The Not-As-Touristy Guide to Seattle

The Not-As-Touristy Guide to Seattle Maybe you have just booked yourself a weekend trip to the rainy city of Seattle. Surely you know about the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, but what else is there to do in Seattle?

Plenty. There’s PLENTY to do!

I’ve done the tourist thing in Seattle (check it out here). I’ve been to the top of the Space Needle, I’ve been to the Aquarium, I went on the Harbor cruise. Fun stuff, but there’s just way more to do than that.

When I was researching fun things to do in Seattle, the same touristy things I already did kept popping up. It was a little frustrating, because I know this city has so much to offer.

Seattle has MANY underrated restaurants, bars, bookstores, and boutiques you should really pay attention to.


Bainbridge Island – Pretty little island that’s accessible by a 30 minute ferry ride. Hop on the ferry in Downtown Seattle and end up in a cute little town surrounded by trees. There’s also plenty of wine tasting on the island, if that’s up your alley. On the ride there, take in the fresh air and if you’re lucky, steal a view of Mt. Rainier.

Alki Beach – This little beach is nice in the summer but it’s a lovely area to check out even when the weather is less than perfect. Walk along the beach and see views of downtown across the water. Check out little restaurants along the waterfront, too. Cactus is really nice! There’s a Top Pot Doughnuts here, too.

Golden Gardens
Golden Gardens

Golden Gardens – Another pretty little place. There’s a slightly rocky beach but very scenic views. Get close to the water with no one around. Play some beach volleyball.

Ballard Locks – I thought this place was pretty cool. To get boats into the sound, they have to raise the water levels, or else it’s too shallow. This is where they do it. They also have another side where they lower the water levels. That’s the best I can describe it, and I’m probably describing it wrong…so you should definitely take a look for yourself! In the summer, you can see schools of salmon swimming through as well. Definitely worth checking out.

Fremont Troll – Yes, this is the ugly troll that everyone takes a photo in front of. If you’re in the area, why not?


Trove Vintage Boutique – Features vintage-inspired clothes that are brand new for purchase, real vintage clothes in great condition, and a wedding boutique at the back of the store. A must-see for any woman who loves vintage clothing (no men’s clothes, unfortunately). Be sure to check out their blog and their Instagram to see the latest pieces that come to the store. And if you’re into vintage shopping but can’t make it to Seattle, you should check out their online Etsy store!

Meadow – One of those stores where you expect everything to be expensive, but you’re pleasantly surprised. Filled with tons of cute, girly things.


I love browsing through bookstores. Especially used bookstores. You really never know what kind of treasures you might find. And authors are often invited for book signings and discussions.

Elliot Bay Book Company – So many books. Lovely environment. Fun to browse. Cafe in the back. Some books on sale.

Eagle Harbor Books – This store is actually located on Bainbridge Island, which is a ferry ride away from downtown Seattle, but it’s so worth mentioning. They have two stores–one with new books and another with used. While the new books are set up in a cute and cozy store, it’s the used books I found very interesting. I picked up so many fiction books from favorite authors at great prices that I just couldn’t find at local bookstores here. If you’re an avid reader, this place is worth a shot.

Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe – Basically a very nerdy (in a good way!) bookstore. Geeky, and very unique.


Top Pot Doughnuts – Absolutely delish. I had a bavarian donut and it just made me so very happy. Anything is good here. Multiple locations. 

Molly Moon – They say the Salted Caramel ice cream is what you should try from here…but let’s be real, everything is good. Multiple locations. 

Rooibos Tea Latte
Rooibos Tea Latte

Cederberg Tea House – This South African cafe has South African snacks, teas, and coffee. Plus they have a ton of packaged food from South Africa that’s really fun to look at. I highly recommend getting the Rooibos Tea Latte. And the sausage rolls are really good. Located in Queen Anne. 

Pie Bar – Stuff your face with a variety of sweet and savory pies. One location in Capitol Hill, one in Ballard. 

Serious Pie – This one is pizza. Really good pizza. And biscuits if you’re there in the mornings. Multiple locations.

Eltana Wood-fired Bagels – If you’re feeling bougie, treat yourself to a wood-fired bagel. Mutliple locations. 

Paseo – Delicious caribbean sandwiches. This has been featured on Food Network shows!!

Theo Chocolate Factory – Don’t know if I would classify this as food, but there’s delicious chocolate involved and a fun factory tour. It’s family friendly but fun for anyone and everyone who loves chocolate.

Portage Bay – BRUNCH. You must go here for brunch. Multiple locations. 

Toulouse Petit – Cajun/Creole food. Everyone raves about it. Don’t miss out!


There are bars left and right here. But what Seattle has that I haven’t seen in other cities are cider bars. They have a ton. Definitely take a look at the cider houses and breweries.

Capitol Cider – They also have board games and shuffleboard!

Schilling Cider House – ’nuff said.

Fremont Brewing – Awesome, popular brewery.

But, don’t skip these classic tourist attractions:

Chihuly Garden and Glass – Beautiful glass art. Photos don’t do it justice. It’s something you just have to see in person. Beautiful day or night, but most people come here during the day. They had a really nice glassblowing demonstration outside that was fun to watch. I was awestruck at how much work it took to make a glass vase.

Space Needle – C’mon! It’s the Space Needle. Beautiful views of the city from the top. Located in the Seattle Center right next to Chihuly.

Tickets to both Chihuly and the Space Needle are available on the Seattle CityPASS! My family bought CityPASSes a couple of years ago when we were in Seattle, and it saved us a LOT of money. Ticket prices can add up pretty quickly. We ended up going to the Seattle Aquarium and going on the Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, too! It was fun and we all had a great time, spending time with each other. If you’re interested in those types of things to do and places to see, take a look at the CityPASS and see if it’ll save you some money!

Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market – A foodie paradise. A few favorites include Piroshky Piroshky, Le Panier, Beecher’s, and Pike Place Chowder. Yes, the original Starbucks is located here, but…they serve you the same Starbucks coffee you get anywhere else. Which is why you should go to the Reserve instead. Other cool things to get from here–seafood, flowers, jewelry, specialty foods.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room – Located not too far from downtown in Capitol Hill. This is where they roast coffee and make specialty drinks you can’t find anywhere else. Taste different coffees that are brewed with special methods while listening to coffee beans funnel through pipes. It’s a pretty cool experience. Plus, they have friendly servers who take your order and bring you coffee. Whaaaat!

That’s my list for now! What would you add to the list?

2 thoughts on “The Not-As-Touristy Guide to Seattle

  1. Great list! I skipped most of the tourist things while I was living in Seattle–I never went up into the Space Needle. Although Pike Place is a must for everyone! You mentioned some of my favorites here though, like Golden Gardens, Bainbridge, and Cederberg Tea House. I miss that city!

Comments are closed.