I’m sitting in the SeaTac airport sipping on my last Seattle-brewed coffee of the trip while waiting for my delayed flight back to Chicago. This trip exceeded my expectations for adventure, but it left me absolutely exhausted and most surprisingly of all, sunburnt. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed in the lack of cloud coverage and precipitation. The perfect picture in my mind of Seattle life 24/7 was destroyed by UV rays.
Fremont Coffee Company: I am a slave to two things: technology and caffeine. While I was in Fremont on my second day of the trip, I was in need of a phone charge and a coffee. I walked into a coffee house, which was quite literally a house. I sat in what was probably someone’s old formal dining room and sipped my favorite tasting coffee of the trip (I drank a lot, so this does hold some level of value.) The whole experience left me feeling so at home that I had no issue pooping in their bathroom.
Space Needle: This is super cliche, but there’s something oddly cathartic about going to the top of tall buildings in big cities. I’ve been to the top of quite a few and while all buildings look pretty much the same from this angle, the view of Mt. Rainier and the surrounding mountain ranges alone was worth the $30 and hour wait to get to the top. You get a free digital copy of an image with your trip, which is a nice bonus. It’s also very important that you call it the Space Noodle.
Gas Works Park: I had heard about the park but didn’t seek it out as a place to spend my time. I somehow managed to wander into it after visiting the Fremont Troll and I’m so glad I did. It was my favorite view of the city. My only regret is not packing a lunch and enjoying a picnic on the hill like so many other people had.
Friends: Half of the trip was spent staying at our friends place in the heart of Capitol Hill on Pride weekend. Not only did we get to go full tourist, we also got to go to the great spots for food, drinks and more drinks. Top 3 included…
- Unicorn: There’s an old school photo booth there that actually develops the
photo strip right in the machine. It takes so long, you’ll think the photo booth actually broke. It’s so dang colorful and the drinks here are ridiculous.
- Fogón Cocina Mexicana: I had the Caesar con Camaron and while that seems like it would be a boring choice, it blew my mind. I wasn’t able to converse because my face was buried in a plate full of heaven. Also, their ultimate margaritas are 1,000% worth it.
- TeKu Tavern: It has a huge tap list, which is also available realtime online, and is walking distance from the Space Noodle. It was the perfect place to kill time while waiting to go in the Noodle. They have games available, so we played Cards Against Humanity loudly and offended no one (that we know of.) I lost.
Public Restrooms: In the coffee mecca of the US, one must consider its diuretic powers and what that means for its sludge-loving tourists. Seattle nailed just that. There are public restrooms and they’re all over. Maybe this doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but when you’re out sight seeing all day, it is.
Fremont Troll: Good spot for kids and that family picture to post onto Facebook later for the likes. Glad I saw it for Instagram’s sake and now I can say with confidence that I’ve seen a real-life troll. I must admit, I’m pretty disappointed in its hairdo though – was expecting a brighter, more colorful look.
Pike Place Market: I got to Pike Place at noon on a Thursday and it turns out that the entire population of Seattle goes there for lunch. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was overstimulated by the crowd, the lines, the options and the people offering free samples. So much so, that I wandered aimlessly for an hour searching for food to eat that I finally went to a sausage shop and settled on a truffle bacon stick. I had two bites before storing it safely in my purse to have later for a snack. It became affectionately known as “purse sausage” after Todd mentioned he was hungry at the top of the Noodle and I handed it to him. Based on the reactions our friends gave us, it’s not normal to carry half eaten sausage in your purse.
Starbucks Reserve and Tasting Room: I walked past the original Starbucks line at Pike Place, but had no desire to wait in the block-long line. Instead, we went to the Starbucks Reserve. It was 2 floors of whoa, you get to watch BEANS, BEANS, BEANS get roasted and drink funky brews. I got a nitro cold brew float, which I inhaled. Probably don’t go there for a black coffee with a double shot of espresso because I don’t think they usually make those there. While all of us fancy drink orderers enjoyed our frappelatteccuinos, Todd waited an extra 15 minutes for his no frill coffee. Loser.
Gum Wall: Okay, super cool place to take a selfie but I hate to burst your bubble, it was gross. The ground, which was originally brick, was a black, soft gum-scented tar. I would not recommend going here if you suffer from vertigo – it’s the last place you’ll want to lose your balance.
Public Transit: There are tons of busses. In fact, they added more specifically to support the influx of interns in Seattle this summer. The seats are really comfortable and the buses can get you where you need to go, but navigating anywhere took 45 min to an hour and a half. Could be that I was staying in Redmond for the public transit days, but you essentially need to start downtown to get anywhere. I found that walking was usually easier, though my feet would disagree with this statement.
For Next Time
- Kayak on the waterfront. I said lakefront every time and got corrected by strangers. Whatever front it is, I want to kayak on it.
- See the Orca’s do their thing. The only orca I saw was my ORCA card which doesn’t count.
Whenever I’m on trips to new cities, I like to ask myself if I would live there. In this case, my first answer is no, but you could probably convince me otherwise fairly quickly. There’s a lot to do and it’s full of beautiful views but hills. So many of them. I was very happy to land back in my flat, old midwestern city that I call home.