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Seattle, Washington was high on my list of cities within the United States, I still needed to visit. Seattle is located in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). The PNW is the region of the western United States located adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. It runs north to south from British Columbia, Canada to Oregon. Idaho, parts of Montana, northern California and some even consider southeastern Alaska part of the PNW. Over the years, I’ve heard terrific things about the region and how it’s known for having beautiful coastlines, green interior, rainy weather (I didn’t consider this a plus), and spectacular mountains. Friends have told me all of these attributes applied to Seattle and I was very intrigued.
From Los Angeles, where I live, it’s under a 3-hour flight. I was able to use 12,500 United miles (paid $5.60 in taxes) to get a free one-way basic economy flight to Seattle and paid $68 for a basic economy seat returning to Los Angeles. It helped tremendously that I was able to travel from Monday – Wednesday. Weekend flights were more expensive, which is generally the case. I was excited for my trip in May of 2019 — it was time to go exploring.
Seattle is synonymous with the amount of rain it receives and the fog that takes over the city much of the year. This was a major deterrent from wanting to go there for years, so I tried to plan my trip closer to summer, warmer weather and sunnier days. A key travel tip that I’ve found, the month of May is usually a great month to travel most places in the Northern Hemisphere because the weather generally starts to warm up and it’s before the crowds take over the heavily visited locations.
During my time in Seattle, I stayed at the Moore Hotel, which was brilliantly located only a few blocks away from key attractions such as the Pike Place Market, shopping, Seattle Art Museum and most importantly the Seattle waterfront. It was $135 a night (all taxes included). It’s an older 3-star hotel, but kept in good condition. It has a coffee shop on the ground level that’s very convenient. The room was spacious and offered everything I needed (queen bed, desk, closet space and decent view from window). The front desk person was friendly and even allows you to leave the old-school room key with him when you go out. The hotel is nothing fancy, but I’m almost never in the room when I travel, so I’ve always refused to spend too much on a hotel. I look for 3-star quality hotels that are clean, well reviewed, and centrally located — which I highly value. If the hotel isn’t centrally located, then it has to be close to public transportation, so I can get to places quick if I don’t want to use Lyft/Uber, ride a bike or walk. I’m the kind of traveler that’s on the go constantly and loving every minute.
Original Starbucks & Pike Place Market
Seattle is well known for having great coffee and is the site of the first ever Starbucks in 1971. I consider myself a novice when it comes to coffee — I’ve always been a tea drinker. However, I’ve started drinking more coffee over the last few years and decided to go get a cup to start my first day from the original Starbucks for the experience. Before all the folks who think this is too touristy chime in, keep in mind, Its beautifully located within Pike Place Market, which is another place you must visit. Prepare for long lines as many tourists (not as many locals) bombard this location for photo-ops and to get their coffee fix. It’s a cool experience and the staff did a great job getting me in and out fairly quickly. Plus, they sell unique souvenirs you can’t buy at other locations or online, so if you’re really a Starbucks fan, you’ll be able to one-up your friends and family when you come back home.
Now that you’ve gotten your coffee out the way, you’re in the perfect place to explore the rest of Pike Place Market — I was eager to do so. Pike Place Market is a public market that is spectacularly located overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront near downtown Seattle. It offers so much, but some standouts are the fresh seafood (try a fish sandwich), excellent produce, gifts, tons of restaurants (some with incredible views) and the hilariously famous bubblegum wall. If you’re wondering what a bubble gum wall is, it’s exactly what it sounds like — a wall full of peoples bubblegum. Some stuff you just can’t make up. Whatever you do, don’t touch any of the gum. Spend a few hours exploring the market — have some lunch, pick up some flowers (significant other), do some shopping and take in the views before heading closer to the waterfront. I had lunch at Lowell’s in the Pike Place Market. I was really in the mood for a fish sandwich and some fries — Lowell’s (price $$) did not disappoint. Not to mention, from the top level, I had an excellent view of the waterfront and the Seattle Great Wheel.
Now that you’ve had your coffee, eaten some lunch at the market, grabbed a snack for later as you walk around and taken a photo in front of the bubblegum wall -— the day is off to a great start. It’s a great time to head over to the waterfront as I did. It’s about a 5-minute walk from the market to the waterfront. Anytime there is a body of water close by, the first thing you do is look to get on some sort of boat — at least that is what I like to do. Head to Pier 55 for the 1-hour harbor cruise ($17-$31) by Argosy Cruises. Or for a fraction of the cost ($8.50), you can take a ferry from Pier 52 across to Bainbridge Island and have a very similar view. Either way will allow you to see the stunning skyline from the water. You won’t be able to miss the Giant Wheel and Seattle’s most popular landmark, the Space Needle. It’s an aesthetically pleasing 605-ft tall spire with observation deck and rotating restaurant located in Belltown that offers spectacular views.
Seattle, like much of the PNW, is known for the outdoor activities you can participate in. Although, I didn’t spend much time on Bainbridge Island due to the cooler temperature the day I went, I could absolutely see it is a great place to go for outdoor activities. Bainbridge Island is a short ferry ride across from Seattle. It has a completely different vibe in Bainbridge — a small-town feel to it. Once you arrive off the ferry, immediately you notice kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, and electric boats can be rented, as well as scuba gear. Bainbridge could be a great option for a half day getaway to do some fun outdoor activities.
Places To See Around Seattle
My main modes of transportation around Seattle was either by walking or renting a JUMP Electric Uber bike, which was really convenient. During my pre-travel research of Seattle (I always do some research prior to trips) I found a few restaurants and attractions I highlighted for this trip. I was going to take full advantage of the two days with no rain and light fog to see as much as I could.
Serious Pie was a recommendation from my friend, Stephanie (thanks Steph), and very close to my hotel in downtown Seattle. Serious Pie is an intimate restaurant with wood-fired, thin crust gourmet pizzas, wine and beer served at communal tables. I have a deep love for pizza, so there was no way I was going to miss out on this place. The pizza did not disappoint — it was phenomenal. However, be prepared to pay top dollar for that pizza — I ordered the sweet fennel sausage, roasted peppers, and provolone pizza for $19.
Believe it or not, but this place is better known as Biscuit B*tch — I promise you this is not for effect. This is another restaurant/café located near my hotel in downtown. The folks at Biscuit (shortening for obvious reasons) consider it a funky coffeehouse that specializes in serving southern-inspired biscuit fare in a cozy environment. It’s a fairly unique concept, at least in this part of the country. I ordered the “Gritty Scrambled Cheesy B*tch” and I have to admit, it was pretty delicious.
The Nest Rooftop Bar
It’s probably clear by now (if you’ve read a few of my previous posts) I thoroughly enjoy a great view. Now add a cocktail to my great view and I’m ecstatic. The Nest Rooftop Bar at the Thompson Hotel provides both in spades. The Nest is a top-shelf hotel bar with wide-ranging views, tasty cocktails and proper appetizers. I had a great time here, but my wallet can’t quite say the same — I guess that’s what happens on vacation.
Being outside when the weather is nice is absolutely the best and the International Fountain provides a terrific outdoor green space to enjoy multiple activities. The fountain is centrally located and near other major attractions like the Space Needle. By day, the fountain is a favorite lounging area and good time for those young and old.
Other Notable Places to Visit
- Olympic Sculpture Park — Park consist of 9-acre outdoor sculpture museum and a beach free of charge.
- Six Seven Restaurant/Lounge at Edgewater — Looking for a more upscale place for dinner or cocktails, look no further. Known for its fresh seafood and being on the water.
- Cherry Street Coffee House — One of my favorite coffee shops due to the great coffee, colorful exterior and interior decor — not to mention the friendly staff.
- Pioneer Square — Art galleries, coffee shops, and swank bars fill Pioneer Square’s late 1800’s Romanesque Revival Buildings. Worth a visit.
- Jimi Hendrix Statue and surrounding Capitol Hill neighborhood. Very cool statue and interesting area.
- Nate’s Wings and Waffles (Nate Robinson, former NBA player and Dunk Champion) I was a fan of the food, but I love chicken and waffles.
- Starbucks Reserve — By far the biggest and most upscale Starbucks I’ve ever been in. A lot to take in and enjoy here.
- The Whiskey Bar — Discovered this very cool Whiskey bar by riding my bike around the neighborhood and glad I did. The Whiskey Smash was incredible here.
Seattle has a lot to offer and a city I would recommend visiting. Additionally, If you’re a sports fan like I am, be sure to catch a Seattle Seahawks NFL game (try early part of season) or a Seattle Mariners MLB game — I was fortunate to see the Mariners play on my visit and had a great time. I purchased tickets through stubhub minutes before the game started at a great price. It was an awesome ending to a another great trip.
In closing… More Travel, More Life!