A Perfect Sunday: Seattle in a Day

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Open Railroad Bridge at Ballard Locks

The opportunity to visit Seattle on a Sunday is an ideal reason to carve out time for some Pacific Northwest fun on a business trip. In April, I spent a week in the San Francisco Bay Area and a week in Seattle for work. That gave me the weekend to explore Washington State’s most famous city. I got incredibly lucky and my visit coincided with some beautiful sunny Seattle days. Read on for my recipe for how to spend a perfect Sunday in Seattle. As you'll see, I covered a lot of ground exploring Seattle in a day.

Breakfast at Seattle's Top Pot Doughnuts

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Top Pot Doughnuts
With my home base at the chic and affordable Hotel Five in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, I was at the center of all the action and in a good neighborhood to access Seattle's public transportation. I started out my Sunday of exploration in Seattle at Top Pot Doughnuts, rated one of the top doughnut shops in the world.

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Top Pot Doughnuts
Unsurprisingly, given Seattle's reputation, the coffee was excellent at Top Pot. I couldn't decide on a single flavor of doughnut to try so I bought two doughnuts and ate half of each (they were huge). Top Pot's cherry fritter was super sweet, fruity, and very dense. The chocolate on my iced ring was silky and sublime. I can understand why Seattle's Top Pot Doughnuts rates so highly. 

Seattle's Popsicle Bus Stop

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Popsicle sculpture

Full of sugar and caffeine, I made my way to the bus stop. I was delighted when I saw this quirky popsicle sculpture nearby. I liked Seattle's personality.


Seattle is really spread out but I'd come up with a plan for the day to explore three different neighborhoods. For just $2 USD, I boarded the bus and headed to Ballard, the first stop on my perfect Sunday in Seattle.

Seattle's Ballard Market

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Potatoes at Ballard Market

Seattle's Ballard neighborhood features a Sunday farmers' market offering amazing fresh produce, local foods, and hipster musicians dotting the path at regular intervals. I bought myself some local cheese with chives and a loaf of rosemary sourdough bread to fortify me during for my Sunday in Seattle.
How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Fremont Farmer's Market

Seattle's Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Drawbridge in Ballard

From the Ballard Market, I walked to Seattle's Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, aka the Ballard Locks. I watched as the railroad bridge levered open to let ships pass. The enormous lock then filled with small pleasure boats and they were slowly lifted to lake level for a day of sailing on a sunny Sunday in Seattle.
How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Hiram M Chittenden Locks
How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Hiram M Chittenden Locks
During certain times of year in Seattle, you can see salmon running through the fish steps located beside Ballard Locks. The steps were fish free when I visited Seattle but I did see an amazing flock of Barrow's Goldeneye ducks and even a seal as I sat beside Ballard Locks just drinking in Seattle's great atmosphere.
How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Barrow's Goldeneye Ducks

Seattle's Botanical Gardens at Ballard Locks

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Botanical Gardens

Ballard Locks also features it's very own botanical gardens. I stopped to snack on my bread and cheese while admiring the cherry blossoms in riotous bloom.


Next up, I took the bus from Ballard to Fremont, a Seattle neighborhood with a combination of eccentric and more traditional sights to see. 
How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Fremont Street Art

The Troll Under the Bridge in Seattle

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Troll under the bridge
I stepped off the bus and made my way to see Fremont's famous resident: the troll under the bridge. Located under a highway in Seattle, this amazing giant sculpture crushing a VW Bug is indeed a sight to see! Not sure where to find the troll in Seattle? Search for 'Fremont Troll' on Google Maps.

Lenin in Seattle

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Lenin statue

Surprisingly, Seattle's Fremont neighborhood also features a statue of Lenin prominently on display. This particular statue was removed from Czechoslovakia when the Iron Curtain fell in 1988. While controversial, the statue seems to fit right in given Fremont's artistic vibe. 

Fremont Farmers' Market for a Slice of Seattle

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Fremont Farmer's Market BeanFish food truck
Seattle's Fremont neighborhood also features its very own Sunday Farmers' Market. In addition to the usual produce, arts and crafts, this market hosts a fleet of hipster food trucks. I sampled the Domo Arigatou, Mr. Roberto, a savory mix of chorizo, peppers, and local cheese. The fish-shaped waffle itself was sweet for an enjoyable contrast. The waffle was a bit pricy at ~$6.50 USD but worth it given the chance to sample Seattle's local specialties.
How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Fremont Farmer's Market fish waffle

Theo's Chocolate in Seattle

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Theo's chocolate

Just around the corner from the Fremont Farmers' Market is Theo's Chocolate, a Seattle institution. I passed on the factory tour but did take time to explore the Theo's shop and pick up some artisan Seattle chocolates to take home as gifts. Pro-tip: grab a coffee to go with your chocolate at any one of the many great coffee places in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood.

A Short Cut through Seattle

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Fremont Cut

Located on Fremont Cut, a passage connecting Puget Sound with Lake Union, Seattle's Fremont area features a relaxing walking path. I strolled beside the water admiring a party barge and other small boats as I passed on my idyllic Sunday in Seattle.

Seattle's Schilling Cider House

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Schilling Cider House
Seattle is known for its microbrew culture. In addition, it's possible to find excellent cider in the capital of the Pacific Northwest. I popped into Schilling's Cider House for post-lunch refreshments to fuel my Sunday of exploration in Seattle. 
How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Schilling Cider House sampler tray
Seattle's Schilling Cider House features more than 30 ciders on tap (many of them are super-local). For a fixed price, you can sample six different Pacific Northwest ciders. Simply take a card and pencil in the numbers of the ciders you want to try. The ciders are conveniently labeled with the alcohol percentage and color-coded based on how dry/sweet they are. Not a bad way to while away a Sunday afternoon in Seattle!


Stroll the University of Washington Campus in Seattle

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - university of washington

The University of Washington is about a 30 minute bus ride ride from Fremont but the bus lets you off right in the heart of campus. I love touring college campuses. They typically have fantastic energy and some really cool architecture. UW in Seattle was no exception. 

Detour Through the Library at University of Washington

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - university of washington
On my walk around the UW campus in Seattle, I took a detour into the impressive library which seemed to be open to the public.
How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - paper birds at the University of Washington library
I loved this display of birds in the main atrium of the library. The birds were swirling over an exhibit of travel books throughout history. How apropo.
How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - travel book display at University of Washington library

Seattle's Union Bay Natural Area

How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - Pier at Union Bay Natural Area near University of Washington

The Union Bay Natural Area in Seattle is connected to the University of Washington campus. I took some time to explore the trails that led right up to Puget Sound. Nothing like a relaxed hike and a bit of birdwatching to round out a perfect Sunday in Seattle.
How to Spend a Perfect Sunday in Seattle - wooden arrows pointing to places at Union Bay Natural Area

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: A Perfect Sunday: Seattle in a Day
A Perfect Sunday: Seattle in a Day
Learn about things to do on a Sunday in Seattle. Find out about cool neighborhood walks and fun places to eat and drink while exploring Seattle in a day.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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