Word of Mouth: Seattle

Embrace the classics and find some hidden gems in Washington state's biggest city

Washington’s biggest city is surrounded by water—even from above, according to reputation. But Seattle is much more than its weather. With Mount Rainier as its postcard backdrop to the southeast, Seattle might not be the glitziest city in the United States, but its ever-changing nature and appreciation for the unpretentious, the grimy and grungy, is what makes it so appealing. Beyond shopping on Ballard, tasting microbrews and visiting Pike Place Market, there’s plenty to do in this town. Take a look below for a few of our favorite spots.


With plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu, Stateside is sure to please most diners. Vietnamese-inspired, but essentially a fusion, the food is light and tasty, with a focus on fresh and seasonal produce. The Master Stock Chicken (poached in stock, then fried) feels hearty without being too much, as does the curried pumpkin. Between the Southeast Asian vibe coming from the dishes, plants and leaf-print wallpaper, Stateside feels almost tropical.

The Thompson

Located just a few steps from the historic Pike Place Market, the Thompson Seattle is a bright, natural light-filled hotel—something that’s especially enjoyable in a city that’s known for its dreary weather. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the rooms are minimal in design—only adding to the feeling of airy spaciousness. With plush robes, rain shower, light-up mirror and DS & Durga products, the bathroom alone is difficult to leave. But breakfast or brunch downstairs at bar/restaurant Scout is an essential: if only for the incredible Breakfast Bread Pudding (brioche, egg custard, crème anglaise and berries) or the avocado toast (complete with chickpeas and pickled onion).

Volunteer Park Conservatory

It’s always warm inside the delightful Volunteer Park Conservatory, no matter the season. The lovely Victorian glass building boasts an equally beautiful interior—to traipse through the cacti-filled structure (open Tuesday through Sunday) will cost $4 for adults. (Admission is free on the first Thursday and Saturday of each month.) Run by the non-profit Friends of the Conservatory (FOC), the institution plays host to guided tours, classes, summer camps, plant sales and more—with the primary mission being education. The quiet space is also a much-needed respite for many who simply want to escape the city.

Le Caviste

Downtown Seattle meets Paris at Le Caviste, a cozy and dimly lit bistro-style wine bar. Offering plenty of cheese and charcuterie, Le Caviste is really focused on the wine (all French) selected by David Butler. His choices are oftentimes surprising, but always worth a sip. The space is warm, and the staff is too—and despite the menu being in French, this place is anything but pretentious. Open from Monday through Saturday, it’s perfect for a rainy afternoon or a post-dinner drink. It’s also a shop—in case you need a bottle to-go.

Museum of Pop Culture

It’d be remiss to visit Seattle and not pay homage to grunge—whether it’s visiting Reciprocal Recording Studio or a landmark live venue like The Crocodile. If you’re not keen on a scavenger hunt, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is a good option, too. While there’s plenty of shows on at any given time—exploring worlds of superheroes, myths, magic, horror and more—the museum oftentimes focuses on more local stories. On now, Nirvana Taking Punk to the Masses is for obsessed fans and grunge rookies alike. With handwritten lyrics and notes, instruments, as well as DIY clothing, flyers and other artifacts, it’s a celebration of much more than the trio’s tunes.

Images courtesy of respective venues