‘Once you find that inspiration, you shouldn’t be afraid to follow it. Because anything is possible.’-Dave Grohl
I apologize about the very long delay in posting the conclusion of my Adventures in the Pacific Northwest trip! I finally moved into my new place in Spokane and immediately left for Nashville, Tennessee-truly one of the greatest trips I have ever been on, so stay tuned! But back to my road trip…
After B and I got separated at Mount Rainier, we met again for breakfast outside Seattle before he headed east. I adore my brother and, at the time, was unsure of when I would see him again (spoiler alert, I saw him a lot sooner than I thought, LOL). Then I was off to explore Seattle!
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. My parents had traveled in and out of the area and my discussing a possible job in the vicinity is what sparked my move back to the West Coast but the city itself, I was unsure. I have read a lot of mixed things in the news and figured it was going to be like Portland, a city I actually do not like. But, I was going to be close and figured it was worth exploring for a few days. And boy, I am so glad that I did!
I should preface that my experience may not be like yours. Opinions and views of the situation aside, I did not encounter very many individuals experiencing homelessness (I experienced much more in Bend let alone Portland) or centers of the opioid epidemic. However, my brother apparently entered the city a different way and saw a lot. So it really just depends. I also am not a nightlife person. Part of it is that I travel so much by myself, it is a safety boundary I have, particularly in areas I am unfamiliar with, and I don’t drink alcohol very much (it is really, really bad for my anxiety, causes induced panic attacks and I cannot sleep). This is to say I am aware of the view of Seattle and I did not encounter anything that gave me pause. I stayed in mainly tourist areas and didn’t do anything at night.
I had a rough idea of the things I wanted to do in my two full days in the city…Kerry Park, Space Needle, The Public Market, Museum of Pop Culture, and Starbucks! I chose not to go to the famed ‘gum’ wall because it is gross. I would love to go to Bainbridge and the San Juan Islands but those, for time, needed to be reserved for another visit. I am actually going back in January for the Van Gogh Experience, so maybe then!
My first day I decided to hit the area around Pike’s Place! I was able to park a couple blocks up from the Public Market for about $15, which was very convenient. The market was not as interactive as you what you picture due to Covid and was one of two places I had to wear a mask (the other was the Space Needle). Truth be told, even if you aren’t required, there are so many people and smells, a mask is not the worst idea, ha! It was fun just going around through the stalls, while also a bit creepy with so many sea creatures staring at you! For more under the sea viewing, there is an aquarium. I tried to get a very expensive required timed ticket but they were sold out. I then heard several people talking about how the aquarium was not great, something to keep in mind.
Just down from the market is the very first Starbucks! Now, I love Starbucks. They have the best chai lattes around. My love does not include standing in line for hours to get inside the first one. I have heard that at the end of the day, the line isn’t too bad but who knows. What my love does include is walking a mile to visit the Starbucks Reserve! I could have driven but, as I have said a lot, I love to wander cities and I did not feel unsafe in doing so.
I have been to a Starbucks Reserve before in New York City. I actually didn’t realize what it was the first visit and just thought, ‘wow, this is fancy.’ That is because it is. They have delicious food and so many drinks, most of which are not at your neighborhood Starbucks. There was also a bit of a line there but I waited maybe about 15 minutes-much more my speed! I highly recommend! Then I went back to my car and headed to Kerry Park.
For the best view of the Seattle skyline, you want to visit to Kerry Park. It is a very small park, in a posh neighborhood, on top of a hill in a blink and you’ll go past it kind of way. I lucked out and found a parking spot in front but there is street parking all over. One of the most striking things about the view is Mount Rainier in the distance. She looms large over the city and you will see the peak most of the time. I think it must have been what it felt like in Pompeii, just waiting…On a lighter note, there was not a crazy amount of people there but can imagine it may get crowded around sunset. A bit of advice, I love a sunset but it was June. In Washington. So the sun does not set until like 10ish, when I am usually comfortable in my bed. So I will go next time, in the fall/winter, when the sunsets at 4!
The following day, I headed to the Space Needle. I pre-bought my tickets to this and MoPop, which I highly recommend as it saves a lot of time in line. It was a fun thing to experience but it is a bit expensive. I truly lucked out because I had the best weather, crystal blue skies. You could see much of the Cascades and Puget Sound. Be sure to look down as MoPop is next door and it has a crazy roof! There were lots of people there and it did feel a bit claustrophobic after a bit. The Space Needle has great views of the city and I will never do it again, lol.
The park surrounding the Space Needle has a lot to offer, mostly carnival food-I had a delicious hot dog! Then I walked around a bit to the Sound before heading the the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop). I love pop culture and music, so I was really excited. It was a great museum. They had an exhibit on movie costumes, including Dorothy and Indiana Jones. A special exhibit on Horror within entertainment and lots of music (obviously). Their features on Pearl Jam and Nirvana were amazing, with many items from the band and family members. Paul Allen, Microsoft Co-Founder, funded the museum and, between him and Indianapolis Colt’s owner Jim Irsay, must own most of the significant instruments in history (the edge goes to Irsay, whose extensive collection I saw at a special exhibit at the Met…it’s quite something). All this being said, the Jimi Hendrix section was really disappointing! I read his family donated a lot of his personal items to the museum but if they did, it is not on display. So much time and care was given to the other musicians who made the Seattle Music scene iconic (including a new statue of the late Chris Cornell) but not the greatest guitarist of all time! Hendrix aside, I do highly recommend.
Overall, I really enjoyed Seattle and look forward to visiting again soon! I may not get as lucky with the weather but I suppose if it rains next time, I will have had the full Seattle experience!