Hello Seattle–You Unexpected Love

2018 Michelle here: I first visited Seattle in 2012 because I had friends there.  I never thought I would like the city, but I fell in love with it. Seattle was the first major city that I could *theoretically* live in. Just like Rwanda wasn’t my first choice; I was married to Madagascar, but this post reminds me to give a place a chance. You never know what the outcome may be.

Opposite attract, they say. Whoever ‘THEY’ are, they are right, at least in this case.

Me:  Small-town Southern girl, likes quiet nights by the bonfire, wide-open spaces, tree-frogs and cicadas, roads with no traffic, sunny, warm days, and hot, sultry, summer nights.

top of Seattle

Seattle: One of the top 20 largest cities in the USA, compact, but spreading, traffic everywhere, modern, progressive, cool, drizzly in fall and winter, crisp in Spring/Summer, insanely pretty… pretty much opposite in every way what I am used to [except I like to think I’m insanely pretty, modern and cool].

I’m not sure why I’ve never visited Seattle before because there are so many things about the city that is awesome. My first visit in May 2012 I did all the touristy things like visit the Space Needle, hang out at Pike Place Market, go see the Seattle Sounders match, and visit some of the city’s best museums. It helped that I was staying in a neighborhood [Green Lake] with friends so I got a different perspective than staying a city hotel.

I went back to the city in October 2014 and stayed in a different area [Queen Anne]. and explored a slightly different side of Seattle [and then again in July 2015, October 2016, and May 2017 for a quick visits before exploring more of Washington]. I did a city hike, explored gas works park, took a ferry across Elliott Bay, ate some amazing food [It happened to be restaurant week], and said hello to Lenin and the troll in Fremont.

Home of Starbucks and the Space Needle, Jimi Hendrix and the grunge movement [hello Everclear, my favorite 90s band… and yes, I know they are from Portland], Pike Place Market and the Seahawks, Sounders, SuperSoncis, Kraken, Seattle is definitely a place worth visiting. Despite its stereotype of being gray and wet [it rained like 5% of the time i was there], Seattle is a place that I could conceivably call home… you know, if I ever leave the South and want to live in close proximity to a big city.

Rooms are no longer 75 cents

Seattle CityPass

I’ve used CityPasses before is some of the other larger cities I’ve visited and found it to be a good value in terms of sites and cost. So I sought out a Seattle City Pass, which let me visit 6 of Seattle’s top destinations and activities, and though not part of the City Pass, my friend Cameron had a season pass to the Sounders, and couldn’t make it, so score! I got to go to my first Major League Soccer match.

The pass covers the Space Needle [2X–once during the day and once at night], the Seattle Aquarium, a harbor cruise, EMP, Woodland Park Zoo and Pacific Science Center or Chihuly gardens.

Here’s what I got to squeeze in:

  • Space Needle. The best-known feature in Seattle’s skyline, the Space Needle was built in 1961 in time for Seattle to host the 1962 World’s Fair. The 605-foot structure was a bit of an engineering marvel. [Nerd factor: the “bottom” of the Needle is actually 30 feet underground to bring its center of gravity lower]. The Space Needle has come to represent Seattle in everything from postcards to television shows. You can dine at the revolving SkyCity Restaurant located 500 feet off the ground. Alternatively, check out the Observation Deck at 520 feet, which gives amazing views out over downtown Seattle and Puget Sound.
Seattle Space Needle

check out those blue skies and high cirrus clouds

Ferry ride at Elliot Bay. Seattle is not to warm in the fall
  • Starbucks [the original one]–While at Pike Place, head across the street from the market and visit the world’s very first Starbucks. It was from this unassuming location that the coffee giant began its world domination in 1971. After hours, is about the only time you can get a photo without a ton of people standing in line.
The Original Starbucks Seattle Pike Place
  • pretending to be Jimi Hendrix at Experience Music Project
  • Chihuly glass garden. Glass artist Dale Chihuly is originally from Washington. The Gardens and Glass at Seattle Center is a permanent exhibit of some of his work. Indoors, you’ll find large glass exhibits lit up in darkened rooms. Out side are glass sculptures that blend in to the gardens. It opened the week I was there so I can say I was among the first to visit the museum.
  • Seattle Aquarium–With the pass in hand, pop on in to the Seattle Aquarium. You’ll see all sorts of fish and sea creatures. But the real must-see is the room of Puget Sound natives. Native species include plant and fish, otters, and fur seals. After learningLearn about the kinds of life found in the waters around Seattle, head into the building next door. Here you can watch adorable sea and river otters frolicking, and massive fur seals swimming around in zoo-like enclosures.
  • Harbor Cruise in Eliot Bay
seattle waterfront
  • Museum of Flight at Boeing Field–I am such an #av8geek, that this was a must for me. The Museum of Flight covers all aspects of flight history – from the very first airplanes to space travel. There’s one gigantic warehouse filled with all manner of aircraft. Things included are a mock control tower, a space exhibit, and rooms dedicated to WWI and WWII. Commercial jets and an old Air Force One plane sit outside. Those are also available to walk through. The museum includes planes of all shapes and sizes, as well as interactive features, and tons of history to read about. You can book bi-plane rides outside the museum. And if you’ve really got the money, sign up to ride in a B-17 or B-24 bomber.

And beautiful mountain ranges surrounding the city.

Mt Rainier

Hello Seattle, by the Owl City goes along with this post.

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