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Seeing Seattle

2012 March 7
by Jill

One week from today, I’m leaving New York for a quick trip to the opposite coast–Seattle! One of Joe’s good friends from college is getting married and we’re attending the festivities. I haven’t been to Seattle in nearly four years, and I’m really looking forward to going back.

My first visit was in August of 2008. I took a plane from San Francisco to Seattle, capitalizing on a week-long sales conference I had attended for work. It was my first time on the West Coast, and I was exhilarated. Most of my time in San Francisco had been spent in the basement of a hotel, so having the chance to see Seattle was perfect. My friend Dawn had moved to Seattle not too long before, and was a great host, showing me all of the sights. We went to the public market, the Space Needle, Gasworks Park, Fremont, and Mt. Rainier. Rather than the rainy city perpetuated by the movies, this Seattle was sunny and hot.

It did rain on the one day I spent on my own. I took the bus from Dawn’s neighborhood into the city, where I took an underground tour and then spent several hours in Elliot Bay Book Company. This is the part of my trip I remember perhaps most fondly. I began my day at a coffee shop, reading a guidebook. The locals were very friendly, wishing me a good trip, asking where I was visiting from, telling me they could help if I needed advice on what to see and do. The man at the table next to me struck up a conversation that lasted a pleasant half hour, about being from New England, about the differences of the opposing coasts, the weather and the sights. Strangers chatted together on the bus. There was a poem on a panel, and though I don’t remember what it was, I remember being moved, thinking what a nice thing to have on a bus. The underground tour was strange–dirty and musty and a little too touristy, but it made me appreciate emerging out into the rainy city all the more. I made my way to Elliot Bay intending to just look around for a bit and continue on to the art museum, but instead, I wandered the store for hours. The wooden floors are creaky, there’s a cafe in the basement, and books everywhere. I had no problem whiling away my afternoon there, and I look forward to going back.

Here are a few photos from my first trip:

The Pike Place Fish Market

At the very first Starbucks! My enthusiasm can be gauged by the fact that I had actually been working at a Starbucks in Boston for some time. The wounds were still fresh.

The Space Needle. The views from the top were fun, but not so impressive that I need to go again.

This giant troll and Volkswagon live under a highway overpass in Fremont. It’s so random and quirky, it seems to sum up a lot of Seattle’s essence.

Mt. Rainier National Park! This was a gorgeous, gorgeous park, even though it was too overcast that day to see Mt. Rainier itself.

What do you recommend I see this time around in Seattle? Any particular restaurants, shops, or neighborhoods I should look for? I’d love to hear your advice !

2 Responses Post a comment
  1. March 7, 2012

    If you can get to West Seattle, it’s a fun neighborhood–there’s a main strip of restaurants/shops along California Ave, and then a strip right along the water with a boardwalk/beach type thing. It has a more California-esque feel while still feeling Seattle-esque, which is neat–at least I think so. :)

    Also, did you visit Capitol Hill? It’s kind of the hipster-mecca, but still fun, with good restaurants.

    Also, I LOVED eating at Geraldine’s: http://geraldinescounter.com/ although I think it’s a little out of the way from downtown.

    Also, the sculpture garden! You might have seen it last time since it’s right next to Pike Place, but I love it.

    Wish we could pop up there to say hi, but our schedules right now are just crazy. But enjoy your trip!! I completely love Seattle. :)

  2. Dawn permalink
    March 7, 2012

    So excited! I have plenty of new ideas for you (and Joe), don’t worry… and Elliot Bay moved. It’s in Cap Hill now (more hipster central) and it’s smaller but still a neat place.

    Also: HOW WAS THAT FOUR YEARS AGO!??!?!??

    PS – Did we go to Alki? I think we went to Alki. (That’s the W. Seattle spot mentioned above).

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