I’ve talked a lot about how my favorite way to explore cities is through a local’s lens. I’m not really one for major tourist attractions—throngs of people? no thanks!—and I love using social media to crowd-source recommendations for each new place I visit to steer away from the masses.
Embracing a local’s perspective is my favorite way to travel and precisely what draws me to companies like Hole in Wall, which curates the best bits of the indie side to a city into a subscription box format, and luckily, on our recent five-night jaunt to Washington state, SVV and I had our own personal local guides: Kent and Caanan of NVR Guys fame.
This pair of adventurers—and my long-time dear friends—could not be better ambassadors for this fair city; they’ve given me glimpses into their lives as Seattleites on my last two visits to the Pacific Northwest, but this time was different: SVV was with me and he’d seen very little of the Emerald City, and so we got the full on NVR treatment.
In case you’re heading to Seattle soon, here’s a rundown of how we spent our Saturday in the city before heading out to the coast for the remainder of our time in Washington.
Exploring Seattle’s side sweet at Top Pot. After an emergency morning run to the Genius bar to repair my MacBook, our day finally started at the boys’ favorite breakfast spot where we weren’t shy in ordering a half-dozen variety pack. That egg nog doughnut was to die for, and I don’t regret this decision one bit.
Doing yoga in the sculpture park. What, like I’d go somewhere and not bust out a handstand? Not a chance.
I’m glad my companions were also game for some photo shoot fun, too.
Grabbing food-to-go from Paseo. Can it be considered a hole-in-the-wall if it’s Yelp’s most top-rated attraction? Well, this sandwich shop in Fremont is a hidden gem nonetheless—you would not stumble upon it if you didn’t know what you were looking for. We ordered Caribbean takeout and continued on our way.
Eating lunch at Kerry Park. Seriously, if you’re anywhere near Queen Anne Hill, make this viewpoint a priority.
Wandering through the bustling Pike Place Market. OK, here’s where I make the first exception to the tourist claim: You can’t really go to Seattle and not visit Pike Place. Besides, every artisan and booth owner sells homemade and homegrown wares. So it is local at the end of the day.
Sipping craft cocktails at Sun Liquor Distillery. I had my first taste of Sun Liquor vodka on the flight to Seattle and was pleased as punch (uh, rum punch, that is) when the boys took us to their headquarters in Lower Cap Hill for some quality mixed drinks.
Stopping for a pick-me up at Espresso Vivace. Kent and Caanan raved about this tiny cup of potent caffeine, and with one sip of the Caffe Nico I could see why: an orange-infused double shot of espresso with traces of cinnamon—what’s not to love?
Wandering around Ballard. Last time I was in Seattle a year and a half ago, I stayed in this neighborhood north of downtown and fell in love with its artsy vibe. I knew I had to take SVV over there, even if just to stroll through the Ballard Farmers’ Market (every Sunday year round).
Getting a nightcap at Montana. This wasn’t my first time at this Big Sky Country-themed bar, nor will it be my last. You can’t go to Seattle and not grab tortas from Tortas Condesa (SO GOOD) next door then devour them in the bar (yes, you can bring your food inside) with a Montana Mule to wash it all down. I just regret that we forgot to memorialize the night in the photo booth this time!
Drinking alllll the coffee. No surprise, when in Seattle, you drink a lot of java—isn’t that just how it goes? We had our fair share—mainly because it was cooooold, y’all!—and Storyville Coffee Company was my favorite cafe of them all.
PSA: If you want your own piece of Seattle without leaving your home, you can still sign up to receive Hole in Wall’s box from the Emerald City. The box is available until Feb. 20 and will start shipping shortly thereafter.
On top of all the local spots, we also tackled one more major attraction: Starbucks Roastery & Tasting Room. Call us sellouts, but we had to stop at mecca. Sorry I’m not sorry! (It was really cool, guys, even though we didn’t buy a thing.)