Thanks to film and TV, first-time travellers to Seattle already have an image of the coastal city long before they arrive. They know that it rains a lot, that all the best medical interns hang out at Joe’s Bar, and that radio doctors are on standby to help concerned kids and their sleepless fathers hook up with Meg Ryan. But Dr Mary isn’t exactly the first person to spring to mind when you consider Seattle-based radio personalities: the real “boon” to its fictitious airwaves is the incomparable, the grandiloquent (that’s pompous to you and me), Dr Frasier Crane.
Visitors looking to capture the spirit of Frasier’s Seattle can do no better than to begin with the Elliott Bay Café in Capitol Hill (1521 10th Ave). Inspiration for the Crane brothers’ favourite coffee shop, Café Nervosa, the original site at Pioneer Square closed in 2012. However, coffee aficionados and casual drinkers alike can enjoy a slice of cake and a cappuccino in this new location, surrounded by the work of local artists. Open daily from 10am-7pm, it’s a short walk from E Pine St & 10th Ave metro stop opposite Cal Anderson Park.
If Elliott Bay Café doesn’t fill you up, head for Big John’s Pacific Food Importers on 1001 6th Avenue South, near the International District station. You can pick up a range of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern delicacies, choose from over 150 types of international cheeses and sample a few alcohol-based vinegars – and you won’t have to worry about your dad criticising the prices! Sherry vinegar, Niles?
For a flavour that’s more distinctly Seattle, take a trip by metro (1st Ave & Pine St) or Sound Transit Light Link Rail (Westlake station) to Pike Place Market. Featured in “The 1000th Show”, the market offers a colourful range of cut flowers for the Daphne in your life, and the opportunity to hunt for sculptures in the North Arcade and a tsar’s bear clock at Antique Touch. One tip: if you’re buying seafood, be ready to catch the fish flying across the counter! End the day at a restaurant like Place Pigalle, which rivals Niles’ belovedLe Cigare Volant!
Finally, no Frasier fan could leave Seattle without taking in the breathtaking view from his apartment. Although the Elliott Bay Towers does not exist, you can visit its street, The Counterbalance, on metro routes 2, 13 and 29, and follow this with a walk around the Queen Anne Hill neighbourhood. Kerry Park is the best place to take a picture (or ten) of the amazing vista, and if you’re thinking of an unusual way to say thanks and goodbye to this cultured city, you could take a short trip over to the nearby Seattle Animal Shelter and leave a donation for all the Eddies waiting for their Martys! One thing’s for sure: however you say “Goodnight, Seattle”, you’ll definitely be saying “We love you!” at the end.
Flights to Seattle from the UK can range anything from £450 to £995 so make sure you use one of the free flight price checker tools (eg. www.momondo.com) that compare what’s on offer and you can pick the best price for you. You can also do the same with your accommodation options although sometimes it may be cheaper to contact the hotel directly.
David Bell is a freelance writer and blogs about interior design, food, travel, art and culture. Follow him on Twitter @DavidBellWriter