Unleash your inner Francophile and drink wine all day at this charming streetside cafe. Start the day with white beaujolais and broiled eggs with ham and Gruyere, later pair pinot with paté for le déjeuner.
With views of the downtown skyline and iconic ferries passing by regularly, this three-mile stretch of sandy beach is the city’s best spot for an evening stroll. The 1913 lighthouse is worth a visit, too.
Alki Beach, 1702 Alki Avenue Southwest (206-684-4075).
The year-round market overflows with fresh produce and seafood, cut flowers, wares by local artisans, and endless opportunities for grab-and-go meals. But its true character shows in the quirks, like the infamous gum wall, the Giant Shoe Museum, and Rachel the bronze pig.
Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue (206-386-4636 or spl.org).
The 230-acre botanical garden is home to more than 20,000 rare trees, shrubs, and flowers from all over the world. Don’t skip the Japanese garden at the south end of the park.
Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Drive (206-543-8800).
Oyster bars are everywhere in this town, but Renee Erickson’s dainty Ballard haunt is a favorite for its half-shell offerings (nearly a dozen rotating varieties) and everything else on the mostly local menu. We recommend the scallop tartare, grilled sardines, and oil-poached halibut.
The Walrus and the Carpenter, 4743 Ballard Avenue Northwest (206-395-9227 or thewalrusbar.com).
Smack in the center of the city, the sparkling freshwater lake is a prime spot for kayaking, sailing, and other waterborne recreation. It’s also home to many of the city’s idyllic floating homes (hello, Sleepless in Seattle). See it all from the new park.
Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Avenue North (206-684-4075).
Don’t be fooled by chef Jason Stratton’s bespectacled baby face. He delivers nationally recognized pastas, including tajarin in ragu or sage butter, like a full-grown man.
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, 1622½ North 45th Street (206-547-5105); 917 East Pine Street (206-7087947); 1408 34th Avenue; 321 West Galer Street (206-457-8854 or mollymoonicecream.com).
The Ballard Locks, as locals call it, is a scenic passageway for sailboats between the salty Puget Sound and fresh waters of Lake Union. There’s also a botanical garden and underwater viewing center where you can watch salmon climb the weirs.
Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, 3015 Northwest 54th Street (206-783-7059).