Run Oregon loves running – that’s no surprise. In our Run Oregon Road Trip series, we aim to showcase some great locations to make your running basecamp on your next vacation of staycation. We recently spent an evening at The State Hotel in downtown Seattle.
First the Running:
While downtowns in most cities aren’t often the easiest places to run – what with all the pedestrians, lights, and road crossings. Luckily, the State Hotel has pretty quick access to a really solid out-and-back option.
- Elliott Bay Trail (6-10 miles out-and-back)
- From the lobby, head immediately towards the waterfront (you will likely need to navigate some stairs) and head north on Alaskan Way via the sidewalk. Soak in the views of the harbor as you pass numerous piers, ships, and blue water. After about a mile you will hit the southernmost part of the trail. For the next ~2 miles, you will follow this wonderfully manicured paved trail that even has some sections that separate runners and bikers. A turnaround near Pier 91 will net you a total of almost exactly 6 miles out-and-back.
- If you want/need more miles the trail can actually go on a little further into an industrial “horseshoe loop”, before hitting up the Smith Cove Park and ending at the beach near West Marina Place, you can get a full 10 miles in!
The State Hotel is literally in one of the most prime areas in Seattle. If you have never been to Seattle and want to be centrally-located to take it all in, there is no better space. You are literal steps away from the famed Pike Place Market, Post Alley and the Gum Wall, and a short walk to Waterfront Park and Seattle Great Wheel. Even the Space Needle is only about a mile away.
While the size of the Hotel isn’t as tall as other buildings nearby, you can’t miss this with the five-story exterior mural by Shepard Fairey (who actually designed the Barack Obama “Hope” poster). It is called Fire Sale and is described as “a comment on the challenges any individual faces when pushing for environmental and climate responsibility”.
The lobby is super welcoming with a large open space with check-in on the right and stairs to the on-site restaurant on the left (more on that later). We went over the Christmas holiday break, so there were a lot of festive adornments that accompanied their normal décor.
The State Hotel has a small rooftop deck which is open year round. The views are quite incredible – even in the winter – and a summertime view would be epic.
The vibe of the building, built way back in 1904, exudes an energy from being the heart of the city. There is an energy outside, but a calmness and welcoming feeling vibe inside. Like you can be ready tackle the hustle and bustle going on outside at any moment, but you can be inside and relax when you need to.
We stayed in a City View King, a cozy room with (duh) solid views of the Seattle downtown. The vibe is a little “minimalistic modernism” – fitting actually quite a bit into a setting that generally isn’t here for that. I have stayed at a number of downtown hotels in big cities and they just don’t match the size and comfort that the State Hotel provides.
City View King
Our room had a comfy bed (locally constructed) and actually a fair amount of space. There was a small desk leather catch-all, and a chair as well. Add in a surprisingly spacious bathroom and you have as amazing of a spot as you could hope for. There is local art on the walls (from a PDX artist) and the high ceiling provided a ton of natural light into the room (need as much Vitamin D in Seattle as possible!).
In addition to the City View King, there are a variety (91 total rooms) of other options as well:
- Queen & King Water Views
- Terrace King & Suite (top floor!)
Being in the middle of downtown Seattle, there are definitely a ton of great restaurants nearby at any time. If you are only in town for a short period of time, as we were, we recommend checking out the on-site restaurant Ben Paris. It looks casually upscale, but there’s definitely no dress code here. The atmosphere is super chill and laid back and features views of the bustling 2nd and Pike corner.
Ben Paris has a variety of solid food options, fun cocktails, and local wines and beers. The food is American, but a little more of a fanciful take. Expect burgers, sandwiches, salads, and veggie options.
We tried the Essential Baking Focaccia to start, the Butternut Squash Risotto (holy crap, so good), and a local Catch of the Day special. Toss in a beer from Bellingham and a coffee martini (see above) and we left feeling satisfied yet not overwhelmed. Ben Paris has this food thing down.
Seattle is so close, with a ton of great races, but part of the reason why we don’t come up as much as we should is due to accommodations. We haven’t had a place where we feel safe, comfortable, close to the “action”, and affordable (understanding pricing is all relative to the person). Big city lodging sometimes have 2 to 3 of those, but finding a place with all is a challenge. Until now. The State Hotel is absolutely going to be our Seattle basecamp for all things running going forward!