City Hikes: Meadowdale Beach Park

If you're looking to avoid a long drive to the mountains this is a great hike to stay in the city and still enjoy nature and be rewarded with great views at the end! 

 Lush, quiet forest surrounds you on your hike. 

Lush, quiet forest surrounds you on your hike. 

Meadowdale Beach Park is located in Lynnwood, so head north from Seattle and weave through some neighborhoods once you get off I-5 to make your way to the small parking area to start. Head over to the trailhead to begin the 2.5 mile roundtrip hike. It won't take you too long, but we would budget in time to enjoy yourself once you make it to the beach. It isn't too strenuous, so packing a small picnic in a backpack and a blanket to relax is a great idea. There is a small open park at the end of the hike with some picnic tables and also ample room on the beach further down the trail. Once you finish the trail you head through a tunnel that runs under a railroad and out onto the beach. The tunnel definitely adds a little fun to the end of the hike. 

 Walk through a low tunnel to get to the final reward - Puget Sound and all the beauty that comes with it! 

Walk through a low tunnel to get to the final reward - Puget Sound and all the beauty that comes with it! 

The hike itself is really enjoyable, the trail is well maintained and, although close to the city, feels very removed from civilization. It's downhill going to the beach and there are benches to stop and rest along the way, a creek to explore off the trail, and depending on the time of year, berries to pick and eat. It's good for kids and people looking for something pretty easy or hikers who want a quick jaunt in comparison to something that eats up an entire morning/day. The hike back up might leave you a little sweaty, but overall it's fairly moderate. 

 Enjoying the sounds of the ocean and taking in the views of the Olympic Mountains from the beach at the end of the hike.

Enjoying the sounds of the ocean and taking in the views of the Olympic Mountains from the beach at the end of the hike.

 People enjoying the beach on a warm afternoon in Seattle summertime.

People enjoying the beach on a warm afternoon in Seattle summertime.

Check it out and let us know what you think! 

Seeing Seattle by Water - Kayak Tour of Lake Union

Seattle is a city where water and mountains collide, and it’s basically a sin to visit and not experience one or the other (but hopefully both!). If you’re visiting for a short time the mountains are sometimes hard to get to, but luckily we have three big beautiful lakes right in the city. Since they are so accessible, we love to recommend to people of all backgrounds and fitness levels to get out on the water and experience the city from a different point of view. For first time visitors to Seattle, we often point to Lake Union as the spot for stunning views of the city (iconic Space Needle included) and the fun experience of checking out the house boats that sit along the edges of the water and the sea planes taking off over head!

lake union

Where to Rent

The fastest way to get onto the lake is to rent equipment from a place right on the lake. There are three companies we love equally, so take your pick:

Agua Verde

Located in Portage Bay, Agua Verde is not only a Mexican restaurant but also a paddle club! You can rent either kayaks (single or double) or stand-up paddle boards March - October (and if you need a snack, we won’t be mad at ya if you grab a taco before heading out. They even have a to-go window). The Paddle Club has a huge selection of rentals, so the chances of them running out of equipment even on busy, sunny days is pretty slim. You don’t need a reservation for groups under 11, and they also offer guided tours in case you don’t want to venture out alone. Check out their tour page to see what’s up.

 Nice views of Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle can be viewed from the comfort of your own kayak on Lake Union. 

Nice views of Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle can be viewed from the comfort of your own kayak on Lake Union. 

Northwest Outdoor Center

This company offers single, double, or triple kayaks and paddleboards and is located on the western side of Lake Union, meaning you need to travel less distance than you do if you rent from Agua Verde (see map below). However, unlike Agua Verde, they do suggest making reservations and will require an extra $10 per item deposit for groups over 6. No need to worry if you are beginner, though. The center offers classes, which range from basic strokes to learning how to eskimo roll. They are also open year-round, which is a bonus if you’re crazy and want to be on the lake in the winter.

Moss Bay

In the south part of Lake Union, you’ll find Moss Bay, which provides single or double kayaks and paddle boards for rent. The waterway around the business has a 7-knot speed limit making it safe to paddle in case you’re worried about the boats. Moss Bay also offers tours that include a lesson (total time 3 hours) and will take you past all the great sites. They are open April - October.

Set Sail

Lake Union is a fairly small lake and easy to navigate (you are basically looking at one giant circle), and because of its location north of downtown, you get pretty epic views of our gorgeous skyline. The lake is also home to Kenmore Air, a seaplane operation that has been in business since 1946. From your vantage point on the lake, you can see the planes coming and going directly overhead and if you’re wondering, yes, it absolutely is an instagram-worthy event!

 Kenmore Air seaplane comes in for a landing on Lake Union. 

Kenmore Air seaplane comes in for a landing on Lake Union. 

On the north end of the lake sits the famous Gasworks Park, a 19 acre park that you’ll recognize by the giant defunct (yet cool looking) gasification plant. You aren’t able to dock at the park and get out of your rental, but it’s definitely worth a paddle-by. There is always something new and unsual going on at the park from weddings to Irish step dancers, to nudist bike riders, to art installations. Seriously, we’re never sure exactly what we’ll see so check it out and report back.

 Gasworks Park in Seattle is one of the best lake front parks and people flock to it to fly kites, sun tan, and play games. The old gas plant gives it unique character too! 

Gasworks Park in Seattle is one of the best lake front parks and people flock to it to fly kites, sun tan, and play games. The old gas plant gives it unique character too! 

Sleepless in Seattle IS the best Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film. Don’t argue with us. Tom Hanks actually filmed in Seattle for the movie, and there are many spots around town that you can visit from the film’s scenes. One of those spots is the Baldwin house boat (Tom Hanks’ Seattle home in the film), which still sits on Lake Union and looks exactly the same! Head to the houseboat on the west side of the lake and see if you can find it. And while we’re on the subject of houseboats, Seattle has the coolest ones around. They line the lake on both sides and are beautiful and interesting and worth checking out and then discussing what you would do if you owned one (for us, it would be paddle board right off our deck every morning before the day started).

 Tom Hanks' houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle is still perfectly the same! 

Tom Hanks' houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle is still perfectly the same! 

Grab a Bite!

Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time to stop for a bite. We have two favorites that have a dock where you can park your equipment. This is a great way to rest for a bit and fuel up for the equipment return trip.

100 LB Clam is exactly what you want in warm weather dining. It has outdoor-only seating with a walk-up window for ordering food. You’ll find a rotating menu, but you can be guaranteed that it will have delicious seafood combos and cold beer on draft. We highly recommend the Poutine O’ the Sea (clams! bacon! chowder!) or the fishwish BLT. Wash it all down with a microbrew or, our pick, a Rainier tallboy (your classic Seattle beer since 1887). They are open 11:30am - 3pm in the summer only. If you are outside of this window or you prefer indoor seating, head into the White Swan next door. It’s run by the same owner and also has an incredible menu (with a few of the same items like the poutine!) and a great happy hour.

Ivar’s Salmon House is another great lake option with a large outdoor seating area (and inside seating too). The restaurant is a Seattle staple and has been serving customers since 1938. The restaurant sits right on the lake, so you won’t miss a second of the boat action. You’ll find the freshest seasonal seafood on their menu, and you definitely can’t go wrong with a bowl of their famous clam chowder...even if it IS in the middle of summer.

 A bowl of chowder at Ivar's is great year-round, a Seattle classic! 

A bowl of chowder at Ivar's is great year-round, a Seattle classic! 

Check out our inclusive map to get your bearings on our recommendations.

Map of Kayak Tour Lake Union Seattle

We can't wait to hear how you like it! Comment with your thoughts and/or questions below. 

Insider's Guide to the Best Restaurants in Pike Place Market

It always shocks us to hear that some think Pike Place Market is just flying fish and flower bouquets when it's so much more! Particularly a food mecca that has literally something for EVERYONE! We decided to put our favorites down in a blog for locals and tourists to reference when they are thinking about food and need a place to go. 

Breakfast

Seatown Seabar 

We've said it before and we will say it again - the hashbrowns at Seatown are crack nuggets. Their Dungeness Crab Benedict is delectable and their Fried Egg Sandwich takes it up a notch with the dahlia bakery english muffin that is so fluffy you'll want to die. And for the love of god, don't get any other side besides the hashbrowns. 

The Crumpet Shop

The Crumpet Shop

The Crumpet Shop isn't the spot you would give a second glance to if it was your first day at the market - but if you make the mistake of missing out on these british buns of joy it is going to haunt you for the rest of your life. Kristina loves the savory pesto, fresh tomato, and ricotta. Sarah obviously goes for the sweet with chocolate hazelnut and ricotta. Oh - and this place isn't a secret, so prepare for a line on the weekends! 

Storyville Coffee

Guess what? We like this place for their food, not their coffee - shocking we know. Storyville is tucked away on the upper level of the Corner Market building and they make some legit breakfast fare, including the Tillamook Breakfast Sandwich (the bun has sea salt on it) and the cinnamon roll that has sugar crystals that burst on your tongue as you eat it, 2,000 calories and all (just kidding - it isn't that many calories, but it tastes so good you'll feel that guilty).

Lunch

El Borracho

El Borracho

We've talked about El Borracho plenty before this post. Well, when something's good it deserves accolades, so stop hating. This spot has our favorite tacos and burritos, and when you throw in their chips and guac you have yourself a meal made in Mexican heaven! Check out our 8 Best Mexican Spots in Seattle for more on our obsession. 

DeLaurenti 

DeLaurenti

Italians are crazy amazing people. They learned how to put together things like carbs, cheese, and wine to create pure beauty in this world. DeLaurenti is an Italian market in The Market (yes, a market in the market - nuts!) that we love for many things, one of which is lunch. Head here to get a delicious Italian sandwich - the Arrosto and Grinder are our personal favorites. If you need a side, head over to the deli counter and grab some dolmas or a stuffed pepper to top it all off! 

Pike's Pit BBQ

Kristina is a Missouri native, so she has a little bit of a thing for BBQ. Pike's Pit offers a place to get a hit of that good stuff - pulled pork coated in a delicious, sweet/spicy bbq sauce. Like a true BBQ joint they offer giant portions, so we would recommend getting the "Mini-me" with your favorite meat and "Wickle it." :) 

Honest Biscuit

Honest Biscuit

They aren't lying when they say their biscuits are the best. Get it? Honest Biscuit aren't lying?! This spot got a new location in the new Waterfront Market Building, so you can enjoy your biscuit with great views of the Puget Sound! If you're hungry hungry we would recommend the Fried Chicken Butterhole Biscuit. If you're not that hungry or hate fried chicken (which is basically a sin) we could say the Pimento Cheese Biscuit is your best bet! 

Piroshky Piroshky

Piroshky Piroshky

Prepare to have your nose try to break off of your face to chase the scent of these pastries down the street. Once you get a whiff all the rest of our suggestions will be out the window. We love so many different types, the smoked salmon pate, the chicken, rice, and mushroom, the potato and cheese... the list continues - go grab the one that speaks to you! The only thing about Piroshky is, at least to us, it's an awkward amount of food. Do we get one, and still have room for more after, or do we get two and have to take a nap after because we are too full? Probably the nap...

Dinner

Steelhead Diner

Steelhead Diner

Steelhead is a market staple and for good reason. They have a unique spot that truly feels like a diner, but offers upscale food that embodies the pacific northwest to a T. Their view of Post Alley and Puget Sound make it a great place to spend a couple of hours eating. Start with the clam chowder and charred broccoli, move on to your favorite seafood, and then finish it all off with one of their many mouthwatering desserts! 

The Pink Door

The Pink Door

It's best in the summer, but if you want some amazing traditional Italian, most likely served with some live entertainment, then head to Pink Door any night of the year! If it's warm, make sure to wait for a table on the patio - it's worth it! Our favorites are the risotto and the lasagna, because...well that doesn't need an explanation - risotto and lasagna are the two best Italian inventions outside of pizza.

Place Pigalle 

Place Pigalle

It's going to cost you, but Place Pigalle offers one of the best dining experiences in The Market. Their quaint, french restaurant is perched on the edge of the back of The Market and their menu is stacked with amazing and rich food to swoon over. We love their mussels and french onion soup, all their entrees are seasonal, but they usually have an incredible salmon and lamb dish to knock your socks off.  

Sushi Kashiba 

Hot damn, Shiro's done it again. Sushi Kashiba is the second restaurant from famed sushi chef, Shiro Kashiba. Just go prepared to get the Omakase and drop like $200, they will put dish after dish in front of you that melts in your mouth and showcases flavors you didn't even know existed. It's an experience everyone should have before they die. Yes - we are that serious about this, we mentioned death.

Drinks

Jarr Bar

Jarr Bar

Head to Jarr Bar to get amazing cocktails. The El Cochino is our absolute favorite and goes perfectly with their food offerings. 

The Athenian

The Athenian

This is the best happy hour spot in The Market! Head to the back of the restaurant, grab a booth in the bar, and enjoy a cold, local beer in a frosty mug. The views don't hurt the experience either. 

Radiator Whiskey  

This is one of those dark bars where you go to sip whiskey and brood about life. Brooding isn't required though - head up to their spot to experience some great selections of whiskey and also you can eat a pig head if you want... so there is that. 

Alright folks - go forth and conquer! These are the best spots as of today, but the market is ever changing and evolving so we will be sure to report back with any new amazing, drop dead they make you feel so alive, spots to grab a meal in Pike Place Market! 

McMenamins Edgefield

 McMenamins Edgefield

McMenamins Edgefield

There are plenty of amazing hotels to stay at throughout Washington and Oregon, but you will never find a hotel group quite like McMenamins. Maybe that's because they are so much more than just a place to stay. It's not very often that, in addition to your room for the night, you also get a brewery, distillery, winery, coffee roastery, spa, music venue, movie theater, golf course, and history lesson all in one. It's like your favorite resort only with edge! Let us explain....

McMenamins has been transforming historic buildings into hotel resorts since the early 90s and now have 12 lodging locations throughout Oregon and Washington and more pubs and eateries than we care to count. Each location has it's own unique attributes and personality which make them wonderful. Today we are going to focus on McMenamins Edgefield, which we like to consider the motherload. It was the first hotel that the McMenamins family opened, and it's by far our favorite. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Portland, it makes a great weekend getaway!

 The private king room 

The private king room 

The first thing you notice when you arrive to a McMenamins is all the crazy art work. Edgefield is decorated in this wacky wonderful way, honestly the decor is an attraction of it's own. You can forget your purpose as you walk around and get distracted by the crazy art and stories illustrated on the walls everywhere. For example, they are known for pipe art and one fun aspect of the pipe art is hidden faces; you can treat it as a scavenger hunt and walk around trying to locate them all.

 Funny little pipe art.

Funny little pipe art.

 Interesting art is all over the property.

Interesting art is all over the property.

The property has multiple restaurants including the delicious Black Rabbit restaurant (we got the ribeye and the bolognese and both were incredible) as well as a more casual Power Station Pub (pizza, burgers) and the seasonal Loading Dock Grill. Since McMenamins makes their own beer, spirits, and wine on site, they really encourage drinking of all kinds (and now you know why we love these places so much). You can grab a glass of wine at the winery, head to the Little Red Shed for spirits and cigars, or play some pool and darts with a beer at the Lucky Staehly's Pool Hall. And this is just a few of the places to grab a drink and they allow you to walk around the resort with your drinks, so no need to finish it before heading to hang out on the deck or at the gardens! Our personal favorite drinking spot was Jerry's Ice House, which was the cold storage of the farm (before refrigeration) that is now filled with posters and memorabilia dedicated to Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. They have Grateful Dead themed drinks and play music videos and documentaries, which sucks you in longer than you intended! 

 There are more spots then just Jerry's Ice House that pay homage to the great performer, here is a Jerry Garcia statue found on the grounds.

There are more spots then just Jerry's Ice House that pay homage to the great performer, here is a Jerry Garcia statue found on the grounds.

Ok real talk, the options for eating and drinking are great, but the best part about Edgefield is the soaking pool. This thing is incredible. It's a large outdoor, saltwater pool that they keep exceptionally hot, so you can use it year round. And because no place on the property would deny you a drink, there is a cute little tea house right by the pool where you can get tea-infused cocktails, wines, beer, and even sandwiches. And if you feel like really going all out, they have a full-service spa for massages, facials, and the usual star treatment. The pool is a little walk from the main lodge, but luckily you get these giant, plush, amazing robes in your room that you can wear all over the property, so throw on your swimsuit and flip flops, wrap up in that robe and head over to relaxation station. 

 A complimentary mason jar in your room acts as a growler.

A complimentary mason jar in your room acts as a growler.

We spent two days at the resort and didn't even manage to get to all of the places. It feels like you could spend a week here especially in the summer when you can sit outside and enjoy the nice weather or catch a show at the amphitheater (they get some big names like Wilco and the Decemberists!). The property also has golf and tons of outdoor fire pits, perfect for day drinking.

 There is fun artwork to find in all sorts of different places!

There is fun artwork to find in all sorts of different places!

A few other things to note:

  • Some of the rooms use communal bathrooms. If you want your own private bathrooms make sure you select the private room option when booking.
  • There are many artists who sell their work throughout the property including blown glass and ceramics. Make sure you check them out!
  • While the Black Rabbit restaurant does serve breakfast, we didn't find it easy to grab something light for breakfast that didn't require a sit-down meal. You might want to consider bringing something on your own or opting for room service where you can get a simple bagel. If you hang the nifty room service menu card on your door before 10pm the night before, they'll bring you your items at the time of your choosing the next morning. 
  • You can fill your beer growler in the main lodge gift shop, and if you forget your growler they give you a large mason jar in your room to use and take home for free. You can also buy McMenamins wines and spirits (and pipe art!) at the gift shop too.