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Staying in Olympia, half a day in Seattle

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posts: 40
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Staying in Olympia, half a day in Seattle

My wife and I are flying into Seattle on August 3rd and arrive at 10:40 am. Although we are actually staying to the south in Olympia, we want to take what time we have on Sunday to explore Seattle, and eat lunch and dinner. We will be renting a car at the airport, so we should be able to get anywhere we need to go.

I'm just curious of a couple things.

1) Where would you go eat lunch? No seafood, we don't want touristy, just a place that we can say were really glad we went, with great food and atmosphere, and obviously something local to the city.

2) If all you had was one afternoon, what would you do? I've heard Pike Place is cool, but more than anything I just want to get a feel for the city. Obviously we are tourists, but I'm more curious about what YOU love about Seattle, and what you might bring your friends to who were visiting for the first time, not necessarily what all the tourists do.

3) Dinner, would love to know another great place to eat, local to Seattle with great food. Budget is not a concern, although no fine dining, because we will have just been walking around all afternoon.

Thanks in advance!

7 replies to this topic
1. Re: Staying in Olympia, half a day in Seattle

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Edited: 8:41 am, July 25, 2014
Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
posts: 16,765
reviews: 45
2. Re: Staying in Olympia, half a day in Seattle

You need a week, but here are some ideas, uniquely Seattle and interesting which I prioritize for guests:

Ballard/Chittenden Locks www.myballard.com/ballard-locks-seattle/ Plan about two hours to drive there, see it.

Pike Place Market www.pikeplacemarket.org/frameset.asp… Of course...

Ferry Ride to/from Bainbridge Island (short and very, as in very, scenic, then walk the little town of BI) You can walk to the ferry terminal from the Market, walk on and off the ferry.

Pioneer Square http://www.pioneersquare.org/ http://goo.gl/maps/wflb Old Seattle, galleries, dining...

posts: 40
reviews: 1
3. Re: Staying in Olympia, half a day in Seattle

Thank you for your response. The ferry sounds like a great idea. I'm curious, in that area, where would you eat lunch? We will be there on a Sunday, so I know our options may be limited, but would love to know a fantastic place to eat lunch with great food and atmosphere.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 387
reviews: 52
4. Re: Staying in Olympia, half a day in Seattle

Vietnamese Pho in Seattle is usually great. There are a couple of Pho shops near Pioneer Square that I've found to be excellent. (The REALLY good ones are down in the International District, but you have to go hunting.)

As for dinner, whenever we have friends from out-of-town, we like to go to Palisades Restaurant at Elliott Bay Marina. It's slightly confusing to get to, but if you have smart phones with GPS you'll be fine. The restaurant LOOKS like fine dining, but you can dress comfortably and be fine. Get a window-side table, and you've got a great panoramic view of Seattle. Prices aren't cheap, and yes, they have seafood (among other things), but it's well worth the visit. You'll be on east-coast time, I assume, so if you hit Palisades for dinner around 6, you'll be slightly before the evening rush but still on your body-clock time. You'll finish around 7:30 or 8, after the evening traffic dies down and you'll have a nice drive, in the sunshine, all the way to Olympia.

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
posts: 16,765
reviews: 45
5. Re: Staying in Olympia, half a day in Seattle

Quick reply, if you take the ferry mentioned above, do so late afternoon after you see the other sights. Walk the town of BI, eat at a local restaurant, return on the ferry toward dusk. Gorgeous, one of the best city views in the US.

Restaurants: http://tinyurl.com/l5wreqd

You say you want a feel for the place; the places I mentioned do a lot of that.

BTW, if you go to the Ballard Locks, drive further on that road toward huge, and very Seattle, Shilshole Bay Marina. Just before then, on the right, see a shack called Paseos; best darned, messy, Caribbean sandwiches. If weather good, eat at the marina benches or at Golden Gardens Park, a half mile or so further, on the water; scenic. http://www.paseoseattle.com/

Edited: 6:12 pm, July 25, 2014
posts: 2,335
reviews: 18
6. Re: Staying in Olympia, half a day in Seattle

No seafood??? That's a shame!

I'd have a look at


Great food (including non-seafood), great atmosphere, and nice views. Very popular with locals.

It's in the Pike Place Market.

Edited: 6:19 pm, July 25, 2014
posts: 40
reviews: 1
7. Re: Staying in Olympia, half a day in Seattle

No seafood is a shame, I agree wholeheartedly! I LOVE seafood, but my wife not so much. So yeah, what you all are recommending is good. I really should have just said no sushi, because honestly, most seafood restaurants have non-seafood dishes that she can eat.

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