Courtney in Tacoma and Seattle, WA
Last June we began our Pacific NW Trip visiting my husband’s aunt and uncle that live in Tacoma, WA. They live in the Stadium District of the city near the Stadium High School (where the movie "10 Things I Hate About You" was filmed! My late 90’s teen self was so excited about this fact) and the neighborhood is adorable, I loved the architecture of the homes not to mention the proximity to parks, restaurants, and shops. Areas with excellent walk-ability always rank high on my list.
Anyway, we started off strong with our Tacoma visit – going straight from the airport to Duke’s Seafood & Chowder waterfront restaurant. They reeled me in (no pun intended) with their commitments of sustainable seafood and all natural local offerings from organic sourdough to homemade dressings to nitrite free bacon. This was enough to make me shed a happy tear. I had to start with their award-winning clam chowder. Delicious and the recipe is included!
For my main dish, I couldn’t decide. I read the menu over and over, and asked the waitress a hundred questions. Everything sounded so amazing and I wanted to make a good choice. The waitress convinced me of the Pacific coho salmon that just arrived. Coho salmon is known for its mild incredible taste and vibrant color. I opted for the “Silky Sensual Pan Seared” version – the name was intriguing enough. Turns out in this case silky and sensual means ginger, basil, fresh herbs, and balsamic infused beurre blanc.
The Kids Menu was equally impressive. At the top of the menu, it says "At Duke's, we believe in healthy food for healthy kids." #allthehearteyes Our 3 year old went with the Alaska True Cod Fish & Chips with a side of all-natural applesauce and their organic blueberry lemonade. She was happy! Since we were all part of the clean plate club, did that mean dessert? Luckily for us, we had regional grocer, Metropolitan Market’s famous fresh baked (Belgium dark chocolate and walnut) ‘cookies the size of your head’ waiting for us back at their house.
The next day we made our way into Seattle for a day of exploring. We lucked out with the weather being warm and sunny. I had to get my Pike Place Special Reserve blend at none other than the first Starbucks. As we waited in line, a friendly employee made a coffee bean shaker for our daughter. Boredom in line be gone! We had to make certain stops as first-timers to Pike Place Market: fish tossing at Pike Place Fish, Rachel the Piggy Bank, and the gum wall to name a few. We had to stop by Nordstrom’s Flagship too! Soon it was time for lunch, our aunt had been to a tiny but impressive sandwich shop called Salumi (Batali family) and raved about it so we headed that way, about a mile walk, but made a pit stop in the lovely Pioneer Square for our daughter to run around. From Salumi, my husband and I shared the massive porchetta sandwich. OMG. And I don’t use this acronym lightly. Absolutely amazing! Simple but melt in your mouth flavorful.
Our fun continued to the Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center 73rd Floor (Adults $14.75, Children 5 and under: Free). “The 360 degree panoramic view includes Mt. Rainier, Bellevue, the Cascade Mountains, Mt. Baker, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, the Space Needle, and the city of Seattle.” It did not disappoint, I also learned it is the tallest public viewing area in the Pacific Northwest. The Observatory was clean, not overly crowded, and you could take your time reading the cool facts along the wall. It also had a nice café where our daughter enjoyed a yogurt and granola snack. As we were heading back to Tacoma, we made a pit stop by some floating houses to check out one in particular- the "Sleepless in Seattle" movie house - too cool.
On our second day in Tacoma it was all about the boat. We got the luxury of cruising around the Puget Sound in our aunt and uncle’s awesome boat. Our daughter took an epic nap, we had delicious snacks, and most excitedly- had awesome views of the Sound. It was such a memorable experience.
On our third and final day, we made our way a little over an hour away to Mt. Rainier! Having lived right by Yosemite for years, we have a fond appreciation for National Parks and couldn’t wait to cross another off our list. We checked out the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center which was great and also saw the beautiful Nisqually River. We even trekked down a long snow covered staircase aka slide with4 ft. of snow in most spots to see Narada Falls. So thankful to our aunt for entertaining our daughter in the car while we went on this little adventure.
That night we went to Indo Asian Street Eatery in Tacoma. I was really impressed with my Kimchi Fried Rice with Pork Belly.
We ended our time in Tacoma on a tasty note and the next morning took a very scenic Amtrak ride to Portland, OR where our Pacific NW adventure continued. I should also note that we got the business class seats on the Amtrak but realized everyone was sleeping except us so spent our time in the dining area which was perfect. Our daughter could spread out with her toys and snacks, while my husband could get some work done on his laptop, and I could do some reading.
Other Tacoma food:
Toddler Travel Notes:
- We used a small umbrella stroller when walking around. It was easy to stow on the train, too.
- Favorite travel toys: Leapfrog computer; Melissa & Doug Water Wow coloring books (not messy and reusable!); our Aunt bought her some stackable Tsum Tsum’s and she had a blast with those the entire trip and when we got home.
- Put all her toys, an extra outfit, jacket, hand sanitizer, and snacks in one of her little backpacks and she thought she was a big kid!
I hope you get to travel near and far, and often!