Julia Manchik’s Local Guide to Seattle

We asked Seattle local and photographer extraordinaire, Julia Manchik, to shoot some photos, share some insight and create a Visit Seattle Local Guide full of tips and local secrets just for you.

Julia Manchik

Name: Julia Manchik

Occupation: I take photographs with my husband and recently joined a local Seattle startup as a graphic designer.

Can you sum up Seattle? Seattle is the place to be if you can’t choose between city life and quiet life. You can enjoy the perks of being in an interesting, creative and innovative city and easily access water, mountains, and wilderness. We really have the best of both worlds.

Can you sum up the people of Seattle? The people in Seattle are smart and forward-thinking. They appreciate quality food and good friends. They are not afraid to be themselves. They’re relaxed and easy going. They love the outdoors and embrace puffies and hiking shoes on or off the mountain.

Tell us about the photos you shot for this Visit Seattle Local Guide: I loved the challenge to photograph my city. I enjoyed spending a morning at Pike Place Market and blending in with the tourists. I wanted to include photos from a couple personal spots that others might not recognize—like the skyline from my apartment rooftop and a meal at my favorite neighborhood café, Ada’s, just a couple blocks from where I live.

What makes Seattle a great city to eat and drink in? The restaurants in Seattle hit all the requirements. If you’re looking for great food AND good vibes, you’ll have no problem finding it in Seattle. Seattle restaurants are creative in the menus, the ingredients, and the interiors.

What type of cuisine do you associate with Seattle? The food in Seattle is really diverse. A few cuisines I think we’re known for: seafood, farm-to-table and tons of good Asian food. And I’ve heard it’s a lot better than most cities if you have food allergies or sensitivities.

What’s your favorite dish/cocktail in Seattle that everyone must try? You have to try a legendary Caribbean-inspired sandwich from Paseo. Best slow roasted meat on a baguette you’ll ever eat. Don’t be surprised if there’s a line and don’t be surprised if they sell out.

What is a perfect day in Seattle? My perfect day in Seattle would start with brunch and good coffee. Then I’d ride my bike through the city, stopping at a farmers market and popping into some shops. I’d end the day on the water, either on a kayak or on a sailboat, and enjoy sunset and a boat picnic with friends.

What do you love about Seattle? We don’t let the weather ruin our day.

What would be surprising about Seattle to an outsider? After a fire burned downtown Seattle a little over a hundred years ago, the city regraded the streets one or two stories higher when rebuilding. You can take a tour that will take you underground to see what used to be street level.

If Seattle was a person or character who would it be? The BFG. He was feared and misunderstood because of his size. Seattle is feared and misunderstood because of our rain.

Can you give a couple tips to aspiring Instagram photographers?  Practice shooting really strong compositions that look good even when they’re tiny on your profile page, not full screen. Follow photographers whose work you admire. Seeing good work often will make you better.





Best place to eat:
For the ultimate flavor explosion, Mamnoon is a dream. It’s Middle Eastern and it’s a good place to come with a group so you can order a bunch of different things and flavors to share family style. Dinner here feels really special. If you want something more casual, they also have a window with street food that’s also delicious and inexpensive.

Best place to drink:

Ada’s Technical Books and Café is a unique coffee shop inside a geeky bookstore full of math, computer hacking and science books. The coffee and in-house baked pastries are always delicious and it’s also just an interesting place to visit and poke around.

Best place to shop:

Totokaelo is really inspiring if you’re okay with mostly window-shopping (because you can’t afford anything). Moorea Seal is amazing if you want to buy trendy or handmade design-y things that you can afford. It used to be mostly jewelry, shoes and home accessories but they recently added women’s clothing!

Favorite Park:

Discovery Park is the biggest park in Seattle and will make you feel like you’re very far from the city. I love that it’s wild and not manicured, has amazing waterfront views and beaches and is often filled with wildflowers and bunnies.

Favorite Neighborhood:

I’m lucky I live in my favorite neighborhood: Capitol Hill. It’s seriously the place to be. Endless good food, music, shops, events, parks, etc. Most people come to The Hill to hang out, so you never have to leave the neighborhood. Downtown is a nice walk just down the hill and you can take the new light rail if you’re too tired to walk back uphill.

Tip for visitors:

Take a ferry or water taxi to feel like you belong in Seattle. If you have more than a few days in Seattle, head up to the San Juan Islands for a few nights in PNW paradise. For a shorter day trip, you can take a 30-minute ferry ride to nearby Bainbridge Island. For an even shorter ride for less than $5, take a water taxi from downtown to West Seattle and while you’re there, stay and explore Alki Beach. You’ll get an awesome view of the Seattle skyline from the water either way you go.