Central Library + other Seattle Favorites

• 23 February 2012


Since moving here just over a year ago, I've tried to venture out as much as I can to explore this beautiful city and to discover her finer points (the weather has put a strain on our relationship so placing an emphasis on her positive characteristics is how we make it work).  I love stepping foot in the different neighborhoods and feeling the vibe original to those specific city blocks...and then driving 5 or 10 minutes to another neighborhood that feels completely different.  We enjoy living in the city so much and get such a kick out of Seattle's quirks.  It's a constant reminder to not take ourselves too seriously :) 

This week my children are all home for winter vacation and despite how hectic it makes things, I am loving having them home and following a more relaxed schedule.  I explained the term "staycation" to my kids yesterday and am trying to follow through by throwing in daily outings that we would all find fun and interesting.  One of our favorite stops was Central Library, the largest, most avant-garde structure in the Seattle Public Library System.  Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and the OMA, this 11-story structure is definitely one of Seattle's most spectacular buildings.  In fact, I cannot think of a cooler library anywhere else--it's incredible in every way.  You must take a peek if you're a local or if you're an architecture enthusiast visiting the Emerald City.

Today I want to share my top 10 Seattle favorites, in no particular order.  If you live in Seattle, or have visited the city and have a favorite or two, I'd love to hear them.  When we moved here so many of you emailed me tips and valuable information for which I am grateful for to this day (thank you again!); here's your chance to share your expertise with everyone else too. 

1. The Walrus and the Carpenter - my favorite restaurant in the city, especially when we get to sit at the bar and watch the "behind the scenes" that aren't so behind the scene (read/see more here).   In fact, Ballard Ave in general is pretty fantastic.  Tucked away, slightly gritty,  industrial in feel, and ecclectic, it's probably our favorite street in all of Seattle.  

2.  Marie et Freres - when I want chocolate, this is where I spend my calories.  Try the frozen pops coated in cocoa nibs...

3.  El Diablo on Queen Anne for Mexican Hot Chocolate - be sure to opt for the whipped cream--this is the best Mexican hot chocolate I've ever had!

4.  Bakery Nouveau - amongst the handful of delicious, French bakeries in the city, this is hands down the best.  Worth the drive to West Seattle!  And speaking of West Seattle, we also love Slices on Alki Beach.  Yummy homemade pizza, fresh-squeezed lemonade and a killer meatball sandwich. 

5.  Discovery Park - 500+ acres within city limits is pretty unfathomable...add in the fact that some of it is beach front property and you've got yourself one heckuva park.  We live fairly close so we try to take advantage of it as much as possible.  I'm so grateful it wasn't handed over to developers...and this is coming from the wife of a former commercial developer :) 

6.  Ballard Bridge - the thrill of driving past hundreds of boats on a daily basis never ceases to excite me; and it's pretty rad when the bridge goes up, even if it makes me late to preschool pick up (I swear, every time I'm running a few minutes behind the bridge goes up and I'm stuck ;)). 

7.  Annie's Art & Frame - I've visited many-a-framing-shop and this is my favorite.  A good balance of quality, price and great product.  Also, they have a sweet collection of clocks and a little coloring table for kids.

8.  Melrose Market - home to a great butcher, cheesemonger and florist, this tiny market is a one-stop-shop for any food lover.  Technically it would take you all of 3 minutes to traverse the entire market, but you'll find yourself lingering for much longer as you attempt to absorb every detail.  Be sure to run upstairs to peek at Butter Lane Home and then catch a delicious dinner at Sitka & Spruce before heading home with a bouquet of fresh flowers from Marigold & Mint.

9.  D'Ambrosio Gelato - another Ballard Ave favorite.  Best gelato in Seattle (and many other cities too!).  Try the fig caramel gelato (even if you don't like figs, you have to at least sample it!)...it's the best flavor. 

10.  Ella Bailey Park - you've never seen a more amazing, more expansive city view than the one at this park. Prepare to be wowed and certainly plan on bringing a picnic so you can continue enjoying the view even after the kiddos are through playing. 

What are some of your favorites?  Do any of ours overlap? 

images by Stephanie Brubaker / stephmodo

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