Hey there, bloggers!
Once we were all rested up near Olympia for the night, we continued onward to Seattle, the largest city in the state of Washington. Just like with Portland, we would only be staying there one night and basically, we had one day to take in the sights and sounds of the city located on the Puget Sound.
The drive over took merely an hour (give or take 30 minutes due to traffic), and we arrived in the city just a bit past 11:00. Our first stop was at Volunteer Park, a 48-acre park situated in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle. Aside from having a conservatory (which we decided to forgo since we had to pay to enter), the park also had plenty of wide-open green spaces for dogs and their owners to stroll around in. My family and I also came across a small pond with the most adorable ducklings (four of them, to be precise) that were following their mother around the water; the amount of cuteness was too much, and many of us visitors stopped to ogle at and photograph them!
Volunteer Park also had a water tower, and one could climb up it for *free* views of the Seattle skyline. It was not bad of a walk up, and while there were a few trees blocking the view from above, it was a pretty good one for being free! We would be getting more city views later that night at the Space Needle, but until then, day-time views would suffice.
We descended the water tower and made a loop around Volunteer Park before piling into our rented car and making the drive into downtown Seattle. Just like in Portland, finding parking was a nightmare and after no success in several public lots, we eventually happened to find one right between the Waterfront and Pike Place Market, which were two destinations we would be visiting, anyway, so we lucked out. We first headed over to the Waterfront (with its aquarium, Ferris Wheel, and a somewhat grey Santa Monica vibe to it) before heading up to Pike Place for the main attractions, as well as lunch.
Our first stop in Pike Place was the Gum Wall, located on Post Alley where, of course, lots of gum are stuck to it. The tradition of sticking gum to this specific spot started in the ’90s, and to this day, tourists come here to admire (and be repulsed by) the amount of gum on the wall. I happened to have brought some gum with me, and, in true tourist fashion, chewed and stuck my claim on part of the famous brick wall. Success!
Continuing down Post Alley, we merged into Pike Place where we saw the well-known fish market, famous for its workers throwing fish around whenever a customer buys a whole. We’d wanted to see if we could catch this event on camera or video, but it happened so fast and sporadically that, sadly, we didn’t capture it on our cameras. We did see it, though, which was fun in itself!
Getting hungry, we got back on Post Alley to Pike Place Chowder, a well-known establishment known for its clam chowder, which apparently has won a lot of awards every year. The line was long, but moved rather quickly—my parents claimed a table outside while my sister and I queued up to buy our lunch. Let me tell you: the place was expensive, to the point that I was shocked at our receipt when it came to pay at the counter. Small cups of clam chowder were almost $7 each (which was pricey, but manageable), but it was the Dungeness crab rolls (a whopping $19 each) that tipped the bill. Granted, we chose to buy just two crab rolls to share among the four of us, but even then, the check came out to over $75! My mom had given me $60 from her wallet to buy the food, and I had to pull out another $20 from my own wallet to accommodate for that. Seriously, the total price just blew me away…and mind you, the portions weren’t that big to begin with! While the clam chowder was pretty good, along with the crab roll, it was not worth $75.
We explored Pike Place a bit more, checking out the original Starbucks (as it’d originated in Seattle) which turned out to be smaller than I’d thought. We didn’t go inside, because there was a massive line (even longer than Pike Place Chowder’s) and it wasn’t worth going in for overpriced coffee, anyway. What we did instead was just took a picture of the outside and bought a few savory and sweet pies at Piroshky Piroshky a few doors down, which would be our dinner that night (and a pretty tasty one, too!).
Afterwards, we were pretty much done visiting Pike Place, so we took our car over to the hotel where we would be staying the night. We were too early for check-in, but otherwise, the hotel staff was kind enough to store our stuff in a locker room so that we could head out and explore a bit more of what Seattle had to offer. Our hotel was just a 5-minute walk from the Space Needle, the iconic tower in the city, so we headed in that general direction.
However, we didn’t go up the Space Needle that afternoon, since we wanted to save it for nighttime. Instead, we went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass, an exhibit-museum which features the artwork of local artist Dale Chihuly, essentially a lot of colorful, intricate glass-work. Tickets were $27 per person, which was extremely pricey, but for the amount of work we saw there, it was actually *kind of* worth it! Next to the Space Needle at night, the Chihuly Garden and Glass was probably the highlight of our trip in Seattle. Going from room to room, we saw so many dazzling, towering, elaborate art pieces, with each impressing us one after the other. From the Sealife Tower to the Mille Fiori to the Glasshouse Gardens outside, I had a very aesthetic experience—I would go as far to say that it’s one of the best museums I’ve ever been to!
Leaving the Chihuly Garden and Glass, we headed down to the Waterfront again, this time to check out the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is a spread-out park consisting of spread-out statues throughout. Not as impressive as those in the Chihuly Garden and Glass, it was nevertheless a pleasant (and free) stroll through each art piece, concluding with the abstract Eagle offering a calming view of the Puget Sound.
We made our way back to the hotel, where we had our bought supper and loft around in the room until it was just getting dark (towards 21:00) to head out and go up the Space Needle. Also a whopping $27 per person, but the views were quite nice from up-top. Taking both standard and panoramic photos, I also got to admire the golden lights hovering over the water, as well as reveling in the chilly, Pacific Northwest weather. Returning to our hotel just a bit past 22:00, we got ready for bed, resting up before having to hit the road again the next day.
Compared with Portland, I found Seattle to be better in terms of atmosphere and things to see in the city center. True, it remained an overcast day (typical of the region), but I enjoyed the places we visited, as well as the food we tasted. Definitely would love to return someday and see more of what it has to offer!
I’ll be wrapping up my trip to the Pacific Northwest soon. Stay tuned for the final installment as we make our way to Mount Rainier & Mount St. Helens, Washington!
— The Finicky Cynic
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