Our Alaskan cruise departed from Seattle, so we decided to tack on a few days to our trip after the ship arrived back in port so we could explore the city! We really loved Seattle… the weather was perfect, there were so many interesting things to see, and we got to visit some sweet friends.
We arrived in Seattle on a Friday morning and went straight to our hotel to drop off our stuff. We stayed at the Paramount Hotel, which was absolutely lovely (despite the fact that we picked it for its reasonable price!). We ended up in a big corner room with giant windows on two sides and lovely views, and we felt so fancy! Haha.
The first place we visited was Pike Place Market. We walked there from the hotel, and we stopped to see the beautiful Seattle Public Library on the way.
What can I say about Pike Place Market? It was incredible. Oh, the beautiful produce and flowers! I was oohing and aahhing the entire time. There were sunflowers the size of dinner plates. There were giant bouquets of absolutely gorgeous flowers for $10. I don’t see why every bride in Seattle doesn’t just run to the market on the morning of her wedding and pick out bouquets there. They were that pretty. Just look at these photos...
Of course, we also saw the famous stall where they throw fish, and a lot of other fun veggies, etc.!
Right below the market is the most disgusting tourist attraction ever – the Gum Wall. It’s a wall covered in chewed gum, and it’s apparently been growing since the late 1990s. The alleyway smelled like mint gum. It was totally gross, but still kind of fun to see.
We stumbled upon the most fascinating shop under the market, Old Seattle Paperworks. The store is full of old posters, brochures, postcards, prints, letters, etc., and it was so fun to browse through! We stayed there for about an hour just flipping through all the various things.
We had lunch at Beecher’s Cheese, a shop in the market that makes their own cheese. We got a grilled cheese sandwich and some mac n’ cheese, and both were absolutely delightful. We even got to sample their cheese curds and watch the cheese being made through a big glass window. So fun.
After lunch we went to see the iconic Space Needle. We didn’t go up in it (more on that in a second), but we did take plenty of photos from the ground.
There are quite a few touristy things right around the Space Needle, one of which is Chihuly Garden & Glass. Chihuly is a blown glass artist, and I’ve been a fan of his for some time, so the Chihuly museum was the one thing in Seattle I was super excited to do.
It definitely didn’t disappoint. The Chihuly sculptures are all so unique and colorful and brilliant… the displays were like a buffet for your eyes.
Also, they get the award for Best Museum Ever because there are photographers that take your photo, and then you can e-mail the picture to yourself from a kiosk for free!
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a new visitors’ center nearby, so we stopped in there as well. It was actually really interesting… lots of interactive displays and interesting information.
My favorite part of the Gates Foundation was the bathroom. Every stall door has a photo of a “bathroom” in an undeveloped country. I think it's absolutely genius. There I was, in a public restroom (something I would normally take totally for granted), but I was forced to think about how blessed I was to be there, in a clean bathroom stall with a modern toilet. Awesome idea.
When we were flying from Houston to Seattle, we sat by a guy on the plane who is from Seattle and it ended up being the best thing. First of all, he’s a wedding photographer and he gave me some Lightroom tips and let me watch him edit photos, but he also gave us some Seattle pointers. He strongly suggested that we not waste our money going up in the Space Needle and instead go to the observation level in the Columbia Center (which is way higher than the Space Needle). We took his advice and were so glad we did!
The Columbia Center is the second-tallest building on the west coast and we were right at the top of it. There were 360-degree views of all of Seattle and Puget Sound. Just beautiful!
Our hotel was attached to a restaurant called Dragonfish Café, and Jeff found some deal online that ended up getting us $80 in vouchers to use at the restaurant, so we had dinner there on Friday.
On Saturday we used another meal voucher to have breakfast at Dragonfish Café, and we rented a car so we could see some of the further-out Seattle sights. We spent all morning and some of the afternoon at the giant Museum of Flight. From NASA to butterflies to the Wright brothers to jetpacks, this place had it all. There was a ton of space stuff…
Astronaut Sleeping Chamber
NASA Training Shuttle Simulator
The highlight was getting to walk through the Air Force One plane used by Eisenhower and Kennedy. So cool.
Doggie Door in the Door to the President's Office
After the Museum, we drove around to a bunch of scenic Seattle spots. The first was Gasworks Park, recommended by our friend on the plane. It's an old gasification plant that's been turned into a park, but the ruins of much of the plant machinery remain. Beautiful views and a little quirky!
On our way to the next spot, we drove by the Fremont Troll, which definitely falls under the “bizarre places in Seattle” category (along with the aforementioned Gum Wall). Under this bridge, there’s just a giant cement troll. So odd, but fun to see!
We also walked through the surrounding neighborhood of Queen Anne and strolled through nearby Parsons Garden.
We went to Mass on Saturday night at Saint James Cathedral, which is one of the most beautiful churches I’ve seen in the U.S. We loved it.
(Taken from Columbia Center)
I always feel irreverent pulling out my DSLR in churches, even if Mass is over, so all I've got is this discreetly-snapped iPhone photo!
Then we drove out to Snoqualmie to see Snoqualmie Falls! Snoqualmie is a cute little town with a big waterfall (taller than Niagara Falls!).
Between this waterfall and all the ones we saw in Alaska/Canada, I've now more than tripled up on #23 from my 30 Before 30 list!
We met our friends Adam and Caitlin (and their adorable daughter!) for brunch at an adorable hotel/restaurant that overlooks the falls. Such a treat! Then we hung out at Adam and Caitlin’s super-cute apartment until it was time to head to the airport, and our quick little Seattle vacay was over!
Thanks for the memories, Seattle!