I am convinced that everyone is lying about Seattle. Movies and TV shows all depict it as a dark, damp city blanketed in perpetual cloud cover. Not true. When I visited Seattle in November, a month that averages 18 days of rain, I found nothing but sunshine and fantastic weather. Not a bad way to experience a city for the first time!
Naturally, we visited the Pike Place Market. The market is quintessential Seattle. Opened in August 1907, the market was built to provide a central, corruption-free location for vendors and consumers. Over 100 years later, the market remains one of the country's oldest continually running public markets.
Despite being the number one tourist destination in Seattle, the market still pays homage to its original merchants and craftspeople. Vintage signs and floorboards adorn the market's several stories. A section of the market still features local craftsmen and their wares. The anthropologist in me and lover of things from "the good old days" appreciates the fact that the market is not a giant tourist trap, but rather a fully integrated market within Seattle that caters to tourism in additional to its more localized functions.
I absolutely recommend visiting the Post Alley gum wall at Pike Place Market because it's disgusting. Completely disgusting. The alley is over 10 feet wide, but as I walked through it I was certain that at any moment masticated gum wads were going to pop off the wall and attack me. I walked down the dead center of the alley just to be safe. Nevertheless, the colorful mix of gum, brick, and graffiti creates a unique outdoor mural that is continually evolving, especially after a "scraping day" when workers scrape off all of the gum. I think Dirty Jobs needs to do a feature on that.
A short stroll from Pike Place Market is the Seattle Aquarium. Now, I love aquariums. I love aquariums so much, I will visit the local exotic sea life store (Exotic Aquatics) and pretend I'm at an aquarium, just because Kansas City doesn't have one. Thankfully, Seattle's aquarium is wonderful. I wouldn't compare it to Chicago's or Atlanta's, but it does the trick for this land-locked friend of the sea.
I made my friend Kayla touch the sea life in the interactive tide pools. (I'm a friend of the sea, but it's not like we're BFFs.) Thankfully, Kayla agreed. According to her, starfish feel like really bad goosebumps.
Seattle seems to be mighty proud of its jellyfish, both wild and aquarium domestic. And they want you to know about it. They show off their love for jellyfish by having more than three displays dedicated to them. The coolest of them is a large glass archway that you can walk through.
The aquarium is home to two octopuses; both are female. They live in what can only be described as a series of underwater hamster tubes and rooms. They seem to like it. The Octopus Tank Liaison (my title not his) shared with us that on Valentine's Day the aquarium brings in a male octopus to mate with them. I guess no one wants to be alone on Valentine's Day, not even an octopus.
Before dinner, because it was chilly and we were tired of walking around, my friends and I decided to stop in the Seattle Public Library to have a look around. (It should be noted that the library is an architectural gem and well worth seeing even if you hate books.)
See what I mean?
We may have also decided to take a short nap in the library...
But no matter.
Our final stop of interest was the Gas Works Park, located inland from coastal Seattle. (How did I miss the fact that Seattle is literally surrounded by water?!)
As the map states, this is a great place with "sweeping city views". It's a vantage of the city that most tourists don't get to see. And that's a neat thing.
Since it was a nice day, the park was full of people out with their dogs, children, dogs and children, or taking engagement photos. I tried to photo-bomb a few of them, but with little success.
Where does the park get its name? The site was originally home to the Seattle Gas Light Company's gasification plant.
Today, the plant has been reclaimed by nature (such a Seattle thing to do), and is wonderful respite from the city.
As you can see from all of these photos, Seattle is a beautiful city that is sunny all the time. I don't care what people claim, the city's weather was nothing but hospitable to me and my friends during the long weekend we stayed there. I highly recommend visiting Seattle if you
- Are of the outdoorsy persuasion
- Carry a backpack with you everywhere (the contents are less important than the actual carrying vessel)
- Enjoy a balanced blend of city-life, nature-life in you adventures
- Wish to introduce yourself to the Pacific Northwest in the best way possible
Visit Seattle soon!
- Pike Place Market (must see)
- Seattle Aquarium (for the love of fish!)
- Seattle Public Library
- The Seattle Underworld Tour (variety of other tours, too)
- The Fremont Troll
- Gas Works Park (great for a stroll and R&R)
EATS // DRINKS
- The Unicorn (live out your circus-on-acid dreams)
- Espresso Vivacé (local, not Starbucks)
- Pike Place Brewery
- Purple Café (for the wine lovers)
- Jai Thai (fantastic Thai with truly authentic dishes!)
- Brouwer's Cafe (more like indoor beer garden)
- The Bait Shop (recommend The Painkiller frozen cocktail)
- Thankfully for this trip I stayed in my friend Kayla's apartment