Seattle on the Weekends

People tell me the weather’s terrible in Seattle.

I’m not buying it.

View from the bridge on the way to Woodinville from Redmond, Washington, on the Sammamish River Trail.
Bridge on the Sammamish River Trail from Redmond to Woodinville. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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

Purple kale and upright purple glass sculptures at outdoor section of Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle.
Overcast days make for spectacular colors, such as this glass and plant combination at Chihuly Garden. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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.

 

Giant orange glass sculpture on ceiling at Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum frames view of Seattle Space Needle
Looking up through ceiling at Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum at Seattle’s Space Needle. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

Edgewater Hotel

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.

Warming feet at Edgewater Hotel room fireplace with red Seattle coffee mug.

Beautiful Seattle morning on Elliot Bay viewed from Edgewater hotel.
Don’t you love a hotel window that opens? Morning on Elliott Bay from room at the Edgewater. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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.

View of Seattle Great Wheel light up on Pier 57 as seen from Edgewater Hotel room.
Evening view of the Seattle Great Wheel on Pier 57 was stunning. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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).

Room at Edgewater Hotel showing clawfoot tub, fireplace and window.
Looking into bedroom at Edgewater Hotel from the tub. Staff even brought a foam roller for James to use during his stay. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler
View of the outdoor patio at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle.
We enjoyed the Edgewater’s bar and restaurant for breakfast and nibbles. The patio was understandably popular on pretty days. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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!

Collage of images from Seattle Sounders FC March to the Match and game against Toronto.
Even though it was a May day, still jacket and scarf weather for Seattle Sounders FC vs. Toronto match. Photo Credits: Leah Nyfeler

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).

People wearing Seattle Sounders colors in the March to the Match from Occidental Park in Seattle.
If you go to a Seattle Sounders game, be sure to bring a team scarf and wear the colors. March to the Match is wall to wall fans. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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.

Margaret Atwood featured on Science Fiction Hall of Fame wall in Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture
Wall of writers in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale and 16 other novels. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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.

George Lucas information with hand and light saber prop from Star Wars movie.
Do you really need a caption for this? Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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.]

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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

Box of JonBoy caramels from Seattle.

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

Two martinis on the table at Aqua in Seattle and looking across to windows.
Very classic decor at Aqua to go with our gin (hers) and vodka (his) martinis. Interior photos can’t do justice to the beautiful windows. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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.

Couple at sunset on walk from Aqua by El Guacho to Edgewater Hotel in Seattle.
This overlook at sunset as we walked back from a romantic dinner at Aqua helped us take the perfect date night selfie. Photo Credit: James Nyfeler

Westward

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.

Plate of raw oysters at Seattle's Westward restaurant.
Sampler platter of local oysters on our winter visit to Westward. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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.

View of downtown Seattle across Union Lake from deck chairs at Westward.
Looking across Union Lake to downtown Seattle from Westward’s awesome deck chairs on a sunny Friday afternoon. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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.

Enjoying happy hour in outdoors chairs at Westward in Seattle
Doesn’t he look happy? Making his Seattle business trips fun is my pleasure. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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.
Sunset view of Pier 57 in Seattle with night lights as seen from Edgewater Hotel.
There’s just something so beautiful about a port at night. Lovely Pier 57 in Seattle, as seen from the Edgewater Hotel. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

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