London, Paris, Rome ... Seattle

Road Journals Blog—Call me a Seattle superfan. The city may readily inspire images of coffeehouses and grunge, but this Pacific Northwest capital of cool is also part Disneyland, featuring spectacular attractions like the monorail, the underground tour, the Space Needle, and ferry rides, to name just a few.

It was all part of the allure when I visited as a kid, as were more mundane attractions—like Ivar’s Acres of Clams, where the kids menu doubled as mask.

(As an adult, I’m delighted to say that the tradition lives on.)


After my last visit (while editing a Via feature on Seattle’s Belltown district), I fell in love all over again with Seattle’s hipster whimsy, modern sophistication, and idiosyncratic deliciousness. So much so that I made a list of crazy little things that I loved:

Ivar's continues to offer menu-masks—and they continue to delight. | Anne McSilver

  • Top Pot Doughnuts, now with locations all over the city, was at the vanguard of the trend that has turned old-fashioned treats into artisan, worth-the-calories splurges. They go so far as to call their doughnuts “hand-forged.” My mouth waters just thinking about the chocolate cake flavor or the coconut-covered feather boa.
  • The Hat n’ Boots landmark in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood is, in fact, a giant cowboy hat and a gargantuan pair of boots built in 1954 as part of a Western-themed gas station. Several years ago, local citizens banded together to restore the roadside attraction and move it to Oxbow Park, a lovely little enclave with green grass and a kiddie playground.
  • The Seattle Cinerama in Belltown was the perfect place to see Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 2. It’s truly a cinematic treasure, described beautifully by Bruce Newman in VIA’s roundup of movie palaces.
  • The Fremont neighborhood has everything you could ask for: fun shops, tasty cafes, lively streets, a Sunday street market, and even its own troll. He lives under the Aurora Bridge and happily poses for photos.

I recently edited Via's current cover story on Seattle, by frequent contributor Christopher Hall, who found so many fresh reasons to visit that he didn’t mention a single one of my faves. When it comes to the big-name attractions, he does make passing mention of the monorail and Pike Place Market, but mostly he’ll be sharing lots of new discoveries.

You’ll have to wait for the print story in May to read the specifics, but that shouldn’t stop our conversation. What’s your favorite Seattle spot?

Seattle is the subject of Via's cover story in the May/June 2011 issue.

This blog post was first published in May 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.


Seattle is amazing and Pike's Place is, in my opinion, one of it's best attractions. I live in downtown and love to walk down to Pike's Place and do a little wine tasting. I even think they're doing a large project on the waterway to make it accessible.