People tell me the weather’s terrible in Seattle.
I’m not buying it.
See, every time I visit, the sun shines (at least some), rain (if any) is a gentle mist, and I thrill to the fresh, clean, cool air. I’ve yet to pass a day when the weather was so awful I couldn’t enjoy exploring, wandering around on my own two feet, soaking in the area.
My first visit to the Emerald City (see “Seattle in 72 Hours”) was a year ago. Since then, I’ve been back four more times–and I hope there are many more trips in our future. Perhaps one day, I’ll get even to experience a truly terrible days-long Seattle downpour.
In the meantime, here are a few additional things I’ve discovered around Seattle.
A Slew of My Favorite Seattle Things
Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
With so much to do in Seattle, my hubby and I naturally developed a “next time we’re here” list. Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum was first on my second visit. Truly a breathtaking experience for those who love glasswork (me). The gardens are magical places to sit and contemplate beauty, and the inside galleries offer information and a surprisingly up-close view of giant, involved installations. An indoor theater runs several short films featuring the artist himself but the real fun is watching the live glassing blowing session on the garden stage. Note: the space is small and quickly feels crowded, so plan to visit during an off-time, such as a weekday.
Next time: Believe it of not, I still haven’t taken a trip to the top of Seattle’s Space Needle, which is next door to this cluster of museums.
Kind of a mixed blessing when your room is so beautiful you don’t want to leave. The Edgewater Hotel, believe it or not, is Seattle’s only accommodation directly on the water.
The windows in our room opened and, had I packed rod and reel, I could’ve fished in Elliott Bay from the comfort of my cozy armchair. I snuggled in a bathrobe with the fireplace (!) lit, windows open, my feet resting on the shaggy bear ottoman (available in the downstairs gift shop). The clawfoot tub got a workout, too. Even better–the Edgewater is conveniently located on Pier 67 within walking distance of all sorts of destinations: businesses, museums, parks, markets, restaurants, stadiums….no wonder the Beatles chose the then-new Edgewater on their first American tour.
Next time: Fully explore nearby Myrtle Edwards Park and its 1.25-mile pedestrian/cyclist pathway along Elliott Bay (I stopped at the Olympic Sculpture Gardens, right by it, but wound up moving on to other things that day).
Seattle Sounders Match Day Parade and Game
Twenty years of watching games created a fan (see “Thank You, Son, For Making Me A Soccer Mom”), and World Cup play plus many trips to Nacogdoches, TX, made me a Clint Dempsey admirer. Naturally, a Seattle Sounders FC match occupied top billing on our “must do” list. But Sounders fandom involves more than merely showing up at the stadium in proper kit. James’ Seattle acquaintances all said we needed to experience the Sounders’ March to the Match, a more than 10-year tradition where scarf-waving, cheer-chanting fans parade from Occidental Park to CenturyLink Field. We had a blast!
What a thrill to see soccer fans exhibit the rabid fandom associated with Texas football–there was a pep band! Even more exciting: an actual pro soccer team playing on a dedicated soccer field (don’t get me started on Austin’s lack of team and proper pitch).
Next time: See the Seattle Reign FC (get it?), the pro team boasting U.S. national and Olympic roster member Megan Rapinoe and a slew of other current soccer stars.
Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop)
For science fiction fans, visiting Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture is a virtual religious experience. Because of scheduling, I’d planned to spend only a small portion of the day inside but time flew; six hours later, I reluctantly left to meet James and his coworkers.
Oh, I saw everything. Yet I’ll go back. In a heartbeat.
There was the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, full of quotes from famous writers, preserved manuscripts, and iconic props, aka SHRINES to my favorite books, movies, and TV shows.
The fantasy exhibit (hello, Princess Bride, Wizard of Oz, and all things Tolkien!) was another world; the horror films hall, a much scarier scenario. [Question: Do you file the Alien movies under horror or sci fi? Let’s debate.]
I enjoyed several guitar exhibits, the Seattle Seahawks hall (Super Bowl ring!), and live musical performances throughout the day. The museum store even got a visit.
I saved “Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds” for last. This special exhibit, a high point for me, was worth the additional entrance fee. Naturally, I fired off geeky texts to my Trekkie friend, cried just a little in front of the White House photo featuring President Obama and star Nichelle Nichols, and gaped over the series’ full 50-year span of permutations.
Next time: Go back, no matter what’s showing. Exhibits change regularly and, in the summer, there’s Campout Cinema, which sounds like a fabulous date night trivia/movie/picnic/snuggle fun event.
Eating in Seattle
If you’re visiting and don’t enjoy the Seattle food scene, well, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. So many fine places to eat, full of fresh seafood and farm-to-plate foods, it’s hard to swing and miss when dining. Here are a few standouts.
Culture Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck
During my sojourn at MoPop, I ate at Culture Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck. The museum’s eatery is worth a solo trip of its own.
My hot green tea and poke bowl provided the perfect fresh and tasty midday break; its small but varied menu has something for all (including a full bar). Outstanding fare, especially for a museum cafe.
Nope, I didn’t eat these beautiful treats at Culture Kitchen. I discovered Jonboy caramels at Pear Delicatessen in the Pike Place Market on our first trip. Now, I buy a box of these amazing local candies every visit.
Aqua by El Gaucho
Need a special date night venue? Want something traditionally romantic overlooking the water? Thinking martinis and raw oysters? Aqua by El Gaucho is your spot. The walk to the tip of Pier 70 from the Edgewater (Pier 67) is short enough for cute shoes; even dining indoors on a cool and misty evening, the view of Elliott Bay is lovely. Knowledgeable, helpful waitstaff and, as with many Seattle restaurants, finding gluten-free options is not a problem. Expensive, but worth it.
We’ve been twice to this wonderful seafood-themed restaurant in Wallingford on Union Lake, the only restaurant we’ve yet to repeat on a trip so far. And we’ll keep repeating.
On a dark, cold, rainy winter night, our first Westward experience was all about the food: fresh local oysters (yes, we get oysters EVERYWHERE in Seattle; it’s a passion) and innovative and reasonably portioned main dishes with a Mediterranean flair served by friendly staff in a cozy, well-decorated interior with a welcoming bar. Nice.
The second time, a gorgeous spring afternoon drew us to happy hour at the restaurant’s outdoor space, complete with Adirondack chairs (pre-sunset) and fire pit (post-sunset), creating a perfect relaxing “aaah” moment before a lovely meal. I couldn’t stop smiling.
My husband said, “I think we’ve found our place.”
Yes, dear. You’re right.
Seattle-based Side Trips
My friends, stories about these adventures need their own separate entries. Look for upcoming posts about
- making an afternoon excursion to Tacoma, on Puget Sound, only a short 32-mile drive from Seattle; and
- a quick but packed weekend getaway across the border to Vancouver, my first visit to Canada.