Romance Near the Emerald City
If you’re lucky enough to live near Seattle you have an abundance of places to go for a romantic getaway. We have a few suggestions for you whether you leave the kids with a babysitter for the weekend or even for just a few hours.
Head to this neighborhood near the airport for a trip that’s close to home but feels like a getaway outside of the city. Cedarbrook Lodge (18525 36th Ave. S., SeaTac, WA) is the perfect place to stay. You can take walks on the pathways through gardens and wetlands—some are sheltered enough from the rain, cuddle up in front of the outdoor fireplace, get a couples massage in the spa and have a high-end farm-to-table dinner at the on-site Copperleaf Restaurant. Breakfast is included in rates, as are sweet treats like ice cream and chocolates served in the communal living rooms.
If you can tear yourselves away from the hotel, wander through the free Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden (13735 24th Ave. S., SeaTac, WA) and steal a kiss under a pergola covered in roses. Have lunch at 13 Coins Restaurant (18000 International Blvd., SeaTac, WA). The restaurant is named based on a Peruvian story about a poor young man who wanted to marry a woman from a wealthy family. The man admitted to the young woman’s father that he only had 13 coins, but that he would forever pledge his undying love, care and concern. The father was moved and gave his blessings for the wedding, and ever since 13 coins has symbolized true love.
If you only have time for a few romantic hours, take a quick trip to Redondo Beach, just a 30-minute drive from downtown Seattle. Book a table near the window for brunch at Salty’s (28201 Redondo Beach Dr. S., Des Moines, WA). Gaze over the water at the Olympic Mountains and the waves of Puget Sound while enjoying a huge weekend brunch. There’s lots of seafood, Belgian-style waffles, made-to-order omelettes and even a chocolate fountain. If the weather is nice, Redondo Beach is ideal for a hand-in-hand stroll. If the weather is chilly, you have the perfect excuse to eat a second dessert at Salty’s.
The Des Moines Waterfront is ideal when the weather is dry. Rent a double kayak and explore calm Puget Sound. If you prefer to stay on land or are watching your budget, walk along 6 miles of shoreline and beaches, or head up to the boardwalk to admire the yachts and dream of sailing away together. There's plenty of inexpensive treats to be had at the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market (22307 Dock Ave. S., Des Moines, WA), open Saturdays from June to September and also on Wednesday evenings in July and August. Listen to live music while you check out the local crafts and various food vendors. Have a picnic on the lawn overlooking the marina, followed by a nap in the sun.
An easy drive from Seattle, Whidbey Island offers fine dining, romantic inns and beautiful beaches. Even in winter or when it's very wet out, there are plenty of artist studios and galleries to admire, as well as art classes to take. If it's too cool to be outside, cuddle in the car as you watch a movie at Blue Fox Drive-In (1403 Monroe Landing Rd., Oak Harbor, WA) or at Clyde Theatre (217 First St., Langley, WA), a throwback Depression-era movie house. Rent a seaside cabin at 4B’s Coastal Cabin (Harbortop Terrace, Greenbank, WA) or choose a historic inn like Captain Whidbey Inn (2072 West Captain Whidbey Inn Rd., Coupeville, WA).
Just a two-and-a-half-hour drive north of Seattle is the Canadian city of Vancouver. Given the exchange rate, the American dollar stretches further here so you can buy yourselves extra treats to celebrate your relationship. While the weather is similar to Seattle, the summers are usually drier and early January is colder. November is Vancouver's rainiest month.
There’s plenty of free activities to fill a weekend in Vancouver. The local favorite is a walk along the Seawall around Stanley Park, lovely even in the rain. You can admire the mountains to the west and north and English Bay at your feet; you may even see a seal or whale swimming by. At Sunset Beach sit under a sculpture of giant engagement rings while you watch the sky turn pink and gold before the stars come out. On some evenings at Third Beach there are drum circles with dancing in the sand by moonlight. Granville Street has several indoor live music venues.
The Sunset Inn and Suites (1111 Burnaby St., Vancouver, BC) is close to Sunset Beach and a budget choice for accommodations. For a splurge, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia (801 West Georgia St., Vancouver, BC) has posh rooms, an art deco-inspired pool and a speakeasy. Harvest Community Foods (243 Union St., Vancouver, BC) has great noodle soups at a good price, and Burdock & Co (2702 Main St., Vancouver, BC) features locally sourced ingredients and wines for a more upscale dining experience.
Johanna Read is a Canadian freelance writer and photographer specializing in travel, food, and responsible tourism. Writing for a variety of Canadian and international publications, she likes to encourage travel that is culturally, economically, and environmentally sustainable. Links to all her travel stories are at www.TravelEater.net. Follow her on Twitter @TravelEater and on Instagram @TravelEaterJohanna.