Whenever someone mentions Seattle, I always think “Sleepless in Seattle”. I actually don’t think I have ever seen the movie but it was a huge hit and any movie with Tom Hanks in it usually has a big following. So how is Seattle? It is an interesting city and definitely has a different feel to other cities I have visited in the past. There are still a lot of shops and streets but it never feels crowded, it has some quirky places and some people may argue it was the birthplace of hipsters.
The main sites and popular sites are found in Central Seattle along its Western side, where you may go to the space needle, pike market or go for a cruise with argosy.
However, I feel that if you do visit then 4 days would be sufficient if you want to experience Seattle itself but like any city, you may have to spend a few years here before you’ve seen it all.
Getting here and finding my room
So from Vancouver I booked a Boltbus online, it does advertise that any available seats leftover (5 minutes from departure will be up for grabs) but you can always rock up to Pacific central station and book a greyhound if you’re getting the anxiety sweats. If you fancy giving Boltbus a try then you have to book on their site, I believe a one way ticket Vancouver to Seattle was $23. Bargain!
They provide free wifi for 24 hours on the coach and two pit stops, they stopped at Bellingham along the way and that was it. They had charging ports which was really useful and the plenty of legroom.
Once you get into Seattle, if you have booked a room which isn’t in downtown or close by to walk to, you can get the city bus or metro. I bought an Orca card for $5 which was useful and you can buy them from any metro station vending machine and just keep loading it with credit whenever you need it and the fares varied from $2.50 – $3.75 depending on peak hours.
I stayed in a hostel home on AirBnb – dead cheap at only £11 a night. It was called Crayola homes and overall a decent stay. The room itself is quite small and I shared with 4 other people, there was a shared bathroom which was well kept and the shower was always hot! The management of the hostel was good as everything was labelled and the rules were clear and laid out, so I can’t really fault it but the only downside was that the room was noisy because they have a dehumidier and fan always running to ensure rooms are kept clean. However the kitchen was never ridiculously busy and there were basic things provided, so I didn’t have to buy it myself. I mean, who wants to lug a bottle of olive oil around. However if sharing a room isn’t for you then you might want to consider an private Airbnb as a cheaper alternative to a hotel.
- Space needle
- Chihuly Glass Garden
- Museum of Pop culture
- Seattle Duck and Ride
- Pike Market
- Discovery Park
- University District – foodie
- Columbia Centre
- Argosy harbour ride
- Seattle Aquarium
- Seattle Science centre
- Fremont Troll
- Bruce Lee gravesite
- Starbucks Reserve and Roastery
- Seattle Art Museum
Space Needle – Chihuly Glass Garden
While I was visiting Seattle, the space needle was closed for some renovations and a lot of locals said that it was because they were installing a glass floor into the restaurant portion of the tower. The special thing about the Space needle it will rotate every hour and you get a different view of Seattle while you are in it. Pretty cool! The space needle was built to coincide with 1962 Seattle World fair and has been up ever since.
Chihuly glass garden and the museum of pop culture are all nestled in one place, which was very useful. The glass garden was my favourite site here, the artist Dale Chihuly envisaged his glass art in conservatories or gardens and this is how this museum came to be. The museum is included in the Citypass and I would not miss it, the art will leave you speechless and if you get the chance to watch a free demo of glassmakers crafting glass then stay behind and watch.
It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t show all the photos!
Coming up are some glass chandeliers!
Museum of Pop Culture
The museum of pop culture or MoM is another interesting museum. The external structure demonstrates how quirky and fun it is inside. There are various entrances, I entered via the South entrance but in hindsight, the West may be the best entrance to go through but you can meander your way around. There were various rooms, from what I can remember there was:
- History and Collection of Nirvana memorabilia
- History and Collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia
- Star trek room
- Main Hall (huge projection screen!)
- Retro games room/ Indie games
- History of sci fi room
- Underground room – Infinite Worlds
- Sound lab
MoM definitely had a lot to see and each exhibit was very interesting. Some of the exhibits are temporary and so you may end up going back multiple times over the span of a few months.
So many rooms and pictures!
Pike Market – Argosy Cruises
Unfortunately I visited Pike Market on a rainy day but it was still a good experience. It is probably one of the places you would take your foodie friend or if you’re a foodie then this is for you. Bev couldn’t join on this “once in a lifetime trip” as my nan called it but I would imagine, this would be where we spent all our money. There is a huge amount of fresh fish and seafood here and if that’s not your thing there are other foods. I only tried out Pike Place Chowder and Beechers grilled cheese sandwich but there were other things I fancied but I wasn’t desperate to try. If Bev was here then we could mix and match! Perks of having a partner.
Although Pike place market is known for having renowned eateries, there are also markets found on several different floors. There are a lot of thrift type stores and retro stores, I even managed to find a Swami which was similar to the one in Big (another Tom hanks film – one of my favourite childhood films!). If you want to make a day of it, you could easily spend the morning in Pike Market and then go for a cruise with Argosy cruises.
I wasn’t expecting much from Argosy cruises as I didn’t think there would be much to chat about. However it was a really good cruise, the weather wasn’t the best but the cruise was an hour long and had a lot of interesting factoids about Seattle from why it was named Seattle to shipping containers and iconic buildings, I would highly recommend.
During one of Seattles sunny days, I decided I would venture out to Discovery park. The skies were clear and the sun was shining. I took the 33 bus to Discovery park boulevard and began my trek. Please wear hiking boots or shoes because some of the trails were abit muddy! I would recommend going along the trails or even renting a Limebike or Ofo (or mofo as someone had labelled it!) and take your time walking along. Make your way towards the coast and towards North point where the views are immense, pack a picnic on you are on the way to having a great day out!
Seattle Duck Ride – Fremont Troll – Bruce Lee’s grave
There are some other honourable mentions, Travis from my previous accommodation in Vancouver said that he would recommend the Seattle Duck and ride, it is essentially a coach which will give you a tour of the city and then covert into a boat to give you a cruise too, although I didn’t do this, you can catch a ride where the tour starts near the Space needle but I believe the tours stopped at 4pm.
The Fremont troll is towards the North of seattle and was a cool site, it was created by a few artists in an attempt to stop drug trades and dodgy dumping under the Fremont bridge, it is a huge troll sculpture which is said to derive from Scandinavian folklore.
Another interesting site is a homage to Bruce Lee and his son Brandon, both of which were entertainers/actors and their burial sites are found in Seattle. There is even a museum in Seattle called the Wing Luke Museum which has an exhibition dealing with Lee’s career and Asian influence in Seattle. The museum itself is very well laid out and I could easily spend 2-3 hours there, the guided tour was very good and showed the hardships that chinese, japanese and fillipino immigrants faced in America. You could make a day of it by going to the museum and sampling the food from Chinatown, maybe you would like to sit in Bruce Lee’s favourite restaurant Tai Tung.
Seattle Art Museum – Starbucks Reserve Roastery
Ok although I am not art expert, I do like to go to a gallery every now and then. I attended the SAM or Seattle Art Museum which has a huge collection of modern art and cultural art. The gallery itself was impressive and ranged from contemporary art to european classical art. The admission to the gallery is free BUT they put in fine print that there is a suggested donation, as the gallery has large funding from other sources it is bound by rules that admission is free but you can donate if you wish to (or from what my understanding is). If you go onto its website it will state suggested donation which is around $23 or £16 – however if you do wish to see a special exhibit you will have to pay the full price. There is a free admission every first Thursday of the month and 50% off exhibits. Go ahead, culture yourself.
Another thing that a local suggested was to try out Starbucks Roastery and he described it “a fancy starbucks” and I thought, well how fancy can it be? The roastery is located on Pike Street and it is as Iggy Azalea would put it, “fancy”. There is a tremendous amount of wood furnishings and the service is immense, they greet you and offer to help you with your drinks selection and offer a coffee tasting menu. They bring you out your coffee and you can lounge in the public space while looking at the awesome coffee filtration behind the scenes. The overall look of the coffee-house/ roastery is completely different to any starbucks you will ever walk into and they even sell a unique R* Starbucks merchandise in the store. Even if you are not a Coffee connoiseur, I would give it a go as I was informed there were only two Starbucks reserves/roasteries – Seattle and Shanghai.
I’m not much of a foodie, only when Bev is around will I indulge. However I did give some places a go but in major cities, there are too many eateries! Choose wisely if you come to visit!
Got a grilled cheese at beechers, the cheese is churned opposite the counter, the flavour of the cheese was really good but I felt that it needed a different texture in terms of the bread, regardless – decent.
Some people said that Seattle has its own style of hot-dog with cream style, at first I thought, is that a good combo but after I thought, that is a great combo. The cream cheese doesnt much flavour but gives the hot-dog a creamy flavour and texture. There are alot of hot-dog vendors but I got mine at dog in the park.
I also read that you have to try Dicks drive in, the price of a deluxe or classic is cheap but it reminded me of a discounted Five-Guys without the heavy price tag. You get juicy beef patties and some hand cut fries, decent for a cheap eat or a snack. I didn’t go for the milkshake as its way too much sugar for me but in hindsight, two burgers and some fries with a milkshake would’ve hit the spot.
Also wanted to try out NYC deli, I got the Space Needle which was delicious. The shop literally has every type of food and good value for the amount of meat I got in my $7 sandwich.
- Highly recommend getting a Citypass
- Enjoy Pike Place Market, grab the chowder at Pike Place Chowder – voted best chowder! Try out the fresh seafood
- Recommend the Argosy cruise – I opted to not go see the aquarium but you may choose to, especially if you’ve bought the family along
- You may want to visit the Seattle campus site and see what eateries they have on offer there too
- Columbia centre is an alternative to the Space needle, it is cheaper and taller but doesn’t have to same reputation as the space needle
- There is an alleyway which leads to the cool Gum wall and if you like ales, check out Pike Alley pub