The only state named for a president, Washington was nicknamed “The Evergreen State” by C.T. Conover, pioneer Seattle realtor and historian, for its abundant evergreen forest. It is a well-known vacation place for people who like outdoor sports like hiking, kayaking or mountain biking. But may be there are not too many people who know that Washington is also home of some of the largest and famous companies in the world. In and around Seattle are the headquarters and factories of such big behemoths like Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon and Starbucks. This makes the area popular destination not only for leisure but also for business travel.
If you need to spend few days on the Eastside, the part of King County that is east of Lake Washington, you may wonder how to better organize your stay. Doesn’t matter whether you are on business trip or vacation here are my tips for you.
First, finding a hotel or place to sleep should not be a problem. If you are on a business trip this may already be organized for you and hotel will be the preference. If you are on vacation you may decide to rent a vacation home for few days. One good source for that is http://www.travelweaver.net but there are hundreds more that you can find on Internet.
Finding good food will be your next goal. What would you like? Thai, Mexican or Steak from Texas. Depends also how much you would like to spend for dinner. I will skip the trivial choices and emphasize on few dinner places that I think deserve their high rating.
The first one is P. F. Chang’s China Bistro. There are three of them in Washington – one in Seattle, one in Lynwood and one in Bellevue. The last one you can find in Bellevue Square Mall, a favorite place for shopping. In P. F. Chang’s you can really enjoy the food and there is such for every taste: vegetarian, pork, duck or chicken, appetizers, soups, salads or traditional Chinese dishes. Don’t miss the desserts! But be careful; I’ll recommend ordering The Great Wall of Chocolate only if you are at least party of 8 or… you are dying for chocolate. Don’t be afraid of the prices at P. F. Chang’s, you can easily enjoy good dinner for 4 for around 100 $.
Mexican food is one of the favorites for many people in US. Good place to find such is Cactus in Kirkland. It serves Mexican, Southwestern and Spanish and it is home to Seattle’s very first tapas bar. They have also seasonally evolving menus nightly specials. Cactus is rated as the “Best Kirkland Casual” by Seattle Magazine in October 2002, one of the Top 100 by Seattle Weekly in 2001 and one of the Top 10 by Seattle Times in 1999. Its other location is in Madison Park in Seattle.
My favorite one is The Melting Pot in Bellevue. It is the best place outside Switzerland you can eat fondue. To enjoy the full set of courses will take you more than 3 hours; also be prepared to cook by yourself. For sure you will need reservation for that one… and also full wallet. But you will be nicely surprised by the quality of service and the taste of the food.
If you want to make short trips in the area I’ll recommend going to Kirkland. Kirkland has the most beautiful parks in the region; you can enjoy fantastic views of the Seattle skyline, the Olympic Mountains and Lake Washington while taking the lake view walk. You can also take a lake cruise with Argosy and enjoy beautiful scenery, views of Mt. Rainier, the University of Washington Husky Stadium, and home of Seattle’s rich and famous. It is also the only way to see the house of the reaches man in the world, Bill Gates.
Another good destination is the Chateau Ste Michelle, the Washington state’s oldest and most acclaimed winery. It is located 15 miles northeast of Seattle in Woodinville. You can choose the free Columbia Valley Tour and Tasting which is approximately ½ hour long and where you can learn what makes the Columbia Valley such a premier grape growing region. The tour concludes with a sampling of the wines. If you are a wine enthusiast you can also go for the Premium Wine Tasting, Vintage Reserve Room Tasting or the Ultimate Wine Tasting; all of them take between ½ and 1 hours and the prices can go up to 45 $ per person.
Exploring hidden places will make your stay on the Eastside pleasant. Don’t hesitate to check my blogs Moo Cities and My Kind of Places for more tips.