After experiencing a heat wave in Seattle, I was ready to pack my bags and move to this vibrant, adventurous, and most importantly, sunny city. Now that I’ve traveled to Seattle in December, I can say with certainty that that particular dream has died. It drowned itself in a rain puddle.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved Seattle, but I am a spoiled, whining California girl through and through and I am not meant to spend my days pining for the sun. I can say that if Seattle had “better” weather, I would live there, but Seattle without rain and gloom is not Seattle. That sort of weather makes a community of Patagonia-wearing, outdoor lovers, grunge rockers with their laced up boots, and the new addition of techies, who inevitably raise the price of rent. They all live as one, under a rainy sky, in their dive bars, fancy seafood restaurants, and of course, the ubiquitous coffee shop. We followed their lead on how to make it through the cold days in Seattle.
Drink lots of hot coffee and tea to stay alive
One must drink hot beverages in order to survive a Seattle winter. This is possibly sacrilege in a hipster-owned city like Seattle, but we spent a lot of time in Starbucks Reserve: Seattle Roastery on our holiday. In my defense, I am a teacher and I had a lot of gift cards to spend! Plus, Starbucks is a local business, right?! Over the holidays, this gorgeous roastery is packed with tourists, uncomfortably so, but getting to try coffee flights and seasonal beverages (even cocktails!) that are exclusively at Reserve is worth it. I loved the slightly sweet Shakerato Bianco and the pepperoni pizza was surprisingly scrumptious.
Victrola Coffee was a coffee shop that I was stoked to get a warm cup of espresso in, but it was closed on New Years Day. I suppose I must wait until next time, but please check it out for me!
Dough Zone is known for its cheap and cheerful Chinese dumplings and noodles, but the tea was just what we needed on a bitterly cold New Years Day. A whole pot for the two of us and it tasted even better when we realized we had gotten it for free because a server accidentally gave us someone else’s order. A Christmas miracle!
Wander through the indoor Museum of Pop Culture
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a museum that promises to encompass pop culture, but this was our favorite part of the trip. The museum is colorful and the first thing you see is a massive screen showing classic films, music videos, etc. This museum loves its tech. Each exhibit room had its own themed design, which makes you feel as though you were in a magical world, be it the world of Jimi Hendrix, indie gaming, or horror films. The Marvel exhibit was outstanding and we got to see almost all of the costumes from the movies and fascinating panels from the original comics. Where else will you see Hitler being punched in the face by Captain America?!
This museum actually focuses a lot on music and sound, so getting to go into an exhibit where you can play away on drums, guitars, and keyboards in a sound proof room was a real treat. You can also record your singing and instruments for later listening and embarrassment.
Go in kitschy bars to drink the cold away
My favorite Seattle bar will always be Unicorn because it’s all my daydreams splattered on a wall and magically imagined in cocktail form. Plus, I do enjoy cheekily pointing to the menu and saying, “I would like the Unicorn Jizz, please.”
The whole bar is decked out like a trendy circus and even serves circus food, like corn dogs and popcorn. On our recent New Years visit, I got the Cereal Killer, made with Fruit Loop vodka and Rumchata. It tasted EXACTLY like a bowl of milky, rainbow rings. Too sweet to have more than one, but a fun treat. Sadly, the downstairs doesn’t seem to be open during the daytime, so it might be better to go in the evening to get the full experience.
Montana Bar is the dive bar of your dreams. They’ve got Moscow Mules on tap and what is called a “pickle back” or a shot of whiskey served with a shot of spicy, pickle juice. The interior is somewhat dark with a red-lit bathroom and walls covered in graffiti. It is a place to make bad decisions….or you can be like us and share a Moscow Mule while watching the dog show on TV….we made it out alive, at least.
Another place I wanted to go, but didn’t get the chance was Smith Tower, which has a bar at the top. It is said to have a fantastic view of Seattle Space Needle and the bar has a Prohibition-style vibe to it. So, keep it hush-hush.
Find a warm place to celebrate the new year
I love to research, but my head was spinning as I sifted through all the NYE parties in Seattle. I’m in my 30’s, in a relationship, and no longer crave a wild night in a club for NYE. It was hard to find something that wasn’t a total rave and didn’t cost hundreds of dollars. Seeing fireworks at the Space Needle sounded great, but no way was I standing out in the cold for that long.
Luckily, I came across Capitol Cider, a small, vintage cider tavern, that was having a Louisana-themed party with burlesque dancers, a tarot card reader, and a ten piece brass band. It sounded unique, not too crazy, and best of all, it was only forty-five bucks (compared to the $100-200 range I was seeing everywhere else!). We started by having dinner upstairs, which consisted of crab cakes, seafood and sausage gumbo, and a beignet with raspberry and vanilla dipping sauces. This three-course dinner was $38 extra, but very worth it. After dinner, we joined the merriment downstairs. Ten Man Brass Band was the definite highlight of the night. They took up almost half of the downstairs and it was a PARTY being right in the midst of their blaring trumpets and trombones. They played some of their native Macklemore, which tipsy me thoroughly enjoyed. I think the person who had the most fun was the girl who one of the band members kissed in front of everyone. Brass band gone wild!
Be grateful for all that you have and Happy New Year!
I was only in Seattle for three days, but the city gave so much to me and I know I will return. But probably in the spring…