Discover Something New at Home in Seattle

Seattle is more colorful than ever this holiday season. The festive Great Wheel spins merrily on the waterfront, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit lights up the Seattle Center. Chefs are reimagining Northwest cuisine at new restaurants around the city. New residents continue to arrive, and condos are springing up in neighborhoods, leading to plenty of grumbling. Still, Seattleites have much to be proud of.

New Restaurant: The Whale Wins

Diners win at the city's latest hot spot, Chef Renee Erickson's The Whale Wins, in Fremont, recently listed among the "20 most important restaurants in the nation" by Bon Appetit. Dishes brim with fresh-caught Quillayute River salmon, natural beef fillets and organic Skagit Valley vegetables, and a wood-stoked oven intensifies flavors and adds a cheery warmth to the airy setting. Among the standouts: the vast array of house-made vegetable pickles and copper-skinned roast chicken.

Newly Hip Hood: Ballard

Once-sleepy Ballard continues to reinvent itself, with top-notch chefs taking up digs in the brick-fronted buildings along Ballard Avenue, new indie boutiques touting everything from whimsical home décor to handcrafted Italian shoes, and the luxe new Hotel Ballard offering posh rooms at the heart of the district. Meanwhile, the Sunday farmers market, the best in the city, continues to burgeon, drawing shoppers in increasing hordes.

Word on the Street

Cozy fires aren't all that's blazing in Seattle this season; with Washington state's recent legalization of marijuana, you might even detect a whiff of something sweet that's not sugarplums while enjoying the outdoors. Debate continues on how best to regulate the substance.


Seattle writer and author Leslie Forsberg is a Northwest girl through-and-through. She raises chickens in her backyard, loves rainy winter days (she thinks the infrequent sunny days are too high pressure; you're forced to do something spectacular like all your Facebook friends) and enjoys running the Green Lake Gauntlet, dodging dancing Rollerbladers, inline skate skiers and moms with baby strollers.

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