After our Alaskan cruise, we hung around Seattle for a few days. We’d both wanted to visit for as long as we could remember.
Seattle wasn’t what I expected, really. It’s only the 2nd West Coast city I’ve visited and I was hoping it would feel similar to San Francisco, but it didn’t. It was a decidedly neat place, but the energy of Seattle felt strange to me. I went expecting to love it, and while I really liked a lot of Seattle, I didn’t love it. People seemed a bit zombie-esque to me, and I felt unsafe there, which is weird since I’m from one of the most dangerous cities in America. That said, I love how Earth-conscious the entire West Coast seems to be. It’s a nice change to see recycling bins and bike paths and healthy food options all over the place.
After a slightly delayed disembarkation from our cruise ship, we hailed a cab (with the best cab driver ever who seemed dedicated and in love with his city) and headed to our hotel, Hotel Max. It was early yet and our room wasn’t ready (and we didn’t expect it to be) so we checked our bags, grabbed a map and headed out.
When we explore cities, we like to explore on foot. It gives us a chance to feel more and see more of the city and allows me endless opportunities to stop and take a thousand or so photographs.
On our 1st day we…
. Visited the Seattle Aquarium where we saw seals and sea otters and river otters and a crazy big octopus and touched all sorts of neat critters in the massive touch pool and yelled at the river otters for sleeping through my visit.
. Hit Pike Place Market, where we marveled at the massive crowds, piles of fresh seafood and beautiful flowers. It was a lot for two slightly crowd-phobic crazies to take in, but it was amazing. All the hustle and bustle and rushed feeling of the place was exactly as I had imagined it would be.
. Ate dinner at Serious Pie. The food was neat and the atmosphere was cozy. It felt like a popular place to be and was close enough to our hotel that we didn’t get soaked by the evening rainfall that hit just before we set out.
. Felt like the Earth was moving. After 7 days on and off a cruise ship it took us entirely too much time to get used to being on land again.
Day 2 felt very Seattle-y. Most of things we saw fit nicely with all the iconic images of Seattle I’ve seen over the years.
On our 2nd Day we…
. Walked down to Pike Place Market for breakfast. We got bagel sandwiches (from Market Bagel) and coffee & hot cocoa from Seattle’s Best.
. Walked to the Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle and all sorts of neat and fascinating things. The Space Needle was very, very cool to see and gave me all sorts of thrills. We’d caught little glimpses of it walking around the city but seeing it up close and personal was 10 times better.
. Visited the Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum which I HIGHLY recommend for anyone planning a trip to Seattle. It was full of amazing tidbits about Seattle’s music history and you can go in a sound booth and play music and sing songs and there’s this GIANT guitar sculpture thing in the lobby and really it’s probably just the most amazing museum I’ve ever visited.
. Saw Shrek Forever After at the IMAX at Seattle Center in 3-D. We saw one of the Shrek movies in Kosovo way back in the beginning of our romantical phase and sitting in the theater next to Andrew laughing at Shrek’s antics again brought back all sorts of warm and fuzzy memories.
. Became a little more convinced that Seattle in full of zombies.
. Checked out some massive and very cool sculptures in Olympic Park, walked along the water and then back to our hotel by way of the waterfront.
. Had dinner at the Pink Door. It was Italian-American and totally delicious and beautiful and dark and cozy and full of beautiful chandeliers. I highly recommend it.
The last day might have been our best day. We spent it in the Pioneer Square section of the city. It’s the oldest bit and felt different from the other parts we’d visited. Oddly, it seemed more young, and much less zombie-fied.
On our 3rd Day we…
. Went on Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour. If you like history and bad jokes, and don’t mind the smell of musty basement, this is absolutely one of the most fascinating things to do in Seattle.
. Lunched at Salumi, a cured meat place owned by Iron Chef Mario Batali’s father. We had the meat and cheese plate and gorged ourselves on delicious salami and olives and bread and assorted cheeses. It was heavenly.
. Took a very old, and original, Otis elevator up to the 35th floor of Smith Tower. There’s a 365 degree observation deck up there and we could see damn near everything. While I’m sure riding to the top of Space Needle is neat, the great thing about Smith Tower is that we could see the Space Needle from up there and it cost just $5 per person instead of the $15+ the Space Needle charges.
. Spent the afternoon wandering around, drinking espresso, and enjoying our very last day of vacation.
. Saw the Detroit Tigers play the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. While we were waiting for the game to start my eyes started burning. I was freaking out thinking I was allergic to something in the air. Then, we went to get beer and I realized that garlic fries are the thing to get at Safeco. And all the garlic in the air? It was making me cry. After eating some of the fries though, I seemed to develop a tolerance to the garlic-filled air and stopped my crying.
All in all? It was amazing. Even if I didn’t immediately decide I wanted to move there like I did upon first setting foot in San Francisco, it was still a very cool, very different sort of city.