Seattle’s got Starbucks, Microsoft, grunge, and yes, lots of rain. But it’s also got a whole lot more than that. There’s your standard tourist fare in the form of the Space Needle, Seattle Center and Frank Gehry’s monster of a museum, Experience Music Project, among others. But dig in a little deeper and you’ll find some hidden doors, some sultry sweet spots and some spectacular waterways. Here’s our guide to Seattle’s sexier side.
1303 NE Boat Street, University District
(206) 545-8570, AguaVerde.com
Baja-inspired food, waterfront dining and kayaks by the hour. To really get your feet wet in Seattle, head here for an urban paddling experience in the waters of Lake Union and Lake Washington.
|Olympic Sculpture Park
2901 Western Avenue, Belltown
(206) 654-3100, SeattleArtMuseum.org
This fairly new waterfront park offers two of the things Seattlites love the most: the great outdoors and public art. It’s a fantastic example of urban regeneration on the site of a former petroleum plant. A project of the Seattle Art Museum, the park is laid out in a Z-shaped configuration, integrating the city with the waterfront. Perfect for a picnic-a-deux (grab some fresh fare to go at the nearby Pike Place Market) or a romantic stroll.
608 First Ave, Pioneer Square
(206) 682-4646, UndergroundTour.com
Get your chuckle on while being regaled with tales of the Emerald City’s sordid past. According to one of the vivacious tour guides, turn-of-the-century Seattle was built on the backs of a large population of “seamstresses,” who paid “sewing” taxes to the city council with nary a sewing machine in sight.
620 Stewart St., Belltown
(206) 728-6299, HotelMaxSeattle.com
Featuring original paintings and photographs from local artists, Hotel Max offers a peaceful retreat with its charcoal palette and comfy beds. The rooms are smallish, but the location is just a few minutes away from Pike Place Market and other downtown attractions. The adventurous can also find out what exactly their “Hubba Hubba Hanky Panky Romance Package” entails.
2423 First Ave, Belltown
(206) 448-4721, AceHotel.com
The Seattle Ace is one of the more reasonably priced boutique hotels in town. It sports an industrial feel and a pared-down aesthetic, much like the city itself. Head down the street to the Black Bottle bar for one of Seattle’s best happy hours.
2000 Fourth Ave, Belltown
(206) 448-8600, HotelAndra.com
Any hotel with an umlaut in its name is either über cool or trying to hard. In the case of Ändra, it’s the former. This boutique hotel brings Scandinavian minimalism together with Seattle chic. They also offer a special package for anyone looking for a little “romantik.”
1005 Boren Ave, First Hill
(206) 903-8480, HideOutSeattle.com
The rather shady red neon “Cocktails” sign outside this hard-to-find bar belies the gallery-cum-watering hole inside. All the art on the walls is for sale, and they encourage drunken drawing by providing patrons with clipboards and pens. The resulting masterpieces are published in a quarterly journal, The Vital 5 Review. Bring a few extra bucks to feed to Earl the Electronic Art Dealer.
|Zig Zag Cafe
1501 Western Ave, Pike Place Market
(206) 625-1146, ZigZagSeattle.com
This classic cocktail bar and restaurant is located on the Pike Street Hill Climb behind Seattle’s venerable Pike Place Market. Most nights you’ll find Murray Stenson behind the bar. He’s a bit of a local legend and Playboy ranked him as one of the top ten bartenders in America in 2007. Murray is sure to whip up a tasty something-or-other to do away with what’s left of your inhibitions!
216 Union St, Downtown
(206) 838-4333, TheTripleDoor.net
A casual place to meet friends or potential paramours, this lounge and live music venue shares a kitchen with the acclaimed Wild Ginger restaurant next door. Happy hour is 4-6 p.m. every day, and 10 p.m.-midnight on Sundays-Thursdays.
|ROMANTIC DINNER A DEUX|
|Purple Cafe & Wine Bar
1225 4th Ave, Downtown
(206) 829-2280, ThePurpleCafe.com
The tasting menu is perfect if you want to sample a little bit of everything, and share your plate with your beau. Offers an impressive selection of cheese and wine pairings that are sure to set the mood for the rest of the evening.
2576 Aurora Ave North, Queen Anne
(206) 283-3313, Canlis.com
A fine dining establishment open for dinner only. At the upper end of the price range, this is the place to go if you want to bust out that little black dress you only save for special occasions. Spectacular views over Lake Union and the Seattle cityscape.
93A Pike St, Pike Place Market
(206) 682-3049, IlBistro.net
It’s hard to go wrong with Italian if you’re looking for a little romance. Il Bistro is hidden beneath Pike Place Market. Most of the meats, seafood and produce are purchased daily from the colorful vendors populating the market.
|Sway & Cake
1631 Sixth Av, Downtown
(206) 624-2699, SwayAndCake.com
The place to go for party dresses, featuring a wide variety of denim designers and styles, fun jewelry, and the latest wares from cool designers like 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent and Yumi Kim.
|Bellefleur Lingerie Boutique
720 N. 35th St, Fremont
(206) 545-0222, BelleFleurLingerie.com
Get your bare essentials at this high-end lingerie shop, located in Fremont, a quirky neighborhood that has declared itself “The Center of the Universe.” Consistently selected by local press as Seattle’s best purveyor of all things sexy.
323 N. 45th St, Wallingford
(206) 545-6969, TheEroticBakery.com
Cakes, cookies and cupcakes in all sorts of … anatomical shapes. And they take their erotic baking seriously, advertising that “Our sculptors are expertly trained in marzipan rolling. Then they are tested and approved Erotic Bakery Sculptors.” A favorite for bachelorette parties. Eros meets cake — what more could a girl want?