Big Four Ice Caves


We've been on a lot of hikes in Seattle - none as otherworldly as the Big Four Ice Caves. Situated just a two hour drive north of the city, in the Cascade Range, sits Big Four Mountain. A mountain that has a steep, black face on the north side, shading its base year-round which allows a beautiful and slightly terrifying natural phenomenon to occur - ice caves. That's right - big ole caves made of ice. 

Our pictures won't do this area justice, but we will try our best to describe the beauty to help them along. When you arrive at the hike, you will park and head up the trailhead. You'll find a pleasant, well maintained trail that is good for most skill-levels. Over the next mile you'll walk through the woods, over streams, and up small inclines. At the end of the short hike you'll be rewarded with your first views of the caves. From the end of the main trailhead they look small, dwarfed by the mountain. As you get closer you realize their size - these are the lowest elevation glaciers in the lower 49 states. They are massive and awe inspiring.

See photos as evidence. Amazinngggggggg, amiright?!


The caves are only visible late July through early October, so before you head out we recommend checking trip reports on We also have to mention that these caves are not structurally sound - if conditions aren't right they can collapse and due to their size this is something you do not want to be in there for - enter at your own risk and please please exercise caution while you explore this area. 

Beyond seeing the caves, this hike offers truly stunning scenery to take in as well. In the summer months the ice at the top of the mountain melts and creates a crazy amount of waterfalls - we counted 20 the last time we were there. Watching the water gush down the mountain and flow into streams at your feet is something you don't get to experience everyday. Add the beautiful trees (visit in late September, early October and you can see the bright yellows and reds of the leaves changing) and it really does seem to have it all in terms of PNW beauty. 


Note: Even in the summer months it's chilly here - wear layers and pack a rain jacket. If you need help deciding what to wear you can check out how Macklemore dressed when he visited (it's the snowing bit in the beginning).


Head up to check them out and let us know what you think! 

Insider's Guide to the Free Samples of Pike Place Market

The market is full of free samples from the local makers. Finding them can be tricky, but these are top notch products, so it's worth it. We are talkin' that Walter White level stuff, the best of the best. They know if you get a little taste you won't be able to stop from coming back for more.

We've compiled a comprehensive list of the spots that offer free samples. We just ask that you spend at least a little money when you visit (these are small business owners after all)!

Ellenos Greek Yogurt - Yogurt (usually lemon curd and marionberry)

Ellenos Greek Yogurt

The best free sample in the entire market. We know you're thinking, "Yogurt? What's the big deal?" Well, go get yourself a free sample and you'll be singing a different tune. We are completely hooked and always have Ellenos on hand for granola in the morning or a sweet snack in the afternoon. 

Britt's Pickles - A Variety of Pickles

Britt's has educated us on the power that is natural fermentation. Apparently the pickles you buy at the store are processed in a way to remove all the awesome vitamins and enzymes in the vegetable. Britt's doesn't stand for that crap. Head over and sample some of their options and taste for yourself! 

Beecher's Cheese - Cheese Curds

Beecher's not only has a huge window display where you can watch them make their cheese, but they also always have fresh cheese samples out. Most commonly found is their flagship cheddar, which is almost as good as their No Woman No Cry. 

Pike Place Fish - Smoked Salmon

Pike Place Fish Smoked Salmon

Watch them toss some fish, oogle the beautiful displays of crab and salmon, strike up a conversation with a monger about the sustainable nature of their business, and then grab a taste of their smoked salmon. It's great with bagels and cream cheese in the mornings, but good enough to eat completely plain.

Market Spice - Cinnamon Orange Tea

Market Spice is right next to Pike Place Fish and offers free Dixi Cups of their famous Cinnamon Orange Tea! We love to sip a sample as we peruse all the beautiful loose tea offerings and see what various tea products we need to add to our growing collection. 

Sosio's Produce - Fresh produce

If you wander down the main arcade odds are you'll notice a bright produce stand on the west side. This is Sosio's and they have amazing fresh produce and always offer up samples. From pears and apples to the occasional exotic options, we never turn down the slices of fruit and a smile from the employees. 

Simply the Best - Apple Chips

Simply the Best Apple Chips

A healthy snack option once you start to feel a little weighted down from all your other samples is a bag of dried fruit from Simply the Best. This wonderful stand is piled high with varieties of dried fruit like pineapple, bananas, and mango. You can usually get a few apples to sample if they aren't busy with other customers. 

Mick's - Pepper Jelly

You might not think of jelly as a big draw, but Mick's friendly staff and unique recipes keeps locals coming back for more. We love their famous pepper jelly, which you can pair with crackers and cream cheese for a yummy snack. 

Pappardelle's Pasta - Chocolate Pasta and various olive oils

Alright, we aren't going to lie, we don't really hit this place up for samples of the pasta... the chocolate pasta isn't thatttt great. It's uncooked and kinda dry, but this stand has been peddling that pasta for a longggg time, so we see it as something you have to check off your list, even if it's just once. The real joy comes from their olive oil stand. Stab some bread, spin the wheel, and get yourself as many of those flavors as possible! Yum.

Chukar Cherries - Chocolate Covered Cherries

This Seattle institution is a great stop for people with a sweet tooth! They take local Washington cherries and other berries and cover them in delicious chocolate. The combinations are almost endless between all the different types of chocolate and fruit. Our favorite are the white chocolate covered blueberries and the milk chocolate truffle cherries! 

La Buona Tavola - Truffle oil

This little shop in on the main street (same as Beecher's) and is always good for some delicious and rich truffle product samples. They always have their olive oils with bread to sample and sometimes if you are lucky you can catch them on a day when they have some of their potato soup with truffle oil on top! 

What are your favorite samples in Pike Place Market? We would love to hear!

White Center: Seattle's Mexican Food Mecca

White Center is the home of Seattle's most authentic (and cheap) Mexican food. If you are a lover of food from our southern neighbor then you MUST plan a visit for lunch/dinner and bring a big appetite. Oh, and cash, don't forget cash either. 

All the best food is sold to-go, so follow along and we will get you everything you need for a great, big, Mexican meal and a picnic table to eat it at (or you could take it home, but we doubt you'll want to wait).

Tamales at Carniceria El Paisano 

Your first stop needs to be this little grocery store/butcher shop. It's next door to another Mexican food place and at first glance it might look like you're in the wrong place since it's a grocery store, but trust us, you're not! Head to the register in the back and you'll see a large silver pot. The goodies are inside!


They offer three kinds of tamales, rajas (cheese and jalapeño), and two pork options, mild and spicy. Our favorites are the rajas and spicy pork. They also have fresh salsa and pan leche, along with tons of other great sundries. Feel free to stock up! 

Roasted Corn @ Roasted Corn Stand


Alright, now walk half a block down to the Roasted Corn Stand. This is going to be the highlight of your trip. This roasted corn is amazing. Seriously. They serve it a variety of ways, but obviously if you want to keep with your dinner theme you should get the Mexican (#2). They basically take your corn, cover it in mayo, and then douse it in cojita cheese and chili powder. Mmmmm! You can get it on the cob or cut off into a cup if you prefer the clean way of eating it (the messy corn on the cob is so much more fun though). This place only accepts cash, so plan accordingly -- each cob runs $3. 

Tacos @ Taqueria La Fondita


Alright, now for your final stop. Walk about 10 feet to your right and order your main course. The taco plates from this little taco truck are to die for. We can't recommend anything other than the carnitas. They are so juicy and flavorful you'll be begging for their recipe. How do they make the pork taste so tender and delicious?! We don't know, but we're hooked, that's for sure. Obviously you should top off this amazing meal with a sugary Jarritos (why not at this point, right?). 

And now you have your full meal.

There are several picnic tables under an enclosure for customers to hang out and enjoy their food right next to Taqueria La Fondita. Spread out your goods and chow down! 

7 Best Sandwiches in Pike Place Market

If you don't know this, Pike Place Market has more delicious restaurants per square foot than anywhere else in the city. We have eaten most of the food at the market and feel we have curated a beautiful list of the best sandwich fare offered.

Prepare to salivate.

DeLaurenti's Grinder

DeLaurenti's Grinder Sandwich

DeLaurenti's is one of our absolute favorite places to visit in the market. They have groceries, they have wine, they have cheese, and to our delight, they also have a BOMB Italian Grinder. This sandwich is piled with Italian meats, provolone, tomato, lettuce, and mayo. The bread sprays crumbs as you bite down into the crunchy, carby amazing-ness. Grab an Italian soda and a spot at their bar by the window and chow down while you people watch! 

Three Girl's Bakery's Meatloaf Sandwich

Three Girl's Bakery is an institution at Pike Place Market. They opened up shop in 1912 and were the first business licensed to women in the City of Seattle. And man, did these three know how to make a mean meatloaf sandwich. Even if you don't like meatloaf, you'll like this meatloaf by the time you're done chowing down. Ask for the rosemary bread and you'll die in sandwich heaven. 

Dot's Meatball Sandwich 

Dot's Meatball Sandwich

Dot's is new to the market, but not to Seattle. This butcher and deli shop has been earning its stripes for years and they seem to have perfected a lot of things in the meat department. Our favorite though? The meatball sandwich. When they handed it to us the first time we ordered rays of sunshine spilled out of the middle and the sound of angels singing could be heard. Then we bit into it and blacked out for a minute because this sandwich is so. Freaking. Good. 

Pike's Pit BBQ's Pulled Pork

Pike's Pit BBQ caught our attention about a year ago with a free sample. Food + free = we can be friends. After one tiny taste of the BBQ pork we went in for the real deal. If we are being honest we wouldn't have been able to resist even without a sample because the smell of cooking meat will draw you in from a mile away (unless you don't eat meat, and in that case this list probably isn't for you).

The ordering here is going to either embarrass you or thrill you because you get to say weird things. For example Kristina's order goes a little something like this: "Chopped Pork Sandwich with Medium BBQ sauce. Say Cheese (add cheese), Slaw It Please (add cole slaw) and Wickle It (add pickles)."

Honest Biscuit's Fried Chicken Sandwich

Honest Biscuit Chicken Sandwich

This little shop is a tiny bit hidden (although they are getting a new and exciting location in the MarketFront Expansion), but it's worth the hunt. Honest Biscuit makes all their biscuits fresh daily and don't get us wrong, they are delicious plain, but the real money is in the fried chicken sandwich. We recommend adding pimento cheese. (Our life motto: always add cheese). Pull up an orange chair and enjoy!

Beecher's Grilled Cheese

Beecher's Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Oh, Beecher's. You are such an wonderful place. You cover everything on your menu in cheese, you always have free samples, and we get to watch you make cheese while we eat. Truly great. So, if you love cheese as much as we do we recommend stopping here and getting yourself the grilled cheese sandwich. We've tried a few others and the classic is simply the best. Cheese and carbs, who knew? (We did, we knew. That is a recipe for success 100% of the time.)

Lowell's Hot Dungeness Crab Melt

You can't have a list about food in Pike Place Market without some seafood thrown in. Lowell's wins in this category with their Hot Dungeness Crab Melt. They pile dungeness crab on rosemary bread and top it with a buncha mozzerella cheese. (Are you seeing a trend here with cheese? Don't make a sandwich without cheese. Ever.) The secret sauce is their Bacon-Tomato Jam though. This stuff is crack and anything on the menu with it is worth trying! Make sure to sit on the 2nd floor and get your food with beautiful views of Puget Sound.