Starting in May, nonstop flights to Seattle depart from Indianapolis for the first time in recent memory, thanks to Alaska Airlines. Check in at the Thompson Hotel, and you could be in a glass-walled suite gazing past the gray-blue waves of Puget Sound to the snow-frosted Olympic mountains. It’s a well-placed base for exploring sights like the famous Pike Place Market and the Seattle Center campus, where visiting rockers sip espresso at revered music station KEXP’s new La Marzocco Café and Showroom, an homage to the city’s best-loved beverage; music and pop-culture museum MoPOP was designed by Frank Gehry, who dismantled guitars to build his model for the undulating steel structure.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room on Capitol Hill offers single-origin samples and a firsthand look at the roasting process, from burlap sack to mermaid-stamped cup. At Melrose Market, Taylor Shellfish Farms serves freshly shucked oysters, and next door, Glasswing sells hand-dyed hipster threads and blown-glass terrariums. At lunch spot Marmite, subtly flavorful puréed soups and rustic breads show off the owners’ fine-dining pedigree. The area is literally a Seattle sweet spot, what with Amandine Bakeshop’s tender macarons; lemon curd–stuffed fritters at General Porpoise Doughnuts; Kurt Farm Shop’s Jersey Milk ice cream, sourced from the owner’s herd on Vashon Island; and the creamy scoops of vegan parlor Frankie & Jo’s.
Find tacos, mini-doughnuts, and tattooed-people–watching at the Sunday Ballard Farmers Market. Some of the city’s top beer-makers are nearby, including Reuben’s Brews and its sunny patio. But get back to the Thompson by sundown: Rooftop bar The Nest has even better Puget Sound views than your suite.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE:
Buzzy seafood spot L’Oursin: French technique with a subtly Scandinavian sensibility.
No Anchor pairs beers of the world with smoked local fish and tempura-fried foraged mushrooms.
For boutique lodging, hit the restored Hotel Ballard.