From updated classics to contemporary hot spots, Seattle is brimming with reasons to revisit this fall
Carpet meets glass below me and people lie on the ground, smiling head-to-head as they pose for a selfie. There aren’t many public places in a city where you’ll find fellow tourists in this peculiar pose, yet on the top floor of the newly-renovated Space Needle, it is a very common occurrence. Dangling 500 feet above the city, many people are hesitant to set foot on the glass—and when that glass floor is rotating, the urge to retreat is totally rational.
While I have visited the Space Needle many times throughout my life, this visit felt like the first—with a comforting feeling of familiarity—and that’s a feeling I felt throughout Seattle, a city filled with new sites to see, but also touting refreshed classics to rediscover.
Here’s where to eat, stay and play on your next weekend getaway to Seattle...
1. Stay in the centre of the city
Hotel TheodoreOriginally opened as the Roosevelt Hotel in 1930 and recently updated and reopened in 2017 as Hotel Theodore (nodding to its historic namesake), this beautiful boutique hotel maintains a vintage vibe while incorporating modern offerings that meet the needs of today's traveller.
Rooms are like little time capsules, featuring framed prints from different eras, ranging from the '40s to the '80s. Each room also features the first patent sketch of the Space Needle (originally the “Rotating Restaurant”), a gem from the archives of the Museum of History & Industry designed for the World’s Fair in 1962. Black faucets and tiny white tiles in the bathrooms remind visitors of the hotel’s past, while the crisp white bedding and modern amenities keep the property firmly planted in the present.
In the main lobby, you’ll find MADE Coffee, offering artisan coffee with beans roasted in a 1949 Balestra wood-fired roaster and then brewed in an Athena Leva (an Italian machine beloved by coffee connoisseurs). Start your day with a freshly brewed cappuccino before heading out to explore the city.
2. Rediscover Seattle's iconic sites
Space NeedleThe Space Needle is a world-renowned architectural icon—the perfect spot to start your weekend sojourn. Originally built in 1962 for the space-age-themed World’s Fair, this beloved landmark has recently undergone a $100-million-dollar “Spacelift,” funded independently by the family who has owned the site since its inception.
A visit to the Space Needle has always left visitors in awe, but the mind-blowing upgrades have launched it into a new world of innovation. Take an exhilarating elevator ride to the top and stroll along The Loupe, the world’s first and only revolving glass floor, as you take in breathtaking views of the city below your feet. Step down the cantilever interior grand staircase that winds through the centre of the top floors and take in never-before-seen views of the landmark’s unique structure. Then sit on the tilted Skyrisers (glass benches) on the open-air observation level, or stay indoors and take in the sweeping views of Seattle through the floor-to-ceiling glass surroundings. Be sure to snap a few selfies before you head out for more adventures in the city.
Bianca BujanNeighbouring the Space Needle, you’ll find the Chihuly Garden & Glass Exhibit, a beautiful display of botanicals and glass sculptures that come alive amidst stunning scenery. Highlights include a 4,500-square-foot light-filled Glasshouse (pictured), which features a 100-foot-long suspended sculpture that dazzles against the sky. The outdoor garden stroll provides the perfect backdrop for the glowing glass garden sculptures that sparkle below the Space Needle towering above. When available, stay for a live glass-blowing demonstration by a local artist, often hosted in the Glasshouse.
Visit SeattleWrap up your scenic tour of the city with a visit to the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), formerly known as the Experience Music Project Museum (EMP). The curvaceous metallic exterior gives a nod to Seattle’s musical past, and inside you’ll find a series of entertaining exhibits that shine the spotlight on past and present elements of contemporary pop culture. Current exhibits to check out include Scared To Death: The Thrill of Horror Film (look out for a spooky display from The Walking Dead); Pearl Jam: Home And Away, a deep dive into the life and times of the famed rock band; and MARVEL: Universe of Super Heroes, a journey through Marvel’s 80-year history and the largest exhibition ever displayed at MoPOP.
6. Fuel up at these new dining hot spots
Bianca BujanFor lunch, warm up with a flavourful bowl of ramen at Kiki Ramen. Featuring six different ramen bowls, a selection of Japanese small plates and a wide whiskey selection, this traditional ramen shop infuses modern and eclectic decor to create a clean, laid-back atmosphere where you can enjoy a quick lunch in style. Order the Special TKO Ramen, which includes pork belly, soft egg and shitake mushrooms, and wash it down with a cold glass of Boundary Bay Citraweise. Sit at the bar and enjoy power hour at 3 p.m., and get a can of Rainier beer for just $1 a pop.
Suzi PrattFor dinner head to Rider, an upscale restaurant that serves up a fusion of foraged forest ingredients with freshly caught fish from the ocean that sits only steps away. The ambiance combines old with new, with tile work that hints back to the '20s era in an open-air industrial space that marries hand-forged metalwork with exposed brick to create a modern space. Share the Seafood Plateau, a bountiful tower of fresh seafood with a side of warm crab toast, or slice into the dry-aged rib eye, a treat for meat lovers.