Seattle may have a reputation as a rainy destination fueled by coffee, but there's much more to the city than its notorious weather and the original Starbucks. An incredible food scene, bustling downtown set along a picturesque waterfront, and easy access to gorgeous Pacific Northwest scenery make it a great choice for a honeymoon, either on its own or combined with additional stops in Washington, Oregon, or British Columbia. Plus, it's really not as rainy as most people think, especially during the summer months. Here's how to spend a few romantic days in the Emerald City.
What to See and Do
You can't go to Seattle without visiting the famed Pike Place Market. Well, you can, but you'd be missing out on one of the city's most iconic attractions. Pike Place is more than a market, it's a microcosm of everything the city loves: spectacular waterfront views, fresh ingredients, good farm-to-table fare, unique handicrafts, and of course, so much seafood. Browse the stalls, stop for breakfast or lunch (more on that below), and watch the fishmongers throw the day's catch, all while partaking in a local tradition that has been around since 1907.
While you're near the waterfront, take a ride in a glass pod on the Seattle Great Wheel, which offers incredible views of the waterfront, Puget Sound, and city skyline as it gently rotates. Or, check out the Aquarium, wander north to the waterfront Olympic Sculpture Park, or take a picturesque ferry ride to charming Bainbridge Island or to West Seattle.
Take in more views of Seattle at the iconic Space Needle—go to the observation deck or make reservations for a meal in the revolving restaurant, or splurge on a sightseeing flight over the city and Lake Union. For an easy day trip, take a drive to Snoqualmie Falls, a 268 ft waterfall known as the setting for the opening credits of Twin Peaks. Or take a 30-minute drive to the town of Woodinville where more than 80 wineries and tasting rooms are open to visitors. For your culture fix, check out the incredible blown glass at the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit, or uncover the early history of the city on an underground tour of Pioneer Square, Seattle's oldest neighborhood.
Where to Eat and Drink
There's no better place for breakfast than Pike Place Market. Get caffeinated at the original Starbucks or—for a shorter wait and, arguably, better coffee—Le Panier French Bakery. Grab a crumpet at The Crumpet Shop (the "Life Changer" topped with almond butter, honey, and walnuts lives up to its name) or try one of a dozen varieties of traditional Russian pastries at Piroskhy Piroshky. If you're still hungry at lunchtime, check out the decadent macaroni and cheese at Beecher's. For dinner, look for the unmarked pink door in nearby Post Alley, where The Pink Door serves up sexy Italian fare with an even sexier nightly cabaret show that, on any given night, may include jazz singers, trapeze artists, or tarot card readers.
Come cocktail hour, grab a drink at one of the city's great bars, such as the Art Deco Tini Biggs martini bar, or the candlelit Zig Zag Café, a long-time staple of Seattle nightlife. For a romantic seafood-centric splurge, head to waterfront Aqua by El Gaucho, where old-school elegance infuses everything from the service to the ambiance, and the menu is a mix of classic dishes and more inventive creations. Standouts include the spicy crab bisque, lobster tail with truffle sauce, and decadent Baileys chocolate caramel bread pudding.
Another classic option for a romantic night out is Canlis, a jackets-required fine dining restaurant that's been serving the Seattle elite for more than 60 years.
Where to Stay
The 17-room, all-suite Inn at El Gaucho, centrally located in the Belltown neighborhood, is a short walk to Pike Place, the waterfront, and the Seattle Center, making it a great option for those who want to see the city without a car. It doesn't hurt that the hotel has sexy down pat. The 50's retro-swank feel is carried out by dark wood accents, deep orange walls, lots of soft leather banquettes, and black and white photos of Hollywood screen sirens.
There's a nightly wine hour and complimentary snacks and coffee, and rooms all feature king or queen beds, sitting areas, desks, flatscreen TVs, wifi, and minibars. An added bonus: there's an onsite boutique movie theatre, lounge, and steakhouse restaurant.