The Color Lover’s Travel Guide to Seattle
Few cities marry urban environments with nature – and therefore blend the bustling pace of the city with calming landscapes – as well as Seattle. It’s serene, persistent, and buzzing with youthful culture, amazing food, and a million things to do. Today, we’re teaming up with Sherwin-Williams® to bring another installment of our color lover’s travel guide – this time to the ever-majesty Seattle, king of the Pacific Northwest.
This northwestern beach town is dominated by blues, greens, oranges and grays, rain or shine. If Palm Springs’ color palette is pastel, youthful, and feminine, then Seattle is its counterpart, with timeless masculine tones and an elegant character.
Thanks to the Sherwin-Williams® ColorSnap® Visualizer app, we have a tool to bring those amazing color palettes from our cameras to our home. The ColorSnap Visualizer app matches colors from your photos and creates a customizable palette using Sherwin-Williams paint colors. With the help of this app, we created the following color palettes from our travels in Seattle. We even applied one to a kitchen renovation, which you can take a look at towards the end of this article.
See miles and miles from the Sky View Observatory. Located atop one of Seattle’s many downtown skyscrapers, the Sky View Observatory is the tallest public observatory in PNW. It offers a 360 degree view of Seattle and surrounding suburbs. You can even see Mount Rainier! BTW: Your ticket gives you access until 11pm, so you should probably come back for sunset 🙂
Drink one of the best coffees in the world – in crazy cool cafes. Seattle lives up to its global reputation as a coffee Mecca. There are cafes on every block, some filled with complex, intimidating coffee machines and equally intimidating well-dressed baristas; others with casual charm and heterogeneous furnishings; even others tucked away in fancy bike shops…frequented by cooler people. Regardless of the vibe, *every* cafe we visited had delicious coffee. If you’re not leaving Seattle with too much caffeine, you’re wrong.
Eat EVERYTHING at Pike Place Market. And we mean everything. Luckily, you can’t walk a meter without passing a free sample, so this task is quite doable. There’s the main hall, with fresh seafood, fresh fruit, homemade pasta, local honey, and rows and rows of flowers; there are dozens of food stalls with every cuisine you can name; there are famous sit-down restaurants with views of Elliott Bay; and there are iconic vintage neon signs that help you navigate the many hallways of this food mecca. You know, it’s good when locals frequent the market as much as tourists.
Having mixed feelings at the Gum Wall. After stuffing yourself upstairs, head under Pike Place Market to Post Alley and see the famous Gum Wall. Optimists might call it a participatory public artwork; pessimists, a somewhat gnarled driveway full of germs. But man, those bubblegum colors! You really need to see this one for yourself.
Stop at the majestic Ferris Wheel. However, every town should have a permanent Ferris wheel. Must cheer up the whole town, right? ! The Seattle Ferris Wheel sits on a pier above Elliott Bay, flanked by the downtown cityscape on one side and giant rusting industrial cranes on the other. IMO, the sight of the Ferris wheel is just as beautiful as the view it offers.
Cross Pioneer Square. One of Seattle’s business districts (which also means you’ll find delicious food trucks there on weekdays, SCORE), Pioneer Square is a great neighborhood to explore in between shots. You’ll pass up-and-coming restaurants, local murals, and even shops with bars in the back. In Pioneer Square itself, you’ll find maple trees creating lovely canopies over the driveway. On a sunny day, the dappled light it creates is delightful.
Museum jump. It’s no secret that Seattle is home to world-class museums. If you wish, you can plan your entire trip around visiting these cultural gems. Pro tip: These popular destinations are packed! If you can, aim for weekdays for a more relaxed experience.
Lose track of time at the state-of-the-art Seattle Public Library. This public space is symbolic of the increasingly postmodern architecture that fills Seattle’s most urban area: downtown. Inside, you’ll find luminous sculptural elements like these escalators; on the outside, you’ll see the library’s funky diamond-shaped shape which is an architectural feat in itself. It’s a trip!
Spend a morning at the Volunteer Park Conservatory. Are we the only ones obsessed with botanical gardens? There’s something wonderful about the lush, quiet, green ambience of a greenhouse, you know? This conservatory sits in the middle of Volunteer Park, a vast green space in Capitol Hill.
Dream of owning a PNW Craftsman home. We may or may not have spent half a day driving through residential neighborhoods, just to ogle the nice homes. Grab this artisan delight in Queen Anne, a residential area northwest of downtown. TBH, we don’t know if the American Dream inspired this house, or this house inspired the American Dream. So many of these homes’ color palettes reflect the sea blues and forest greens that define Seattle’s color history. If you fancy seeing dream homes for yourself, explore neighborhoods like Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Ballard and Green Lake.
Pick up handicrafts from the shops on Avenue Ballard. Minimalists, you’re about to have a field day. All over Seattle, you’ll find novelty stores full of handcrafted clothing, jewelry, accessories: the works. We were particularly taken with the shops on Ballard Ave. It’s as if EVERY item for sale is carefully handcrafted by a local designer. We’ll take one of everything, thank you.
Stroll along the waterfront in Fremont. If you need a detox from the bustling downtown area, cross Aurora Ave to Fremont, a charming neighborhood full of quirky public art (have you heard of the Fremont Troll?!), hipsters and waterfront walkways. After a fancy coffee and before lunch, we strolled along this path to view one of Seattle’s marinas. Port cities, you are the best.
Read a book at Gas Works Park. We spent the afternoon at Gas Works Park, a public park in Fremont on Lake Union with stunning views of downtown Seattle. This view is especially stellar on sunny days 😉 You’ll also find a rusty old gasification plant, which is now some sort of public art installation/children’s playground. Pretty cool!
Spend a sunny day at the Washington Park Arboretum. It’s places like this that will make you truly appreciate just how much nature this metropolitan city has to offer. The 230-acre arboretum is a soft, green escape from city life – in the middle of town. It’s also the perfect place to walk a dog.
Whatever you do, be sure to take a ferry. It’s the absolute best way to take in the Seattle skyline, as well as get a dose of how the locals live. Seattle is surrounded by charming residential islands (like Bainbridge and Vashon Island), and many islanders travel to Seattle daily by ferry. Photogenic trip, right? : )
Explore marinas. If you’re feeling adventurous, stroll around the many quays of this port city. TBH, you don’t have to be a self-identified “boat man” to seriously appreciate their beauty. We were a little crazy about the fonts, color combinations and silhouettes of these gems; some of which were half a century old!
Bonus thrown photo! We couldn’t resist snapping a photo (or twelve) of those seven-foot-tall piles of fishing nets also found on the docks. The – probably accidental – color and texture combinations are seriously out of control. Each mound was a work of art, and I’m looking for an excuse to apply this color palette to future projects!
If you can, go to the San Juan Islands. It might be a trek, but we couldn’t resist including this destination. The San Juans are a collection of islands off the northwest coast of Washington. Accessible only by ferry, these delightful islands are the fulfillment of all your retro summer vacation dreams; is full of beautiful cabins, national parks, oyster farms and rocky beaches. We are definitely on vacation here.
LET SEATTLE INSPIRE YOUR DECOR
It wouldn’t be a true B+C item if we didn’t create art from our color inspiration! With the help of the ColorSnap Visualizer app, we used one of the color palettes above to transform a kitchenette. Scroll to see how we did it!
The ColorSnap Visualizer app allowed us to bring the PNW vibes home in a heartbeat. All we had to do was take one of our vacation photos and upload it to the app, which captured the colors and matched them to the Sherwin-Williams paint colors. From there, it was simple to create a custom color scheme for our interior design.
We painted the Marea Baja SW 9185 and Billowy Breeze SW 9055 walls, then added Fountain SW 6787, Champagne SW 6644 and Secure Blue SW 6508 as accents throughout the kitchenette. We filled the room with copper and light wood accessories, and finished it with plants, plants and more plants. If we’re lucky, every time we stay in this space, we’ll remember the serene Puget Sound 🙂
That’s it, friends! We came, we saw, we made color palettes, we painted. And now we are going to rest. Thanks for reading!
Want to use this travel guide on your next trip to Seattle? We want to see! Share photos of your travels on Instagram and tag #britstagram so we can take a look!
Direction + Styling: Maddie Bachelder
Color palettes: Maddie Bachelder + Rebecca Fong
Photography: Brittany Griffin + Mihael Blikshteyn
This position has been authorized by Sherwin-Williams®.