Ready to bask in the splendor of Seattle? It’s our favorite city not just in the US, but in the world. Period. This is where my wife and I plan on staying in the future and our first blog post is actually about Why We Want To Move To Seattle.
Yes, it is a city, an urban jungle, but it’s not as chaotic as Manhattan, NY. The endless beauty of mountain views and charming gardens all scattered throughout balance out the busy lifestyle in the city. We’ve been to Seattle about three times, the first couple of times it was just me and my wife, and the third time we took our son with us. We plan on going back soon so our daughter can see and appreciate what Seattle is all about.
So now, I just want to share with you the top things I recommend whether this is your first Seattle trip or you’re visiting again to see some of the places and attractions you missed the first time.
1. Pike Place Market
Located between Pike and Pine Streets at First Avenue, this is one of the oldest and operating farmers’ markets in the US. You can find anything from the freshest sea foods and produce, to inexpensive bouquet of flowers and gourmet cheeses and organic soaps. There’s not much to do here but there’s a lot to see. The vendors are also friendly and willing to hand you samples of what they have. I first had a taste of chocolate pasta here in Pike Market, and bought a package to take home and it was one of the things I regret, ‘coz I should have bought more! I had no idea how to eat it but my wife knows her way around the kitchen and she prepared it both sweet and savory.
Enjoy exploring the different levels of the market, and you might find someone throwing freshly caught fish right in front of you. And I think that’s always fun.
2. Gum Wall
Just a walking distance from Pike Place Market, Gum Wall is literally a wall covered in used gum that are several inches thick. I took photos just like most of the tourists here and it’s funny the facial expressions people make when they take selfies. You can’t help but just make wacky faces here. Yes, it is gross, but it’s another quirky thing only Seattle can pull off.
3. Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
This is a one-hour cruise of Elliott Bay and Seattle Harbor which allows you to soak in the breathtaking views of the city skyline. There’s a narrator on board who shares some info about the majestic Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges and the busy shipyards. The narrator we had was one of the most entertaining tour guides we’ve met and it’s the coolest way to learn more about the city’s historic waterfront. There is a bar in the boat and I like the fact that you can stay on the upper deck outside to take photos and also choose to sit inside where it’s cozy and warm. This is just the perfect way for me to spend a relaxing afternoon after walking around the city all day.
4. Fremont Troll
Also known as the Troll Under the Bridge is an unusual statue under the Aurora Bridge that shows him crushing a real, older VW with a California plate. This is not your usual stunning tourist attraction; it’s a fun sculpture that actually made us smile and a reminder how Seattle humor is. Just want to mention that there is no dedicated parking for this attraction so you park wherever there’s space. This is located in a residential area so be mindful of people who live there especially when it comes to parking and all that.
5. Kerry Park During the Day
This is where you want to go to get that iconic Seattle postcard shot. Almost all movies and shows filmed in this city will always have footages in Kerry Park. This is where you can capture the Space Needle, Downtown Seattle, Port of Seattle and the Mt. Rainier in the background.
6. Jose Rizal Park During the Evening
Having lived in the Philippines, I just have to visit this park named after the country’s national hero. This park offers a spectacular view of Downtown Seattle and Elliot Bay both day and night. This is one of the reasons I want to go back to Seattle because it just looks so lovely in the evening and the perfect spot to take those long exposure shots when it’s dark which I didn’t get the last couple of times we’re there.
7. Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) - Formerly EMP Museum
I haven’t been here in a few years but we had an amazing time last time we went. Exhibits about Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain (we’re Nirvana fans so that’s the main reason we went here) and the biggest names in music particularly Grunge can be found here. And that famous and massive guitar art installation will make any music and guitar enthusiast such as myself swoon. My wife got teary when we were in a section dedicated for Nirvana as it shows some rare footages of their interviews and shows. We didn’t realize that we spent a long time in this museum as there’s so much to see and tons of things to read. I heard there’s always something new to see here and I’ll pay again to visit this museum.
8. Museum of Flight
I’ve considered becoming a pilot, I think any other boy thought about this as a kid. If you are into planes, flights, space or anything aviation, you will love this. It has one of the most expansive display of planes and space crafts. The first time my wife and I went, she was hesitant to go because she thought she might just get bored. We ended up staying longer than anticipated because she actually enjoyed it. There’s so much history and interesting information to learn. The only thing she didn’t like is the jet simulator. It’s a small, enclosed ride that mimics how a fighter jet maneuvers. I was driving it and it was so thrilling. If you enjoy roller coasters, you will love this.
We went here again when we took our son Parker with us and he had the most amazing time. I think this is the first time he told us he wants to be a pilot someday. When we entered the massive room full with actual aircrafts, he was jumping up and down and when he finally settled down, both his hands were on the back of his head like he was in utter disbelief he’s seeing all of these magnificent planes right in front of him. As a parent, seeing your kid this happy and excited is just pure bliss.
9. Chihuly Garden and Glass
Seattle is usually gray and cloudy we all know that already, but the colorful sculpture and art installation you will see here will surely brighten up your mood. They have such unique and very interesting glass sculptures you won’t see anywhere. The work of Dale Chihuly is just overwhelmingly beautiful. I’ve seen some of his work in some museums across the country, but this place right here is dedicated just for his craftsmanship, and by God, it did not disappoint. Whether you just discovered him or you’re a long time fan of his work, you will love this studio glass exhibit. I’m actually seeing this more and more in Instagram and I’m not really surprised, considering there’s just so much explosion of colors and intricate patterns and use of glass. But there’s nothing like seeing all the unique pieces in person, it also has a great vibe all throughout which made the experience absolutely incredible.
10. Seattle Aquarium
My wife and I have always loved visiting aquariums, and we are frequenting them now more than ever since we have our kids. But I can see how some people would just want to skip this especially if they’ve been to other bigger aquariums. My favorite part in Seattle Aquarium are the playful otters. If I can recall, I believe we spent a long time watching them just being silly with each other.
11. Pacific Science Center
Is it too obvious I love museums? There’s a lot of fun and interesting things to do here and I highly recommend this place if you have kids. This is such a cool way for them to learn more about science while having a blast.
12. Seattle Great Wheel
This is Seattle’s giant Ferris wheel located at Pier 57 on Elliott Bay offering great views of the city. There are other ways to enjoy the scenic views but we went because we love riding Ferris wheels, most specially our son. If you have the extra time and cash to spare, I recommend going. There’s minimal wait time, the cars are comfortable and the lights make it look stunning at night.
13. The Original Starbucks in Pike Street
Starbucks fan? Well you need to stop here. It’s very cool to see where Starbucks started but be warned that it will be packed and expect to wait in line to get your cup of coffee. Tourists will also be everywhere taking photos so if all you want is a cup of coffee, go some place else, there are tons of great coffee shops in the area. People from all over the world go here for the experience and not so much because they want their morning cup of joe.
14. Kurt Cobain’s Old House
I already mentioned that we’re Nirvana fans, we had time to kill so we just had to drive to see his old house.
15. Houseboats on Lake Union
I can’t really see myself living in houseboats, but they’re always fascinating to look at and just a great subject for photography.
16. Washington Park Arboretum
We had nice, long walks in Seattle as we just love the gloomy weather all throughout our stay. Taking that purposeful walk in this park allowed us to enjoy those scenic views from the variety of trees, plants and birds. There’s a gorgeous display of fall colors when we went and it was wonderful.
17. Seattle Public Library
Libraries have a special place in our hearts because Kristine and I attended the same University and we would usually study together in our school library. When we got married, we still go to libraries whenever we can and visit city libraries when we’re visiting a new place. The Seattle Public Library is a modern facility offering an impressive architecture. It looks very contemporary compared to most libraries we all know and I think that’s the coolest thing about it.
18. The Center for Wooden Boats
I highly suggest going here if you like boats as they have many unique designs. We went here on a Sunday and didn’t know they offer free boat rides. Enjoying a nice, relaxing boat ride first thing in the morning is just the perfect way to start our Sunday. If you have more experience in sailing, you can rent your own boat.
19. Space Needle
Can you really go to Seattle without seeing the Space Needle? I guess not. You can take photos of the Space Needle from the ground, but the beauty is actually going up the observation deck for the panoramic view of the city. I took photos of every direction when we were on top as every view is different from North, East, West and South. I recommend going both during the day and evening if you have the time.
20. Go on a day trip and enjoy the outdoors.
I will be writing a separate blog post about this in the future but I recommend the following: