Shopping safely and enjoying the city on a couples getaway in Seattle

After spending more than a year shut inside with your significant other, things can get a little, well, stuffy. Although a change of scenery is never bad, oftentimes a change of perspective could be just as effective for rekindling the warm, fuzzy feelings.

Seattle’s hotels are operating smoothly with enhanced Covid-19 health guidelines, so peel yourself off the couch, grab a mask, and get out and explore the city again. With these experiences, you’ll fall back in love with being a local—and perhaps more importantly, you’ll get out of the house.

Refresh the romance

Treat yourself to a suite at one of downtown Seattle’s luxury hotels, such as the W Seattle or the Thompson Seattle, and then grab dinner at Maximilien , a luxurious French eatery with an elevated, alfresco patio and stunning views of Elliott Bay. After a night of beauty sleep, pick up fresh-baked croissants from Le Panier, and take a stroll down First Avenue toward Pioneer Square. Stop by Watson Kennedy Fine Living and spoil your sweetheart with one of their self-care packages, or browse the curated collection of vintage objects and art at Watson Kennedy Fine Home (a second location, half a mile away).

Les Igloos at Maximilien

Next, pause for sidewalk cocktails and a plate of seasonal paté at airy café–flower shop combo The London Plane, in Occidental Square. Keep the carefree vibes alive by prebooking massages at Penelope and The Beauty Bar, a welcoming oasis inside Fairmont Olympic Hotel where all visitors and staff receive temperature checks and screenings, and UV sterilizers and air filters are implemented as well—adding peace of mind to your relaxation time.

The London Plane

Image: @heozzang

Finish the day by heading to South Lake Union, either by car or via streetcar on the South Lake Union Line. At The Electric Boat Company, you and your beloved can rent a private vessel to be the captain on your own sightseeing voyage (book in advance to ensure availability; boats are sanitized thoroughly between rentals). Landlubbers can instead engage in some flirtatious competition, with nine holes of miniature golf at Flat Stick Pub, now operating at 50% capacity. Remember, the loser buys the beer!

South Lake Union skyline

As the sun sets, venture to the swanky rooftop mbar, where a mezze of Hama Hama oysters will pair perfectly with the dazzling skyline vistas.

Savor sips, sweets, and eats

With a cozy boutique hotel like the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Seattle, Hotel Max, or the MarQueen Hotel as your base, a few days spent wining and dining certainly fills your soul (and belly).

Spend a long evening sipping your way through Seattle Urban Wineries, a growing collection of award-winning, artisan wineries. You’ll find four of its members (among a number of other tasting rooms) at SoDo Urbanworks, including Structure Cellars, known for their quality-yet-affordable wines. Next door, San Juan Seltzery is a must if you prefer bubbles in your beverages, and sharing a slice at Nine Pies Pizzeria is always a good decision. Outdoor seating and social distancing help to keep this gathering place safe for all involved.

After yesterday’s indulgence, no one will blame you for sleeping in, but when you need to wake up, a decadent coffee and chocolate excursion is the way to do it. Start with a scrumptious chocolate-filled cornetto pastry or Budapest coffee cake at the Belltown Macrina Bakery & Café. If the sun has decided to grace you with its radiant presence, bounce over to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Capitol Hill, and order a refreshing nitro cold brew. On particularly warm afternoons, the seasonal scoops at Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, with a Capitol Hill location as well as others around town, hit the spot.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

Image: @heozzang

Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream

For a route just north of Downtown, do a deep dive into the Fremont sweets scene with a stop at beloved Theo Chocolate. Their ethically sourced treats harmonize well with the single-origin, Fair Trade, and organic coffee of nearby Fremont Coffee Company. Enjoy shots of espresso on the porch, or stay mobile with a walk along Fremont Canal Park, where prehistoric-inspired dinosaur topiaries rise above the hedges.

Top off the day (if you can handle it!) with a brewery crawl around the open-air beer gardens of nearby Ballard, with stops at Stoup, Urban Family, and Rooftop. Combine the excellent, seasonal local beer offerings with the diverse cuisine of the area’s food trucks, and you have a date night that’s never the same twice.

Broaden your minds, together

Seattle is full of cultural, literary, and historical offerings that provide much needed mental stimulation when your eyes have glassed over from streaming too much television. There are plenty of things to contemplate when you reserve a room at Hotel Sorrento, where, legend has it, the ghost of noted avant-garde writer Alice B. Toklas roams the halls.

Thought-provoking reads can make for an engaging gift to your partner; surprise them with a tale from Arundel Books’ collection of rare and out-of-print tomes. The Elliott Bay Book Company and Ada’s Technical Books & Café are popular literary havens on Capitol Hill, as is Twice Sold Tales, a secondhand bookshop guarded by four friendly cats. When the sentences and stanzas finally begin to blur, uncross your eyes and recalibrate at Anchorhead Coffee.

The Elliott Bay Book Company

In the Chinatown-International District, the Panama Hotel is a living relic of prewar Japanese American culture. Not only does it contain the last remaining Japanese bathhouse (sento) in the country, but it also served as the inspiration for the best-selling novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ryan. It’s a fantastic setting to drink tea, too. Not far away, even more stories wait to be heard at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (all adult guests must sign a Covid-19 waiver).

Work out the kinks

There’s nothing like a bit of adventure to bring a couple closer together; weekend warriors, this is your chance to get the blood pumping. First, set up shop at a conveniently located hotel, like the Seattle Marriott Waterfront, Best Western Plus Pioneer Square Hotel Downtown, or Motif Seattle.

Motif Seattle

Drop your luggage, hop on an e-bike, and ride to Myrtle Edwards Park. When the weather is clear, soak up Mt. Rainier’s gloriously above the horizon. Keep pedaling toward Discovery Park (about a 45-minute ride, or seven miles from Downtown) to navigate the winding network of picturesque trails that surround Fort Lawton Landmark District. For lunch, feast in the eateries of the Magnolia neighborhood, where many global cuisines are on the menu. Pink Salt’s Peruvian-inspired fare is particularly worth your while; so is grabbing a Greek wrap to go at Niko’s Gyros.

Catch your breath, because there’s more outdoor recreation to come. Alki Kayak Tours and Surf Ballard both put the power of the paddle in your hands, opening up the cool waters of Puget Sound. With its state-of-the-art bouldering gym, Momentum Indoor Climbing in SoDo is another great chance to feel your muscles burn.

Kayaking some of Seattle's many welcoming waters

Searching for more thrills? Book an escape room at Quest Factor, just off the University of Washington campus. You’ll have to work together, trusting each other’s instincts and strengths, to successfully beat the challenge. The company provides free disposable masks and gloves, keeps each session private for groups of up to five people, and always leaves ample time to disinfect surfaces between parties.

If you’re hungry and seeking an opportunity to expand your palate, try a self-guided tour of Uwajimaya, the colorful Asian food and gift market. Hidden gem Dim Sum King’s traditional Chinese dishes present another memorable culinary encounter. Vegans and the vegan-curious shouldn’t miss the plethora of soy-based, Vietnamese bites at ChuMinh Tofu, either.

Chinatown-International District

No matter which path you take, it’s important to follow government Covid-19 health guidelines and check in with each business about their individual policies and hours.