A First Time Visit to Seattle
No matter what you’re looking for in a getaway, you can find it in Seattle. With diverse neighborhoods, fantastic food and some of the best museums I’ve visited, Seattle is filled with options for everyone. I arrived in Seattle, which had long been on my bucket list, on a sunny Friday afternoon. It was my final destination on my 10 day trek to Washington and I’ll admit-I was pretty dang tired. I was awfully tempted to lay down and order some room service when I arrived at my hotel. Yet, how could I possibly do that? Especially when the local tour guide on my desk had Kurt Cobain on the cover. Little did I know, I’d leave that Sunday night having seen my must-see’s and so much more.
Start at Seattle’s Pike Place Market
After I got to town following my 2 days on Camano Island, I knew where I had to begin my Seattle weekend. Pike Place Market brings together tourists from all over the world to see the famous ‘throwing of the fish.” While an attraction to check off your bucket list, there’s so much more to see at the market.
With over 70 vendors, Seattle’s Pike Place Market brings new meaning to “something for everyone”. The street performers alone are worth the visit, but so are food stops like Cinnamon Works, Honest Biscuit and the Crumpet Shop. Dozens of artists fill Pike Place’s crafts market, selling their hand made goods. There’s art, ceramics, clothing, home decor, even driftwood furniture. What I appreciated most at Pike Place Market is the strong sense of community in such a large city. Something I felt more than once in Seattle.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
After Pike Place, I wanted to start taking advantage of my CityPass and enjoy some of the incredible museums in the city. With Seattle’s CityPass, you receive admission for up to 5 of Seattle’s best loved attractions and museums for a flat price. My first stop? The Seattle Center, where I could go 500 feet up from the ground and see some fantastic exhibits.
The Seattle Center is a hub of various activities. Popular attractions for tourists include the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pacific Science Center and the Museum of Pop Culture. I decided to begin at the Chihuly Garden and Glass. A beautiful shrine for Tacoma-bred glass artist, Dale Chihuly, this museum showcases the brilliance of the eclectic artist in both an indoor and outdoor setting. I arrived early evening and the spectacle of colors and creations that surrounded me took my breath away. As did the views of the Space Needle from the gardens. So, guess where I had to go next?
The Space Needle
With my handy CityPass in hand, it was a given that I’d end up at the Space Needle. Often considered the ‘Eiffel Tower’ of Seattle, the Space Needle was built in 1962 for the World’s Fair and has since welcomed millions of visitors. Guests are taken up in small groups to the top of the 500 feet observation deck. A very crowded attraction (expect long lines), the view from the top is certainly worth seeing at-least once. Especially if you purchase a CityPass, which includes the Space Needle.
My only drawback was the fact that they were in the midst of construction for their newest addition, a revolving glass bottom floor. Due to this, I had limited access on the deck. With the restaurant and bar also closed, these are reasons enough that I plan to return on my next Seattle trek.
The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop)
Remember when I was younger and wanted to run away to Seattle? Well, one of my first stops was going to be the Experience Music Project. Launched in 2003 by Microsoft head honchos, the Experience Music Project was designed as a space for aspiring musicians of any level to come together and make some noise. With multiple recording rooms, guests reserve a time to head into one of the labs and create music. While still very much apart of the museum, it’s since been relaunched as the Museum of Pop Culture and let me tell you, it was beyond everything I’d hoped it’d be.
My luck could not have been better for the exhibits I got to see. From Nirvana’s Taking Punk to the Masses to their 2 floor Star Trek exhibit, pop culture nerds will fall to their knees at artifacts on display at MoPop. Other exhibits currently there include David Bowie by Mick Rock and Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic. Aside to Wizard of Oz die hards: they have Dorothy’s dress, the Wicked Witch’s hat and the Cowardly Lion costume. If you’re a fellow Trekkie, do not miss your chance to do your best Captain Kirk impression of his famous “KHAN!” scream in their photo booth.
Stay tuned for an extended story on my visit to MoPop, which was a highlight of my entire Washington trip.
Check out Some ‘Hoods
After my museum visits and sight seeing on Saturday, one of the craftsmen at Pike Place had told me to check out the Fremont district. As soon as I heard gluten-free bakery, I got an Uber ride over to Fremont and headed right to the Flying Apron. An adorable coffeehouse and bistro, the Flying Apron menu consists of everything being gluten-free AND vegan. While the matcha latte didn’t go down as memorable, my veggie sandwich and cupcake made up for it.
After chilling for a bit at Flying Apron, it was time to poke into some shops. Fremont has an eclectic variety of shops with old and new goodies to see. The shop keepers were some of the friendliest bunch I’ve met. Dream and Show Pony had gorgeous racks of dresses and blouses, as well as perfumes and jewelry. Over at the Uncommon Cottage, I had a blast chatting with shop owner, Jennifah Singer. Relating more to being a faery than a human, I felt like I’d known this pint-sized force of nature forever. Jennifah is all about chasing your dreams and turning them into reality-and that’s exactly what the Uncommon Cottage is. Loaded to the brim with independent artists, you’ll find funky gifts like silly socks, punk-inspired clothing and one of a kind purses at her shop. Best part? Her stock is constantly changing so visit and support often.
By the time I made my way to the pride-tastic neighborhood of Capitol Hill, I had my friend, Heather, in tow to help me celebrate my final night in Washington. Going off a recommendation from an extremely cool chap I’d met on my train ride to downtown, we started our evening at the Highline bar. Known as a punk rock dive bar, we arrived just as they were opening and alas, not much ‘dive’ going down quite yet. That didn’t stop us from having a blast as well as the place to ourselves. The Highline is known for its vast menu selections and the fact that ALL items are vegan, and many gluten-free. While their margaritas weren’t much too write home about, Heather and I ate every bite of our dinner. I’ve become a huge lover of Jackfruit tacos this past year, and the Highline’s got theirs just right.
After we had our fuel, Heather thought we should move onto more margaritas. We decided on Poquito’s, a fun, vibrant Mexican restaurant with a lively bar serving up awfully good libations. What I appreciated here was how laid-back the bartenders were. Despite it was a busy Saturday night, we enjoyed catching up and chatting for awhile as we sipped our tequila-laced concoctions. No pressure whatsoever to drink and exit.
Where to Stay
When Sunday morning rolled around and I had to high-tail it to my flight, I was so happy to be staying just minutes from the airport. The Crowne Plaza at Seattle Airport was such a cozy hotel to return to during my Seattle stay. From their helpful staff to Reflections Bar and Grill, I also loved this location as the Link Light Rail station was outside my door. I utilized this both days of my stay for getting to Downtown and Pike Place.
The Crowne Plaza offers a handy shuttle to the airport and, what’s Seattle without Starbucks? A self-serve pay station to get your coffee fix on is available in the lobby.
Run Away to Seattle
I cannot thank all who made this Seattle trip possible enough. I’ve been told Seattle is the ultimate “Mary City” and I must say I agree. All of the hospitable people, the museums, the food-it’s an amazing city that should be at the top of everyone’s must-see list. Check out Visit Seattle’s website HERE and start planning your getaway to the Pacific Northwest! xo
(*Disclosure: Lodging and some of the attractions mentioned were hosted on behalf of this feature. All opinions are my own.)