The Sustainable Traveler's Guide to the Emerald City!
If you’ve skipped out on visiting Seattle because of the widespread rumors that the city is always bleak and grey, we have news for you: the rumors aren’t true. While Seattle and the Pacific Northwest receive a lot of rain in the fall and the winter, the weather in the spring and summer months is actually quite wonderful—and sunny! Pair that with the many boutique hotels, sustainable eateries, and artisan shops and we’re sure conscious travelers will never want to leave.
Here are a few of our recommendations for sustainable sleeping, shopping, and eating in the Emerald City.
// Where To Stay //
Ace Hotel Seattle
Why We Love It | They call it “The Mothership.” Founded in 1999, the Ace Hotel in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood is what happens when three friends decide to turn a former maritime workers’ home into an eclectic and sustainable accommodation space. Blending intentional design (think minimalist meets mid-century) with unfussy luxury, the flagship hotel is recognized for its affordability, as well as its eco-friendly elements. It is also known for its support of small businesses and its continued advocacy for social justice causes, such as Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March.
Stay at the Ace Hotel to sleep in rooms decorated with vintage furniture and indulge in all-natural bath products from Rudy’s, the local barbershop down the street. Original artwork also adorns the lobby and halls throughout the hotel, and the accommodation is within walking distance to many of Seattle’s best attractions, including the famous Pike Place Market.
With nine other Ace Hotels located in major cities across the globe, “The Mothership” is something of an icon for visitors in Seattle. For conscious travelers, we think it’s the perfect green accommodation to stay at for a few days in the Emerald City.
Where To Find It | 2423 1st Avenue
Why We Love It | Formerly called the Roosevelt Hotel (the hotel was named after President Theodore Roosevelt who visited Seattle in 1903), this 18-story building recently underwent a floor-by-floor renovation, reopening under a new name in 2017: Hotel Theodore. Now an upscale and intimate sustainable accommodation space that celebrates Seattle’s past and present makers, the hotel worked with local designers to retain the heritage of the building. Be sure to notice the art and artifact collection during your stay, an on-site display created in partnership with the Museum of History & Industry.
For amenities at Hotel Theodore, guests will find each room fitted with eco-friendly bedding, natural and sustainable bath products, and mini-bar beverages from Seattle-based purveyors. Well+Fit kits with yoga mats and fitness equipment are also available for the rooms. Oh, and don’t worry about packing your rain jacket—Hotel Theodore stocks Freeman raincoats, a Seattle-based outwear brand, in every suite.
Where To Find It | 1531 7th Avenue
// Where To Eat //
Why We Love It | A plant-based restaurant nestled into the hip Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Plum Bistro is the creation of Chef Makini Howell, a life-long vegan, and sustainable food activist. Advocating that we all honor the earth and our bodies with the foods we eat, she founded the 100% vegan and organic restaurant in 2009—and it was an overnight success.
In addition to the cozy bistro—dine there for a leisurely meal with farm-to-table ingredients—Howell also used her culinary skills to open a food truck, bakery, sandwich shop, and salad bar (we recommend visiting those as well).
Whether you abide by a plant-based diet or not, Plum Bistro and its other eateries are a gem for conscious travelers in Seattle. Be sure to make a reservation during your trip.
Where To Find It | 1429 12th Avenue
Frankie & Jo’s
Why We Love It | With two locations open seven days a week, you can’t visit Seattle without indulging in Frankie & Jo’s plant-based ice cream. Founded by Autumn Martin and Juicebox Café owner Kari Brunson, the ice cream shop uses homemade cashew milk and coconut milk, as well as organic dates to churn up a delicious and healthy dessert. The adorable pink parlors also serve homemade, gluten-free waffle cones and real fruit sorbets. Stop by one of the Seattle shops (or both!) to enjoy a 100% dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free dessert during your visit.
Where To Find It | 1010 E Union Street (Capitol Hill); 1411 NW 70th Street (Ballard)
Why We Love It | Founded by Kari Brunson of Frankie & Jo’s ice cream, Seattle’s Juicebox Café is the perfect spot for a farm fresh and organic meal during your Seattle visit. Serving vegetable-focused breakfast and lunch plates, as well as organic juices and local Dorothea coffee, this sunny eatery is a delightful place for conscious travelers to rest and refuel while exploring the city. Dairy-free, gluten-free, and meat-free options are all available.
Where To Find It | 1517 12th Avenue, Suite 100
Why We Love It | For a memorable and intimate dining experience, we urge conscious travelers to make a reservation at Seattle’s beloved farm-to-table restaurant, Tilth. Founded by award-winning Chef Maria Hines and serving delectable plates made with certified-organic ingredients, the New American eatery sources fresh produce and meat from local farms, sustainable fish from nearby fishers, and various grains and cooking ingredients from Seattle-based purveyors. The restaurant also has soy-based crayons for kids and organic feminine products in the bathrooms.
Moreover, Chef Hines is a food advocate and believes every person should have access to healthy and sustainable food; she passionately works with and gives back to various community-based organizations.
Where To Find It | 1411 N 45th Street
// Where To Shop //
Why We Love It | Naming themselves as clothiers of independent women and manufacturers of the modern uniforms, the talented team at Prairie Underground has one of the most impressive sustainability models we’ve yet to see in the fashion industry. They also prioritize diversity and inclusive sizing.
From made-to-order and local production to hemp textiles and reactive dyes, this Seattle-based female clothing label is a must-visit shop for conscious travelers. The boutique is open Thursday through Saturday or by appointment. You can also shop online.
Where To Find It | 940 S Harney Street
Why We Love It | For curated vintage treasures, Homestead Seattle is taking thrift furniture and decor to an entirely new level. Housed in a bright shop with floor to ceiling windows in the eclectic Capitol Hill neighborhood, this sustainable home goods store is the most wonderful place to shop for a Seattle souvenir—and yes, they offer shipping services! Whether you’ve been on the hunt for an antique rug, retro bookend, or a pair of recycled dining chairs, this boutique store, run by a talented husband and wife team, will probably have it.
Where To Find It | 501 East Pine Street
Hammer + Awl
Why We Love It | For the modern man traveling to Seattle, we love Hammer + Awl, a gentlemen’s boutique stocking quality brands, made in the USA apparel, and sustainable men’s accessories. Stop by to browse or to pick up a bottle of natural beard oil. Either way, this rugged boutique store should be on every conscious travelers' Seattle shopping list.
Where To Find It | 1137 34th Ave
Why We Love It | Baleen, the creation of two designers who share a love of well-designed yet affordable jewelry, first opened as a Seattle brick-and-mortar shop in 2015. Working with a small team of seven artisans, each piece of Baleen jewelry is handmade and nickel-free. Moreover, the shop practices zero-waste, and most of the materials they use are recycled metals.
Stop by the studio while visiting Seattle to purchase a local and sustainable piece for your capsule wardrobe, as well as to learn more about the shop and its sustainable manufacturing process.
Where To Find It | 6418 20th Avenue
Kayti Christian, a staff writer for The Good Trade, is a storyteller, creator, activist, and avid traveler hailing from Colorado, now living in London. With 30+ stamps in her passport, she is passionate about responsible tourism and is always looking for new ways to be a more conscious traveler. She is currently pursuing her MA in Creative Nonfiction Writing at City, University of London.