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