fashion, seattle city guide, street style, travel

Seattle Neighborhood Guide :: Exploring Pioneer Square With Rothy’s!

This post was created in partnership with Rothy's.

The most historic neighborhood in Seattle is Pioneer Square, and it just so happens to hold a lot of memories for me. It's where I started my first collective studio, where I lived in my favorite loft apartment, and where my family opened its second restaurant.

On top of all that, Pioneer Square has so much character, so many fun places to shop and eat, and - of course - so many great places to grab a cup of coffee. And now that our studio is officially back in the 'hood, I thought it high time that I share it all with you! So, I teamed up with Rothy's to show you how you can (literally) walk in my footsteps to some of my favorite spots, in my most favorite everyday shoes.

Most mornings start here, at General Porpoise Donuts. The happiest place on earth? Maybe! Between the flying elephant lighting fixtures, the most delicious filled donuts (currently on repeat is the Apple Jam), and my favorite oat milk latte, this place always puts a smile on my face! Pro tip: Even the vanilla donut ain't boring. In fact it's one of my faves.

 - C O F F E E -

From there, I head to the office and put in a few hours before heading out for lunch, meetings, or a little bit of fresh air and inspiration.

Some other favorite coffee shops in the neighborhood include:

  • Elm Coffee Roasters: Modern design and legit local roasts offer a great spot to stop for a cup. Try their in-house hazelnut milk!
  • Zeitgeist: a neighborhood original with great gluten-free pastry options!

my favorite places in pioneer square | coco kelley city guide with rothy's

If you haven't heard about Rothy's yet, let me tell you why they're kind of incredible. These shoes are produced sustainably and are made from recycled plastic water bottles. YES REALLY. And I know what you're thinking, because I thought it too. "But are they comfortable?" The answer is a resounding hell yes. In fact, they're way more comfortable than half my shoes. And, let me tell you, I'm kind of the queen of comfortable.

My days usually consist of being on my feet quite a bit, especially on photo shoot days, and these shoes - especially the sneakers - have lasting power. A friend of mine who recently opened a restaurant also just told me that she's been living in hers because not only are they comfortable, you can throw them in the washing machine! Having worked in restaurants, I can tell you that this is huge. Even for us everyday people just dodging puddles and the dirt and grime of city streets, it's a very nice bonus.

When I'm actually sitting down for a meal at lunch, you can find me at one of two places in Pioneer Square: The London Plane or Copal.

-  F O O D -

London Plane cafe bakery and shop | pioneer square travel guide on coco kelleyflower shopping at the london plane seattle | city guide on coco kelley our favorite lunch spot in pioneer square | london plane seattle

The London Plane is a favorite stop not only for lunch, but their baked goods are insanely delicious! They also offer florals through the lovely Marigold & Mint, and have a small shop section for local goods like pottery, soaps, provisions, and more. I always end up leaving with some goodies! Pro tip: Their house-baked bread has been perfected and is one of the best in Seattle!

our rothy's guide to seattle's historic pioneer square neighborhood | coco kelleyCopal Mexican restaurant in Pioneer Square Seattle | city guide on coco kelley

Copal is literally down the street from my studio and entirely too convenient considering how addicting their guac is! I love how sunny it feels in here even on a rainy day. The menu is small but amazing, and their cocktails SO good. They always have two boozy slushies on tap so be sure to ask for a taste!

Plus... that TILE! we love the colorful atmosphere at Copal mexican restaurant in pioneer square | coco kelleyrothy's city guide with coco kelley in seattle

Ok - another side note about these shoes. I have very wide feet - and they don't always work in flats like these. Those cute little pointy guys usually rub me the wrong way, and more often than not they just don't fit right. I love that this pointed style actually fits me! And, in case you couldn't tell, I love a bold color or pattern for a shoe because I'm pretty basic with my wardrobe and these bring in a punch. But, a basic black point like this can go just about anywhere and now that I know what these feel like, I'm definitely investing in some of the basic colors too. They will be perfect for travel!

- S H O P S -

peter miller books tucked into an alley in pioneer square | seattle city guide on coco kelleyhunting for design books at Peter Miller | coco kelley pioneer square neighborhood guide

While Pioneer Square doesn't hold a ton of shops, the few that they do have are charming and all local. One of my very favorites is hidden down an alley - the same alley I used to overlook from my loft when I lived there! Peter Miller Books focuses solely on architecture and design books, and is such a gem. I could walk out with hands full of books from here!

A few others I love include:

  • Velouria: This women's store features small production, independently-made clothing, jewelry, and accessories.
  • Ebbets Field: Vintage baseball teams brought back to life in these authentic caps, jerseys and more.
  • Cone & Steiner: An upscale bodega-esque market with lots of local goods provisions as well as some home accessories.

- H I S T O R Y -

the waterfall in pioneer square | coco kelley

Like I mentioned before, Pioneer Square holds the most history in Seattle, and there are so many ways to experience it! There are underground tours that explore the original streets of the city, and the buildings have plenty of stories to tell, but these are two of my favorite spots. enjoy fall foliage at the waterfall garden in pioneer square | seattle city guide on coco kelley

The waterfall park sits just off the middle square and marks the spot where the original UPS store was founded in 1907. Besides the squares themselves, this is a great spot to bring lunch or coffee and escape for a bit.

And then there's the can't-miss Smith Tower...

the historic Smith Tower in Pioneer Square | coco kelley city guidethe view from the smith tower overlooking pioneer square | seattle city guide on coco kelley

Some people will insist you see the Seattle skyline from the Space Needle, but I love the view from up here. Located on the 35th floor, the Observation Deck looks out over the water where you can see the ferry boats come and go, and is so close to the stadiums that you might even be able to catch a glimpse of a game!

seeing seattle in our rothy's! | city guide on coco kelley the view of the seattle waterfront from the smith tower | coco kelley

Inside the observation deck there's a simple little bar so if it's chilly, grab a drink to warm you up while you enjoy the view. But if you're looking for a real spot for happy hour, an evening bite, or a nightcap, try these...

- B A R S -

Damn the Weather not only has the best name of any bar in town (in my humble opinion) they also serve a damn good drink and my favorite fries in the city. But it's far from the only bar in the neighborhood. In fact, there might be more bars in Pioneer Square than anything else! But, Seattle loves its happy hour, so if it's crowded here try...

  • Good Bar: This place always draws a crowd, and is the quintessential happy hour spot.
  • Intermezzo Carmine: The little sister to Terrazzo Carmine, I'm obsessed with the Italian menu and drinks here! Order the fried olives, they're amazing.
  • Dead Line: An upscale bar and restaurant where the menu and the decor pays homage to the prohibition era.
  • Altstadt: With a cozy fireplace this modern beer hall is perfect for a casual bite and pint! I also love their kale salad.

I'm excited to keep adding more spots around town to our neighborhood guides, so keep a lookout for many more of them coming in 2019!