Is your next great getaway right here in Seattle? More than likely. There’s no need to board a jet when autumn’s weather still provides cool, sun-drenched days, and it’s easy to hop to and from our local, independent and diverse businesses. Seattle offers plentiful handmade goods, artisan foods and carefully curated menus. Throughout popular Seattle neighborhoods, the PayByPhone app makes for convenient street parking, and is also available in parking garages around the city. You can even use the app’s handy map feature to plan out where parking is available before you head out or view and reserve a parking spot at select garages.
Head out midmorning to visit downtown Seattle’s bustling Pike Place Market. Autumn brings more manageable crowds to the popular destination and seasonally harvested produce either in raw form or repurposed into new and fantastic foods and meals. It’s fall, so try a grilled cheese for lunch from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese or hot smoked salmon chowder with capers at Pike Place Chowder.
Another warming option: A liquid pour from the flagship store for Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Inspired by the vibrant ginger beers found on tap in Europe, Rachel’s uses fresh and locally sourced ingredients from Seattle-area farmers and growers. The eye-popping ginger beers include flavored options such as blood orange, blueberry and caramelized pineapple.
In the market’s charming Post Alley, the Made in Washington Store features foods and goods made in Washington, such as the aromatherapy-infused coconut-soy pillars from Thea Candle Company. You’ll also find toys, kitchenware, jewelry and herbal body products in the Pike Place Crafts Market, which represents 200-plus craftspeople — all of whom make their quality items by hand .
Walk a few blocks to downtown Seattle’s shopping center Pacific Place, where The Handmade Showroom highlights modern and contemporary independent artists, designers and creative companies. The shop showcases Pacific Northwest-based clothing, greeting cards, housewares, hats, T-shirts and more, but has increasingly worked with artists from farther afield as well.
For more exploration of texture, color, and creativity, visit the Seattle Art Museum, which is running exhibitions on Claude Monet’s paintings (through Oct. 17), Dawn Cerny’s sculptures (through Sept. 26), and Seattle artist Barbara Earl Thomas’s (Jan. 22) cut paper and hand-printed color works. But if the sun is still out, motor down to the Olympic Sculpture Park’s nine-acre outdoor art museum for a stroll and views of Elliott Bay. Wrap up the evening with a dinner and nightcap in Belltown or Queen Anne, at the restaurant of your choice.
Midday, head for Capitol Hill to continue your exploration of the city. Stop in at The Shop Agora for imported Mediterranean epicurean ingredients (think: no-soak Italian heirloom beans, rosemary honey, squid-ink pasta) to shop for next weekend’s feast. If you’re ready for a right-now nosh, request a seat at the full-service dining patio to enjoy gyros, salad and a glass from the well-stocked wine bar.
Then, drive up to the nearby Volunteer Park for an affordable ($4) whirl through the park’s historic 1912 Conservatory. The warm Instagram-worthy glass interior is packed with selective displays of ferns, cactuses, palms, and other subtropical and tropical plants.
If the conservatory inspires you to start your mini-conservatory, the Capitol Hill shop Glasswing brings together art, clothing, accessories, home goods — and houseplants. After browsing the store’s verdant collection, sign up for one of Glasswing’s virtual (for now) workshops, such as building a terrarium, caring for houseplants, or mount a plant for wall décor.
This is just the start, of course — other Capitol Hill destinations could bring out your inner writer via the craft books at Elliott Bay Book Company or classes at Hugo House, artist amid the supplies at Blick Art Materials, or amateur swing dancer at Century Ballroom, thanks to vaccination and masks. (If you’re willing to drive a little further, SaltStone Ceramics in the Wallingford neighborhood offers the “clay curious,” a ceramic art and pottery studio with classes, workshops and private lessons)
For dinner, options abound. Marjorie Restaurant is named for Chef Donna Moodie’s mother, whom she trailed around their family kitchen in Jamaica. Today, Moodie incorporates local merchants and farmers to create beloved standards (and new favorites) such as jalapeño hush puppies, roasted-yam tacos, and Jamaican jerked chicken or tofu, served with sweet potato-coconut purée and collard greens.
A bit further east is Communion Restaurant & Bar in the Central District, run by a mother-son team. “Seattle Soul” cuisine is on the menu, including black-eyed-pea hummus, catfish and Parmesan-polenta grits (with a tomato okra stew), or a rich shiitake mushroom-based soup featuring seasonal sautéed greens, served with either chicken or tofu. Close out the weekend with one of Communion’s cocktails featuring a housemade syrup or brandy.
PayByPhone is available at approximately 13,000 City of Seattle locations in addition to parking lots across the city. During October, check out PayByPhone’s virtual Block Party for a chance to win a locally sourced prize bundle valued at $500.