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Three Perfect Days: Seattle

With its seamless blend of shrewd commerce, uncompromising luxury and countercultural abandon, all set against a dramatic mountain backdrop, Washington's capital of cool is a study in complementary contrasts

Author Michael Kaplan Photography Nick Hall

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM THOSE IN THE KNOW

Leslie Patson

TALENT COORDINATOR, AMAZON.COM

“Discovery Park is an incredible place right on Puget Sound, with driftwood along the water and big pine trees up on the hills. People hike with their dogs and everybody goes shelling on the beach.”

Gavin Derek

FASHION STYLIST

“One of my Sunday rituals is to walk through the neighborhood of Ballard, where there’s a great weekly farmers’ market. After stocking up there, I always go to King’s Hardware, my favorite bar, for bloody marys and hamburgers.”

Kirsten Graham

PRINCIPAL, KIRSTEN GRAHAM PUBLIC RELATIONS

“Alhambra is my go-to for jewelry. It’s an independent shop downtown with beautiful, unique stuff ranging from delicate necklaces to big, bold rings. The owner always has a smile and the perfect piece to tempt me with.”

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE GOOFY

At one local retailer, the Seattle sound has more to do with whoopee cushions than with grunge

We’ve all been in novelty stores and gag shops, but Archie McPhee is something else. This low-slung operation brims with the stuff your parents told you not to waste your money on. There’s an entire section dedicated to weird candy (absinthe gumballs, bacon-flavored necklaces, banana slug suckers) and another devoted to novelty underwear, for instance, plus a staff that will encourage, nay, demand you try on the shop’s inflatable beards. In a city that prides itself on bleeding-edge innovation, Archie McPhee is good, basic, lowbrow fun. 1300 N. 45th St., 206-297-0240.

SEATTLE, BY THE NUMBERS

POUNDS OF COFFEE STARBUCKS ROASTS A YEAR 20 MILLION

NUMBER OF RESTAURANTS IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA ≈9,000

PEOPLE PER SQUARE MILE (COMPARED WITH ABOUT 25,000 IN NYC) 7,246

PERCENTAGE OF RESIDENTS OVER 25 WHO HOLD A BACHELOR’S DEGREE (THE HIGHEST IN THE U.S.) 51

PERCENTAGE OF RESIDENTS CLAIMING GERMAN ROOTS (THE MOST REVALENT ANCESTRY IN SEATTLE) 15.2

GOING RATE,IN DOLLARS, FOR A DOZEN LOCALLY SOURCED OYSTERS 7.99

NUMBER OF ACTRESSES WHO TURNED DOWN THE LEAD ROLE IN SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE BEFORE MEG RYAN TOOK IT (KIM BASINGER, MICHELLE PFEIFFER AND JULIA ROBERTS) 3

NUMBER OF TIMES THE SEATTLE MARINERS HAVE WON THE WORLD SERIES 0

HAVE APPETITE, WILL TRAVEL

Some of Seattle’s best gourmet attractions aren’t actually in Seattle

Drive 75 miles north of Seattle and you will come upon the two foodiest tiny-towns that you can imagine. Between them, Edison and Bow have just a pair of bakeries, one grocery store, a couple of bars and an antiques shop—but these are all remarkably good and worth a drive on a lazy day.

FARM TO MARKET BAKERY: Start here with a bowl of the day’s soup—the Senegalese peanut soup is renowned—and get a slice of lime-soaked polenta cake for dessert. 14003 Gilmore Ave., Bow, 360-766-6240.

BREADFARM: Drive four minutes to Edison and pick out a loaf at this terrific bakery. Selections change with the seasons and are based on what’s available from local farmers. 5766 Cains Ct., Edison, 360-766-4065.

SLOUGH FOOD: Right next door to Breadfarm is your spot for meat and cheese. Check out the freshly sliced prosciutto di Parma and the goat’s-milk offerings from Gothberg Farms. 5766 Cains Ct., Edison, 360-766-4458.


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3 Responses to “Three Perfect Days: Seattle”

  1. Herbert L.Axelrod Says:
    September 2nd, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    What a wonderful article! Well written and captures the true essence of the Emerald City. Last month we embarked on a one-day “down to earth” tour of Seattle that included the famous Farmers Market, the flagship Starbucks on Pike Street, the Seattle Monorail, the nostalgic Space Needle, and the scenic Bainbridge Island Ferry. I highly recommend the Boeing Factory tour, a short drive from Seattle in Everett. On this tour you will experience the excitement of watching the 787 production assembly line, certainly a thrill. Maybe you will catch a glimpse of United’s new 787 fleet.

  2. Sk Says:
    December 20th, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    You are a very good writer and capture the mood of this city so well :-)
    I already live here but you made me want to want to visit for a holiday ;-)

  3. Rachel Says:
    April 6th, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Having lived in the Seattle area for a few years now, I agree with what a lot of this little article has to say. Great photograph too. There’s one small problem and it’s in the blurp underneath the title. As wonderful as Seattle is, it’s just like Anchorage – while being the largest city, it’s not the capital of the state. Washington state’s capital is Olympia. :)

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