Made in Seattle: The Emerald City’s Most Inventive Hangouts

A fresh look at Seattle’s inventive hangouts, from lakeside eateries and back-alley bars to locally made threads.

EAT

Grab your first taste of Seattle’s daily catch at Hotel Theodore’s seafood- and foraged-focused eatery, Rider. With oysters on the half shell, pillowy pull-apart rolls accompanied by Old Bay-spiced crab-fat butter and a fresh and healthful menu of ocean- and forest-sourced entrees, Rider starts visitors on the right foot (or fin!) when diving into Seattle’s food scene.

Across town, on the north shore of Lake Union, Westward offers one of our favorite waterfront dining experiences, with rows of inviting Adirondack chairs, beachside oyster-shell fire pits and imaginative, Mediterranean-inspired marine fare, irresistibly beckoning to diners arriving both on foot and by boat.

For feasting your eyes on premium meats, roam on over to FlintCreek Cattle Co., where Executive Chef, Eric Donnelly, prepares sustainably raised meats sourced from small-scale farms and ranches that prioritize pastured, grass-fed animals. With grand, floor-to-ceiling windows, chic design and modern fixtures, FlintCreek Cattle Co. provides a gorgeous and lively atmosphere in which to enjoy such an ethically sourced and savory treat.

 

cuisine at Rider in downtown Seattle

 

DRINK  

In a town with plenty of alleys to get lost in, it’s worth slipping down one with intention. Bathtub Gin & Co. can be found on a back alley in bustling Belltown — Gin Alley, on 2nd Avenue just off Blanchard Street. An unmarked wooden door will lead you down to this speakeasy-style basement bar known for its literary-inspired cocktails served in the building’s former boiler room. But don’t worry, no secret passwords are necessary.

Visited by the late, legendary Anthony Bourdain, Knee High Stocking Co. is a small, secretive bar on hip Capitol Hill said to be “hidden in plain sight.” With a small brass sign tacked up on its blue clapboard siding, it’s notoriously easy to miss and equally as hard to nab a table, albeit completely worth the experience. Knee High Stocking Co. is known for uber-talented bartenders mixing up inventive craft cocktails behind a tiny bar, and for its comforting Filipino-American tapas.

DO 

For an alternative to Seattle’s notoriously crowded Pike Place Market, visit the west end of the Pike-Pine corridor for Melrose Market, an indoor food and retail experience with a chic, industrial vibe set within a collection of historic automotive buildings. Inside, you’ll discover award-winning eateries such as Marseille and Taylor Shellfish, and in-demand artisan purveyors and craft retail concepts like Rain Shadow Meats, Terra Plata, Butter Home, Still Liquor and others.

For a retail therapy fix, check out locally made threads, such as vintage baseball jerseys and ball caps, from Ebbets Field Flannels, Seattle-made raincoats from Freeman (whose jackets can be found in each of Hotel Theodore’s suites, available for free use during your stay), or Filson’s unflagging, rugged-yet-chic outdoor-wear, who have been outfitting Pacific Northwesterners since the stampeders headed north during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Freeman jackets in Hotel Theodore

Get Outside

Nestled in the Magnolia neighborhood just northwest of downtown, at 534 acres, Discovery Park is the largest city park in Seattle, and with the most rich and diverse of landscapes. In one hike, you can travel through open meadow, deep, canopied fir forests, sand dunes, thickets, streams and the dramatic sea cliffs of Puget Sound. You might even see orcas frolicking in the waves. The views of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges are arguably the best in the city here. There are marked trails for hikers and bikers, day use areas, and leashed dogs are welcome in most areas.

On the north side of Lake Union, Gas Works Park is one of the most unique parks you’ll ever visit. A decommissioned and charmingly rusted gasification plant is the obvious centerpiece of the park, but you’ll find yourself enjoying the vast green lawn and the even vaster blue lake — a freshwater lake which is home to hundreds of quirky and colorful houseboats. You’ll also have an excellent view of downtown and the Space Needle, so if you happen to bring a picnic at sunset, you’re having the perfect Gas Works Park moment.

One of the most popular beaches in Seattle, Golden Gardens is easily accessible from downtown, has plenty of parking and, most importantly, is the best spot in the city to have a bonfire at sunset. And the sunsets here are unparalleled, full of unforgettable shades of fiery magenta and coral, deepening into indigo. Located at the northwest end of the endearing Ballard neighborhood, Golden Gardens is a true sandy stretch of beach, with volleyball courts, an off-leash dog area, picnic tables, fishing and boating. The water in Puget Sound is very cold and rough year round, though, so please take every precaution if you dare to take a dip.

 

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