Once we were done checking out Vancouver, we made our way back across the border to Seattle for the last 5 days of our trip. The drive down was only a couple hours, and I’d never seen real mountains before this trip, so the scenery was pretty incredible.
Seattle, like Vancouver, was a nice break for the heatwave we’ve been having in the Midwest for the last few weeks and another city I was excited to explore. This time we rented an apartment with Airbnb, which was actually a lot cheaper than a hotel and gave us a lot more space (if you’ve never used airbnb, definitely check it out and use this link for a discount www.airbnb.com/c/carolinez207).
Seattle is another bustling city full of cute little neighborhoods that have so much personality and plenty of shopping and restaurants to choose from.
1) Marysville Outlets - the outlets were actually really great for travel lovers. If you’re like me and getting ready for a trip, this is perfect because they have shops like Eddie Bauer, Columbia, and North Face, and with most of the stores being discounted, it made for a great way to prepare for my trip to Europe.
2) Seattle is the home to so many flagship stores including Starbucks, Nordstrom, and REI. REI is home to the giant rock climbing wall - be warned that before you climb, you have to take a class, so it’s not really easily accessible.
3) University Village - this was recommended to us by a local and is pretty much a big outdoor mall. It has the first Amazon brick and mortar store, a bookstore, which was really fun to look around. We grabbed some lunch and found what is apparently the only ice cream shop in Seattle because 1. I saw no others and 2. The line was 50 people long.
4) Seattle Public Library - this one was totally my sister’s pick because she absolutely loves reading, but I will say it’s a cool place. You can walk around, check out all the floors (ride around on the escalator like a child like me), plus there’s a gift shop and coffee store.
5) Hiking at Coal Creek/Cougar Mountain - with all the mountains around (and the large amount of food and gelato I was eating), I figured a hike was needed. We were really ambitious at first and picked a 4 mile trail, but thank goodness we chose another one because 2 miles was plenty for me. We didn’t see any black bears or cougars (not sure if I’m bummed or thankful for that one), but the trail was absolutely beautiful. Cougar Mountain had tons of different trails, so any level of hiker could manage.
6) Strawberry Festival on Vashon Island - Seattle is not complete without a trip on the ferry to Vashon Island. We happened to be there on the day of the annual strawberry festival, which I would recommend going to if you’re in the area at the end of July. It was kind of quirky (much like the island’s personality). I don’t know that Vashon would be a long term stay kind of place, but definitely worth checking out for a day....
Touristy & Pricier Attractions:
You can’t go to Seattle without doing the Space Needle. It’s not cheap, and it’s pretty much your typical vantage point of the city picture, so if you’re not into that, it’s not worth the money. It does give you a really nice view of the city and the lakes.
Pikes Place is a must do. I put it here because it’s very crowded with tourists, but it’s not pricey at all. It’s a bit different than I expected - I guess I thought it would be a lot of boutiques and all kinds of typical trinket shops, but it was really kind of different. There were lots of small tea shops, food vendors, and places that sold kind of off-the-wall kind of goods. It’s a fun place to walk around and people watch for awhile, and if you eat in the cafe downstairs, you have some beautiful views.
I think my favorite part though, the part I knew nothing about until I got to Pikes Place is that while Paris has the love lock bridge, Pikes Place has a gum wall. Yes, you read that right. They have a gum wall where all kinds of tourists have taken out their chewed gum and stuck it to the wall (me included). I’m not sure if it’s cool looking or just gross.
We got lucky because a family friend owns a seaplane, but if not, I would assume it could be fairly pricey to rent one. That being said, oh my gosh was it amazing to fly over Lake Washington and look at huge homes like Bill Gates, the founder of Starbucks house, etc. Also, we got to wear headsets, so that was pretty cool. Warning though - maybe take something if you get motion sickness easily because it can be a bit choppy in a small plane. My opinion is that this is an experience that is totally worth the money.
Local 360 is a dinner and dessert place on 1st Ave. It’s not a cheap place, but we met up with a family friend for dessert, and the atmosphere was cool. It looks like a repurposed garage. The thing I like most about the west coast is that there aren’t really mosquitoes, so windows stay open all the time.
Restaurants on 1st and 2nd Ave. I can’t even give a recommendation because there are so many restaurants in this area. You can honestly find any kind of food you want - food I didn’t even know existed. You can get Italian, Moroccan (with belly dancers), Japanese, Hawaiian/Japanese, Pizza. That was all just in one block.
Macrina was my all-time absolute favorite though. We went to this bakery several mornings in a row because it was so good. I don’t know what it was about this place. The vibe was cool, the pastries tasted like fresh, French pastries and were all baked that morning, the coffee was good, and the staff was friendly. If you want to get your morning off to a good start, Macrinas was a good way to do it.