1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Downtown
Seattle's aquarium isn't the biggest, but what they do have is pretty great: plenty of hands-on activities for the kids, an array of animals from otters and seals to birds (and fish of all sizes), daily mammal feedings, and an amazing underwater dome that gives you a 360-degree fish-eye perspective on the mysterious activities of the Puget Sound. It gets pretty busy during the school season, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, it's best to go before noon or after 3pm.
Pacific Standard Books
2316 2nd Ave., Downtown
Hands-down one of the city’s coolest bookshops, Pacific Standard Books is located in a loft space in Belltown. Here, local creative Strath Shepard (formerly of Visionaire and V Magazine) has curated a rotating selection of hard-to-find art, fashion, and photography books.
[email protected] Seattle (Closed)
500 Pine St., Downtown
We’ve always been fans of Nordstrom, but now we have another big reason to stop by their recently renovated, OG downtown Seattle outpost: From May 12th through June 25th, goop is setting up a shop-in-shop inside. We’ve assembled a wellness-centric edit of best-selling clean beauty products, workout gear, dinner-simplifying cooking tools, and so much more—including essentials from our own family of house lines: goop by Juice Beauty skincare, closet basics from goop Label, goop Wellness vitamin and supplement regimens, plus goop Fragrance edition 02—shiso, which is crafted from gorgeous, natural ingredients (without any of the typical toxins). You can find [email protected] (furnished by 1stdibs) in seven other cities—including nearby Bellevue—plus a full expression online, through June 25.
424 7th Ave. S, Downtown
Not far from Harbor City (the other dim sum favorite in the International District), Jade Garden is a Seattle staple. The restaurant is actually really big, so while there's a line on the weekends, it moves fast, and you can use the time to look over the specials, which are written on an old-school chalkboard in gorgeous script, in English and Chinese. Try to snag a seat near the kitchen if possible—there are enough tables that folks in the back usually suffer from a smaller selection from the carts. Food-wise, they do classics like shumai and hum bow really well, and locals say the shrimp dumplings either fried or steamed are what they order late-night (it's open until 3am).
707 S. King St., Downtown
Set in the heart of Chinatown in the International District, with red lanterns hanging from the ceiling, lazy susan tables, and birds hanging in the windows, Harbor City is dim sum straight out of central casting. The space is pretty tiny, so we recommend arriving early on weekends to skip the lines. They do all the classics really well—the har gow, gai lan (steamed broccoli), pork siu mai, and barbecue pork buns all come highly recommended. If you're feeling adventurous enough to order some fried chicken feet, this is a good place to take the leap.
Baby & Company
1936 1st Ave., Downtown
A Seattle standby since the ‘70s, this men’s and women’s boutique in a historic part of Seattle is achingly beautiful, with a grand spiral staircase, floor-to-ceiling windows, and meticulously merchandised displays—kind if like a mini Barneys, but a bit more boutique-y. Buyer and co-owner Jill Donnelly, who’s been responsible for the assortment for over 20 years, continues to do an impeccable job of introducing under-the-radar Euro lines and supporting tried-and-true faves like Kenzo, Co., and NLST. The end-of-season sales here are known to be epic.
1012 1st Ave., Downtown
Other than the simple, feminine-but-not-prissy interior and robust but not-too-cluttered displays, Moorea Seal (its namesake owner/buyer has been running the place since 2013) has another major thing going for it: A good portion, 7% to be exact, of the offering—tons of dainty jewelry, accessories, home goods, stationery, and giftables—is backed by some sort of philanthropic mission. A gold-plated opal ring, for example, supports Best Friends Animal Society, while the purchase of a hand-forged brass serving set contributes to the Washington Trails Association.
1400 Second Ave., Downtown
Paper Hammer's amusing graphic cards are designed and handprinted in their warehouse studio in Tieton, Washington, a few hours outside of Seattle. You can find the cards in select stationery stores around the country but if you're in Seattle, go to their lovely shop downtown, which also carries gift-y items like coasters and letterpress tags with clever sayings.
Zig Zag Café
1501 Western Ave., Downtown
This hidden gem is tucked away behind a staircase right by Pike Place Market—inside you’ll find great craft cocktails, a well-curated local beer offering, and delicious eats—from nibbles, like artisan cheeses and fresh oysters on the half shell, to larger plates influenced by Mediterranean cuisine like octopus, lamb meatballs, and marinated chicken kebabs. Its elegant, well-lit interior has a cozy, upbeat, nice-but-unpretentious vibe. There’s outdoor seating in back, too.
1100 Fifth Ave., Downtown
This Kimpton hotel in downtown Seattle is a no-brainer, solid choice. The rooms are nicely appointed, and the suites are particularly well-situated for longer stays. Ask for one with a city view.