Packing with Heels: How to Save Space

I'm going to begin with the moral of the story: Do as I say, not as I do.

By this I mean that though I am writing a blog post about better packing practices, I am the world's worst overpacker. If I'm going to L.A. for the weekend, you better bet I'm going to bring four pairs of heels and twice that many dresses. I need options, people. And if I'm going to a cold weather locale and need heavy coats and boots, I practically need my own porter. So with that caveat, here are my packing tips as I originally published them in Go! Girl Guides for ensuring you don't pull out your back before you even get to the airport.

We all envision ourselves as the low maintenance traveler who can just throw a few things in a backpack and go. But for some of us (myself included), reality is a little less backpack, a little more backpack/purse/laptop case/roller bag… okay, large roller bag.

When traveling for an extended amount of time, not only is it easier to lug less around, but with those airline baggage fees, it’s cheaper. So while you may never be a backpack-only type of girl, with a few tips you can at least consolidate down to one carry-on size roller bag (and still bring along your favorite pair of heels too.)

  • Pre-Plan: Pack in advance of your trip- Simple advice but highly effective. I’ve been known to wait until an hour before I need to leave for the airport, and in a sheer panic, throw half my closet into my suitcase. But if I make a list and pack a couple of days before the trip, I give myself time to comb through the resulting madness and rationalize that there will be no need for canary yellow pumps or three LBDs.
  • Pack Smartly: Whenever possible, pack clothes with one color scheme in mind – neutrals like blacks, grays, whites are easiest, adding in touches of color with lightweight accessories like scarves. Outfits that can easily transition from day to night are necessary in order to avoid taking more than one change of clothes per day. Mix and Match to create more outfit opportunities for less space. Unless you are packing for a special occasion, toss out anything that doesn’t coordinate with more than one piece of clothing. In other words, a polka dot skirt that matches only one shirt you are bringing is probably a no go. (As a style aside, a polka dot skirt may be a no go anyway, but for entirely different reasons.)
  • FedEx It: When traveling through different seasons and climates and you will be in one place long enough to receive a package, do what I did: Three months in Europe took me from 50 degrees in Dublin to 90 degrees in Rome. Packing boots and flip flops – and everything in between – wasn’t an option. So I packed cool weather clothes in my suitcase to take with me until I left Ireland and England behind in May. Before I left, I packed a box full of summer clothes and shoes and enlisted a friend to ship them to me at an apartment I was renting for a couple of weeks in London. When the package arrived, I placed my jackets, sweaters and boots back in the same box and shipped it back to her.
  • Utilize Every Inch of Space: Pack heavier items in your suitcase first such as sweaters and jeans. They will be harder to stuff into your suitcase if you are short on space whereas tank tops and dresses can easily be placed on top or in any nook or cranny.
  • Use Your Heels: Stuff them with socks, underwear, bikinis, jewelry… anything small you can cram in there. Tall boots are even better – they can accommodate complete outfits if rolled up and stuffed inside. When packing, try to pack your heels so that they lay in your suitcase like they did when they arrived in the shoe box. This will help to save space. If you’re cramped, pack them so they stand vertically between your clothes, but be sure they’re protected from the sides by clothing so they won’t get damaged.

Space Savers

We all know the rolling-up-the-clothes trick. Not only does it save space, but it works double duty as a wrinkle alleviator. An even more effective way to pack is to invest less than $20 in Space Bags. Just pack a bag full of clothes, seal it and press down until you hear all the air has released from the one-way value. Your previously full bag of clothes becomes nearly flat, allowing you to pack almost twice as many clothes in your suitcase.

A Few Random Tips:

-Don’t forget that almost everywhere you go will have whatever you might need – and usually for cheaper than you could buy at home.

-Pack clothes that can usually withstand more than one wear like jeans or cargo pants.

-If your main concern is making sure you stick to one bag, wear your largest items on the plane. Don’t pack your winter coat; wear it. Same goes for your bulkiest pair of boots.

-Don’t take more than one piece of outerwear for the whole trip. You aren’t going to Fashion Week, after all. Unless you really are.  And then in that case, all these rules are out the window. You’re going to need those canary yellow heels.

The Non-Tourist's Guide to Seattle: Part Two (Where to Eat, Where to Drink)

 A Seattle specialty: raw oysters.  Photo by The Walrus & The Carpenter.

A Seattle specialty: raw oysters.  Photo by The Walrus & The Carpenter.

In Part One of the Non-Tourist Guide to Seattle we tackled where to stay and what to do in the Emerald City. Now it's time to get to the really good stuff - where to eat, drink and go out at night! 

In my less than five years living here, I've witnessed Seattle quickly rise to the ranks of one of the better foodie cities in the country.  During that time, Seattle's bars have also been nationally recognized as among the best in the country by food and drink critics for GQ, Food + Wine, Bon Appetit and The James Beard Foundation. And with strong musical roots - Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice & Chains and Soundgarden to name a few - it's no surprise that Seattle has some incredible venues dedicated to live music and shows of all types from musicals to stand-up comedy.  

I am always happy to offer restaurant, bar and entertainment recs (and couldn't possibly fit all of them on this list), so if you have any questions, leave me a comment!

Where to Eat:

Asian Fusion:

*Joule Restaurant (Wallingford) - Seattle Magazine named Joule one of its best restaurants for 2013. Try Joule's modern take on Korean cuisine, especially the octopus, bok choy and hot bacon vinaigrette.

 Simple and classic interior of Joule in Wallingford.  Photo by Joule Restaurant.  

Simple and classic interior of Joule in Wallingford.  Photo by Joule Restaurant.  

Monsoon (Capitol Hill) - Monsoon puts a spin on Vietnamese cuisine with Pacific Northwest influences.  Impressive wine list.

Wild Ginger (Downtown) - This Asian Fusion restaurant's menu provides its diners through a tour of Southeast Asia.  Don't miss the satays, fragrant duck, seven flavor beef and princess prawns. 

Bakery:

*Bakery Nouveau (West Seattle or Capitol Hill) - Pastries and breads are exceptional.  Enough said.

 Delicious treats in the bakery case at Bakery Nouveau.  Photo by Bakery Nouveau.

Delicious treats in the bakery case at Bakery Nouveau.  Photo by Bakery Nouveau.

Belle Epicurean (Downtown or Madison Valley) - A French patisserie, Belle Epicurean has some of the best macarons this side of Paris. Check out their fine wine and high quality foods store, Provisions, located beside the Madison Valley location.

Dahlia Bakery (Belltown) - Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis named Dahlia Bakery's vanilla mascarpone and cinnamon sugar doughnuts "the best thing I ever ate."

Le Panier (Downtown) - A classic French boulangerie and patisserie across from Pike Place Market, Le Panier serves several types of classic and specialty French breads, croissants and tarts.

Brunch:

Salish Lodge (Snoqualmie) - It's about an hour drive outside of Seattle, but brunch at Salish Lodge is worth the trek.  Order the "honey from heaven" with your biscuits.

Skillet Diner (Ballard or Capitol Hill) - Skillet was so popular as a food truck, they finally opened a brick and mortar restaurant.  Great brunch.  Pork belly and cornmeal waffles... yum.

*The Wandering Goose (Capitol Hill) - The Wandering Goose is one of the most authentic Southern cooking restaurants I've found in Seattle.  It should be - the owner is from North Carolina.

 One serious biscuit at The Wandering Goose: housemade sausage, sautéed kale, tomato jam and a fried egg.  Photo by The Wandering Goose.

One serious biscuit at The Wandering Goose: housemade sausage, sautéed kale, tomato jam and a fried egg.  Photo by The Wandering Goose.

Burgers:

Dick's Drive-In (several locations) - Dick's is a Seattle burger institution.  I think it's a bit overrated, but if you visit Seattle, you should probably visit Dick's.  Macklemore filmed a video at the Capitol Hill location.

*Lunchbox Laboratory (South Lake Union) - Order the Burger of the Gods.  It lives up to its name.  Oh and they have old school video games upstairs.  Ms. Pac Man, anyone?

 Burger, fries and a shake with old school lunchboxes in the background. Photo by Lunchbox Laboratory.

Burger, fries and a shake with old school lunchboxes in the background. Photo by Lunchbox Laboratory.

Cheese:

*Beecher's Handmade Cheese (Downtown) - A Seattle cheese institution, Beecher's recently expanded to New York City but still calls Pike Place Market its home base.  Peer in the window and watch the cheese being made. Or better yet, go inside for a sample.

 Watching the cheesemaking at Beecher's at Pike Place Market. Photo by Beecher's Handmade Cheese. 

Watching the cheesemaking at Beecher's at Pike Place Market. Photo by Beecher's Handmade Cheese. 

DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine (Downtown) - Located at Pike Place Market, DeLaurenti offers over 250 cheeses and will let you sample to your heart's delight. Don't miss DeLaurenti's large wine selection to pair with the cheeses you bring home.

Coffee & Tea:

*Bauhaus Books and Coffee (Capitol Hill) - Any coffee shop that takes itself so un-seriously as to serve old school Kool Aid and Ding Dongs is high on my list.  Good, albeit sometimes loud, place to sit with a book.

 Wall of books inside Bauhaus.  Photo by Bauhaus Books and Coffee.

Wall of books inside Bauhaus.  Photo by Bauhaus Books and Coffee.

Miro Tea (Ballard) - In the event you overdose on coffee (and being in Seattle, it's possible), Miro Tea is the perfect caffeinated alternative. Offering over 200 teas, Miro also offers a quiet place to relax with a book or to play one of the many board games tucked away on their shelves.

Starbucks (Madison Park) - Yes, I did it.  I included Starbucks.  Not only is the Madison Park neighborhood quaint, this Starbucks has a fireplace, wine in the evenings and more upscale food offerings than the usual scone.

Victrola Coffee and Art (Capitol Hill) - This coffee shop is large enough to offer ample seating but intimate enough to feel like you are home in your living room.  Victrola Coffee and Art lives up to its names with excellent coffee within art-covered walls.

Contemporary American:

Bar Sajor (Pioneer Square) - Matt Dillon won the 2012 James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest, and with his restaurant, Bar Sajor, it's easy to see why.  The restaurant is rustic yet chic, and the menu has a similar feel.  If you're hungry, spring for the whole roast chicken.

Book Bindery (Fremont) - Dine on exceptional food in Book Bindery and sample wines in Almquist Family Vintners winery attached to the restaurant.  Sit in the greenhouse for al fresco dining year round. 

*Canlis (Queen Anne) - A Seattle dining institution, Canlis is a can't-miss spot for fine dining. The Canlis salad is an old favorite on the menu. Reserve "The Cache" for an intimate dining experience for up to four people, featuring an amazing view of Lake Union.

 View of Lake Union from The Cache.  Photo by Canlis.

View of Lake Union from The Cache.  Photo by Canlis.

Crush (Madison Valley) - Situated in a charming house in Madison Valley, Crush uses French cooking techniques for modern American food.  Order the "Bacon and Eggs."  One of the best dishes I've ever eaten.

Cookies:

Cow Chip Cookies (Pioneer Square) - Cow Chip Cookies makes it worth it to have an entire category dedicated to cookies.  Best chocolate chip cookies I've ever eaten.  And considering how many I've sampled, that says a lot.

 Cow Chip's Pioneer Square storefront. Photo by Cow Chip Cookies.

Cow Chip's Pioneer Square storefront. Photo by Cow Chip Cookies.

Cupcakes:

Cupcake Royale (several locations) - Cupcake Royale was the first cupcake bakery to open outside of New York City.  Cupcakes of the month are to die for (this month's flavor: Strawberry Champagne).

 Cupcake Royale's strawberry champagne cupcakes. Photo by Cupcake Royale.

Cupcake Royale's strawberry champagne cupcakes. Photo by Cupcake Royale.

Doughnuts:

Mighty-O (Tangletown) - With its vegan and organic doughnuts, Mighty-O is the quintessential Pacific Northwest doughnut shop.

*Top Pot (several locations) - Glazed. Old. Fashioned.  Order it.

 Case full of Top Pot doughnuts.  Photo by Top Pot.

Case full of Top Pot doughnuts.  Photo by Top Pot.

Food Trucks:

The food truck scene is big in Seattle.  (I counted 166 that are currently making the rounds.)  Consult Seattle Food Truck for the food trucks' daily schedules.

El Camion - In a city lacking in authentic Mexican food, it's worth hunting down El Camion.  Carne asada tacos are my go-to order.

*Maximus/Minimus - It's BBQ served out of a giant pig-shaped truck.  And it tastes really, really good.

 Maximus/Minimus serves BBQ from its pig truck.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Maximus/Minimus serves BBQ from its pig truck.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Skillet Street Food - Menu changes weekly, but you can always count on the burger and the poutine as Skillet staples.

French:

*Loulay (Downtown) - "Chef in the Hat" Thierry Rautureau opened Loulay (named after his hometown in France) after closing his renowned Rover's in the summer of 2013.  Amazing food, wine list and decor.  Don't miss "The Egg" - organic scrambled egg, crème fraiche and sturgeon caviar placed back into the shell.

 Interior of Loulay strikes the perfect balance between traditional and contemporary decor.  Photo by Loulay.

Interior of Loulay strikes the perfect balance between traditional and contemporary decor.  Photo by Loulay.

Maximilien (Downtown) - A classic French restaurant, Maximillien is situated in Pike Place Market.  The food is great, but especially go for the amazing panoramic views of Elliot Bay.

RN74 (Downtown) - Celebrity chef Michael Mina is originally from Washington state and finally opened a Seattle outpost in RN74.  The restaurant bills itself as a French bistro.  Fantastic wine list. 

Ice Cream:

*Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream (Capitol Hill) - Three flavors to try that are Molly Moon's staples: salted caramel, honey lavender and balsamic strawberry.

 Sampling of Molly Moon's ice cream and sorbet.  Photo by Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream.

Sampling of Molly Moon's ice cream and sorbet.  Photo by Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream.

Mora Iced Creamery (Bainbridge Island) - FoodandWine.com included Mora in its 2012 article on America's best ice cream cities.  Worth the ferry over to Bainbridge.

Indian:

Shanik (South Lake Union) - If you know and love Indian restaurant Vij's in Vancouver, BC, you will want to try their Seattle outpost, Shanik.  The lamb popsicles made it across the border.

 Contemporary decor inside South Lake Union's Shanik.  Photo by Shanik.

Contemporary decor inside South Lake Union's Shanik.  Photo by Shanik.

Italian:

*Altura (Capitol Hill) - Altura's menu changes weekly, showcasing the local Northwest bounty in the form of Italian cuisine.  Sommelier Guy Kugel perfectly pairs wine with your chosen three, four or five courses or the chef's tasting menu.  If the Risotto Mantecato appears on your menu, order it.

 Get a seat at the bar to watch Altura's chefs in action.  Photo by Altura Restaurant.

Get a seat at the bar to watch Altura's chefs in action.  Photo by Altura Restaurant.

Cascina Spinasse (Capitol Hill) - Spinasse's specialty is hand cut egg pasta with butter and sage.  It's simple and perfect.

How to Cook a Wolf (Queen Anne) - Go to the restaurant for its intriguing name, stay for its impressive assortment of Italian cuisine small plates and pasta.

The Pink Door (Downtown) - The Pink Door near Pike Place Market provides a show - sometimes burlesque, sometimes a trapeze artist, sometimes a tarot card reading - alongside its Italian-American menu.

 Dinner and a show at The Pink Door.  Photo by The Pink Door.

Dinner and a show at The Pink Door.  Photo by The Pink Door.

Serafina (Eastlake) - The menu focuses on Italian regional cuisine.  Best time to go: Sunday's Jazz Brunch or in the summer when it's warm enough to sit on Serafina's romantically-lit patio for dinner.

Mexican:

La Carta de Oaxaca (Ballard) - One of Seattle's dining weaknesses is a lack of good Mexican food.  La Carta de Oaxaca is the exception.

 Photographs of the places and people of Oaxaca, Mexico line the walls.  Photo by La Carta de Oaxaca.

Photographs of the places and people of Oaxaca, Mexico line the walls.  Photo by La Carta de Oaxaca.

Pizza:

Elemental Pizza (University Village) - For dairy and gluten intolerance sufferers who still need their pizza fix, Elemental can substitute gluten-free crust and vegan mozzarella.

Pegasus (Alki Beach) - Greek style, deep dish pizza served with a view of Alki Beach makes for a great lunch on a sunny Seattle day.

*Serious Pie (Downtown or South Lake Union) - These pizzas are serious.  Well, seriously gourmet.   And seriously delicious.  Try the roasted seasonal mushrooms and truffle cheese pizza.

 Serious Pie's housemade juniper salami, robiola and caramelized onion pizza.  Photo by Serious Pie.

Serious Pie's housemade juniper salami, robiola and caramelized onion pizza.  Photo by Serious Pie.

Sandwiches:

Salumi (Pioneer Square) - Owned by Mario Batali's parents, Salumi is both a salumeria and a restaurant.   Small space will have you getting to know your fellow diners at communal tables.

 Daily specials greet Salumi's patrons waiting in line outside.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Daily specials greet Salumi's patrons waiting in line outside.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Seafood:

*AQUA by El Gaucho (Downtown) - AQUA sits on Pier 70 with walls of windows overlooking Elliott Bay.  Great seafood.  Order the Emerald City Volcano for dessert and enjoy the show.

 Gorgeous view of Elliott Bay at AQUA.  Photo by AQUA by El Gaucho.

Gorgeous view of Elliott Bay at AQUA.  Photo by AQUA by El Gaucho.

Ivar's Salmon House (South Lake Union) - There is nothing fancy about this place, but the few weeks a year (mid-May to mid-June) when Copper River Salmon is being served, just go.

Ivar's Seafood Bar (several locations) - Even less fancy than the Salmon House, Ivar's Seafood Bar is your place for fish and chips, clam chowder and delicious fried goodness.

The Walrus & The Carpenter (Ballard) - If you're into raw oysters, you should be into The Walrus & The Carpenter.  The oyster bar describes itself as a cross between French elegance and a local fishing pub.

Steak:

Capital Grille (Downtown) - Everything on the happy hour menu, whether food or drink, is $6.  Drink the Stoli Doli - housemade pineapple infused vodka martini.

*Metropolitan Grill (Downtown) - Best steak in town.  Check out the walls covered with photographs of The Met's famous patrons.  Have a seat at the bar and ask Rob to make you a Met Manhattan.

 The Met's bartender, Rob, pours a Met Manhattan. Photo by Claire Barboza Photography.

The Met's bartender, Rob, pours a Met Manhattan. Photo by Claire Barboza Photography.

Sushi and Japanese:

Maneki (International District) - The James Beard Foundation named Maneki an American Classic in 2008.  Unless you want to wait in line, call ahead for reservations.

Mashiko (West Seattle) - Mashiko specializes in sustainable sushi and their own special brand of quirkiness (www.sushiwhore.com is their website).

*Shiro's (Belltown) - Chef Shiro Kashiba trained under Jiro Ono (of Jiro Dreams of Sushi).  Go early to get in line for a seat (no reservations for the sushi bar) and watch Shiro do his magic.

 Shiro shows off a fresh catch at his namesake sushi restaurant. Photo by Runei Matsumoto. 

Shiro shows off a fresh catch at his namesake sushi restaurant. Photo by Runei Matsumoto. 

Sushi Kappo Tamura (Eastlake) - Sit at the sushi bar and order omakase from Chef Taichi Kitamura to find out why Travel + Leisure magazine named Sushi Kappo Tamura one of the best sushi restaurants in the U.S.

Where to Drink:

Bathtub Gin & Co. (Belltown) - With a speakeasy feel, the unmarked door to Bathtub Gin is found off an alley in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood.

 The bar and its namesake bathtub at Bathtub Gin.  Photo by Bathtub Gin & Co.

The bar and its namesake bathtub at Bathtub Gin.  Photo by Bathtub Gin & Co.

Canon (Capitol Hill) - Canon boasts the Western Hemisphere's largest collection of spirits.  If you are a Manhattan drinker, try the "Manhattan Experiment" - a delicious flight of three Manhattans.

 A sampling of the largest liquor collection in the Western Hemisphere.  Photo by Canon.

A sampling of the largest liquor collection in the Western Hemisphere.  Photo by Canon.

Knee High Stocking Co. (Capitol Hill) - Another Seattle speakeasy.  Text for reservations.  If you aren't on the list, you may not get in the door.

*Needle & Thread (Capitol Hill) - Tiny bar tucked away upstairs at Tavern Law.  (Enter by using the telephone on the wall inside Tavern Law.)  Advance reservations are necessary.  Don't order off a menu - just tell the bartender what ingredients you like and they will construct the perfect cocktail.

Tavern Law (Capitol Hill) - GQ Magazine named Tavern Law one of the 25 best cocktail bars in America.  Only stay downstairs at Tavern Law if you can't get into Needle & Thread upstairs.

 Behind the bar at Tavern Law.  Photo by Tavern Law.

Behind the bar at Tavern Law.  Photo by Tavern Law.

Where to See a Show:

*5th Avenue Theatre (Downtown) - Gorgeous theatre (worth visiting for its architecture and design alone) is a draw for Broadway fans to see shows like Les Miserables and Jersey Boys.

 The interior of the 5th Avenue Theatre was modeled to reproduce features of Beijing landmarks.  Photo by 5th Avenue Theatre. 

The interior of the 5th Avenue Theatre was modeled to reproduce features of Beijing landmarks.  Photo by 5th Avenue Theatre. 

Benaroya Hall (Downtown) - Home to the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall also hosts concerts from acts like Heart and Natalie Merchant.

Chateau Ste. Michelle (Woodinville) - If you are in Seattle for the summer, check out Chateau St. Michelle's summer outdoor concert series.  A sampling on tap for 2014: Ringo Starr, Sarah McLachlan and John Legend.

*The Crocodile (Belltown) - Over the years, countless bands have played The Crocodile, including Nirvana, Pearl Jam and R.E.M., making the venue part of Seattle music history.

Dimitriou's Jazz Alley (Belltown) - For jazz fans, Dimitriou's is THE place to go in Seattle.

The Moore Theatre (Belltown) - Seattle's oldest operating theatre, The Moore recently underwent a facelift and has reopened to begin hosting everything from concerts to stand-up comedians.

*The Paramount (Downtown) - The Paramount opened in 1928 and underwent a massive restoration in the mid 1990s to return it to its original glory.  The theatre offers a little bit of everything - Broadway shows, comedians and concerts.

 The classic Paramount sign lit up at dusk.  Photo by The Paramount.

The classic Paramount sign lit up at dusk.  Photo by The Paramount.

The Triple Door (Downtown) - An intimate space, The Triple Door is a musical venue, lounge and dinner theatre serving Wild Ginger's menu (which is just around the corner) and offering an extensive wine list. 

 The Triple Door's marquee advertises upcoming shows.  Photo by The Triple Door.

The Triple Door's marquee advertises upcoming shows.  Photo by The Triple Door.

#Adventuress Twitter Travel Chat

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I'm starting a Twitter chat!  (If you're not on Twitter and you just said "huh?" keep reading....)

One of my favorite things about joining Twitter has been participating in chats on various travel topics. Not only have I gotten to know a lot of amazing travelers, bloggers and members of the travel industry, I have learned so much more about traveling our world.  I have also won some fantastic prizes in chat giveaways:  a $500 Expedia coupon from #ExpediaChat (Wednesdays at 1:30 pm EST) and a $100 Visa gift card from the #TravelSkills chat (Fridays at 12:00 pm EST)!

The topic of my weekly Twitter chat will be the Adventuress Travel Chat, using the hashtag #Adventuress.  Every Thursday from 11-11:30 am EST/8-8:30 am PST, we will cover a different aspect of women's travel.  Don't worry if you aren't an adrenaline junkie (I'm not!) - the word adventure covers all types of travel, even spa and shopping!  And don't worry if you aren't a woman either - we always like to have the male perspective.

Let's say you aren't on Twitter and have no idea the purpose of a hashtag but still want to participate in the #Adventuress travel chat.  Register for an account on Twitter and pick a "handle" or name.  (My Twitter handle is @msadventuress.)  Once you are registered, it's easy to join in a chat.  At the appointed time (30 minutes every Thursday starting at 11 am EST/8 am PST), visit @msadventuress Twitter page and/or type #Adventuress (don't forget the extra "s"!) in the Twitter search box.  You will then see all the tweets involved in the chat because they add the hashtag #Adventuress to their tweet.

As the host of the chat, I will ask questions that are labeled Q1, Q2, Q3, etc.  Answer each question by beginning with the corresponding question/answer number - A1, A2, A3, etc.  Then type your answer and add #Adventuress to the end of the answer.  Here's an example:

@msadventuress:     Q1 What is your favorite island in the world and why? #Adventuress

@yourcleverhandle:  A1  I love Maui.  Best surfing ever! #Adventuress

In addition to talking all kinds of travel topics, I will occasionally have some fun co-hosts join me. Not to mention there will be some pretty cool giveaways.... you must follow @msadventuress (and any co-hosts that week) and participate in the chat to be eligible.

See you on Thursday, March 6th for the first #Adventuress Travel Chat!  

The Non-Tourist's Guide to Seattle: Part One (Where to Stay, Where to Play)

 View of Downtown Seattle and Mt. Rainier from Kerry Park.  Photo by Randall J. Hodges Photography.

View of Downtown Seattle and Mt. Rainier from Kerry Park.  Photo by Randall J. Hodges Photography.

Since Seattle isn't a travel destination for me (considering it's where I live), people often ask me what they should eat, drink, see and do when visiting.  With every request, I think that I should gather this information in one place.  So with a new blog, it seems like a good time to finally bring this list to fruition.

Below you will find information on my favorite hotels, shopping and sightseeing.  (Restaurants, cocktail bars and nightlife will be featured in Part Two.)  For visitors pressed for time who need to narrow down the list, an asterisk denotes my absolute favorites.

Still have questions about Seattle? Leave me a comment and I'm happy to provide the answer!

Where to Sleep:

*Four Seasons Seattle (Downtown) - Perfectly situated near Pike Place Market and across the street from the Seattle Art Museum, the real star of the Four Seasons Seattle is its view of Elliott Bay.  Hang out at the rooftop's infinity pool with views of the water below.

 Infinity pool and rooftop views of Elliott Bay from the Four Seasons Seattle.  Photo by Four Seasons Seattle.

Infinity pool and rooftop views of Elliott Bay from the Four Seasons Seattle.  Photo by Four Seasons Seattle.

Hotel Monaco (Downtown) - A Kimpton brand, Hotel Monaco is a luxury boutique hotel perfectly situated in the heart of downtown Seattle.  Sazerac restaurant located just off the lobby has a great happy hour.

W Seattle (Downtown) - Seattle's W Hotel is the epitome of the brand: contemporary and hip.  TRACE restaurant and bar offers ample lounge seating and a 10-seat sushi bar.

What to See/Do:

Ballard Locks (Ballard) - Watch salmon pass between the salt water of the Puget Sound and fresh water of Lake Washington and Lake Union, viewable through glass panels below the water line.

Chihuly Garden and Glass (Downtown) - Seattle area native Dale Chihuly's glass art has been featured in exhibitions all over the world.  Opened in 2012, a number of Chihuly's works are on display in his hometown at this exhibition hall, glasshouse and garden.

 Outside the Chihuly Garden and Glass glasshouse.  Photo by Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Outside the Chihuly Garden and Glass glasshouse.  Photo by Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Chinatown-International District (International Distict) - Chinatown-ID boasts being the only neighborhood in America where Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Vietnamese and Southeast Asians live and work side-by-side.  Visit Uwajimaya, the largest Asian grocery store in the Pacific Northwest. 

*Downtown Waterfront (Downtown) - Seattle's Downtown waterfront offers a variety of activities - the Seattle Aquarium, cruise ship and ferry docks, seafood restaurants, parks, shopping and its newest feature, the Seattle Great Wheel.

 Downtown Seattle's Great Wheel and waterfront.  Image by Shutter Wonders.

Downtown Seattle's Great Wheel and waterfront.  Image by Shutter Wonders.

*EMP Museum (Downtown) - A museum dedicated to popular culture, specifically Seattle's music roots, EMP features Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix exhibitions, a sound lab and guitar gallery.

Fremont Troll (Fremont) - A giant troll (sculpture) resides under a bridge in Fremont, clutching a Volkswagen Bug.   Enough said.  It's worth seeing.

 The Fremont Troll.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

The Fremont Troll.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Gum Wall (Downtown) - It's exactly what it sounds like - a large wall of visitors' gum.  Pretty disgusting and has (not surprisingly) ranked as one of the top five germiest attractions in the world.

 Gum wall in downtown Seattle.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Gum wall in downtown Seattle.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Japanese Gardens (Madison Valley) - Located within the Washington Park Arboretum, the Japanese Gardens is three and a half acres of garden constructed by Japanese designer Juki Iida.

 Japanese Gardens near Seattle's Arboretum. Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Japanese Gardens near Seattle's Arboretum. Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Lenin Statue (Fremont) - A Seattle area resident teaching English in Slovakia found a 16 foot bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin in a scrapyard and brought it back to Seattle.  The statue now resides just three blocks from the Fremont Troll.

 Lenin statute in the Fremont neighborhood.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Lenin statute in the Fremont neighborhood.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

*Pike Place Market (Downtown) - Market stalls sell everything from flowers to fish, produce to spices.  Restaurants.  Crafts.  Buskers.  Shopping from vinyl records to comic books.  Don't miss the fishmongers throwing fish.  If you only have one stop to make in Seattle, it should be Pike Place Market.

 Pike Place Market clock.  Photo by Pike Place Market.

Pike Place Market clock.  Photo by Pike Place Market.

Seattle Art Museum (Downtown) - Seattle Art Museum is comprised of three venues - Seattle Art Museum (SAM), Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) and Olympic Sculpture Park.  First Thursdays of the month at SAM and SAAM are free.

Seattle Central Library (Downtown) - The 11-story steel and glass building that houses Downtown Seattle's Central Library is worth a stop for architecture buffs.

 Photo of Downtown Seattle featuring the Central Library. Photo by Seattle Public Library.

Photo of Downtown Seattle featuring the Central Library. Photo by Seattle Public Library.

*Space Needle (Downtown) - On clear days, the Space Needle provides some of the best views of the city, mountains and water.  On more typical (cloudy) days, just take a trip to the base of the Space Needle - probably not worth paying for the trip up.

 View from the base of the Space Needle at night.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

View from the base of the Space Needle at night.  Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Woodinville Wineries (Woodinville) - Just a 30 minute drive from Seattle, Woodinville is home to over 90 wineries.  Combine your visit to Woodinville with dinner at either The Herbfarm (reservations well in advance are necessary) or Barking Frog and a stay at Willows Lodge.

Where to Play Outside:

Alki Beach (Alki) - Summertime (and any sunny Seattle day) draws Seattleites to Alki Beach where kids play in the sand and dip their toes in cold Elliott Bay.  A 2.5-mile walkway lines Alki Beach and is full of walkers and roller bladers.  Great views of the Seattle skyline from across the Bay.

 Alki Beach with views of Olympic Mountains. Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Alki Beach with views of Olympic Mountains. Photo by Rebecca Garland.

Discovery Park (Magnolia) - Seattle's largest park, Discovery Park is 534 acres of hiking trails and spectacular views from Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound and both the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges.

Green Lake Park (Green Lake) - A 2.8-mile path around Green Lake is perfect for walking, running, roller blading and biking.  During the summer, swimmers, rowers and kayakers enjoy the lake while there are ongoing games on the tennis courts, baseball and softball fields.

 Rowers on Green Lake at Green Lake Park.  Photo by Pelusa Chirinos.

Rowers on Green Lake at Green Lake Park.  Photo by Pelusa Chirinos.

*Kerry Park (Queen Anne) - With amazing views of the Seattle skyline and Mount Rainier (when visible), Kerry Park is the perfect place to take photographs of the city.

Where to Shop:

If you're looking for a mall, check out Pacific Place in Downtown Seattle or University Village in the University District, both of which have upscale shopping like Barneys, Tiffany & Co., Kate Spade and BCBG.  If you're looking for shopping unique to Seattle, try one of these:

Ballard Farmers Market (Ballard) - Open every Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm year round, the Ballard Farmers Market is one of the largest in Seattle, offering flowers, fresh produce, cheese, meat, seafood, poultry, bread and baked goods.

*Elliott Bay Book Company (Capitol Hill) -Though an independent bookstore, Elliott Bay Books is massive and multi-level with over 150,000 titles and cafe.  Author readings and events are not to be missed.

 Main floor of Elliott Bay Books.  Photo by Elliott Bay Book Company.

Main floor of Elliott Bay Books.  Photo by Elliott Bay Book Company.

Fran's Chocolates (Downtown) - Based in Seattle, Fran's is the (wo)man when it comes to chocolates.  Unless you want a new addiction, don't go near the salted caramels.... 

 Interior of Fran's Chocolates in Downtown Seattle. Photo by Fran's Chocolates.

Interior of Fran's Chocolates in Downtown Seattle. Photo by Fran's Chocolates.

Horseshoe (Ballard) - Located on Ballard Avenue (lots of great boutique shopping along the street!), Horseshoe stays true to its name with a wide selection of boots as well as contemporary women's clothing from brands like Trina Turk and Splendid.

Luly Yang (Downtown) - Even if you aren't in the market for a couture wedding dress or evening gown, it's worth at least a walk by Luly Yang's gorgeous 4th Avenue windows.

 Window shopping at Luly Yang in Downtown Seattle.  Photo by Luly Yang Couture.

Window shopping at Luly Yang in Downtown Seattle.  Photo by Luly Yang Couture.

Nordstrom (Downtown) - Ok, so it's not exactly local shopping, but Nordstrom is homegrown in Seattle. As the flagship store, the Downtown Seattle location is the one to visit. Make an appointment (the service is free) with personal stylist rockstar Lisa Proko.

Open Books (Wallingford) - A quaint space in the Wallingford neighborhood, Open Books is a "Poem Emporium" - one of only two bookstores on the West Coast dedicated entirely to poetry.

*Sell Your Sole (Belltown) - An upscale consignment store filled with luxury brands (Louboutin, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent) at fractions of the cost., Sell Your Sole's owner, Natalia Biner Wittke, has a fantastic eye and brings great finds into the store.

 Sell Your Sole Consignment boutique in Belltown.  Photo by Sorella Photos.

Sell Your Sole Consignment boutique in Belltown.  Photo by Sorella Photos.

Watson Kennedy (Downtown) - This 1st Avenue store has just about everything you could imagine to make a beautiful home: gourmet foods, tableware, stationary, books, glassware, candles, wrapping paper and cards, soaps, vintage furniture. . . the list goes on.

 Watson Kennedy storefront on 1st Avenue in Downtown Seattle.  Photo by Watson Kennedy.

Watson Kennedy storefront on 1st Avenue in Downtown Seattle.  Photo by Watson Kennedy.

Where to Ferry:

A visit to Seattle is not complete without taking a ferry to one of its nearby islands in the Puget Sound.  Four islands that I especially love:

Bainbridge Island - Named among the best places to live in the U.S., Bainbridge Island is also a great place to visit for a day of shopping, dining and outdoor activities.  The island is reached by a 35 minute ferry ride from Downtown Seattle.

Lummi Island - The New York Times has called The Willows Inn's restaurant on Lummi Island one of "10 restaurants worth a plane ride."  If you're already in Seattle, no plane ride necessary; it's just a car and ferry ride away.

 Chefs in action in The Willows Inn kitchen.  Photo by The Willows Inn.

Chefs in action in The Willows Inn kitchen.  Photo by The Willows Inn.

Vashon Island - A mere 20 minute ferry ride from the West Seattle ferry dock, Vashon Island is a quirky little island and artists' retreat.  Check out the quaint shops, restaurants and galleries in town.

Whidbey Island - Like Lummi, Whidbey is just a car and ferry ride away from Seattle.  Stay at the Inn at Langley for beautiful waterfront views from each guest room.

 Sunset view on Whidbey Island from Inn at Langley guest room.  Photo by Inn at Langley.

Sunset view on Whidbey Island from Inn at Langley guest room.  Photo by Inn at Langley.