Ideally, a trip to the waterfront wouldn’t involve anything like the gray, gridlocked streets of a gritty urban landscape. But we’d wager there’s an exception to be made as you peer across Puget Sound, sipping your favorite cocktail from the ritzy rooftop bar of the sleek Thompson Seattle (from $279/night; www.thompsonhotels.com). A new player in Seattle’s upscale hospitality scene, the Thompson, with its glistening glass façade, is a welcome addition to the city’s skyline, rising above its neighbors near the historic Pike Place Market.
Photo courtesy of Thompson Seattle
Right near the Thompson, overlooking Elliot Bay, sits Aqua by El Gaucho, an elegant waterfront restaurant serving possibly the finest seafood you’ll find on your trip. Also in the area are some of Seattle’s famous stops: the Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Culture, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit.
Meanwhile, the Link light rail offers effortless access to adjoining districts. In Ravenna, award-winning chef Eduardo Jordan creates elevated, ingenious interpretations of down-to-earth Southern cooking, with an eye toward the cuisine’s African-American roots at JuneBaby. Head to historic Pioneer Square for trendy art galleries, coffee shops, and bars. And options for indie, hip-hop, and electronic music abound at neighborhood venues like Neumos in Capitol Hill, downtown’s The Paramount, and the University District’s Neptune Theatre.
To truly take in the Seattle waterfront, hop on a ferry ride across Puget Sound; book a Harbor Cruise with Argosy Cruises; or take a ride on Seattle’s Great Wheel, a 175-foot Ferris wheel that offers unparalleled views of not only the Sound but Elliott Bay, West Seattle, Downtown, and Mount Rainier, as well. It’s not the beach, but Seattle makes up for it.