A weekend trip to Seattle is a fairly common occurrence for people living in Vancouver. It’s cheap, convenient and a nice break from Canada. Having only done a day trip to Seattle previously, we wanted to explore a little deeper into this amazing city and see what we could find.
8:45 // Leaving Vancouver
Rather than spend a whole weekend worrying about where to park, paying for parking and deciding who could drink or not, we decided to take the bus from Vancouver to Seattle. Bus times vary depending on the company however they usually take about 4.5 hours including the border crossing. We went for Quick Shuttle as the service is usually pretty good, the buses are quite nice and the toilets aren’t too horrible. For about $50USD return it was a fair price to pay to have the convenience of not having to drive. Boltbus and Greyhound also run services.
14:00 // Check In
Once we had arrived in Downtown Seattle it was time to check-in to the beautiful boutique Ace Hotel located in Belltown. The Ace Hotel group offers uber trendy private rooms which sport rather minimalist decor. You’re almost always guaranteed to see some great artwork and innovative facilities in the limited space. Most rooms have shared bathrooms however they’re clean, modern and extremely spacious. For roughly 130USD a night for this arrangement. However in comparison to mainstream hotel chains and Air BnBs, it was a steal.
14:30 // Shortys
Feeling the effects of a 4.5 hour bus ride, it was time to fuel up and what better way to do it than visit the iconic Shortys bar. A real life Coney Island themed Dive Bar, there were too many reasons not to check it out. We had some tasty hot dogs to snack on and washed them down with plenty of beers. The bar is decked out with an impressive yet creepy clown doll collection and there is an awesome back room filled with pinball machines.
After an hour long chat with an ex seaman about the Philippines, American culture and travel, we decided we should see the rest of what Seattle has to offer.
17:30 // Secret Bar mission
Being somewhat deprived from anything remotely secret, hidden or quirky in Vancouver, we were super excited to explore some of Seattle’s secret bars. We decided to check out Bathtub Gin & Co, hidden away off 2nd Avenue behind a homely red door. We were ushered in and directed to sit in the downstairs library in a somewhat communal sitting area. Upstairs is even smaller with the majority of the seating at the pint sized bar. With it’s cozy atmosphere and secretive location, it is definitely worth hiding away for a few hours. Hit up Happy Hour between 5-7 for cheap cocktails, beer and wine. We both had super tasty and super strong cocktails to get the evening going.
19:00 // Play ball at Safeco
Seeing a baseball game in the USA is bucket list worthy and we decided to catch the Mariners on their home turf. It was everything we had expected and much more, even way back in the nosebleed section. We got beers and nachos and settled in to watch the action and do a few Mexican waves. We still don’t understand all the rules but followed the general cheering and moaning that the rest of the crowd was making.
20:30 // Chasing the unicorn
We got a little bit lost on our way to Capitol Hill but when we arrived it was heating up with plenty of youth enjoying the weekend nightlife. Both super hip and fun, Capitol Hill has everything from trendy restaurants to happening bars and Unicorn was no exception. The amazing carnival decor was super impressive along with their own quirky cocktail list. After a quick drink we decided that screaming at each other alongside the hundreds of people crammed in to this venue was less than desirable so we headed out to grab a bite...I guess we’re getting old.
21:30 // Big Marios Apizza
No joke, that’s what this bar come pizza joint is called. We figured that it must be good based on how many people were standing around waiting for a slice. It was well worth the wait, we gobbled down our pepperoni slices that were the perfect mix of crispy and gooey. Feeling every bit our age, we decided to call it a night and partake in our favourite American tradition, catching a shared Uber ride back to our hotel.
11:00 // Breakfasting
It wasn’t fancy but the free waffles, toast, fruit and cereal available were both tasty and convenient especially as we were feeling a little hung-over. Plus it meant we didn’t have to search for a breakfast spot and line up with other brunchers.
11:30 // Olympic Statue park
As this park was so close to where we were staying we decided to check it out. Although it was a random little park with some crazy artwork plopped in, it was still a nice little area to sit back and see the city. We didn’t stay long, however it lead us to the road for our next adventure, the waterfront and pier area.
12:00 // Waterfront walking
There was something romantic and relaxing just wandering down the boardwalk until we reached the Pike Place Market area. It was really nice absorbing the atmosphere as families and tourists dipped into shops and enjoyed their weekend. We decided to add to the seaside experience by stopping at one of the clam chowder stops to grab a cup of chowder and some fries. Even though it was slopped out of a big mass cooked batch it was so delicious and tasty.
13:30 // Pike Place Market
It’s one of the most iconic attractions in Seattle and for good reason, there is lots to see, do and taste. Although we’d been to Pike Place Market before, we spent most of that visit trying not to get lost in the crowd. This time we took it at a slower pace and enjoyed looking at all the great things sold upstairs in the arts and crafts area, we bagged a print for about $8USD. We killed some time looking at a little shop downstairs that sold old movie posters, there were some classics that tempted us, especially the Star Wars collection. We wandered through all the fish, meat and cheese shops and dodged the dirty looks and funny comments from their owners who clearly didn’t like tourists stopping to take photos. This time we discovered another part of the market on the opposite side of the road which boasted plenty of tasty eateries. Desperate to fill our tummies we headed on a search to find some food.
14:30 // Taco time
On our quest for food we stumbled across El Burracho, a Mexican food joint that backs onto the market. Being rather big taco fans we went for it and devoured some seriously tasty tacos, burritos and a few too many margaritas. The place was a cross between a bar and a family restaurant and the staff were friendly, overall a win. Often apprehensive of food places in tourist areas, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality and found everything delicious. Due to its prime location food prices were perhaps a little inflated compared to other Mexican food alternatives but were still affordable.
16:30 // Top pot donuts
After our encounter at Voodoo Donuts in Portland, we decided to check out what was happening in Seattle. We needed to walk off all the tacos we’d demolished so we decided to head to Top Pot, one of Seattle’s leading donut chains. The space was huge and resembled library, it was easy to see how a coffee and donut could end up turning into a few hours. The donuts were good but not mind-blowing however it was nice to relax and enjoy some sugary treats.
17:30 // Cyclops
We are actually so good at overestimating our time that we often end up with a few hours to kill before our bus is set to leave. It had started to rain downtown so we decided to head to the cafe/bar Cyclops that was located under the Ace hotel. It was a really cool little spot, super laid back with a great ambience. They’ve cleverly designed the space so that two spaces join around to form a large U shape. On one side there is a vintage diner complete with American burgers, shakes, and booths to eat at. The other side is a down to earth bar where patrons appeared to be playing a few sports games. We grabbed a few appies and a drink and sat back to kill some time before heading upstairs to get our bags.
18:30 // Homebound
The time had finally come to grab our bags and head to the bus station. We were worn out from having far too much fun but felt a little sad to say goodbye to such an amazing city. Seattle is a great day trip but having the weekend to explore a little further is definitely worth it. Take an extra day and fit in the EMP or Space Needle if you want to see all the sights. It always feels like you haven't quite seen enough in a city, despite how much was jam packed in. Overall, our Seattle trip was everything we had wanted and more.