And since we spoke Italian with them the whole time, we decided we’re honorary Italians this week!
We arrived on a Tuesday afternoon, and the weather was just about perfect – a few clouds in the morning, clearing by early afternoon, and highs in the low to mid-70?s.
We stayed at one of our favorite B&B’s, the Gaslight Inn, up on the very gay Capitol Hill, and owned by our friend Steve Bennett. Bennett has owned the place for 31 years, and has been on Purple Roofs almost since the beginning.
The Gaslight Inn is a cute little B&B in a quiet neighborhood along 15th St, just two blocks from the great bistro scene along Pike and Pine between the freeway and 15th. We ate at several great restaurants here – more on those later.
Our room at the gaslight was large, clean, comfortable and romantic, with a gas fireplace (unused in the warm weather), air conditioning, and an ample sitting area. The inn also has a heated pool (not super warm, but comfortable on a summer day) and a simple but delicious continental breakfast that included yogurt, melons, strawberries, blueberries, croissants, coffee cake, coffee and tea.
Steve is a gracious host – we had a lot of fun with him, and he pointed us to some great local eateries.
We’ll start with a run-down of the various neighborhoods we visited, and then cover things to do, places to eat, and some great view spots around town.
The Capitol Hill neighborhood is really a series of little areas that each have their own charm. Walk up 15th Street from the Gaslight, and you’ll find a neighborhood Safeway grocery store and a cute little set of shops with a couple local Cafes – we really liked Caffe Ladro.
As we noted last time we were here, there’s also lots of construction – even in this market – especially new condos and apartments.
Capitol Hill’s mostly gay street is Broadway, which runs north and south through the district, and which is soon to be served by a new underground metro line being constructed just east of the street. On Broadway, you’ll find some of the gay bars, a very gay friendly church, and a number of restaurants. There’s also one of our other favorite cafes, Vivace, and Julia’s, a long-running restaurant with drag shows on Friday and Saturday Nights.
Then there’s the Pike/Pine area toward the south, a hotbed of gay bars and bistro restaurants. Standouts here include the Poco Wine Room, Poquitos, Via Tribunali for pizza, and our favorite of the trip, Terra Plata, with its gorgeous upstairs bar with views of the downtown center.
Finally, a little farther south, there’s the bustling neighborhood along 12th street next to the University – 10 years ago it was a bit of as dive, but new construction has brought the area to life, and there’s an eclectic mix of funky art studios and trendy new shops.
THE SEATTLE CENTER
The Seattle Center is where you’ll find that most-famous of Seattle landmarks, the Space Needle. But there’s so much more to see and do here – check out the science fiction and rock and roll museums at EMP, or explore the Pacific Science Center with its Lady Gaga planetarium laser show.
Or maybe take a stroll through the Chihuly Glass Gardens, and afterward, enjoy a really good lunch at Collections Cafe. There are often food festivals and other events here during the summertime, too, and of course, the Space Needle has one of the best views in town.
Close to the center, you’ll also find the Olympic Sculpture Park, a free outdoor collection of public art.
From here, you can take the monorail to…
The city center is just a $2.25 ride on the monorail away from the Seattle Center, and of course, it’s packed with things to do, starting with shopping – visit Westlake Center for your Macy’s or Nordstrom’s fix, or to check out the big food court there. Marvel the blue trees in the plaza, and take in a game of chess (giant chess) with a cup of bubble tea in hand.
Want fresh? Spend a couple hours at the Pike Place Market at the foot of Pike street, also the location of the original Starbucks (yes, you’re on their turf now, so don’t mention the Peet’s word).
The Seattle Aquarium here has my favorite – sea otters – soooooo cute!
The architecture here is fascinating too, especially the library and Ranier Buildings – the former a glass confection of crazy angles and the latter a skyscraper perched on an impossibly small base.
You can also take in the vistas from the Columbia Tower, the largest skyscraper in town.
Home to the famous Elliott Bay Book Company, the Pioneer Square is named after the quiet, shady square at its heart.
This district is bounded at the south by the city’s two stadiums, and has its share of charming boutique shops and restaurants.
Relax in the square with a coffee or a cup of gelato for a peaceful break between attractions.