Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Travel | 0 comments

Jennifer asked via Instagram where she could go in Seattle to get away from the tourist areas and get a more local feel.


Finding Local Flavor Wherever You Travel

One key to doing this anywhere is simply finding the touristy part(s) of town and then removing yourself from there. If you’re still seeing postcard stands on the streets, cutesy building facades, and/or things to pose next to for photos, keep going.

Once you start to see grocery stores, permanent residences, and/or less picturesque streets, you’ve probably crossed over to the local zone.


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Seattle’s Local Flavor

In Seattle, a lot of the top attractions are grouped together, which makes it easy to see the sights – and then to escape them. Get out of downtown and away from the University District (which locals call the “U District”), and you’re likely to find yourself where locals live, work, run errands, relax, and drink coffee. (Coffee gets its own category because we’re talking about Seattle here.)

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The timing of Jennifer’s question was great, since my Seattle experts happened to be in town. So we brainstormed and came up with a few suggestions of where to go for Seattle’s local flavor:

  • The photo that prompted the question was from Pike Place Market, which I recently wrote about as being a place you’ll find both tourists and locals. There are tons of places to eat, drink, shop, and explore.
  • I’ve also mentioned the Fremont Sunday Market, which is a great local thing to do if you happen to be in town on a Sunday.
  • Starbucks is not Seattle’s only homegrown coffee shop, so you may want to branch out and try something that isn’t available in your hometown. There are tons of locally-based alternatives. I enjoyed drinking Medicis (orange mochas) from Caffe Ladro, a 14-location, Washington-only chain. 
  • Full Tilt has all-natural ice cream, local art, and pinball. Yep. Pinball.
  • Hang out at Golden Gardens Park.
  • During the summer (and even this week), there are outdoor movies and concerts.

Finally, I’ll mention again my friend Luz’s post on things to do in Seattle, since she includes a lot of great ideas beyond the typical touristy fare.

How do you like to go local when you travel?

Thanks to Ian Smith and Christine Smith for help on this post!