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After moving back from Paris this summer we realized one of the things we missed most about living in Europe was the ability to take a little 4 day trip once a month. Everything is so close together in Europe so it is easier to get from country to country. And since you aren’t going to0 far it isn’t too expensive. I decided that I wanted to try to take more trips like that in the US. To make the trips inexpensive we have to watch for airfare deals and we are making efforts to visit places where we have family and friends to save on hotels. This week we are in Seattle and are having a great time exploring the city. I haven’t been here since I was 14 years old so it all feels new. Everything is so festive for the Holidays so even the grey weather is sort of charming. I would love recommendations for  places to eat + shop if you have them.

  1. Rae

    December 12, 2012

    go get the burger at Skillet. It’s really outstanding.

  2. Jeanne McKay Hartmann

    December 12, 2012

    Welcome to Seattle, Jordan! Near Pike Place Market on 1st Ave between Stewart and Virginia is Le Pichet, the closet you can get to Paris here without jet lag. Everything is delicious but the roast chicken is beyond. I was there last night and it looks so sweet all decked out for Christmas. If you get to Madison Valley you must pop into Red Ticking, my favorite Seattle shop for vintage and other beautiful finds for the home – and close by is Harvest Vine, a delicious gem for Basque food. Ballard and Capitol Hill are fun neighborhoods for shopping and eating. Spinasse, Walrus & Carpenter, Rione XII, Staple and Fancy, to name just a few. Have fun!

  3. Carie

    December 12, 2012

    Dick’s Drive In. Burgers, fries, shakes. Kind of like a vintage In-n-out. Yummy and kid friendly.

  4. Jess

    December 12, 2012

    Welcome to Seattle! One of my favorite places to eat (right in my neighborhood) is Oddfellows. Capitol Hill is easy to get to from downtown (within walking distance + there are many buses that come up the hill). Oddfellows is right next to Elliott Bay Bookstore (amazing!), Totokaelo, Molly Moon’s ice cream & local craft store Nube.

  5. Shannon of Happiness Is

    December 12, 2012

    Welcome Jordan! We like to take our visiting friends to Sitka & Spruce in Capital Hill and Local 360 in Belltown. And as cheesy as this sounds, eat at the top of the Space Needle. Their restaurant is surprising delicious, not to mention the gorgeous views of the city. For shopping, I bet you’ll love old town Ballard. Enjoy!! xo

  6. Erika Peterson

    December 12, 2012

    Seattle is the best city ever. I may be bias because I live here, but there is so much to do. I’d second everything Jeanne mentioned, but also add: Oliver’s Twist in Phinney Ridge (kid-friendly bar with great food and drink!), a walk around Green Lake, Trophy Cupcakes or Cupcake Royale, Red Mill Burgers (always a line), Molly Moon’s ice cream (fun, unique flavors), Serious Pie, Revel in Fremont (Korean comfort food) or Cicchetti on Eastlake (great view). So many options, but I have to cut myself off somewhere :)

  7. Shara Cochrane

    December 12, 2012

    I did a girls trip to Seattle this past April and loved it.
    You must try a Bacon Pancake cupcake from Yellow Leaf Cupcake. The smashed potatoes at Lola’s are Amazing, along with their doughnuts. Great little place for breakfast. Head down to the Market for some Beechers Mac and Cheese (not your traditioal mac and cheese but very good) I am a lover of popcorn, so Kukuruza stole my heart. Enjoy your time and would love any recommendations you find. I am sure we will be going back sometime in the future.

  8. Emily | Sparkle Meets Pop

    December 12, 2012

    Hope you guys have a great time! I haven’t been there in a few years and would love to go back. Some family just moved up there and have been telling (bragging!) about how much they love it.

  9. Kelsey

    December 12, 2012

    Go to Delancey (Molly Wizenberg) in Ballard and get some of the best pizza around. If you have time and it’s dry, I would also venture to take a walk around Green Lake, as it’s a beautiful area during the holidays and there are some cute little mom&pop shops around the perimeter. Otherwise, enjoy the PNW!

  10. Shubha

    December 12, 2012

    The only city that I fell in love with on DAY ONE – on a rainy day, in winter, while walking around soaked! My most favorite spot in Seattle was Thai Tom (4543 University Way Northeast Seattle, WA 98105) – a hole in a wall (literally) but the most delicious and comforting Thai food I’ve had so far.

    Enjoy your time there!

  11. HannahJo

    December 12, 2012

    Go to the Pink Door! Its an amazing hidden gem right near the water with an incredible ambiance and wonderful Italian food.
    1919 Post Alley Seattle

    (literally in an alley. Pink door. You’ll totally almost miss it)

  12. Sarah

    December 12, 2012

    that’s one of the best things about living in san francisco – so many wonderful not-too-far-away places. it’s one of the hardest things about living in austin, where i am now – everything seems so far away!

  13. Laura

    December 12, 2012

    We were in Seattle Labor Day weekend and went to a tapas restaurant, Ocho, in Ballard. It was a fantastic neighborhood place with amazing food. After dinner, we strolled through boutiques and got drinks at local bars with great live music. Ballard is great!

  14. Ruth

    December 12, 2012

    Volunteer Park (Capital Hill) is beautiful for walking through on any type of day, even in today’s gray drizzle. Check out Bruce Lee’s and Brandon Lee’s graves in the adjacent cemetery. Close by is Vios, a tasty Greek restaurant with a great kids’ play area. You can sit at tables around the play area and enjoy adult food and conversation while the kiddos are entertained. And a tiny shop called Butter Home, in the loft of Melrose Market, has wonderful finds. (Lots of other good stuff in the market, too.) Enjoy!

  15. Helen Knopf

    December 12, 2012

    U Village is a wonderful place to browse with good shops and places to eat and fun for your children too

  16. Kelsey C.

    December 12, 2012

    You’re in my tromping ground! Here’s some of my favorite places to shop and eat around Seattle… University Village has reindeer this time of year, a darling sweets shop, and cute paper stores (located in the university district). The Cinerama is a movie theatre worth visiting–their Theo chocolate covered popcorn is to die for (located downtown)! Molly Moons Ice Cream is the best ice cream in town (the capitol hill and Wallingford shops are in the best locations for browsing around the neighborhood shops.) Elliot Bay Book Store is the best book store in town (located on Capitol Hill near Molly Moons and many other urban shops.) Columbia City is South Seattle’s hidden secret with its diversity, cute shops, delicious bakery, and amazing local restaurants (about 10 min drive south of downtown and easily accessible from the light rail.)

  17. Bridget

    December 12, 2012

    Ravish in Eastlake is awesome. The mac and cheese is excellent and the servers are great. Super friendly. Great sharing plates and kid-friendly without being overly kid-friendly. Molly Moons is great for ice cream. Walrus & Carpenter in Ballard for oysters. Pink Door is fun. Quinn’s on Cap Hill is good too. Visit Alki Beach if you want a taste of California. The carousel downtown is fun for the kids. Near Macys.

  18. jess

    December 12, 2012

    Walrus & the Carpenter – if you like oysters. go to happy hour if you can! the wait times can get really crazy. Ballard (my neighborhood) is an awesome place to explore in general if you can make it out there.
    Tom Douglas – any of his restaurants. i like Serious Pie – it’s close to downton and they have awesome pizza.
    Totokaelo – amazing boutique in Capitol Hill
    Pike Street Fish Fry – little hole in the wall. good for a lunch break after exploring Capitol Hill. Really close to the Elliott Bay bookstore mentioned above.

  19. Cayenne

    December 12, 2012

    EATS: One of my favorite restaurants has already been covered – Delancey is fantastic! Senor Moose Cafe in Ballard has decent mexican food (i live in san diego so i’m quite picky) and a relaxed atmosphere that would be good for kids. La Carta de Oaxaca down the street from Senor Moose is my absolute favorite – order the mole – and is a bit fancier but out and boisterous so okay for kids too. ACTIVITIES: venture over to Fremont and take a tour of the Theo Chocolate Factory. You get a discount at the end and there are lots of free samples in the gift shop. Fremont also has many lovely clothing shops and several other good restaurants. Jai Thai is good and Chiso Restaurant has great quality sushi but is a little pricey so check it out at lunch time. If you venture over to Ballard check out the Ballard Locks (see the Salmon ladder etc) and Golden Gardens Park. Back over downtown one of my favorite memories as a kid was playing at the Children’s Museum (near the Space Needle) – hours and hours of entertainment! I have not been there for 20 years but it still is magically in my mind. Lastly, the Seattle Public Library is relatively new and has amazing architecture that would be fun to explore with kids. Have a great time!

  20. Jen

    December 12, 2012

    We always take our kids to the Seattle Childrens Museum. Perfect for a rainy day and to let the kids get their energy out! Very fun and imaginative. We also like to stroll the waterfront if the weather is okay. Very pretty!

  21. Ceci Bean

    December 12, 2012

    I love Seattle. Have you visited the library and the Chittenden locks? so cool.

  22. Misty Alessi

    December 12, 2012

    You have to go to Blue Bells Bar and Grill. Get the blue cheese burger! To die for.
    Also, Full Tilt in the U Village for ice cream. My husband and I lived in Queen Anne for 6 months after we were first married and had a blast. Hope you are having a great time! :)

  23. Jenny

    December 12, 2012

    Ballard is the neighborhood to visit for good eats and shopping.

    Grab drinks at Noble Fir (ciders on tap)
    Dessert at D’Ambrosio
    Dinner at Volterra
    Shopping at Horse Shoe

  24. Allie

    December 12, 2012

    Volunteer park cafe is a tasty spot. I second Oddfellows, Molly moons, Skillet Diner (all reasonably kid friendly if you have the little ones with you). Cal Anderson park and volunteer park on cap hill are also fun. Enjoy our fair city!

  25. alyssa

    December 12, 2012

    eat at the alibi room in pike place market! THE BEST pizza, reasonable prices for everything, and it’s in a little dark corner away from the hustle and bustle of the market.
    i second Skillet for their poutine… delicious. by FAR the best poutine in the city.
    le pichet is as close to paris as i’ve gotten in seattle, so if you miss it, take a chance! their sister cafe, cafe presse, is wonderful as well.
    shop the market, elliot books, & nordstrom of course! (windows all dressed up for christmas) and don’t forget to see the ballet. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Nutcracker has sets and costumes designed my Maurice Sendak; it is not to be missed.
    glad you’re having fun in my hometown!

  26. Chelsea

    December 12, 2012

    Already been mentioned, but I have to second the Pink Door!!

  27. Dewi

    December 12, 2012

    GO see snowflake lane at Bellevue square. It’s so magical complete with marching band and fake snowflakes. it’s every night 7 pm till after Christmas I think.

    eat at Dicks drive-in.

  28. Molly

    December 12, 2012

    I don’t know if you knit, crochet or do other needlework, but if you do Churchmouse Yarns & Tea in Winslow on Bainbridge Island is well worth the ferry ride. You can walk on the ferry and to the shop from the Winslow landing.

  29. Notes from Holly St.

    December 12, 2012

    I’ve always wanted to visit Seattle. I’ve been loving all of your photos on Instagram! Can’t wait to hear all about your favorite sights and spots!

  30. Jen T

    December 12, 2012

    If you like getting the annual Christmas photo with Santa, stop by the Space Needle where you can put the boys (and parents) in a retro rocket with Santa and decorate cookies afterward.
    Foodwise – cheap, kid-friendly Mexican @ Agua Verde near the UW. If you dare, rent a kayak from the club below and paddle around the Arboretum. Fantastic small plates and drinks at Oliver’s Twist on Phinney Ridge (near Greenlake). It’s kid friendly and has the best truffle popcorn and chocolate gelato dessert. Check the schedule for the Christmas Ships that cruise around the town that you can either enjoy onboard or from shore when docked at various locations for a show. A performance of The Wizard of Oz at the Seattle Children’s Theatre at the Seattle Center is fantastic for both young and old. Go to Ballard for great array of restaurants and shopping. Very walkable there. Favorites include Volterra, Bastille, La Carta de Oaxaca, Honore Bakery. Finally, the new Chihuly glass museum (Chihuly Garden and Glass) at the Seattle Center is supposed to be lovely.
    Have fun!

  31. Annie

    December 12, 2012

    Go to the no frills restaurant Paseo in Fremont (or Shilshole) for the
    most incredible Cuban pork sandwich ever!!

  32. Karen

    December 12, 2012

    So many great comments already:
    Love Volunteer Park cafe for meals or just a hot drink with an amazing cookie. Family style seating.
    La Carta de Oaxaca has the best authentic mexican but Aqua Verde with kids and renting kyasks is a great option. You can paddle around the house boats.
    The sculpture park is fun to walk around and shoot photos.
    The Bellvue Botanical gardess at night to see all the flowers made out of lights. The kids Love it. The snow at Bell Square is kind of cheesy.
    Watch the Christmas Ships from Madison Park Beach. Not sure what night.
    Gingerbread Houses at the Marriot.
    The Gum Wall at Pike place, gross but the kids will think its cool.

  33. Marie

    December 12, 2012

    Carmelita’s on Greenwood is THE BEST Vegetarian Restaurant, ever. Cafe Flora is second best and for Vegetarian/Kosher Chinese, Bamboo Gardens on Roy next to Seattle Center.

  34. Tally

    December 12, 2012

    . Paseo for the Caribbean pork sandwich (go early because they close when they run out of pork!), and walk down to the Fremont Troll.
    . Molly Moon’s Ice Cream – salted caramel in a waffle cone, or any of their fabulous sundaes.
    . Serious Biscuit (Tom Douglas) for amazing breakfast biscuit sandwiches, or Portage Bay Cafe for an incredible breakfast (pancake/waffle bar!), then walk down to the Center for Wooden Boats at South Lake Union.
    . Theo Chocolate Factory Tour in Fremont/Ballard. It’s only $6, and ends in a gift shop with endless samples of their delicious chocolate bars.
    . Piroshky Piroshky at Pike Place Market for some delicious Piroshkies. Potato onion cheese is the best!
    . Milkshakes at Lunchbox Laboratory (delicious!).
    . Ballard Avenue for fun Christmas shopping, and watch the fishermen while you eat dinner in the wharf at Chinook’s.
    . There’s a Hanna Andersson outlet in Woodinville!

  35. Caitlyn

    December 12, 2012

    Cartas de Oaxaca on Ballard Avenue, well pretty much anything on Ballard Avenue.

    Totokaelo for shopping!

  36. Fun mama

    December 12, 2012

    I went to Seattle years ago and Matt’s in the market remains one of the best meals of my life. An amazon hole in the wall!

  37. Jessica

    December 12, 2012

    I put in another vote for Ballard! Old Ballard Ave has so many great shops (home goods, clothes, toy store…). Walrus & Carpenter has been mentioned a few times and I highly suggest it. It’s not just for oyster lovers, though :) Just the atmosphere and cocktails alone are worth!

  38. Sheryl

    December 12, 2012

    Breakfast: 5 Spot in Queen Anne and Roxy’s in Fremont
    Lunch: Bimbo’s in Cap Hill
    Dinner: Bizzaro’s in Wallingford (super quirky and wonderfully tasty Italian).

    Have fun!!!!

  39. Natalie

    December 12, 2012

    It’s been said, but I have to say it again: Molly Moon’s! Coconut chunk is my favorite. Have fun!

  40. Mallory

    December 12, 2012

    I second Oddfellows, Lola, Staple &Fancy, and Matt’s in the Market, but also have to add Tilth in Wallingford (on 45th). It is absolutely outstanding and I very highly recommend it. I also agree about the Theo tour and the sculpture garden and I also think that there might be an ice skating rink at Seattle Center this time of year. I’ve also heard really good things about ELF at the 5th avenue theater.

  41. Julie

    December 12, 2012

    Oddfellows, Dick’s, Volunteer Park Cafe, Molly Moon’s.

  42. Trish

    December 12, 2012

    Greetings!!! Seattle is so beautiful around the holidays huh? As a native, I’d check out the Walrus and Carpenter is Ballard. It offers the freshest and bestest local seafood you can get! Gotta have seafood when you’re here.
    Shopping in Pike Place Market is always the most unique for me. So much to explore and gaze at. Big duh, but definitely worth it! Hope you have a grand time!

  43. Hong

    December 12, 2012

    A twice baked chocolate croissant from Bakery Nouveau. Enough said.
    If I wasn’t working this weekend I’d offer to take you out on a sail on Puget Sound. The Orcas have been making regular visits of the shores of Lincoln Park and Alki!

  44. Maria

    December 12, 2012

    Many great recommendations already. I would add that especially if you have the kids with you a trip to Queen Anne is a great fit. It is easy to get to from downtown by bus and very walkable and has everything from parks to eating to shopping to views. And since there are locations of many places recommended you could do it all in one neighborhood.
    There is a great small chocolate shop that carries Theo chocolates and so much more
    There is a great game shop that also has a game library and you could hang out and play a game with the kids if time allowed
    Several great shops (here are a couple)
    Lots of great places to eat from casual to more fancy depending on what you are looking for. Below are a few but there are several more as well.
    Homegrown ( (award winning new location of La Carta de Oaxaca recommended above)
    5 spot
    Macrina’s Bakery
    Also there is a Molly Moon location or a Top Pot depending if you are looking for great ice cream or great donuts (or both!)

    And you can’t miss the amazing view of downtown from Kerry Park and just below there is a playground so the kids can run around a bit.

    Really if you are staying downtown you could easily take the bus up and spend the day walking and relaxing in Queen Anne shopping, playing and eating great food.

    For Downtown The Pink Door is our favorite and they are totally great with kids. For breakfast Etta’s and Steelhead Diner are delicious and easy to do with kids as well. The kids area of the downtown library is great as is Soundbridge just outside the symphony.

    We have family in Palo Alto and have been thinking about taking the train down…how was the ride? would love to hear how it went.


  45. Pauline

    December 12, 2012

    Go on a ferry ride or take a walk along the farmers market in Ballard, eat cider donuts in the drizzle, then warm up with warm, delicious, cozy food at Revel. And I can’t believe no one’s mentioned it but Besalu also in Ballard probably has the best croissants and pastries outside of Paris or New York. It’s a must taste.

  46. Ainsley

    December 12, 2012

    Welcome! Be sure to spend sometime exploring Ballard!

  47. Carrie R

    December 12, 2012

    Welcome! I am so hungry after reading all of these. I’m never cooking again. I hope you’re enjoying your trip. I’m loving seeing the city through your eyes on Instagram. It feels new to me again.

  48. M.E.

    December 13, 2012

    I totally second Thai Tom in the University District – so unique, so amazing. Might be tricky with the kids, but something worth trying.

  49. Aimee

    December 13, 2012

    Sounds like you are getting some great recommendations.

    If you randomly find yourself north in Bothell there is a thai restaurant that is hands down the best thai in the united states. they have a crispy garlic chicken entree that will blow your effing mind. Yelp Pen Thai Bothell. We call it crack chicken.

    Also if you have a hankering for Crown Burger there is a hole in the wall in Bellevue called Broiler Bay. Fry sauce. Pastrami. Greasy. Delicious. Happiness.

    Have fun in our town!

  50. Kayti Clayton

    December 13, 2012

    Depending on how far you want to go and what you like to do, downtown Edmonds (about 25 minutes from Seattle) is so cute during Christmas time. Great for if you’re looking for some boutique shopping in a cozy little town. There are some BEAUTIFUL parks down in Leschi on Lake Washington – great for photos too. There are some great places to eat down in Ballard, Paseo is a bright pink shack near Golden Gardens who make wonderful sandwiches (all different kinds) and use freshly baked bread only – they close when they run out so get there at a decent time. Right down the block from Paseo is Ray’s Boathouse who has a great happy hour with some killer calamari. If you’re into fun dining experiences, I love Marrakesh which is a sit down, eat with your hands, Moroccan restaurant – belly dancers included in the evenings. If you want to see some snow while you’re here – just drive North about 45 minutes to an hour to Arlington and they have snow on the ground! There’s a great Christmas Tree farm that we just went to that has a huge fire outside, cider, sweet and snacks, etc. Obviously you can’t lug a tree back home but I just love the snow!

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