My friends, we all need to just get away sometimes. We need a break from the news, from social media, from our “new normal” routines. Our body and souls just need a recharge from time to time. While traveling is limited these days, may I suggest a fun little getaway you could do right in your own backyard?
When is the last time you asked yourself, your partner or friends, “Want to go on a mini staycation for a weekend?” Ask yourself that right now, and let me give you some advice on where you should go!
Say hello (or hello again) to Redmond, Washington. If you don’t have a lot of time to spare and just need to get out, keep reading!
Redmond is the most passionate place in the Pacific Northwest. Our diverse and eclectic culture is chock-full of an endless array of events, attractions, restaurants, parks, trails, and more. Home to Microsoft and Nintendo of America, Redmond is world-renowned as the region’s hub for technological innovations. However, we are truly Geeking Out over our connection to the city’s lush natural surroundings and myriad shopping, dining, and lodging options. Visit Redmond and Geek Out with us. – Experience Redmond
I recently spent a weekend in Redmond with my boyfriend, Kyle, to get away from the island of West Seattle and all the traffic that comes with the bridge closure, and just get out of my normal routine. Sure, it wasn’t that far of a drive for me, but that change of scenery and the amount of fun Kyle and I had was worth it all!
Where to Stay
The Hilton Garden Inn Redmond Town Center is a brand new hotel that just opened – and it still has that “new hotel smell!” Kyle and I were one of the first to stay in our room and it was divine. The hotel is easy to get to (off 520) and depending what you are in the mood for, you can walk to just about any restaurant of your desire. The hotel is incredibly clean and modern, parking is easy (they also have a safe and well lit underground parking garage), they have a great terrace and one of my favorite things – one of the biggest gyms I’ve ever seen! They are also pet friendly (additional fees may apply). Bonus!
Our room was spacious with crisp, clean white linen sheets and a huge bathroom. If you love bathroom selfies, the mirror lighting casts that soft glow upon you without any harsh lighting (super important for Instagram!!).
The second floor terrace area, in a pre-COVID world is perfect for a wedding reception or any type of party (let’s get back to that, 2021!). With lots of space, cool mood-lighting, fire pits and heaters – it provided Kyle and I a quiet and romantic evening with a bottle of wine and some charcuterie. It was quite heavenly! The hotel even has a shop where you can purchase some late night snacks and wine!
And that gym. If you are a workout fiend like Kyle and I – you are going to love this gym. Kyle travels for a living and has stayed in probably one thousand hotels around the world. When he says, “this is the nicest hotel gym I’ve ever seen,” you know he means it. They have just about everything, even CrossFit envied Assault Bikes and Assault Runners (self propelled treadmill). I was absolutely impressed and was wishing I could have stayed a few more nights just to workout longer!
I highly HIGHLY recommend booking a night or two at the Hilton Garden Inn Redmond Town Center. The staff are so friendly, the rooms are fantastic and who knew that “new hotel smell” was a thing! Well, now you know.
Where to Dine
Dinner: Spark Pizza
Spark Pizza is a less than ten minute walk from the hotel and the perfect place to eat some of the best pizza the Northwest has to offer. Locally owned by Tony and Carolyn Scott, they have lived and been very active in the Redmond community for over 20 years. Kyle ordered the Homage to Frankie’s, made with tomato sauce, mozzarella, Italian sausage, pepperoni cups, basil, pickled peppers, mushrooms and red onions. I ordered the Honey, Spice & Everything Nice – and I was in pizza heeeaaaavvveeennnn! My pizza was made with tomato sauce, pepperoni cups, basil, mozzarella and the kicker – spicy honey. It was delectable and I highly recommend it!
Woodblock, another less than 10 minute walk from the hotel, has some of the best brunch you’ll ever have. Ever. Kyle ordered the Woodblock Tacos, made with four eggs scrambled, three corn tortillas, breakfast potatoes, bacon and cheddar. Again, my world traveling boyfriend literally said, “these are some of the best tacos I’ve ever had.” I ordered the Woodblock Benedict with poached eggs on an English muffin with hollandaise, a side of breakfast potatoes and…..are you ready….house-smoked pork belly. Like butter. My mouth is watering thinking about this. Our server said some customers order the benedict the two ways, the other being made with cali-veg, arugula, avocado and tomato. Imagine all of that with pork belly – next time, I am ordering that!! You have to go to Woodblock for Sunday brunch!!!!
Where to Have a Drink
Black Raven Brewing
While you will need to drive to Black Raven Brewing, it’s only a couple miles from the hotel (you could walk that too I suppose), they brew one of my favorite beers, the Coco Jones Coconut Porter. Coco Jones has one a gold medal in the Washington Beer Awards Vegetable Beer Category and is one of the smoothest beers you’ll drink, and the toasted coconuts make it over the top. Kyle ordered their Festivus Holiday Ale, which is their annual holiday beer and released in the fall. The fruity, spicy beer is the perfect accompaniment for fall!
Sumerian Brewing is a 12-16 minute drive from the hotel in Woodinville and has a nice large space and outdoor seating area. Right when I walked up to the bartender and saw the Dark Side Nitro Coffee Porter, I knew I had to have a glass. Kyle ordered the Narcissism IPA – and even I liked it. I’ve never liked IPA’s but since dating Kyle for well over a year now, I think they might be growing on me. Next time you are in Woodinville and need a wine break, head over to Sumerian!
Mark Ryan Winery
Mark Ryan Winery in Woodinville is about a 10-15 minute drive from the hotel and offers an incredible selection of wines. My friend Kanchan owns Chipmonkey Wine (There’s a Wine for That!) and she told me ahead of time I’d love the Mark Ryan Chardonnay (she knows me). She was right! We tasted their 2019 Chardonnay, 2018 Long Haul, 2017 Water Witch, 2018 Dead Horse and 2017 Lonely Heart. I loved the Chardonnay so much, I bought myself a bottle. If you find yourself in Woodinville, you must visit Mark Ryan Winery!!
I love whiskey and I LOOOOOOVVVVEEEEE Woodinville Whiskey, so it was a given that we would visit the distillery in Woodinville. Again, a super convenient 10-15 minute drive from the hotel, you will find my favorites during your whiskey tasting. You cannot go wrong with the Straight Bourbon Whiskey, their Straight Rye is my favorite (brought home a bottle of that!) and their Port Finished Whiskey adds a fruity twist! During our visit, they were out of the Double Barrel – it’s one of the most popular. I have had it before and I know why it’s so popular, because it’s damn good. I guess we’ll just have to return! And if you want to have some whiskey dessert? Finish your tasting off with their Barrel-Aged maple syrup. Kyle and I ended up buying one of their gift sets with the maple syrup and I bought a t-shirt that I will probably wear all the time. If you aren’t from Washington and want to try some fantastic whiskey, you must add Woodinville Whiskey to your list.
I hope I’ve inspired you all to take a break from the norm and plan a little local staycation. Support your local Washington businesses (which is incredibly important during these COVID times as well) and reset your batteries in Redmond!
Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a comped hotel night, some meals and beverages for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.