After months of research, planning, and day-dreaming we finally visited Seattle, Washington as part of a more extensive trip to the Pacific Northwest. Neither of us has been this far northwest and were really excited to explore a city I just knew I was going to love. That said – there were a few things that no amount of research prepared us for. Here’s they are in no particular order:
Sunshine & Hot Weather
All I knew of Seattle prior to research was that it’s considered a gray and rainy place where grunge music thrived. It has a marketplace where they throw fish to the customers (thanks Real World Seattle opening credits for that one). Literally, anything pop culture teaches one about Seattle is basically what I expected. Needless to say, the city is bathed in sunshine and blue skies our entire visit really threw me off any preconceived notions. Later I was told we arrived a day after a season of gray skies and drizzly rain just ended so go figure.
Hills, so many hills
OK, I may be exaggerating a tiny bit about the entire city being a hill. We opted to hold off on renting a car until we were ready to drive further west thinking we could walk everywhere. Well, our hotel was at the top of a hill and everything we wanted to walk to were blocks down the hill. The hill was so steep you felt your feet slide to the tips of your shoes and you leaned back as you walked down, leaned forward as you trudged up. It got to be too much at one point and we started to rely on Lyft rides. I don’t mind walking but this was definitely a challenge.
Pike Place Market is HUGE
Knowing in advance that Pike Place Market was going to be big still did not prepare me for the block-spanning market in person. Hundreds of people, fish flying, a row of the most insanely beautiful flower bouquets as far as your eyes can see, levels of specialty shops and food stands. Then there are the restaurants and shops outside of the main market. It would take a person visiting a full day to multiple days to really get the full scope of everything Pike Place Market has to offer. Not to mention the secret tourist attractions: the gum wall that is as disgusting as it is fascinating, the Heaven’s Gate floor tile (couldn’t find it!), secret little details from unique lighting to secret gardens and even a low-key hidden restaurant. Supposedly the first Star Bucks (which is pretty underwhelming from the outside) and so much more. We visited multiple times and I still feel like I only seen a small offering.
Where are you, Mt. Rainier?
Picture this: You pay a fee to upgrade your hotel room to a mountain view. You arrive in your room, take a look outside… continue to look outside and feel a bit confused and a little ripped off. Where is the mountain view?! We should have taken the Space Needle view! Well, it turns out, as we learned on a harbor cruise with Argosy Cruises, that the lovely people of Seattle might get to see a clear view of Mt. Rainier less than 100 days a year due to the atmosphere. Later, when we returned to our room and looked out the window I said “Oh, there you are Mt. Rainier!” as we had a perfectly pinkish view of the mountain as the sunset. Earlier, it looked like a cluster of clouds through some buildings.
Have you visited Seattle and notice anything you weren’t expecting?