You may be contemplating a trip to Seattle and, if so, you’re asking yourself, “Why Seattle?” Well, whether or not you’ve thought about Seattle, aka the Emerald City, as a travel destination, we beg you to consider it and ask yourself, “Why not, Seattle?”
Ah Seattle, what’s not to love?! It’s a gem of a destination that presents the best of any vacation hot-spot. It sits on the salt water of the Puget Sound and has beaches to boast. Outside of downtown, nature lovers will feel right at home amidst the pines and the mountains, including Mount Rainier National Park, just two hours away. For the city slickers, this skyline is gorgeous- especially with that West Coast sunset in the background- and like a big city should, it has delicious eats (especially seafood), a ton of local Washington beer and many one-of-a-kind “must see” experiences. There’s great public transportation too, including a real-life MONORAIL. Seattle is truly a destination with it all!
Oh, and before you stop reading because you think it’s just going to rain the entire time you’re there… think again! Seattle has a big reputation for rain but in the time we were there, it was all sun. The locals who transferred from the Midwest will tell you that it rains more at home.
So, we’ve convinced you to head to the Emerald City. Now, what should you do?
Pike Place Market
“Fresh fish! We catch ‘em, you buy ‘em.” This line from Disney’s “Aladdin” was playing through my head from the moment we stepped inside the market. We were offered samples of fresh smoked salmon and crab legs and you could truly taste the difference in freshness and quality from seafood back home. You might think you don’t like seafood, but when you taste it fresh out of the Puget Sound, we think you’ll change your mind. While browsing, we saw every kind of seafood imaginable from fresh octopus and squid to mussels, clams and scallops to all sorts of crustaceans to a vast array of fish (both with heads and without).
In addition to the best seafood, Pike Place Market is also home to local art vendors whose products are magnificent, particularly the local glass blowers- something Seattle is quite famous for. Here’s a photo of hand-made glass, representing the ocean, for sale at the market:
Even if you’re not in the market to purchase anything, this should be the first thing you check out on your trip- it’s so much fun just to walk around. It’s a uniquely awesome experience that even features flying fish!
A Museum of your Choice
It might not be the first thing you think of when you think of the Emerald City, places like New York, D.C. and Chicago are thought to be a museum-lovers go-to trip. However, Seattle also has an excellent selection and we believe that at least one should be included on your itinerary. We choose the MoPOP, Museum of Pop Culture, and had the most out-of-this-world time- literally. Through the different exhibits we were transported to worlds of fantasy, science fiction and horror with real props and costumes from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Princess Bride, Star Wars and Halloween. A traveling Marvel exhibition was our main reason for visiting and it was pure magic seeing the real costumes, weapons and other props of the world’s best superheroes! This museum also features Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix and gaming exhibits, as well as a Sound Lab and giant JBL Theater.
Although we did not visit them, these Seattle museums have exceptional reviews from other travelers:
-Chihuly Garden and Glass
-The Museum of Flight
-Seattle Art Museum
-Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
-Pacific Science Center
The Seattle Great Wheel and the Waterfront
In Seattle, there are multiple places to enjoy an “aerial” view of the beauty this city has to offer. You might think the best is the Space Needle, and yes, the $32.50 is definitely worth it for a 360° view of the Emerald City, but, if you’re on a budget and can only fit in one bird’s eye view, we suggest taking a ride on the Seattle Great Wheel ($14). Not only do you get to soar over the Puget Sound, taking in views of the water and the city, but you get your own personal pod to soak in the scenery (and avoid the intense crowds at the space needle). YOU CAN PURCHASE ALCOHOL FOR THE RIDE AND IT COMES IN A SIPPY CUP! Furthermore, the Great Wheel is located right on the water and the waterfront walk around it is absolutely stunning, with a breath of fresh sea air that filled our Midwest hearts with joy.
Even if you choose to get your views at the Space Needle, make sure you fit in a visit to the waterfront. Walking along the water is FREE, picturesque and it’s filled with delicious seafood restaurants, Washington breweries and the Seattle Aquarium, which we highly suggest if you’re into marine life. This aquarium is one of the best and we are so happy we made the last-minute decision to add it to our itinerary. With a Puget Sound octopus, TWO otter exhibits and the opportunity to touch sea cucumbers, it’s a must-see for you ocean lovers.
Last but not least
We can assure you that Seattle’s shopping is impressive. We couldn’t get enough of the relaxed yet totally fashionable West Coast style.
And there’s no way you can leave without trying a champagne ice cream float from Shug’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream in Pike Place.
We’ve only been once, but WHEN we go back we don’t plan on staying anywhere else, the Pensione Nichols Bed and Breakfast is the absolute perfect place to stay. Why? Above all- the location. The Pensione is in the heart of Pike Place, it’s about a two-minute walk from the market, a five-minute walk from the water and a 10-minute walk to the monorail which will take you on a quick 15-minute ride to the city center where the space needle, multiple museums and a big park take up residence. It’s so convenient we’d probably stay again whether the service was good or not, but luckily, we don’t have to have that moral dilemma because the service was PERFECT! Lindsey Nichols is a superb host. She was welcoming, polite and curious about our story without being overbearing and offered delicious daily yogurt parfaits for breakfast. This B&B is cute and clean, features shared bathrooms (multiple on each floor) and extremely comfortable bedding. The common room is large and gives way to a balcony that overlooks the Puget Sound, the Great Wheel and a partial view of downtown. It’s stunning, particularly at night with everything lit up.
Heading out to the Pacific Northwest is truly a special trip. There’s a palpable vibe out there of sophisticated yet relaxed hipsters who are unashamed of being themselves and are totally one with nature and the city.