A Social-Distance-Friendly Staycation Guide to Seattle, Washington

With its easy access to wilderness areas, abundant city parks, and a renowned foodie scene that’s pivoted to take-out and delivery, Seattle, Washington has plenty to offer residents looking for a staycation. Non-essential travel is strongly discouraged at the moment, but treating yourself to a staycation in your own city provides a chance for much-needed rest, relaxation, and the opportunity to discover your home in new ways. With hotels and short-term rentals enhancing their cleaning and social-distancing policies, it’s also safe COVID-wise and helps support the local hospitality industry. So if you need a little close-to-home getaway to recharge your batteries, here’s how you can have a staycation in the Emerald City of Seattle. 

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Where To Stay

Airbnb Houseboat Rental

Airbnb Seattle Houseboat

Seattle and its greater metro area are surrounded by water, from bays to channels to lakes. Houseboat living is extremely common here, and with this Airbnb rental, you can get a taste of houseboat living for yourself. Moored on the Fremont Cut which connects Lake Union and Shilshole Bay, this prime location provides fast access to trendy neighborhoods like Ballard, Fremont, and North Queen Anne. When not out (safely) exploring, you can kick back on this nicely appointed houseboat, which features amenities like a queen bed, fire-burning woodstove, Wi-Fi, back deck on the water, kitchenette, bathroom, and cozy living area. 

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Graduate Seattle

The Graduate Seattle Hotel
Graduate Hotels

Located in the University District with all the artsy goings-on and hip shops that it has to offer, the Seattle outpost of this up-and-coming collegiate boutique hotel chain features University of Seattle-themed colors alongside its Art Deco-meets-dark-academia décor and design. Its 158 rooms range in size from twee Studios for solo travelers to Queen-Queens for group staycations with your quarantine bubble buddies. Start the day with coffee and breakfast sandos from Pointdexter Coffee on the ground floor, which transitions to a natty wine bar at night, and in the evening head to the rooftop Mountaineering Club for craft cocktails, oysters, and unbeatable views of The Mountain. 

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Hotel Theodore

Hotel Theodore
Provenance Hotels

Treat yourself to an upscale stay at the opulent, art-centric Hotel Theodore in downtown Seattle. With well-thought-out COVID-19 policies like contact-less check-in and a virtual concierge, you can feel safe and secure from the beginning of your stay right to the end. Their range of stylish and well-appointed rooms are perfect for solo or group stays, and right outside the hotel’s front door is the downtown area with its many fine restaurants and attractions. And if you really want to splurge, try out the Champagne Wishes & Penthouse Dreams offer which comes with free valet parking, champagne, and top-of-the-world views. 

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What To Eat

Taylor Shellfish Oysters, Seattle
City Foodsters via Flickr

Alongside Portland, Seattle is one of the Pacific Northwest’s culinary gems, specializing in fresh, delectable seafood and multicultural fare from around the world courtesy of its diverse population. At the moment, indoor dining is off the table, but outdoor dining is still allowed and many restaurants are offering take-out and delivery. So you can still enjoy some good eats even during lockdown.

One of the best parts of vacation is treating yourself to a delicious breakfast in bed, so start off your day with hearty brunch items or sweet pastries and coffee from local breakfast faves like Bakery Nouveau, Biscuit Bitch, The Fat Hen, and Glo’s. For lunch, hit up popular dumpling spots like Din Tai Fung or Dough Zone Dumpling House, grab some pho from Pho Viet Anh or Pho 99 Authentic Vietnamese, or dive into any number of delicious Asian cuisine spots in the Chinatown-International District. 

And is there anything more Seattle than happy hour oysters? If you want to stay in, Taylor Shellfish Farms offers fresh oysters for curbside pick-up or delivery; pair them with some bubbly or another adult beverage delivered courtesy of local booze delivery service Saucey or from local retailers like Downtown Spirits and you’ll be all set. Otherwise, you can head to local favorite The Walrus And The Carpenter for oysters and other seafood and regionally inspired dishes. Other great seafood options include Matt’s In The Market, Manolin, and Sushi Kashibi for top-of-the-line sushi and omakase. And don’t forget to-go cocktails from mixology hotspots like The Mountaineering Club, Teachers Lounge, Lady Jaye, and more. 

Another important thing to remember: instead of using delivery apps that take huge commissions from orders, call the restaurant directly to order for pick-up or learn about their delivery options. Restaurants are barely getting by right now and having delivery apps eat into their much-needed profits isn’t helping. And always tip well! 

What To Do

Mt. Stuart and Lake Ingalls, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Sean Munson via Flickr

Staycations are a great opportunity to visit museums and other local attractions in your area that you haven’t had a chance to experience yet. Sadly, many such attractions are temporarily closed due to COVID. But no worries, there’s still plenty to do during your staycation that is safe and socially distant.

Obviously, Seattle is a nature-lovers paradise. But since you probably already visit Mt. Rainier, Bainbridge Island, and some of the more popular spots in the San Juan Islands on a regular basis, it’s time to look off the beaten track. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is within an hour’s drive from Seattle and has tons of majestic hikes that lead to alpine lakes and scenic mountaintop vistas. For an island day trip, check out Whidbey and Camano Islands for hiking, scenic drives, and local flavor in charming small towns. Or if you want to spend time on the beach, head to Kopachuck State Park near Gig Harbor for beautiful views and great clamming and crabbing (for which you’ll need a recreational license). 

And if it’s a cold and rainy day and you don’t want to go out, there’s still plenty of virtual fun to be had in your hotel room, like checking out digital tours and livestreams of museums and attractions such as The Museum of Flight, the Seattle Aquarium, and the National Nordic Museum. You can also take cooking lessons from some of Seattle’s top chefs like those at Canlis, which launched a “Canlis Community College” of cooking and dining videos with local chefs (available now to watch on their YouTube channel). And some local theaters and performing arts venues like the Book-It Theatre and Town Hall Seattle are offering audio or streaming services for plays, dances, and musical performances.

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