Sometimes life can seem dull and lacking in magic. Fortunately I’m about to whisk you away on a one day in Seattle itinerary . There’s a reason Seattle’s nickname is The Emerald City! This West Coast beauty has all of Oz’s charm without those pesky flying monkeys and wicked witches. Allow me to take you on a one day in Seattle itinerary and I’ll prove it to you.
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while this article is about how to have a one day in Seattle itinerary, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a one day in Seattle itinerary. If you’re looking for another one day in Seattle itinerary, click here.
One Day in Seattle Itinerary
Where to Stay?
If you’re anything like me, there are a few things you look for in every hotel. You want a convenient and safe location. Then you’d like a clean and comfortable room, but it doesn’t need to be fancy, as we are probably not on our honeymoon and don’t plan to be spending that much time in the hotel. Finally, you’d like some cool amenities, especially breakfast.
Well, if that’s the case then the Best Western Pioneer Square is for you! As you can see from my photo, the rooms are clean and of a goodly size. The location in historic Pioneer Square couldn’t be better. Plus there’s free Wifi, breakfast, and a coffee machine in the room. Even better, there was an ice machine down the hall so I could depuff my eyes every morning. Who could ask for more?
One Day in Seattle Itinerary
Morning: Pike Place Market Tour
One of the many things that makes Seattle unusual is that arguably its most famous attraction is not a museum or a monument but a market. But the Pike Place Market plays an important role in Seattle’s history.
It was started because too many middle managers were buying produce from immigrant farmers and then jacking up the prices. So the Pike Place Market got created to make sure the farmers were paid fairly, and the people of Seattle weren’t charged nonsense prices just to get a head of lettuce. It’s a true example of Seattle’s famously progressive politics at work. Plus it’s just an amazing place to get delicious food!
All the stalls in the Pike Place Market can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why I suggest stepping aboard a food tour with Savor Seattle. Your knowledgeable guide will introduce you to the market’s fascinating history, tell the stories of some of the most interesting vendors, and of course help you chow down on…
Approximately Top 5: Pike Place Market Food
1) Time to Make the Doughnuts
Our first stop is at Daily Dozen Doughnuts. Like many of the stands in the Pike Place Market, it has a heartwarming backstory. The company is run by two sisters, but it was originally just run by one of them. When her back started to give out, the other sister quit her job to help her run the doughnut stand. Now they live together in harmony, serving doughnuts together!
And you will feel just as harmonious after you put one of these light and delicious treats in your mouth. They’re as fluffy as Art Garfunkel’s hair, if it were made of cotton candy!
2) Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt
One thing I liked about this tour is they kind of give you two breakfasts: an indulgent one (the doughnuts), and a healthy one (this Greek yogurt). Ellenos was started by a Greek family from Brisbane. Their Greek yogurt is the best I’ve ever had, and I actually eat Greek yogurt every day. It was smooth and completely lacked the sour-osity you sometimes find in Greek yogurt.
We got to try the Greek yogurt with two different toppings: passionfruit and marionberry, which is a fruit that is local to the Pacific Northwest. Our guide, whom I shall call The Tin Man, said that Ellenos was so popular, they were going to start selling at Whole Foods. I don’t want to have to buy my Greek yogurt at Whole Paycheck, but this yogurt is so good, it’s worth it.
3) Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
Now we’re heading to one of the four “main course” stops on the food tour. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese has locations in both Seattle and New York. But the Seattle location is the first location–if you open a store in the Pike Place Market, you’re allowed to expand to other locations, but the Pike Place Market location should be the original.
One of the coolest things about this stop is that you can actually see the cheese being produced. The Tin Man said they use Gruyere culture, but this cheese is much more flavorful than the Swiss cheese you get at most American stores. I could practically hear it yodeling!
We enjoyed snacking on the cheese, but the highlight of this stop was the creamy and decadent mac and cheese. The Tin Man told us it was Oprah’s favorite mac and cheese, and she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to her Favorite Things. I have a hard time decided whether I’d rather have Oprah give me this mac and cheese or a new car. (Keep in mind that I can’t drive.)
4) Chukar Cherries
We’re back to the sweets again with Chukar cherries! I guarantee that if you have a sweet tooth or you have a loved one with a sweet tooth, you’re going to want to know about these babies. We spoke to the extremely friendly manager of the stand who told us about the history of the majestic Chukar cherry.
The cherries that the company uses come from a family owned farm in Washington. Chukar is the name of a bird that likes to eat the cherries. I can’t quite tell if the company is honoring the bird by naming the company after it or taunting the bird. “No cherries for you, BIRD!”
To make the sweet treats, the cherries are dried and then covered with different toppings. My favorite were the dark chocolate covered cherries, but the tart ones covered with raspberry powder are delicious too. You get a discount if you buy cherries after the tour, so a bunch of us went back to the stall and bought some yummy Seattle souvenirs. I regret nothing! In fact, I may go buy some more Chukar cherries online right now. (They don’t give me a commission–or even free cherries—for saying this. I speak from authentic love.)
5) Pike Place Chowder
Now we come to the most famous spot on the tour. East Coasters like myself might be horrified to find that this award-winning chowder is made on the West Coast. The Notorious B.I.G. himself is rolling over in his grave. But the Tin Man told us that Pike Place Chowder employs a proper chowder-smith from the East Coast, so I feel a little better.
And I do have to admit that this chowder was exceptionally creamy and delicious. I went to college in New England, so I’ve eaten a fair amount of the stuff, but this is better than any chowder I’ve tried in Boston. (I assume Mark Wahlberg will send me some hate mail for that comment.) The Tin Man said that Pike Place Chowder won so many times in the national chowder competition that they were permanently barred. That’s New England corruption at its finest!
6) Piroshky Piroshky
Now we come to the most heartwarming story on the tour. Piroshky Piroshky was founded by an Eastern European couple in the early 90s. If you’re not familiar with piroshky, they’re just stuffed pies and you can fill them with anything. I mean, you can’t but someone who knows how to make them can. We sampled two on this tour: one meat and cheese and one with apple and honey.
The heartwarming part of the story is that the couple who owns the bakery was getting set to open when they realized they had run out of money to buy all the ingredients they needed to make the piroshkies. They were afraid that the opening day would be ruined. But a mysterious benefactor left them some money at the last minute, so the store opening was a huge success.
Who was this benefactor? You need to take the tour to find out. But spoiler alert! It was not Starbucks founder Howard Schultz.
7) Etta’s Seafood Restaurant
Our last stop is a quick little bite of Pacific Coast seafood combined with East Coast cooking techniques. These crabcakes come from Etta’s, owned by Chef Tom Douglas, who was won two James Beard awards. He’s originally from Delaware but he’s been in Seattle so long that he definitely counts as a local. These crabcakes taste like ones you could find on the East Coast, but they are made with West Coast Dungeness crab. It’s like the East Coast/West Coast feud is being put to rest in one simple bite of seafood!
One Day in Seattle Itinerary
Afternoon: Museum of Flight
I’m going to assume you won’t need lunch after that food tour, Internet Stranger! So let’s continue our one day in Seattle itinerary at the Museum of Flight! You can get hours and ticket price info here on their website. It’s a ways away from the Pike Place Market, so take a car or a rideshare over here.
The Museum of Flight is one of the largest air and space museums in the country. If you have any major geeks in your group, they will be in hog heaven here. But even if you’re not a flight fanatic, you’ll find plenty to enjoy and explore here. I’ll give you a taste with…
Three Fun Facts: Museum of Flight
1) How Are the Special Exhibits?
Amazing, if the one I saw was a typical example! When I visited the Museum of Flight, I was treated to Destination Moon, an amazing collection of Space Race area vehicles and other artifacts. Have you ever wanted to see one of Yuri Gagarin’s cosmonaut suit? Now you can!
The highlight of this exhibit was getting to see actual equipment from the original Apollo 11 moon landing, like the NASA Apollo 11 command module, Columbia. The docents are very friendly and will take your picture so it looks like you’re actually getting ready to go to the moon. It will make an excellent and confusing addition to your annual Christmas card!
The exhibit also contained part of one of the rocket engines from the Apollo 11 mission. After it was used, the rocket engine fell to the bottom of the ocean and lay there…until one man’s vision rescued it from the ocean floor. And that man? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Should I shame Mr. Bezos for not spending his money on Seattle’s homeless or praise him for rescuing part of humanity’s precious intellectual history? Either way, there’s a zero percent chance he’ll read this blog post.
2) Why is the Museum of Flight in Seattle?
The Museum is actually partially located in the Red Barn, which was Boeing’s original manufacturing plant. You can explore the Red Barn and see how airplanes used to be made–out of pieces of handcut wood. Terrifying! But is it more terrifying than flying a modern Boeing airplane?
Many of the docents at the Museum of Flight are former Boeing employees, enjoying their retirement by nerding out on flight facts. You can certainly meet one if you step on board the actual prototype for the Boeing 747. According to my docent, Boeing originally tried to sell the 747 to the US government as a firefighting plane but they were not successful.
The docent also told me that Boeing promoted the 747 by asking all the American airlines at the time to send stewardesses to pose for an advertisement with the plane. (This was back before the US only had like three airlines.) The only problem was that Boeing was promoting the plane before it was actually finished! This story about Boeing cutting corners isn’t really that funny when you think about it, given the reasons that Boeing has been in the news lately.
3) What’s the Coolest Airplane?
That’s undoubtedly an actual Air Force One. This isn’t a copy. It’s the real Air Force One used by Eisenhower, JFK, and LBJ. It’s the first presidential jet plane ever made, and you can actually go inside it. But don’t forget who designed the classic color scheme for Air Force One! Of course it was the legendarily classy Jackie Kennedy. LBJ’s hat rack is still inside, but sadly the Museum of Flight doesn’t have a collection of LBJ’s hats to try on. Probably they wouldn’t fit unless you had his giant ears.
I highly recommend standing in front of the plane and shouting, “GET OFF MY PLANE!” ala Harrison Ford in Air Force One. Bonus points for doing this in front of kids because they won’t get the reference.
One Day in Seattle Itinerary
Evening: Dinner at Salare
Edouardo Jordan is one of the most decorated chefs in Seattle, one of the most honored African-American chefs in the country, and one of the most successful young restaurateurs in the US. You can’t try a one day in Seattle itinerary without stopping at one of his restaurants. I mean, unless you hate good food! He has two major restaurants in Seattle: Salare and JuneBaby, but I opted for Salare because JuneBaby didn’t take reservations, and I was afraid I wouldn’t get in.
Chef Jordan studied in Italy, and Salare’s food definitely shows that Italian influence. But it also features techniques and ingredients from the South of the US, Africa, and the Caribbean. The food is a treat for your tummy and your mind!
I suggest starting with a small dish from the Bites section of the menu, one appetizer from the Garden section, and then one main course. My bite was griot, with a Haitian relish called pikliz and heirloom rice. It was the perfect size for a snack. I had never tasted griot, a spicy Haitian pork dish, and I loved its smoky flavor and crispy exterior.
For the garden dish, I selected Purple broccoli with olive oil, custard, citrus, and olives. One bite of this dish transported me to the Mediterranean, just as the previous dish had taken me to the Caribbean. Forget Around the World in 24 Hours! This was around the world in one dinner!
You can have meat or fish for the main, but I suggest getting pasta because Salare serves so many pasta shapes I had never seen before. I couldn’t resist getting the lumache because the waitress had to teach me how to pronounce it. (It’s loo-mah-chay.) I’m never embarrassed to say when I don’t know something! The only people who never feel like they don’t know something are people who are never learning anything!
Lumache means snails, but that’s because of the shape, not the ingredients. This dish was very simple with peanuts, a spicy sauce from Hong Kong called XO sauce, and calabrian chili and clams. To me it tasted like Georgia meets Italy, but that’s only because I feel like Georgia has trademarked peanuts. Of course peanuts are an important part of African cuisine too.
Of course you saved room for dessert! You can’t go wrong with the Almond brown butter cake with honeycomb, pear purée, and cardamom. The shades of brown in the dish were quite soothing, and the different kinds of sweetness in the dish were equally pleasing. The waitress recommended pairing this dessert with a bitter Italian after-dinner drink called amaro, which was a perfect contrast–and a perfect end to this one day in Seattle itinerary.
That’s a Perfect One Day in Seattle Itinerary!
What would you do on a one day in Seattle itinerary? Which Seattle icon should I go after next, now that I’ve tackled both Boeing and Jeff Bezos? And how much do rappers care about East Coast vs West Coast clam chowder? Please leave your thoughts below!