Though I’ve spent my life between New England, New York City and Upstate New York, I’ve always felt I was meant to be a West Coast girl. I fell in love with California the minute I set foot in San Francisco for the first time, and have loved every bit of The Golden State I’ve seen since then, but I know that doesn’t represent anywhere close to everything the West coast has to offer. There’s lots more to see, and I want to see all of it.

One place that’s been on my to-visit list for quite awhile is the Pacific Northwest. So when my brother-in-law and his wife made a cross-country move, we were finally motivated to head out there and explore. We’ve since visited Seattle for two short trips, and in that time we’ve really grown to love the place. So today I’m sharing a few of the spots we’ve visited that I can’t wait to get back to.

Woodinville Wine Country

Location: Woodinville, WA

Woodinville is an area about 30 minutes outside of Seattle with a high concentration of wineries and tasting rooms—118 to be exact, plus 14 breweries, distilleries and cideries. There is no shortage of beverages to taste, and Woodinville is just one tiny pocket of the Pacific Northwest, a place that is at least in part known for its wine and beer scenes. We took a quick, half-day trip up there so we only got to visit a small area (check out the map to get a sense of how many options you have), but a few of the tasting rooms we enjoyed were Dusted Valley, Fidelitas and Guardian Cellars. Everyone we met was extremely friendly and informative—we loved the experience of hanging out in each space just as much as the wine. We also had a delicious lunch at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, which has a couple of locations in the area.

Bakery Noveau

Location: Capitol Hill, West Seattle, Burien

If you’re watching your gluten intake, Bakery Nouveau might be a nightmare for you, because you will want to eat everything. A friend tipped us off to the almond croissants, so we listened, and they did not disappoint.

Westward

Location: Wallingford

I had seen Westward recommended in a couple of places (namely Action Bronson’s F*ck That’s Delicious) so it was at the top of my list of restaurants to check out. I was actually a bit more interested in the atmosphere and the view than the food—doing anything on the water is right up my alley, so those Adirondack chairs and fire pits were calling my name—but the food, also, did not disappoint.

Melrose Market

Location: Capitol Hill

Melrose Market has a whole lot of awesomeness packed into a relatively small space. Located in Capitol Hill, the indoor market includes a handful of restaurants and shops. One night we attempted to walk into Sitka & Spruce, and even though there wasn’t any availability in the actual restaurant, we were able to order from the same delicious, locally-driven menu while seated at the bar just outside. A lot of the shops were closed when we stopped in, but I did also get an equally delicious lunch at Homegrown the next day.

Golden Gardens State Park

Location: Ballard

One of my favorite things about Seattle is that there are countless opportunities to be near the water. Since our visits have been quick, I have barely scratched the surface of the options, but so far Golden Gardens is one at the top of my list— for the trails and views, of course, but especially for the beach. So far we’ve only visited during the winter months, so I can’t wait to get back in warmer weather when we can properly enjoy it.

The Barrel Thief

Location: Fremont

The newly transplanted Seattlites got me a gift card to The Barrel Thief for Christmas, knowing we had a trip coming up, and it was the perfect gift for a wine enthusiast like me. When we visited, we were able to have them customize a whole tasting for us based on some preferences I provided. By the way, they specialize in both wine and whiskey, so if you’re into either one, you will be happy there.

Heybrook Lookout

Location: Near Index, WA

Heybrook Lookout is a short hike that was about an hour or so outside of Seattle. The incline was somewhat steep, so it was challenging, but the payoff at the top was very much worth it. The day we hiked here was amazingly clear and warm, so it was especially satisfying to climb to the top of the tower and take in all of the incredible mountain views around us.

Seattle Cider Company

Location: Industrial District

I’ve gotten into cider in the last couple of years as its popularity has grown. I’m more into unique flavor combinations as opposed to more traditional types, so I loved trying (almost) everything Seattle Cider Company had on tap. Their Basil Mint cider, which you can get year-round, is so good that it would without a doubt be a fridge staple if I were local.

To be Continued

That covers a handful of my favorite Seattle spots so far. I have got a bunch more coming for you in part 2, which will go up soon. Stay tuned!