Explore Seattle

Secret Seattle: Hidden Spots We Love

These off-the-beaten-path gems will make your trip to Seattle even more memorable

Visitors to Seattle know all about the Space Needle, fresh seafood on the waterfront and the world-famous Pike Place Market. But what about those hidden, out-of-the-way gems that can make a trip to a new place extra memorable? We’ve got the secrets to seeing a side of Seattle you didn’t even know existed—heading off the beaten path.

The Pink Door

Beyond the hustle and bustle of Pike Place Market, tucked away in the quaint Post Alley, is this Italian restaurant with a hidden patio overlooking Elliott Bay. Enter through an unmarked, unassuming door off the alley and into the warm, lively space. Trapeze artists swing over the guests in the dining room, and on Saturday evenings, you can catch a flirty burlesque show in the lounge. From cabaret to live music, something is always happening behind that pink door in Post Alley. 1919 Post Alley, 206.443.3241

The Fremont Troll

This beloved public artwork, depicting a large, fearsome troll devouring an actual Volkswagen Beetle, lives underneath the Aurora Bridge in Seattle’s funky Fremont neighborhood. Created in 1990, the mixed-media troll is made of concrete, wire and steel and weighs more than two tons—with only one good eye made from a hubcap. Kids and adults alike can climb and scurry all over the massive one-eyed monster or pose for pictures with the one-of-a-kind discovery. North 36th Street and Troll Ave North

Frye Art Museum

Located in the First Hill neighborhood of Seattle, this smaller-scale museum emphasizes paintings and sculptures from the 19th century to the present. First opened in 1952 as the legacy of Charles and Emma Frye, prominent, early-20th-century Seattle art collectors, both the permanent collection and rotating exhibits here are well-curated. After perusing the artworks, stop by the café for artisan sandwiches, seasonal specials and a bonus: beer and wine. 704 Terry Ave, 206.622.9250

Needle and Thread

Tavern Law, voted one of the 25 best bars in America by GQ Magazine, has a secret. Upstairs is a pocket-sized speakeasy that few know even exists. The über-talented bartender will ask you to pick a spirit and a flavor and then build you a special custom cocktail. With only 25 seats, reservations are recommended, but if you happen to just stop in, pick up the old rotary phone next to the vault door inside Tavern Law and see if they’ll buzz you in. 1406 12th Ave., 206.322.9734

Melrose Market

As an alternative to Pike Place Market, seek out the smaller, hip and happening Melrose Market on Capitol Hill. Focusing on locally sourced, independent and organic goods, you can find amazing cuts at Rain Shadow Meats, tasty sandwiches at Homegrown and creative Pacific Northwestern cuisine at celebrity chef Matt Dillon’s Sitka & Spruce. Don’t miss the cute and quirky decor items (including some great souvenirs!) at Butter Home, and the stunning bouquets and herbs at organic flower shop Marigold and Mint. 1501-1535 Melrose Ave.

Parsons Garden

Sure, Kerry Park has an amazing view of downtown Seattle that you simply have to see, but just a short walk down the street is the hidden Parsons Garden. Formerly a private family garden, it was given to the city in 1956 and since has become a popular spot for wedding ceremonies for its lovely flowers and winding paths. It’s the perfect place to while away an afternoon with a good book. Directly kitty-corner from Parsons Garden is Marshall Park, affording another stunning view of the city to the west, where visitors can gaze out on Puget Sound. 7th Ave West and West Highland Drive

Theo Chocolate

These local chocolate makers are proud to be the first fair trade and organic bean-to-bar chocolate factory in North America. Their flavors are creative, and as a working factory, they offer tours to the public seven days a week. It’s the ideal opportunity to learn the story of cacao while trying the amazing product itself. Make sure to stop by the retail store on the way out to stock up on flavors like Bread and Chocolate, Fig, Fennel and Almond, Coconut Curry, Salted Almond and more. 3400 Phinney Ave N., 206.632.5100. 

Slideshow: Seattle's Hidden Gems