel: then hit the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop for some incredible fudge (I went all the time as a kid and LOVED this shop)
Walk Magnolia Bluff
Elliot Bay Book Company: find a good book, get a latte & avocado toast from Little Oddfellows located inside & chill.
EXERCISE / WELLNESS
Antonio Spa ($)*: such great facials!!
City Sweats*: Infrared sauna, lymphatic drainage, massage. Mention my name (Rachael) and receive $15 off plus free tonics your first sweat!
Seattle bouldering project: bouldering, yoga, movement classes, café and espresso bar, booch on tap
Juniper nail salon ($): non-toxic, nail art
Butter Home*: located inside Melrose Market on Capitol Hill
inside Glasswing shop in Melrose Market
Glasswing shop*: this store is major goals. All the plants, ceramics, curated clothing, etc. you need to make you happy. Located in Melrose Market (basically you just need to go here)
Fluert*: my favorite shop located in West Seattle just down the street from where we live. It’s my go-to for cards, plants, gifts for every occasion, etc.
Homestead: located in Capitol Hill. Vintage rugs, furniture, flower pots
Anders: located in Ballard
Palm room: located in Ballard
Verde & Co.: located in South Lake Union
Easy Street Records*: old-school record store in West Seattle with a café connected on the first floor.
Isla: cute shop located in Capitol Hill. Great cards
Totokaio: The most magical OCD wall of ceramics. They have clothes + shoes as well, but the store design is enough for me to stare at forever
Pipe n Row
I hope you guys find this Seattle guide helpful!! If you have more suggestions or think I missed something important, comment below and we can get more ideas from each other! 🙂