City Slicker | Guide to Seattle, Washington

What better way to wind up the working week than with a set of dreamy images of my favourite US city? Today’s city slicker is the extraordinarily talented photographer Ashley Garrels, chatting about her hometown of Seattle in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is one-of-a-kind, surrounded by sparkling blue waters and a smorgasbord of choice should you be the type partial to a good cup of joe.


Ashley is also one of my dearest friends, the sort of friendship that’s just too wonderful to distil into words.  I (precociously) like to think that our relationship is testament to the powers of both photography and the internet as we started corresponding after admiring each other’s Flickr streams as doe-eyed fifteen-year-olds. Almost a decade later we’re real life best pals, despite the 5000 miles between our cities. Be dazzled by more of Ashley’s stunning images of Seattle and its flannel-clad denizens here. Without further ado…


Q: How did you end up in your city? 
My family has Pacific Northwest roots and we never seem to stray too far from one another. 😉


Q: If we could visit your city in one season, which one should it be?
Though my heart will always belong to autumn, summer in Seattle is simply gorgeous. It never gets too hot, there are so many grassy parks to lounge in, and the waterfront is a bustle of activity. Summer in Seattle is for scoops of Molly Moon’s ice cream in Cal Anderson Park, outdoor music festivals, shorts paired with Birkenstocks, lounging on the rocky shores of the Sound, and kayaking lazily on Lake Washington.


Q: Where do you like to go to relax?
I love wandering around Capitol Hill’s quirky streets and exploring all of the art galleries. Old Ballard has charm, and the most wonderful collection of vintage shops and paper stores filled with more stationery than one person could ever need. (Which doesn’t usually stop me from buying too many cards.)


Q: Where should a visitor head for the best Seattle grub? 
My amazing foodie cousin Jess recently sent me to Cactus in Madison Park. This quirky, mexican restaurant by the water was delicious, fast, and had the perfect outdoor patio. Definitely the place to gorge yourself on fresh chips and salsa! Hot Cakes in Ballard also does an insane chocolate lava cake. (*Editor’s note: This I can confirm!)


Q: Where do you go to enjoy some fresh air?
I’m a coastal girl through and through, and always feel happiest when I’m by the water. Seattle is surrounded by water so you’re never too far from hearing seagulls or the rush of boats. Lake Washington has so many perfect shores to read by, or beaches to go for a dip in the chilly waves.


Q: Tell us about an unmissable Seattle experience.
This may seem obvious, but everyone new to Seattle should go up in the Space Needle at least once. You get uninhibited views of the entire city, the lakes, Puget Sound, everything! If you’re feeling fancy, you can have dinner in the SkyCity restaurant atop the Needle and enjoy a Lunar Orbiter, an ice cream sundae with dry ice smoke!

Q: What does your city sound like?
Low-flying airplanes, mini concerts blaring from car windows, and laughter.


Q: Describe a perfect day in your city.
A perfect day would definitely be spent with good friends and a plethora of cameras. We’d maybe start out grabbing lunch in a cute cafe in Belltown before wandering down to the waterfront, or picking up some fresh flowers at Pike Place. I also love wandering around the quieter, residential areas like Madison Park (best for imagining which mansion you’d choose!) or Wallingford. We’d end the day in a grassy park, letting the ice cream drip down our elbows.


Q: What makes your city unique?
Seattle is like your beanie-wearing, hippie cousin who works hard, loves the underground music scene, and frequents vegan cafes. It was just named one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the US and is filled with artists and musicians. It is also the birthplace of Starbucks and Boeing; you can visit the first ever branch of Starbucks near Pike Place. Every corner and neighborhood in Seattle has a different flavour!


Q: Describe your city in three words.
Liberal. Gritty. Creative. (Bonus word: flannel!)