It has been two weeks, and I feel I have finally recovered (enough) to share our Seattle trip with everyone. Nathan and I took a trip to Seattle to watch the Seahawks-Patriots game on Oct 14. Having never been to Seattle before (which is weird, considering how close we live to it), we decided to go up a couple days early so that we could spend our Saturday doing some sightseeing.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn by the airport, which I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone taking a trip to Seattle. For $75 a night, we got a super nice hotel room, a delicious free hot breakfast every morning, and free 24-hour transportation to and from the airport, light rail, and multiple restaurants (even after we checked out on Sunday morning). As someone who is always hunting for a bargain, I would say we definitely got it with the hotel!
The weather forecast for the weekend was rain, rain, and you guessed it – more rain! So, Saturday morning, we layered on our Under Armor, raincoats, and hats, took the hotel shuttle to the light rail station, and took off for a little sightseeing in the rain. It is amazing what you can do with a smartphone and a map of Seattle, and we had the whole day planned out. We had two goals – see as much as we could see, and only eat at local Seattle restaurants.
Our first stop was Pioneer Square, to hit Smith Tower and the Waterfall Park. I had read about this park on the Pioneer Square website and naively thought there was a real waterfall in the middle of downtown. Yes, ha ha, joke on me. It was a manmade waterfall in a courtyard, in a neighborhood where the only people seemed to be homeless, druggies, or just plain creepy people. Funny how the website didn’t mention THAT part. But the man-made waterfall was pretty.
Smith Tower wasn’t open yet (note to self – nothing opens until 10). So, we made our way north into a less-creepy part of Pioneer Square and had some authentic Seattle’s Best Coffee (definitely better than Starbucks!) until the tower opened. Never heard of Smith Tower? Until the night before, neither had I. We had been debating whether the $19/person fee to ride to the top of the Space Needle was worth it, when we saw that someone mentioned the Smith Tower online. For only $7.50/person, you can ride the manually operated elevator (super awesome) to the 35th floor and access the observation deck. You can see downtown, the waterfront, and even the Space Needle (on a clear day, you can also see Mt. Rainier). You can also check out the Chinese Room on the 35th floor, which features a ceiling made of porcelain discs imported from China, and a 300 year old “wishing chair”. The story is that if a single woman sits in the chair and genuinely wishes for love, she will be engaged within one year. We got to the Smith Tower when it opened, and we had the entire place to ourselves for the half hour we were there. We got a personal tour of the Chinese Room, and it was amazing to be the only ones on the observation deck! I am guessing we couldn’t get that at the Space Needle. The Smith Tower was one of the best stops of our day.
After Smith Tower, we continued heading North toward Pike Street Market. We planned to ride the light rail, but once we started walking it just seemed easiest to keep on walking! On the way, we made a nerd stop so that I could check out the Seattle Public Library.
The library building is so cool and unique. It is TEN whole floors, and the fourth floor is this lovely surprise:
I kid you not; the entire fourth floor is red. Except for the bathrooms. (Which was disappointing, because I really wanted to see what an all red bathroom would look like.) The fourth floor was also surprisingly deserted.
Next up after the library was a quick stop to see what a City Target looks like (they have separate escalators for your cart!) and then it was off to Pike Street Market! I can’t believe how huge that place is. You could spend all day there and probably not see everything. We checked out the shops, the farmer’s market, the fish stand (yes, we got to see a fish getting thrown – there is nothing quite like seeing a giant dead fish fly through the air!), and the antique market.
Next, we continued walking our way north until we reached the Olympic Sculpture Park. It is right on the water, a few blocks west of the Space Needle. It features several unique sculptures, along with an excellent view of the Needle itself.
From the Sculpture Park, we made our way to the Space Needle. We felt we had gotten our view and money’s worth at the Smith Tower, so we didn’t go up to the top, but we enjoyed the atmosphere.
At that point, we realized it was only 1:30 in the afternoon. It’s amazing what you can get done when you get up early! We had seen nearly everything that we wanted to see in just a few hours, despite the fact that we had walked well over two miles at that point. We slowly made our way back toward Pike Street Market via Belltown. We stopped at a little eatery called The Lucky Diner for a little snack to tide us over until dinner. They serve breakfast items all day, one of which is a delicious dish called Home Fries. Yummmmm. Belltown had tons of cool little shops and restaurants, and I wish we had stayed a whole week so that we could eat at every single one! We made a slight detour so that I could see the Nordstrom flagship store (fancy and expensive, as always) and check out the downtown Nordstrom Rack (ten times busier than Portland, yikes!). Then we headed down the Harbor Steps to check out the Pike Street waterfront.
At this point, we had walked over four miles and my legs were to the point that I could walk no farther. So, we painfully climbed back up the ten million Harbor Steps to cap off our night with dinner at the Pike Street Market. We picked the Pike Place Brewery (also called Pike Place Pub), because not only did it look like a pretty cool place, but it came highly recommended for great food (especially good burgers). And frankly, a good burger is the way to our hearts! The restaurant was awesome, and the food did not disappoint, prompting Nathan to claim that it was “the best burger I’ve ever had in my life”. If you know him, you know this is a big deal!
By the time we finished dinner, it was 6 pm. The market was closed, we had seen everything we wanted to see, and we were dead on our feet! So we hopped the light rail back to our hotel to prepare for the big Sunday ahead of us. One of the best parts about our day Saturday was how many other Patriots (and USC) fans we saw out and about – we definitely were not the only ones sightseeing. It was really fun to say hi and wave to complete strangers who shared our team spirit (and even more fun when people mistook us for being from Boston!). We had the most fantastic day exploring Seattle, and I am so glad we went a day early to take advantage of it.
Stay tuned for Part 2 and the big game!