Just a quick jaunt from the Canadian border, the Pacific Northwestern city of Seattle, Washington, is well-situated for weekend visits and offers plenty for curious travellers to explore. Here, our guide to time well-spent in this city by the sea.
Stay: The new Thompson Seattle rises from the walkable waterfront near the city’s spirited Pike Place Market—an impressive, 12-storey lantern-shaped sluice of floor-to-ceiling glass, designed by Seattle’s own Olson Kundig architects. While the hotel’s handsome, mohair-and-leather-accented mid-century modern decor makes for a sophisticated atmosphere, the views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains beyond truly stun (particularly when observed from a seat by the firepits of the Nest rooftop bar). Scout restaurant offers local oysters, shucked tableside on a custom-built rolling cart, and mushrooms gathered in the Cascades. After dinner, an (indoor) rain shower with D.S. & Durga amenities and a hop between Italian Sferra linens reinforce the Thompson’s attention to elevated detail. Consider this the antithesis of grunge.
Eat: Line up for lunch (the only meal served) at Il Corvo, where dishes like casarecce with shiso pesto, pappardelle bolognese, or lumache gigante with preserved lemon and cauliflower use pastas that are house-made with organic eggs, and flour from nearby Walla Walla, Washington. Though diminutive, Il Corvo received a nomination for the prestigious 2016 James Beard Award—though another local gem, The Whale Wins, well, won (Renee Erickson for the Best Chef: Northwest category). Go for a dinner of Erickson’s Hama Hama clams in lemongrass broth followed by salt-roasted chicken with sweet, white nectarine. In the Capitol Hill neighbourhood, Amadine Bakeshop offers French macarons the size of sand dollars in flavours like damson plum and sansho pepper leaf, juniper lemon, and coconut cacao nib, alongside excellent Empire Roast coffee (best enjoyed in their street-facing loft seating-area). Kids in tow may prefer the straightforward charm of General Porpoise’s curd-and-cream-stuffed doughnuts, barely a block away. When perusing the stalls of Pike Place Market, refresh with Rachel’s Ginger Beer; strong, spicy, not-too-sweet brews elevated by hints of caramelized pineapple or tangy blood orange.
Shop: Carrying designers like Rachel Comey, Ann Demuelemeester, and Dries Van Noten, Totokaelo may be Seattle’s most ambitious contemporary boutique (their signature eponymous house collection debuted in 2015, bringing more sleekly futuristic styles to the floor). Next door, Elliott Bay Book Company is a personable and warm spot to while away an afternoon reading staff recommendations, as indicated by handwritten tags poking out from the shelves. Seattle’s flagship Nordstrom teams with energy and constantly refreshed styles, while Alhambra, a sweet little shop tucked downtown, offers bohemian-inflected high-end designs in silk, cashmere, deerskin, and cotton by the likes of L.A.’s Raquel Allegra and New York’s Ulla Johnson.
View: An afternoon at the Frye Art Museum, which specializes in painting and sculpture from the 19th-century to present day, is a lovely way to spend some time in the city, but if the weather is nice and a walk in the cards, head to the Olympic Sculpture Park. Set right on the beach, both permanent and visiting installations dot the nine-acre space, making for an ever-intriguing view.