The Siberian American: Seattle Hacks: How to Have a Great Experience with a Smaller Price Tag

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Seattle Hacks: How to Have a Great Experience with a Smaller Price Tag

Seattle is one of my favorite cities in the United States, even though I have only visited twice for a short time (before and after two Alaska cruises). Mattie from Northwest Native used to live in Seattle, so I asked her to put together a post of some of her favorite things in the city. I can't wait to do all of these someday!

As a former Seattle resident, I have my favorite places. Seattle is an expensive city, there's no denying that. But I have a couple of hacks for a great Seattle experience with a smaller price tag!

Fancy dinner?

You could opt for Seattle's most elite restaurant (with an elite price tag), Canlis. There's no denying that it has a beautiful view, but it's also well outside the city center. I've never been, and I'm sure it's delicious, but with the cheapest option on the menu costing $90 for three courses, it's not quite in our budget.

One of my absolute favorite Seattle restaurants is The Pink Door. I may be biased, because the first time we went was the night that my husband proposed to me, and our second apartment in Seattle was within easy walking distance, but this place is quite literally a hidden gem. Nestled in Post Alley, part of the iconic Pike Place Market, the restaurant bares no signage, just a pale pink door in a gray wall. The dim lighting in the dining room makes for great ambience at dinner time, and there's also patio seating with a view. I've only visited in colder months, so I regrettably missed out on patio seating. There are also trapeze acts on certain nights in the dining room! Entrees run from $17-$31, and I've never had a disappointing order. (They also have gluten free pasta and bread options!)

Honorable mention: Tavolata (close by/similar price range, but a smaller space and more 'hip' vibe)

View of the city?

The obvious choice is the observation deck of Seattle's landmark Space Needle, but it's also the priciest option. For single admission, adults are $22, seniors $19, and kids $14. You can buy a package of two tickets (the idea is to go once during daylight and once in the evening) for a slight discount: adults $39, seniors $36, kids $29.

A lesser-known option is the Sky View Observatory, which is 73 floors up. It's a great way to get a view of the city, especially because you get to see the Space Needle from the outside looking in. Tickets are $14.75 for adults, $9 for seniors, kids ages 6-12, and students/military with ID. If you were looking at doing the Space Needle twice, you could do the Space Needle once and Sky View once and save money and see two different views.

The cheapest of all is Kerry Park. In my mind, Kerry Park is a postcard view of Seattle. It's a free public viewpoint (but it's up a steep hill, so be ready to get a workout or drive/take some form of transportation).

Ice cream?

Okay, you got me, this one has nothing to do with price, but I feel like I have to let everyone in on this. Molly Moon's is a very popular Seattle ice cream shop chain. There are some fun and unique flavors, but most flavors have no chunks or ribbons (aka the good stuff). I prefer to get my ice cream from Cupcake Royale (another local chain). Their Stumptown coffee with dark chocolate ribbon and salted caramel cupcake flavors are my favorites! I've never had an ice cream with cake pieces in it where the cake actually kept its texture like Cupcake Royale's does.

[image sources: Molly Moon's, Cupcake Royale]

P.S. Cupcake Royale may win the ice cream round, but my favorite cupcakes in the city come from Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co!


  1. I LOVED Seattle when w visited 2 summers ago. We took advantage of happy hour every day. $1 oysters and $2 beers? Yes please! Our favourites were Elliot's Oyster House down by the water and The 5 Point Cafe by the Space Needle for cheap burgers and beers.

  2. this is fabulous! i have never been, so i'll be saving this for when we hopefully one day go! both ice cream places sound amazing, not gonna lie.

  3. Thanks for letting me guest post! <3 I hope your recovery is going well!

  4. Seattle is high up on my U.S. cities to hit up next, so this post couldn't have come at a better time. Hoping to pair it with an Alaskan cruise like you did. Those views, the ice cream, and of course the coffee! <3
    Green Fashionista

  5. I want to visit Seattle SO badly! I love you tips and tricks on finding the best view. I'd probably pick moons over cupcakes, though, because I don't need all the chunks- just some whack ice cream flavors! Haha!

  6. This post couldn't have come at a more perfect time! We're headed to Seattle in a few weeks, and obviously we need to pick out the perfect places to eat and places to see things! I'm totally pinning this for later!

  7. Loved this post (for obvious reasons!) Totally agree, Cupcake Royale has delicious ice cream that's just as good if not better (depending on your mood) than Molly Moon's. I also love Fainting Goat and Bottega Italiana Gelato. Oh, and Canlis is good, but if you are going to splurge, I'd recommend semi-new Eden Hill on Queen Anne or Altura on Capitol Hill. I liked the overall experience at both better. I haven't been to The Pink Door but when I moved back home to Seattle after college, my friends and I would eat "dinner" during happy hour. A lot of restaurants serve small plates, so if you're interested in trying lots of things that can be a great way to save some $$$. If you come for a longer visit hit me up girl!!


  8. I agree, Seattle is a favorite city in the United States (hoping to visit again soon now that I’m living in Northern Cali). I’ll definitely refer back to this list—hidden (affordable) gems and local favorites are the BEST. Thank you for sharing these hacks, Mattie!

    Lexi, Lex Be Livin’


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