John’s note: The Local’s Take is a series where I interview some of my favorite travel bloggers and turn the tables, asking them to share their hometowns with us. After all, what better way is there to learn about a destination than from a travel writer who calls it home? So join along and learn how to make the most of a visit to Seattle, Washington with Ashley of A and B C the World.
Name: Ashley Dillon
Hometown: Seattle, Wa
About: A & B is a little travel blog we started during a half-year long trip through Southeast Asia. Since returning to the states from Asia, A&B C the world is our travel-outlet, cataloging our favorite places, travel sites, and things.
Tell us about Seattle. If you’ve been to Seattle, you know that it is the sum of its parts that make this city whole. Basically, Seattle is one big collection of neighborhoods. The quaint, small-town feel of each of these neighborhoods lends to their charm.
You have local eateries, grocery stores, neighborhood bars; basically everything you would need is located within a mile radius, and when you leave that mile radius you enter another neighborhood with it’s own food, bars and local haunts. From Ballard to Fremont, Greenlake to Madison Park, each of these great places are worth a trip in themselves.
What can visitors do to make the most out of a visit there? Most visitors stay in downtown Seattle, but I highly suggest finding a small hotel on the outskirts of downtown. Be sure to rent a car if staying outside of downtown, but I highly recommend hitting the year-round local farmer’s markets and tasting all the delicious artisan pastries and Washington cheeses.
What is Seattle best known for? Rain! Seriously, it seems like it only rains when I have people coming to visit, but if you stay longer than a week, than you are guaranteed to catch a little sun.
When is the best time to visit? July-September. We have perfectly mild weather and less rain at that time of the year, which makes a perfect time to visit and wander around The Emerald City.
Are there any unique festivals or celebrations? Seattle is known for its music festivals. Over Memorial Day weekend there is a huge music festival called Sasquatch at the Gorge (in George, Washington) that lasts for three days and brings in some great artists.
Or my favorite is Capital Hill Block Party, where for a day they block off all of the Capital Hill neighborhood and literally throw a big block party in the streets with great bands, food and drinks.
What is the local delicacy? We are lucky to live in a city surrounded by farms. We always have an abundance of locally grown, fresh produce and delicious seafood! So I’d have to say salmon and apples of course are our local delicacies.
What is the best restaurant or food experience in Seattle? Obviously, I am a big fan of the Seattle food scene. There is an amazing variety of food here, but I highly suggest grabbing local Seattle fare, either at the Walrus and the Carpenter (oyster bar) or Sitka and Spruce (seasonal Seattle cuisine).
If you are looking for something less formal, I would definitely recommend Pho, especially on a rainy day. Pho is the only thing that warms me and never disappoints. For around $5 you are sure to leave stuffed! Head to the university district to get free cream puffs with your pho for dessert.
Are there any unique or interesting neighborhoods? Ballard is my favorite neighborhood, though I might be biased because I live there. This little neighborhood harks back to its Scandinavian roots, and Swedish flags definitely outnumber US flags.
How would you spend a perfect day in Seattle? To start a perfect Seattle day (like the locals) head to the Sunday Ballard Farmer’s Market, where you can grab coffee and *vegan* pastries to go, and slowly meander up and down the farmer’s market.
Then grab brunch at Portage Bay Cafe (seriously worth the wait and the pancake topping bar is to die for- again, it is all locally sourced/fresh ingredients). After stuffing yourself with great food, walk down the street till you reach the locks.
This is where they let boats from the ocean into Lake Union or visa versa, by “locking” them into small channels while raising or lowering the water level. You can walk through the locks to the other side, which is called Magnolia. From there you can put in a little hike down to the beach at Discovery Park, where you can scour for drift wood and sea glass.
By the time you are finished hiking around, it’s probably time for happy hour and Ballard definitely has an abundance of great bars and happy hours. We usually stay a while and end our day meeting friends, eating and drinking and then walking back home (just be sure to bring a rain coat).