An Emerald City Life with Blogger Terumi Pong
Author of anemeraldcitylife.com
Family & Adventure Traveler
I've always loved animals and been curious about the world and I'm so glad I get to share these loves with my husband and my twin 5-year old boys. As a family we seek out unique experiences, animal encounters, and food origins when we travel. We've stayed at a toucan rescue ranch, found coffee and chocolate farms, made reservations for a hotel because it had a brand new pool, and checked out a restaurant where we heard that geckos eat jam.
In Seattle when we're not traveling we still love to apply our same nomadic joie de vivre principles in our everyday life. We like looking for new bakeries and coffee shops and fun events in our city. I love learning cooking techniques at the Pantry at Delancey and Tom Douglas's workshops, or browsing cookbooks at Book Larder. In addition to Pike Place we frequent our local markets like Ballard and Fremont and we always have room for Trophy Cupcakes and Molly Moon's ice cream. Our perfect days are spent at Woodland Park Zoo and the Aquarium or hiking some of the neat kid-friendly hikes in our local forests. And although we like to sneak up to Vancouver to watch Canucks games, we're definitely Seattle Sounders till we die.
My favorite restaurants
- Tuttabella Pizzeria gets a weekly visit from our family. The boys love their Bambino pizza and the happy hour is an excellent deal. The guys love the wiki stix and if you ask nicely at the counter they usually have pizza dough for kids to play with.
- Purple Cafe and Wine Bar is great for special meals with the kids as they love the milk flight: a tasting that has notes of caramel, strawberry, and chocolate. We parents like the extensive wine list and the tasty tapas style plates.
- Portage Bay Cafe is our family's favorite pancake place. It's usually packed full of bleary-eyed parents with partying toddlers on weekend mornings so it's best to get there when it opens if you don't want to wait. The toppings bar is simply magical and the Ballard location is right next to the famous locks if you want to do a bit of sightseeing.
The places you should definitely see
- Seattle Center is a must-see: it houses the Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Pacific Science Center, the EMP, the Space Needle, great local food stands in the Armory, and a monorail that takes you back and forth from downtown.
- Ballard Farmers Market is a great place to visit on a Sunday morning. There are so many funky shops and restaurants in this neighborhood and market days are the best day to stroll this area with kids. If you're visiting for a few days, save your iced coffee cup for a vase and take a bouquet back to your hotel for a little taste of Seattle in your room.
- Bainbridge Island is such a short ferry ride away that it would be a shame to miss.
The activities that can't be missed
- The Seattle Art Museum is within walking distance from Pike Place Market and there are a lot of quiet areas for kids to play and rest after a morning stroll. After the kids get re-energized, it's fun to take in some of the collection and hear what they have to say about the art.
- We travel the world to see animals and it's mostly because we have such a neat zoo in our neighborhood. At the Woodland Park Zoo, animal enclosures are open-concept and each time we visit it's fun to see what kind of animal enrichment the zoo keepers have come up with. Some weekends the zoo has a parents' night out where you can drop off your kids (age 4 and up) so you can have dinner out alone. In the winter there is penguin feeding and in the summer you can feed elephants and giraffes.
- One of our favorite weekend activities is to enjoy a picnic and watch seaplanes take off and land at South Lake Union Park. We'll stop in at the MOHAI and catch scenic views and neat hands-on activities for kids. Their cafe has reasonably priced tasty kids' meals if you don't want to bring your own lunch.
My hidden gems would be
- Discovery Park has really amazing trails that kids will love exploring even more if you first download a geocaching app. There are a few easy treasures hidden in the park and even on a rainy day, you can make your way to the lighthouse beach to skip rocks.
- If you're on the Eastside and want to see a farm that's an oasis in an urban jungle, I always have a soft sport for Bellevue's Kelsey Creek Farm. It's a picturesque place to see bunnies and sheep, and we especially love picnicking here on sunny days.
- Volunteer Park is such a lovely place to visit. There is a water tower to climb, an indoor garden full of neat plants, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, and a playground.