Don’t be a tourist, be a Localist!

Visit Seattle, Washington, with a detailed trip itinerary customized just for you! Isn’t it more fun to explore a city with a friend who knows all about the newest, tastiest restaurants, the coolest bars and places to hang out, and the best special events? Of course, not all of you who come to visit Seattle have a resident buddy who can show you around. Until now! Localist will create the perfect Seattle trip itinerary customized to your interests, with unique local insights into what’s going on around town. To get started, check out the Services we offer or scroll down to read the Localist blog!

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Things to Do in Seattle: Visit Greenwood

This is the final profile of a four-part series of Seattle neighborhoods that are somewhat off the beaten track (i.e.,  Downtown and Pioneer Square will not be featured, sorry guys!). This installment is a guest post from Raleigh Briggs: Greenwood resident, DIY-expert and author of the popular book Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills.

Image courtesy of Raleigh Briggs

Tucked away in the Northwest end of the city, tiny Greenwood is the quintessential Seattle neighborhood. Filled with local spots and people, Greenwood residents aren’t accustomed to tourists, but they’re quite friendly nonetheless. Nearby Ballard and Fremont might be bigger and shinier, but Greenwood has an unpretentious, community-focused atmosphere that’s easy to fall in love with.

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Things to Do in Seattle: Visit Madison Valley

This is the third of four profiles of Seattle neighborhoods that are somewhat off the beaten track (i.e.,  Downtown and Pioneer Square will not be featured, sorry guys!). This installment is a guest post from Madison Valley resident Dominique Barni (@dominiqueb), who will be enjoying her first trip in many years to the “real” Paris this summer.

Image courtesy of Dominique Barni.

Though very clearly planted in Seattle, between the waterfront of Madison Park and the nightlife of Capitol Hill, there’s more than just a little touch of France in the tiny neighborhood of Madison Valley. “Little Paris,” as I like to call it, is home to four French restaurants on one block (on Madison St between 28th Ave E & 29th Ave E), along with a patisserie and a local butcher. [Ed. Note: This “Little Paris” enclave will even celebrate Bastille Day on July 14 with gourmet food, wine tasting and live entertainment! Check out for more details.]

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Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

Image courtesy of mrs.McD on flickr.

Evidently today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. While this blog is not usually given over to random holiday celebrations, the fact is that chocolate chip cookies are my favorite and I happen to know some fantastic places to get them in Seattle. Here, in no particular order, are my picks for CCCs in C-attle.

1. etg coffee: “Just” a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop in Fremont, etg’s baked goods are all made in small batches in front of you (check out that mixer right there on the counter). Also enjoy the lovely styling in the chandelier and super old-timey cash register.

2. Volunteer Park Cafe: Chocolate chip, chocolate toffee, white chocolate – they offer so many kinds to choose from and they are all gigantic, which can equal either a couple snacks of cookie pleasure or one huge sugar bomb. Either way, delicious. Plus you can stroll with your cookie up to Volunteer Park (to crash a wedding, or…)!

3. Orangette’s recipe: Okay, obviously this is not strictly a “place to get [chocolate chip cookies] in Seattle.” But, blog author Molly Wizenberg does live in the city, and if you are lucky (and choose not to make your own), you may be able to order a version at the Ballard pizzeria she started a couple of years ago with husband Brandon Pettit, called Delancey. Just don’t try to go there today because they are, un-festively, not open. Tomorrow, then.

What do you think, Seattle? Where do you go for your chocolate chip cookie fix? And for those of you in other places, where should we get cookies when we come to your town?

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Things to Do in Seattle: Visit Madrona

This is the second of four profiles of Seattle neighborhoods that are somewhat off the beaten track (i.e.,  Downtown and Pioneer Square will not be featured, sorry guys!). Due to extensive coverage of Georgetown  here, here and here, we will let the neighborhood chill for the time being. The first profile was of the International District.


Southern end of Madrona’s main drag, looking north on 34th Ave E.

A small, mostly residential community overlooking Lake Washington, Madrona does not often top the lists of tourist sites in Seattle – especially since it’s easy to get sidetracked by Capitol Hill’s many entertainments while en route. But those Localists who persevere and make it all the way to Madrona’s nexus at 34th Ave E & E Union St are well-rewarded for their efforts. Recommended transportation includes King County Metro‘s (of course) Route 2 Bus or, even better on a sunny day, a bicycle and/or sneakers.

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Things to Do in Seattle: Visit the International District

A new series on the Localist blog, this is the first of four profiles of Seattle neighborhoods that are somewhat off the beaten track (i.e., Downtown and Pioneer Square will not be featured, sorry guys!). Due to extensive coverage of Georgetown here, here and here, we will let the neighborhood chill for the time being. Now, on to the first…!

Image Courtesy of Curtis Cronn

International District

Originally settled by Chinese “guest workers” in the 1880s, the International District now contains areas known as Chinatown (south of S Jackson St), Japantown (north of S Jackson St), and Little Saigon (east of 8th Ave S). Most Seattle folks know this neighborhood as the place to go for inexpensive Asian food – especially Szechuan hot pot, Vietnamese pho and banh mi, Cantonese dim sum, and Taiwanese bubble tea – but there is a concurrent history of African-American culture in the area due to the establishment of jazz venues catering to black audiences in the 1940s.

See: Panama Hotel Tea and Coffeehouse (605-1/2 S Main St.) This building, which still operates as a small hotel, is a stand-out for historic significance. Built in 1910, it continued to operate through the internment of Japanese Americans from 1942 to 1945, and many families stored belongings in the basement of the hotel when they were forced to leave. A lot of the trunks and furniture were abandoned after the war, and now you can see where they remain through a windowed cut-out of the coffeehouse floor. The walls of the coffeehouse are lined with newspapers that span the history of the Panama Hotel and provide their own window into the history and culture of the Japantown part of the neighborhood. This is a wonderful place to grab a cup of tea or a lemonade (they make it from scratch to order), lounge in the lower room, and spend some peaceful moments before you continue on.

As you stroll through the neighborhood, don’t miss changing exhibits in various otherwise empty storefronts, courtesy of Storefronts Seattle. A collaboration between the city’s Department of Planning and Development, Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area, Seattle Chinatown-International District Preservation and Development Authority, and Shunpike, Storefronts Seattle is currently showing works by Julia Haack in The Publix Hotel at 504 Fifth Ave S; Jennifer Zwick at 409 Maynard Ave S; and Tory Franklin at 505 Fifth Ave S; among many others.

Do: Have a ball (I know, I know) at the Seattle Pinball Museum, opened in 2010. For just a $10 entrance fee, you can wile away the hours playing more than 40 different pinball machines. The Seattle Pinball Museum actually began as a Storefronts Seattle project and was so successful that its proprietors, Charlie and Cindy, were able to take over its space at 508 Maynard Ave S and it is now a beloved part of the neighborhood. Afterward, take some time to tour the Yick Fung Co. grocery – in business from 1910 to 2008 – and the historic apartments at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (719 S King St).

Eat: Besides the many delicious places linked above, where you dine depends on your mood. Of course that’s true in any neighborhood, but nowhere more than in the International District. With beautiful sushi and izakaya at Maneki Japanese Restaurant, heartwarming ramen at Samurai Noodle, and super sweets at (our favorite) Fuji Bakery, you really can’t go wrong. But how about a crowd-pleaser that impresses every time? Head to Tamarind Tree (1036 S Jackson St #A), with its extensive menu of delicious, fresh-tasting Vietnamese dishes that the New York Times’s former Frugal Traveler said were “as authentic as any I’ve eaten in this country.”

Ready to go? Visit the “ID” on a Localist Custom Tour to see these spots and many more!

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Things to Do in Seattle: Visit Georgetown!

Image courtesy of Greg Stonebraker

Readers here may recall a couple mentions of the Tap into Georgetown: Beer, Art and History on the Banks of the Duwamish tour that took place earlier this month. We had a great time exploring the neighborhood that was once called the “cesspool of Seattle” but is now a vibrant community of residents, artists and revelers. What follows is a series of photographs documenting our sunny day in Georgetown, taken by the amazing Greg Stonebraker. And don’t forget to check out Elissa‘s blog for her recap of what we discussed during our visit.

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Seen around New York: Little Seattle


Seattle to New York: You're welcome.

Yup, those are storefronts for Caffe Vita and Via Tribunali, but this isn’t Seattle! Instead it’s a block of Ludlow St on New York City’s Lower East Side, where Mike McConnell’s empire has just expanded. A little snapshot to remind you that even in New York, you are never far away from a great cup of Seattle’s own. Or a Portland roast, if that’s your thing.

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