The first stop on West Coast Trip 2015 was the beautiful Pacific Northwest. As a Seahawks fan who had never been, Seattle was a must-see, and it did not disappoint.
- Seahawks vs. Panthers game
- Neighborhood exploring
The goal for this part of the trip (the whole trip, really) was to explore as much of the city and neighborhoods as we could in the limited amount of time that we had. It’s not every day that I can get out west, so I really wanted to immerse myself and experience the different parts of the city! Some of the more touristy things are must-sees, but we wanted to hit some of the local favorites as well.
Day 1 – Friday
The trip started early on a Friday morning, with myself, Rachel, and Hilary on a 6am flight from Rochester, NY, landing in Seattle at 11am. Rochester is not the cheapest airport to fly out of, so I had to keep an eye out all summer for reasonably priced flights. I ended up finding this flight one-way for $180 in July.
We had also coordinated this trip with some of our friends from college who now live on the West Coast. Our friend Alena (living in San Diego) joined us for the whole trip, and Dan and Eric (living in San Francisco) joined us in Seattle as well. Alena was scheduled to land in Seattle around 2:30pm, and the others were flying up later that night after work.
Once we landed, the first order of business was to drop our bags at our hotel. We stayed downtown at the W Seattle, for $188 a night. The hotel was great. It was clean, modern, centrally located, and with four of us staying in the room, it ended up only being about $47 per person per night.
We took the Light Rail from Sea-Tac to University Station – roughly a 45 minute ride for a measly $3. We were instantly in awe of the gorgeous mountains off in the distance in all directions. Walking out of University Station and seeing the Puget Sound three blocks to our left was breathtaking. After a steep uphill trek to the hotel, we dropped our bags before walking to Il Corvo for lunch, near Pioneer Square. What a pick for a first meal – honestly, it may have been my favorite meal of the trip.
Il Corvo is only open for lunch on weekdays, and it is a popular spot among the local workers. The line was out the door but it moved quickly. Every day they have three or four handmade pastas, which can be paired with three or four sauce options, in addition to a few side options (definitely get the house-made foccacia). Order at the counter, wait for a table to open up, and mangia! I will absolutely return to Il Corvo any time I am in Seattle.
With the carbo-load complete, the three of us explored Pioneer Square on foot for a bit, and stopped into Storyville Coffee at 1st and Madison to wait for Alena to arrive from San Diego. After reuniting, we went on a quest for views!
Everyone that I know from Seattle recommended skipping the Space Needle because you can get a better view of the city (for free) from Kerry Park. After snapping some pics, we took a stroll around the surrounding Upper Queen Anne neighborhood and checked out some of the unique, awesome mansions that overlook the city and Elliott Bay. The neighborhood and views were incredible, and we lucked out with some beautiful weather. If this blog ever makes me rich, I’m moving to Upper Queen Anne.
Next, we checked out the Seattle Center area briefly to see the Space Needle (but did not go up to the top), before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the night.
Dinner was at Pike Brewing Company downtown, a short walk from the hotel. After dinner and a few brews, we were headed over to the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where we would meet up with the final two travel companions flying up from San Francisco. We stopped into Elysian Brewing for a great atmosphere and great beers – including one of my favorite fall beers, the Punkachino.
After Eric and Dan arrived and tried to play a little bit of catch-up, we walked around Capitol Hill looking for the next bar to hit. We settled on a bowling and games bar called Garage, where we rolled a couple games before getting some late-night grub at Freddy Junior’s. A solid first day on the West Coast was in the books.
Day 2 – Saturday
If Day 1 was all about local brews, the focus for Day 2 was seafood. The six of us got a bit of a late start after a long day and night, but we made it to the Pike Place Market to do our tourist thang around 11am, and made a beeline for Pike Place Chowder, which was well worth the 45 minute wait in line. I would wait 45 more minutes for that chowder.
We followed up our early lunch with a stop a Caffe Ladro for a pick-me-up, and walked down to the waterfront to take in some more views.
With our tourist itch soothed, we took an Uber up to the Fremont neighborhood to do some more exploring. First stop there was Fremont Brewing Company, which to this day is my favorite brewery I’ve been to. There, we met up with another old college friend who is from Seattle, and he then took us around the neighborhood to see the troll, and get some drinks and games in at Add-a-Ball.
After spending the afternoon in Fremont, we had a dinner reservation at Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar in Pioneer Square, another spot I would highly recommend.
After supper, we took an Uber to the Ballard neighborhood, and got dropped off on the main drag, Ballard Ave NW. After walking around a bit, we landed at King’s Hardware, a large bar with a young, rowdy crowd. After a few pitchers of Manny’s we headed back to Capitol Hill – we tried to sneak into a private karaoke room at Rock Box but had no luck. Instead we watched the karaoke at the main bar for a while, before heading back to the hotel.
Day 3 – Sunday
The day of the big game! After a couple days and nights of debauchery, everyone was again slow to get moving. Only Rachel and I had tickets for the game, so the group went their separate ways. Hilary, Dan and Eric went to a local Buffalo Bills bar to watch their home team play at 10am, while Alena met up with some of her friends in the area.
Rachel and I ended up walking around Pioneer Square and the Stadium area trying to find brunch and pre-gaming. With 2-3 hour waits at all of the hot spots, we opted instead to get a couple of Porchetta sandwiches at Rain Shadow Meats, which ended up being a great decision. With our stomachs full, we headed into the stadium.
I can’t stay I have been to a ton of live sports events, but I would be incredibly surprised if there is any environment more electric than CenturyLink Field. The crowd noise on every single defensive play is louder than anything I’ve ever heard. We felt at home among 67,000 screaming Seahawks fans. Despite a heartbreaking 4th quarter collapse, the experience was amazing and I would recommend it to ANY sports fan, regardless of allegiance.
After the game, we met back up with the rest of the squad at Brave Horse Tavern to drink the loss away (and play some shuffleboard). Brave Horse is backed by renowned chef Tom Douglas, and not surprisingly has great food, as well as a killer lineup of great local brews in a very chill atmosphere great for playing or watching a game.
After Brave Horse, we decided to call it a night. The San Franciscans had to catch an early flight, and the rest of us had a train to catch in the morning!
- Seahawks game
- Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar
- Fremont Brewing
- Pike Place Chowder
- The weather!
- Coffee – didn’t do enough coffee tasting
- Brunch – no group brunches??
- The Walrus and the Carpenter
- Dick’s Drive-in – a Seattle staple
- The 5-Point Cafe
- Rock Box – with a reservation
- Il Corvo again!
What am I missing on my “Next Time” list? Comment to let me know!