SPRING IN SEATTLE—A Travel Guide to the Emerald City
Written on April 19, 2016
Seattle is a stunning place. My dad and I took a trip out there a couple of weeks ago, and it was the first time either of us had been to the city (let alone the Pacific Northwest altogether). I've always been incredibly attracted to such region of the country. However, there had never been a reason to visit (we flew out to see a school. Also, it's worth noting that Washington state is over 3,000 miles from where I live — AKA about the same distance between my house and London, England...). That being said, I was ecstatic to cross Seattle off my bucket list and experience the respected, thriving culture for myself.
I've decided to put together a bit of a travel guide (or an overview of my favorite things that we did while in Seattle). Before the trip, I was furiously researching where to eat, what to see, and where to go in the city — our trip was short, so I wanted to make sure I could fit as much in as possible in three and a half days. I found that there wasn't much to be found online (besides your standard Yelp reviews, Trip Advisor rankings, and magazine articles). Thus, I hope this post can be a resource for future Seattle goers (and/or just a fun read overall)!
What to See/Do #1: Pike Place Market (& site-seeing in/around the area)
I know, it's pretty cliché Seattle. However, people aren't lying when they say Pike Place is a MUST-SEE. We popped into the market fairly early on a Saturday morning (around 9:00AM). In my opinion, this was a great time to walk around — it was before the crowds and just asthe various vendors were getting set up (we went back later at around 3:00 PM and were fighting elbows as we walked through the market's main stretch — it wasn't all that enjoyable). Also, I found it quite interesting to catch a glimpse of the assembly process that the vendors go through at the start of their busiest day of the week — Saturday). The market itself is an assortment of everything and anything — from ridiculously beautiful flower arrangements for $10 (!!!), to radiantly fresh produce, to beautiful art by local woodworkers, photographers, and other artisans. Truly, you cannot and will not be bored at Pike Place Market. Also, the food scene is insane — you absolutely can find any kind of food that you're craving. As we were meandering through the market, we couldn't get over the friendliness that was exhibited (not only by the locals and vendors themselves, but also by the passers-by who greeted us with warm smiles and hello's — something we're not used to coming from New England). Additionally, the market is located on the city's downtown waterfront, featuring views of the Puget Sound and the industrial workings of Seattle's active port.
What to See/Do #2: Seattle Center (Chihuly Garden and Glass & the Space Needle)
Although it's also pretty cliché Seattle, the Seattle Center — a park where the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit, the Space Needle, and more fun attractions are located — is undoubtedly necessary to see while in the city. It's within walking distance from Pike Place and, thus, is fairly centrally located (in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood). Although we only went to the Chihuly exhibit and the Space Needle, Seattle Center is also home to the Experience Music Project (EMP) museum (which I really wish we had made it to), the Pacific Science Center, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, and more. I had heard about the Chihuly exhibit and, on a whim, added it to my list of sites to see. Thus, we didn't have much of any expectations walking into the building. Simply said, we were so pleasantly surprised upon taking the first turn into the exhibit. The museum features studio glass created by artist and Washington native, Dale Chihuly. The pieces are absolutely breathtaking. As much as I tried to capture the beauty and essence of his work through my photos, it's impossible to experience the full effect of the exhibit without being there in person. I could've spent hours in there. Also, the attached gift shop is worth visiting. In terms of the Space Needle, we originally went into it thinking we'd just admire the famous structure from below (we were concerned that the lines to take the elevator to the top would be outrageous). However, we apparently were there at the right time (11:00 AM-ish), and there was virtually no line at all. Thus, we went for it — and it was definitely worth it. Forewarning: it's a bit pricy and definitely a touristy thing to do. However, the views of the city are absolutely stunning. As touristy as it was, I had a lot of fun and loved seeing the city and surrounding mountains from such great heights.
What to See/Do #3: Moorea Seal
We completely unintentionally stumbled upon this Belltown boutique when walking back from Seattle Center, and I'm SO glad that we did. I was in heaven walking into this small shop — it's an incredibly charming space. The shop features jewelry, shoes, handbags, sunglasses, stationary and notecards, home decor, and other gifts/knick-knacks (my photos definitely don't do it justice — I was so caught up in shopping around and admiring the products that taking photos was definitely not at the top of my priority list). The girl working, Sarah, was so incredibly lovely and warm (follow her on Instagram — www.instagram.com/sleepiestzombie). I walked out of there with a new pair of incredible tan boots, and I would've purchased a whole lot more had my self-control not been present. Since visiting, I've checked out their Instagram and online presence — it turns out that they have an online shop (!!!). Here's the link: www.mooreaseal.com (I'm pretty obsessed with their site design & graphic aesthetic overall). Here's their Instagram: www.instagram.com/mooreaseal. Go check them out!
What to See/Do #4: Volunteer Park & the Volunteer Park Conservatory
Last but certainly not least is Seattle's Volunteer Park. We were incredibly luck weather-wise during our visit — it didn't rain at all (which, to my understanding, is very, very rare). This particular day was about 67ºF and sunny — the weather could not have been more ideal. As you can see in the photo below, everyone was out and about — picnicking, strolling, playing frisbee, and enjoying the sun and the warmth. I think our visit to Volunteer Park was my favorite part of the entire trip. Truly, it's a jaw-droppingly beautiful, botanical oasis. It's a bit of a hike from downtown (literally — the city is way more hilly than I expected), but it's definitely worth the $9 Uber ride. The park itself features a brick water tower/historic landmark that you can climb, a large water basin, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the Volunteer Park Conservatory (a botanical garden/greenhouse), tennis courts, walking paths, a playground, and spectacular views of the city. The park itself was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the famous landscaper who designed Central Park. We spent our time here strolling around, people watching, and exploring the Conservatory. My dad and I were in heaven in the Conservatory — it's a plant-lover's and photographer's paradise. Make sure your camera is fully charged upon visiting the Conservatory, as it's an awe-inspiring muse of a place. Regarding the park as a whole, it's absolutely insane to me to think that there's access to such beautiful (and vast) green space amid the authentic urbanity of Seattle. The seamless fusion of city and nature in Seattle is truly unlike any other city. Plus, it's definitely worth exploring the neighborhood around the park. It's an insanely beautiful area, and the houses are breathtaking. We walked aimlessly for quite a while just taking in the beauty of the homes, the blooming flowers, and the environment overall.
HONORABLE MENTIONS (not pictured):
• Elliot Bay Book Co. (on Capitol Hill)
• Totokaelo Seattle (on Capitol Hill)
• Seattle University's campus!
• Retrofit Home (on Capitol Hill)
• Endless Knot (in Belltown)
I hope you've enjoyed this jam-packed post! If you ever have the chance to visit Seattle, I highly suggest that you try to make it out there (and if you live there, lucky you!). As you may have noticed, I didn't mention any restaurants/coffee shops in this post. That is because I have several more posts coming about food in Seattle (there was simply too much to include in just one post). I'm excited already. Until then...