Seattle and Chicago - travel advice for interracial vegetarians
May 8, 2016 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Myself and my girlfriend will be in Seattle in September, hopefully stopping in Chicago for a day on the way back. As we're a little different, an interracial couple on the lookout for vegetarian or vegetarian friendly restaurants, I'm looking for information on travel and food to make the most of the trip.

I'm planning a trip to Seattle for me and my partner around September 25th, mainly for me to watch the Seahawks play the 49ers, but for many other reasons as well. As we're a little different, and haven't travelled to the US for years, I wanted to learn from others' experience and avoid making any glaring errors in choice of activity or location; our previous experience of the US is the Las Vegas Strip, and Manhattan, and those were some years ago, so feel free to state the obvious. I'm mainly asking about Seattle, but any advice on Chicago also appreciated.

So for both Seattle and Chicago:

I'm a white male, my girlfriend is black, are we likely to experience any issues, or is there any kind of reaction we should be prepared for?

Any recommended vegetarian restaurants, or comments on how likely or unlikely we are to find vegetarian options in restaurants in general?

On transport, which airport or airline is preferable for Seattle? Will we be able to get around using public transport, or should I look at car hire?

We're interested in finding a B&B, any recommendations or comments on the overall market, I suspect it's considerably different to the UK.

Thank you - there's a lot of online resources, which are indistinguishable in quality to me; recommendations welcome on which websites to use or avoid.
posted by DancingYear to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think people will behave badly to you and your girlfriend, while in Seattle. Interracial couples aren't rare here. However, there are jerks everywhere so there's no guarantee that you won't run into one here.

Plenty of vegetarian options and almost every restaurant will have something on the menu you can eat. My favorite places to take visitors include - Tamarind Tree (close to the stadium too), Cafe Flora is a great vegetarian place (though you'd need a car to get there), Poppy on Capitol Hill is really nice. Tilth for a fancy night out. Serious Pie for upscale pizza.

You can take light rail from the airport to downtown, capitol hill, and the u-district which are all major neighborhood hubs. It will take about an hour. In either of those neighborhoods there will be plenty of buses. You could also look into getting a car share account with zip car or car-to-go, but I'm not sure if you'll need an international driver's license.

My next door neighbor has a great little place that she rents on airbnb for about $125 a night. It's a private one-bedroom apartment in her house. It's in the University District, and it's a nice walkable neighborhood close to public transportation. PM me and I'll send you a link to the listing.

Also The Stranger is our weekly that has lots of listings for food and entertainment. It's a good place to look for info on what to do in Seattle.
posted by brookeb at 11:05 AM on May 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seattle has tons of interracial couples. You shouldn't have any problem, IMO.
posted by jgirl at 11:14 AM on May 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Seattle is amazing for veg food - Araya's is a wonderful veg Thai restaurant, there are a bunch of outposts of Plum (there's a full restaurant, plus casual takeaway spots), Tamarind Tree mentioned above is wonderful (hard to find though - it's sort of tucked away behind a strip mall). I'm a vegan and had no trouble at all finding food while out and about in Seattle, so I imagine normal vegetarian will be easy!

When I was last there, I stayed in a hotel downtown and took the bus to lots of other neighborhoods. I think it might be fun to have a car if you wanted to venture outside of the city, but I don't think it's necessary for normal tourist activities.

I would be surprised if you had any bad experience as a result of being an interracial couple in Seattle or Chicago. I only have first-hand experience of traveling as an interracial couple in Seattle, not Chicago, but as far as I could tell, no one thought we were at all remarkable or gave us a hard time.
posted by snaw at 11:38 AM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

You don't need a car to get to Cafe Flora--the 11 bus route goes right by it!

One thing yet unmentioned is Seattle has LOTS of Ethiopian cuisine, which is very vegetarian friendly--places like Chef Cafe (near the 14/27/8/48 lines) have vegetarian combos. I adore Ethiopian food and never had it before I was in Seattle.
posted by foxfirefey at 11:42 AM on May 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Agreeing that you won't have any issues as an interracial couple in Seattle, and that most restaurants (especially the newer, hipstery ones) will have at least one good vegetarian option on the menu. Even the steak and seafood centric places here generally do a good veg option!

Airbnb is probably your best bet if you don't want a hotel. There are some independent B&Bs in neighborhoods but all of the ones I've seen have been pretty expensive.
posted by joan_holloway at 11:42 AM on May 8, 2016

Although Chicago remains fairly segregated with regard to housing, it is less so with regard to people just walking around. I live, work and spend most of my time on the north and west sides but have several friends who comprise interracial couples (both African-American and white, as well as Latino and white) and have never seen them encounter difficulty when I'm out with them, although I will say that I'm less attuned to microagressions (as a white woman) but my experience in the tourist-y and hipster neighborhoods indicates it's not a problem.

There is a really great vegan casual restaurant in my neighborhood (Kitchen 17), as well as a long-beloved vegetarian/vegan casual place (Chicago Diner) and the fancy Green Zebra was still good when last I was there. My husband is a vegetarian and usually does okay at non-veggie restaurants in the city and we have a couple chains now that cater to vegetarians (Lyfe Kitchen, Native Foods). Chicago is much more veggie-friendly than it was 10 years ago.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:52 AM on May 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Native Foods Cafe in Chicago is delicious. The lavender lemonade was amazing and the food was great. Or what Crush said.
posted by lunastellasol at 12:26 PM on May 8, 2016

You will not have any problem finding vegetarian food in Seattle. Especially if you stay in Capitol Hill at the Foxglove Guesthouse B&B. The place and owners are a total delight and the location makes all kinds of fun places and restaurants walkable/bus able/Uberable.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:44 PM on May 8, 2016

To be extremely blunt: no will give a crap about you guys being an interracial couple. Except for maybe a crazy outlier, but those people exist everywhere. Source: one half of a black/white couple for six years in (way less cosmopolitan) Pittsburgh + Flatbush Brooklyn. We traveled to Europe and all over the country.
posted by jessca84 at 1:01 PM on May 8, 2016

If you make it to Capitol Hill while you're in Seattle, check out In the Bowl. it's vegan, pan-Asian, very spicy, and OMG so tasty.

I'm an omnivore, and it's still one of my favorite restaurants in town. Just posting about it is giving me a serious jones.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:25 PM on May 8, 2016

I'm one half of a interracial (black American woman/white European man) couple and lived in Chicago for several years. I've experienced a couple of odd looks, but this could also be because my SO is very tall and I am not. Other than that, I can't recall having a negative experience that I could specifically attribute to our being an interracial couple.

Freshii is another chain restaurant that has pretty good vegetarian food.
posted by sm1tten at 1:40 PM on May 8, 2016

I stayed at 11th Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast on Capitol Hill in Seattle, which was comfortable and convenient, good neighbourhood, not too expensive and included a good cooked breakfast. I didn't have a car and got about fine walking and buses. I recall that there were quite a lot of B&B options for Seattle.
posted by AnnaRat at 2:01 PM on May 8, 2016

Chicago is very diverse and inter-racial couples are no big deal here. Chicago also has tons of cuisine from all over the world, including plenty of veggie options. The restaurants in Little India (Devon Ave) are great and vegetarian-friendly.
posted by phoenix_rising at 4:13 PM on May 8, 2016

As a vegetarian who has lived in both cities, I never had a problem. Not all vegetarians enjoy the same food -- I know there are many so-called vegetarian restaurants that don't appeal to me whatsoever -- so my advice would be to just use Yelp.

Chicago and Seattle are both also major metropolitan cities, so I can't imagine you experiencing any issues due to being an interracial couple either. Unless you are planning to have a makeout session in the restaurant, in which case your race will be beside the problem. But if you're just two people walking around, holding hands, I very much doubt it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:31 PM on May 8, 2016

In Seattle, I love Chaco Canyon Cafe. Vegan and all food certified organic. Casual and friendly. Three locations.

Don't miss the neighborhood farmers markets! They have food trucks and lots of prepared food. It's fun to get lunch and watch people. For visitors, I recommend the Sunday market in Ballard. They offer lots of produce and food vendors, as well as some crafts. The neighborhood is great for strolling. There are lots of coffee shops, bars, and boutiques.
posted by valannc at 5:54 PM on May 8, 2016

Thank you all for the great answers ( quite seriously, I decided to mark none as the best answer as marking all as the best answer would be a bit much ), combining these with some previous threads we've got some great suggestions.

Good to see such comprehensive and blunt answers on the interracial side, we've never really had a problem in the UK and I wasn't expecting as such in metropolitan USA.... but I wanted to be sure as it's a hard thing to hide if there's a problem ;)

brookeb's neighbour's place looks lovely, except for the pets which causes allergy issues, so thank you for B&B recommendations too.
posted by DancingYear at 1:28 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

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