Washington State is gaining increasing attention around the world for its growing wine scene. What should novices know about the viniculture here? Which grape varieties are grown, and what are some of the best visitor-friendly wineries to explore?
“It is a little-known fact (except for us Washington wine lovers) that wines from our state are some of the highest rated wines in the world. The wine industry is exploding here and rivals that of Northern California. Washington State currently has more than 900 wineries, 14 AVAs (or American Viticultural Areas) and produces more than 70 wine grape varieties - a ratio of about 49% white and 51% red. Our urban wine scene is also starting to take off. And just 30 minutes from Seattle – in Woodinville – there are over 130 wineries and tasting rooms to enjoy.”
Seattle is one of the most literary cities in the US. Where are some of the best places to get a bookish experience of the city, from indie bookstores to literary readings and events?
“The Seattle Public Library in downtown Seattle was designed by award-winning Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and opened in May 2004, so in addition to providing a very bookish experience due to its size alone, it is also architecturally something to behold. In addition to a robust public library system throughout the city, there are many alluring independent bookstores throughout Seattle, including the notable Elliott Bay Book Company in the Capitol Hill neighbourhood; Phinney Books in the Phinney Ridge neighbourhood; Queen Anne Book Company in the Queen Anne neighbourhood; and Book Larder, a community cookbook store in Fremont. All of these bookstores offer literary readings and events. For more literary readings and lectures, non-profit Seattle Arts & Lectures has been inviting highly accomplished award-winning and up-and-coming authors to Seattle since 1987.”
Which restaurants do you think define Seattle’s diverse and eclectic culinary scene?
“There are so many incredible restaurants that reflect Seattle’s diverse and eclectic food scene that it’s difficult to call out specific restaurants by name. I would say, however, that there are several chefs/restaurateurs in the city who have helped put Seattle on the map as a dining destination: Tom Douglas, Renee Erickson, Ethan Stowell, and Matt Dillon, as well as, more recently, Josh Henderson, Jason Stratton, and Eduardo Jordan. I’d also add to that list Shiro Kashiba, who the Seattle Times calls the “sushi sensei” of Seattle. These are just a few of the notables who have helped shape and are continuing to shape Seattle’s culinary scene.”
We’d love your tips on the art walks and under-the-radar galleries that capture Seattle’s creative personality.
“Seattle is lucky to have a booming art walk scene, with more than 17 distinct neighbourhoods hosting periodic artwalks. Stop by one of our Visit Seattle Visitor Information Centers and pick up a free Cultural Heritage Guide or the Artists’ View of Seattle for self-guided art and heritage tours. Among organized tours, the oldest (and still the largest) is the Pioneer Square Art Walk, held monthly on First Thursdays. The neighbourhoods of Georgetown, Columbia City and Capitol Hill also host lively art walks.
For a huge collection of galleries and artist studios and an old school DIY-Seattle vibe, an open house event at Equinox Studios can’t be beat. There are 125+ resident artists and artisans in four buildings including painters, jewellers, sculptors, metalsmiths, sound installation artists and more. Other artist collectives hosting periodic open houses include Inscape and the Sunny Arms Artist Cooperative.
Seattle has more than 180 art galleries. Some top picks for under the radar/Seattle spirit include Vermillion (Capitol Hill gallery + bar), Soil (nonprofit collective gallery), Mad Art, Method, Shift, Core, Bryan Ohno, Mariane Ibrahim and Gallery 4Culture. The Harris Harvey Gallery occupies a prime perch in the heart of Pike Place Market but remains a bit under the radar for causal passers-by, despite its excellent collection of Northwest artists. Established and well respected Seattle galleries include James Harris Gallery, Greg Kucera, Davidson, G Gibson, Foster/White, Linda Hodges, Woodside/Braseth, Abmeyer+ Wood, Stonington (native art) and Traver Gallery (glass art.)
And an often overlooked but fantastic resource is Seattle Art Museum’s SAM Gallery, which curates rotating shows, but also rents and sells works by Northwest artists, both established and emerging.
Finally, a mention that our downtown Washington Convention Center has a remarkable permanent art collection and hosts rotating quarterly juried art exhibitions featuring a wide range of Northwest artists, from children’s book illustrators to the Seattle Metals Guild.”