Wandering around Seattle over the last two weeks, it struck me that I definitely have my favorite places that I gravitate to now when I want to have a great experience. Having a bad day? No problem-just check out these places and life will be good. Let’s just call these “happy places”. Honestly, doesn’t everyone need some happy places to get you through the sometimes cold and always rainy Seattle winters? Not everyone can run off to Hawaii, St. Maarten or Florida for a sunny/warm interlude (you know who you are and I’m damn jealous!) so without further ado, I thought I would share these happy places with you, whether you live here and need some new adventures or if you are crazy enough to plan a visit to Seattle during the long winter months. Here is the top 10 countdown of “can’t go wrong happy places” in Seattle:
Happy Place #10-Seattle Sunsets as seen across Elliott Bay. Check it out from any number of parks, restaurants and Pike Place Market on the waterfront. I’m lucky to see this nightly show from my balcony. Blessed!
Happy Place #9-Seattle sporting events. We enjoy the Mariners, Seahawks, Storm, and Reign but nothing beats the excitement of a Sounders game. You must get the start-to-finish experience beginning in Pioneer Square with the March to the Match and then wait after the game is over to see the players applaud their passionate fans.
Happy Place #8-Elliott Bay Book Co. on Capital Hill. From the friendly staff to the huge assortment with lots of staff recommendations pointing you to great reads, nothing beats a book store on a rainy Seattle day. They even have a great café for a bite to eat and coffee. Pres. Clinton even visited here recently on his whistle stop through town, taking in the neighborhood ambience.
Happy Place #7-Sculpture Park on Elliott Bay. Not only is there iconic public art but they have awesome concerts here in the summer. Not many tourists venture this far north of the market so it’s relatively quiet even on gorgeous summer days.
Happy Place #6-Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is a gem with events and new exhibitions coming and going. We really enjoyed their Remix event, an after hours party with music, events, dancing, etc. that draws a huge crowd. We just became members so we can come and go frequently whenever we are in the mood.
Happy Place #5-Chinatown, of course! We can’t wait to go celebrate Chinese New Year-Year of the Monkey on February 8th in our own Seattle Chinatown. There are several dim sum places that are excellent as well as the bakeries where I can get an egg tart. The Uwajimaya grocery has all our favorite snacks from China and always has cool stuff to buy.
Happy Place #4-Uptown Movie Theater. This totally charming old theater is a treasure and shows 3-4 movies, usually independent flicks, and is part of SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival). Best part-it is a block from our house and it serves lattes and wine.
Happy Place #3-The Seattle Center is more than the Space Needle. The lights twinkling in the trees at night while the fountain shoots its water bursts in time to the music make it a wondrous place. People think it is just for tourists but we walk our dogs there every day multiple times and enjoy it so much.
Happy Place #2-Who isn’t happy shopping? In downtown Seattle, our favorite stores are John Fluevog for handcrafted shoes, Everyday Music (EM) for extensive vinyl assortment, Pike Place Market, of course, for leather slippers, lavender sachets and flowers/flowers/flowers, CostPlus World Market for coffee/tea/wine, and Nordstrom’s Rack for shoes and clothing with an onsite tailor. We can walk down and then take the fun Monorail home when we buy too much. Running since the 1962 World Fair, it’s only $2.25 one way for a quick trip from downtown to the Seattle Center. Super convenient for us!
Happy Place #1-MUSIC! I am constantly on the lookout for new and well-loved artists for us to check out in Seattle. Our favorite venues are The Paramount, The Moore, and the Triple Door though we often have to travel to Ballard to the Tractor Tavern to see folks we like. Last year we got to enjoy Eilen Jewell (coming again 2/25 to the Tractor Tavern-check her out!), Allen Stone, Glen Hansard, LeRoy Bell, Elvis Costello, David Bromberg, Florence & The Machine and wish we had seen Alabama Shakes live. I’m sure this year will be an even better year for concerts, though we had to plan a trip in March to LA to see Bruce Springsteen’s final concert on his tour since he snubbed Seattle. Come on, Bruce! Seattle IS the music place to be!