So here’s a secret. Seattle isn’t always rainy, gloomy, and full of snarky hipsters! Well ok, maybe it always has that last part going on, but the summers in Seattle are quite glorious. The sun is out, the parks are full of people hanging out, and everyone seems to be off on a hike or swimming on the weekends. So, why do we have this image of Seattle as a 24/7 rainstorm? As a friend of mine told me, “People in Seattle don’t like to tell anyone about how great our summers are. It keeps them away.”
Fair enough. I had such a wonderful time on my five day trip to Seattle that I could see myself living there, if it wasn’t so rainy in the winters (or s0 they say….). The past five August days were sweltering though, but that isn’t surprising because Seattle is currently going through a heatwave. The National Weather Service has even issued an excessive heat warning until Saturday.
So, if you happen to be traveling in Seattle, then here are some suggestions about what to do in these baking, summer days.
Hike the lovely, but definitely uphill, trail to Wallace Falls
The hike to Wallace Falls is 4.5 miles of shady forest with a very well-maintained trail to the different stages of the falls. You need to have a Discovery Pass to park there, which costs $10, but a kind woman gave us hers once we parked.
It starts off flat, along the river, and feels like a relaxing nature hike. About a mile in, the climb begins and after the middle falls viewing area, it’s all switchbacks. I was definitely getting a work-out, but it isn’t anything a healthy, fit person can’t do. We saw kids, the elderly, and even tiny dogs making the trek.
You can’t swim in the falls, but they are definitely a worthwhile view. Sadly, eating your lunch at the top has to take place on random stumps in the forest because the viewing area isn’t very big, but once you come back down from the hike, the river is the perfect place to relax with a snack and dip your toes in.
Eat Molly Moon’s delectable ice cream in the shade of Cal Anderson Park
Molly Moon knows how to do ice cream. My friend ordered a regular waffle cone and it was the size of her head. I wasn’t up to the challenge, so they let me get a kid’s cup, which was the perfect amount.
I ordered a honey lavendar ice cream with a lemon curd topping, while my friend got the maple walnut ice cream. Other options included Stumptown coffee flavor, earl grey, and a seasonal orchard blondie.
Cal Anderson Park was just down the street and we sat in the shade of the trees, reminiscing and enjoying our delicious ice cream.
Float down the Snoqualmie River at Fall City
Getting ready for a river float took way more time than I thought, as we had to blow up all the tubes, get the car shuttles down to the end spot, and make sure all our food and beer was properly stowed. Also, I was hungover and life was not feeling so great. I was regretting my decision to lay in the sun all day.
Luckily, once we got on the water and I got some hair of the dog in me, I felt fabulous. The water felt wonderful and someone brought donuts! As a river rafting girl, I did feel antsy about being tied to ten other people in tubes and after awhile, I was not down with just laying on an air mattress in the current. To keep myself busy, I would kick and paddle myself around, but it was a bit of a losing battle.
It was a fun time though and we did get to go through some exciting rapids every onece in awhile. The whole thing from leaving Seattle to getting back home went from 12-7, so be prepared for a long day and BRING LOTS OF WATER AND SUNSCREEN. And donuts, people were so down with that.
Drink some refreshing ginger beer at Rachel’s Ginger Beer
Rachel’s Ginger Beer can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic, but I mean, why not add vodka to a tasty, homemade ginger beer?! Flavors included caramelized pineapple, pink guava, and cucumber and tarragon.
If you’re not into ginger, it can be pretty heavy on the flavor, but I absolutely loved it. It was the perfect thing to drink on a sweaty weekday night and it was surprisngly strong as well.
Indoor and outdoor seating are also great for soaking up the sun or hiding away from it.
Take a stroll through Fremont to check out the weird public art and vintage shops
Fremont is a cute, hippie neighborhood in Seattle and they’re mostly known for the troll art piece under the bridge that everyone poses with, but there is also a out-of-place station of Lenin (read the placard because the story behind it blew my mind). While you are there, check out vintage shops full of unique wall prints, wild sunglasses, and 70s neckties.
Spend all day in The Elliot Bay Book Company reading a novel or cafe hop and get your caffeine fix
I love a good bookstore and Elliot Bay is one of the most popular in Seattle. The original is where Frasier used to hang! They have a two-story building with humor, travel, northwest authors, bargain books, history, sex, and classic sections. I could have spent all day perusing their assortments of literature. Perfectly, they even have a cafe for if you get hungry, but you’re not allowed to bring unpaid books inside.
Two of my favorite coffee places during my stay were Monorail Espresso and Espresso Vivace. Monorail has one hell of an iced latte, but it’s a small window on the sidewalk and even though, there are a few chairs, it’s not a great place for sitting on a hot day. Better to take to go on a stroll in the shade. Espresso Vivace has A/C and Wifi, so I was fine with staying there for hours. The caramel cafe latte was sweet, but perfectly decadent.
Check out Optimism Brewery in the evening
This brewery hasn’t been open even a year, but business was poppin’ when we stopped in for a tasting flight. This seemed to be the best choice, as they have so many different beers that it was hard to choose one. The counter made me think of a burger joint from the 70s with its lit-up menu with pictures of each beer and a description.
All our beers were delicious (big fan of the Belgian brews) and the space is huge. You can either sit inside at a table or outside where there is corn hole and more seating. Either way, you’ll be feeling cool (and maybe a bit drunk).