Mio Monasch’s Local Guide to Seattle

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


Name: Mio Monasch

Occupation: Photographer and Retail Management

Can you sum up Seattle? Seattle is one of the most diverse cities I have ever experienced. From people to the arts, the natural environment surrounding, we’ve got a wonderful taste of everything.

Can you sum up the people of Seattle? Outdoor loving and to-the-point, we’re focused on creating in an intelligent and conscientious community.

Tell us about the photos you shot for this Visit Seattle Local Guide: I chose the photos for this project to share the diversity of the surrounding areas of the city. The weather, the water, the mountains – we have it all and I hope this translates to the viewer.

Why is Seattle a great city for someone who loves the outdoors? We have everything around us through all seasons: extraordinary mountains, rainforests, rivers and waterfalls and the sound and oceans.

What are the best outdoor activities in Seattle? If you’re in love with the outdoors, this becomes a very difficult question to answer, as the options are endless. Boating, fishing in rivers or the sound or ocean, mountain biking, climbing, hiking, camping, skiing and music festivals to name just a few!

What are your favorite hikes/walks? Another tough question to answer – there are so many! My favorite nearby spot is Gold Creek Pond. It’s a tiny little lake with a 3/4-mile hike around and stunning reflections. For something a little more intense, I love Yellow Aster Butte in the Northern Cascades for stunning views of Mt. Baker, wildflowers and alpine lakes.

What is a perfect day in Seattle? My perfect day would probably start with a sunrise at Gold Creek Pond, then drive to Snoqualmie Falls, Rattlesnake Ledge or Franklin Falls before heading into the city for brunch. Spend some time along the waterfront or at Gas Works Park, then head to the Olympic National Park on the Peninsula for sunset and evening adventures.

What do you love about Seattle? I love the access to the outdoors most. With the vast variety of mountain ranges, volcanoes and national parks all within a few hours drive, entertainment in nature is endless in this city.

What would be surprising about Seattle to an outsider? It doesn’t rain nearly as much as everyone seems to think. Summers here are a dream. I’m currently sitting at a wonderful little-fried chicken restaurant with open windows to 75 degree weather featuring a beautiful clear blue sky with small high puffy clouds and a very light breeze. Winter, though long, offers overcast skies frequently yes, frequent drizzle and the occasional true rain. Frankly, it’s a photographers dream!

If Seattle was a person or character who would it be? Lord Huron

Can you give a couple tips to aspiring Instagram photographers? Get outside always! Take your camera or phone everywhere and look through it at everything around you. Everything becomes beautiful quickly when you understand how to start framing it through a camera.


  • Jesse

    Amazing tip Mio! Thanks for all the inspiration!




Best place to eat:
Sunset Fried Chicken, Oddfellows Cafe + Bar or Portage Bay Cafe for brunch, Bitterroot for BBQ, Ku Sushi and Izakaya for sushi and bibimbap and my all-time favorite: Arashi Ramen in Ballard. If you’re looking for the most uniquely Seattle experience, Dick’s Drive-In never disappoints either.

Best place to drink:

I’m a big fan of the bars in Ballard – King’s Hardware and Percy’s being my favorite places. In terms of the cafe scene, I really like Bauhaus in Ballard, Caffe Vita in Capital Hill, and the Red Twig in Edmonds.

Best place to shop:

Downtown Seattle shops are fantastic though I’m always partial to the smaller local shops in Ballard.

Favorite Park:

Carkeek Park for sunsets on the beach of the Puget Sound is much more quiet than the also amazing and popular Golden Gardens Park. Gas Works Park is always a good time as well!

Local tip:

Georgetown is getting some incredible restaurants and bars like Sisters and Brothers with their incredible fried chicken. Can you tell how much I love southern food yet?

Tip for visitors:

Do not hesitate to take a day skipping the tourist norms of the city.  Spend a day at the Space Needle and Pike Place Market on the waterfront. To me, the must-do locations are just outside the city. Take a ferry to the Olympic Peninsula and go to the Olympic National Park or head up Snoqualmie Pass, making stops at Snoqualmie Falls, Gold Creek Pond and Rattlesnake Ledge if you’re up for a short yet steep hike to some incredible views!