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Downtown Digs

We’ve dug up places to shop, stay and play in downtown Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. So, don’t be afraid—hit the town with your mutt this season for your holiday shopping needs.
Written & photographed by J. Nichole Smith
So it’s that time of year again in the Pacific Northwest when the daylight hours shrink and the list of mandatory social events grows. The time of year when you break out the rain boots and umbrella because your daily dog park excursions are subject to mud and precipitation with increasing regularity. It’s also the time of year for family feasting and festive home décor and dogs curled up by the fire and of course, that dreaded other thing we try to put off until the last possible moment: Shopping.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Pack up the pooch, your comfortable shoes, those earth-friendly canvas totes and head downtown for a stay at the Hotel Monaco and a weekend of hassle-free, canine assisted shopping.

The Monaco Hotels are known for their four-star décor, amenities and services, and they are downright famous for their pet friendliness. Most Monaco properties even have their own canine director of pet relations to make your pooch feel right at home and better yet, no pet fee and no weight restrictions. For you, the Monaco offers complimentary Internet, a goldfish companion in your room, Aveda bath products and an evening wine hour where you can enjoy a complimentary glass of red while you mingle with other human and canine guests in the lobby.

However as consistent as the Hotel Monacos are in their array of niceties and love of dogged visitors, each Monaco has its own unique style and local flair.

Seattle’s Hotel Monaco is located on the corner of 4th and Spring, between the internationally renowned, gravity-defying Seattle Public Library and the edge of Seattle’s vibrant downtown. Within easy walking distance you’ll find the Pike Place Market, the bustling waterfront and the dog friendly Olympic Sculpture Park.

Define. For a hotel that touts its unique personality as a “playful escape” it’s only fitting that you have the opportunity to try your hand at the popular “Guitar Hero” game every Friday during the wine hour in the lobby. The Seattle Monaco is also now offering monogrammed doggy jackets for visiting pooches to wear during their stay. If you purchase one, $10 will be donated to the Seattle-King County Humane Society.

Dine. Sazerac, named after its southern style rye whiskey cocktail, is the Seattle Monaco’s American restaurant. Although the choices will be tough with dozens of delectable restaurants nearby, if you dine at Sazerac, be sure to start with the grilled dates en brochette, grilled dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped with bacon. If you have something less southern in mind, dash across the street to the W Hotel Seattle and indulge your senses at Earth and Ocean. If you choose, you can even dine in the lavish W lobby, where your pooch is welcome to join you.

Shop. A quick walk north on 4th will deliver you right into the heart of Seattle’s downtown shopping district. Nordstrom and Macy’s border the Westlake Center and Pacific Place malls. At Westlake be sure to visit Fireworks and Made in Washington for some unique local gifts. At Pacific Place you’ll find Twist, a boutique of incredible handmade jewelry and art. To find doggy stocking stuffers, head West on Pike towards the market and stop by Three Dog Bakery. True to its name, you’ll find a myriad of freshly baked confections, cuddly couture and a warm staff to help your pup make those tough buying decisions: The Ciao Wow Pizza for-here or a couple Snickerpoodles to-go?

Bonus. The Seattle Monaco is currently offering a Save Our Sanity package that includes 20% off your stay, two complimentary glasses of champagne at Sazerac, and discounts at Pacific Place.

The Portland Hotel Monaco is located on the corner of SW Washington St. and 5th Avenue, just blocks away from Pioneer Courthouse Square, affectionately referred to as “Portland’s Living Room.” The short, pedestrian friendly city blocks make Portland an easy city to explore by foot, and you and Rover will be glad to have time to stop and smell the roses, the inspiration for Portland’s arena, the “Rose Garden” and its official title, “City of Roses.”

Define. The Portland Hotel Monaco’s unique theme is “Art Lives Within”—which is actually the literal truth, considering its resident canine director of pet relations is named, you guessed it, Art. However, in addition to art in dog-form, the Hotel maintains a collection of works by local artists that can be admired in the lobby, gallery hall and on most guest floors.

Dine. Attached to the Portland Monaco is the Red Star Tavern and Roast House—be sure to try one of 12 local microbrews on tap. Portland’s most celebrated doggy dining spot is the Lucky Labrador Brew Pub where you can devour chicken bento, beefy sandwiches with a side of pretzels or hearty pizza. At Lucky Lab you can even fit in a game of GO or Scrabble (all provided of course) and as the name suggests, you are invited to bring your lucky Lab (or otherwise fortunate Fido). You’ll find the Portland Saturday Market (which actually runs Saturdays and Sundays) defies the rules of most public markets: Not only does it remain open through December 24, but it also allows your pooch to join you for a gyro or a quesadilla while you browse.

Shop. Pioneer Place Mall is just an easy two blocks down from the Hotel Monaco on 5th avenue. With options ranging from the Apple store to Something Silver, you’ll find gifts for everyone on your list. Several blocks away is the Pearl District, the hip epicenter of Portland, where you’ll find brand stores like Anthropologie, REI and Puma, as well as local favorites like the uber dog friendly Powell’s City of Books. If you find that your trusty four-legged sidekick is in need of a good dose of play, stop by Dogstar (also in the Pearl District) to refresh your treat rations and give your pooch a chance to stretch his legs—an hour of daycare is only $8.00.

San Francisco
The San Francisco Hotel Monaco could not be more ideal for a shopping getaway, located on the corner of Geary and Taylor Streets, just steps away from Union Square and the theatre district. Bordered by cable cars and the BART—you are just a quick ride away from the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf and a quick walk to the Museum of Modern Art and the Moscone Convention Center.

Define. The San Francisco Hotel Monaco, shaped by its turn-of-the-century incarnation as the Bellevue Hotel (which touted amenities ranging from a public stenographer to an orchestra), has been sculpted around the idea of “Sophisticated World Travel.” The massive “Tree of Life” sculpture blooming from the center of the lobby is a tribute to world traveler and Hotel Monaco founder, Bill Kimpton. For your sophisticated travels while you and your dog are guests, you will be provided with a complimentary copy of The Dog Lover’s Companion to the Bay Area which has all the best dog friendly details you crave.

Dine. Grand Café Brasserie and Bar is grand indeed. Perhaps the best moment to be had at this former ballroom gone French restaurant, is simply walking in—the ceiling and windows feel sky-high. The adjacent Petite Café offers a more intimate, casual dining experience.

If, in the midst of all the luxury you find yourself craving something less than grand, walk down Geary to Mason Street to find Pine Crest Restaurant. This is a real-deal, old school diner, complete with holey upholstery, handmade shakes and giant portions. In the midst of a bustling expensive city, this fare is satisfying and affordable—best for breakfast or lunch but open 24 hours.

Shop. In Union Square you will find water bowls outside nearly every store from Diesel to Tiffany & Co. The center of the plaza features little grassy spots that are perfect for some doggy relief and the outdoor café provides a pet-friendly way to score a bite to eat. If your dog is on the “nice list” this year, make sure to pop in to CheekoB on Post St. This new pet spot between Union Square and Nob Hill will be the highlight of your dog’s day for sure. Fresh treats, flashy apparel and friendly canine-greeters Cheeko and Frankie are sure to have you both smiling in no time.

After you get your fill of boutiques, follow the cable car down the hill to Market Street to the Westfield Centre where you’ll find everything from Bath and Body Works to Juicy Couture.

Bonus. This year Macy’s 19th annual tree lighting celebration will take place November 28—be sure to be in the square by 6 p.m. to get a dog’s eye view from the top of the Union Square steps.

When you near the end of your weekend of shopping, dining and relaxing—if you didn’t find the perfect gift for that special someone, have no fear… kick back and take advantage of the Hotel Monaco’s free Internet to find your last few items online from the comfort of your decadently appointed king-size bed.

Final note. All the malls mentioned in this article officially have a “no dogs allowed” policy, however, all of the concierges we talked to said that well-mannered, clean and quiet dogs are often visitors to their shopping centers and are welcome. All of the store managers within the mall told us they are glad to have your pooch join you while you shop.

The helpful Hotel Monaco staff is always glad to assist you with dog sitting services while you dine, visit the spa, catch a show or whatever other local (not so dog friendly) delights you partake in.

Gear up for Seattle, Portland and San Francisco at the CityDog Shop.

More Information
Hotel Monaco, 1101 Fourth Avenue, Seattle

Sazerac, 1101 Fourth Avenue, Seattle

Earth and Ocean, 1112 Fourth Avenue, Seattle

Pacific Place
, 600 Pine Street # 228, Seattle

Hotel Monaco, 506 SW Washington Avenue, Portland

Lucky Labrador Brewing Company

915 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland

Pioneer Place Mall, 700 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland

, 1313 NW Kearney, Portland

Hotel Monaco
, 501 Geary Street, San Francisco

Union Square
, Powell and Geary Street, San Francisco

Westfield Centre
, 845 Market Street, San Francisco

CheekoB, 611 Post Street, San Francisco

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