One of the reasons I started this blog was to get myself writing about my current traveling as well as the past. If I keep putting off what I am currently doing, I’ll never get it done! So for my summer vacation this year, I decided to keep it local and traveled up to San Francisco (I haven’t been since December!), Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria. I have been to all these places before (except Victoria) but I went to Seattle and Vancouver as a kid and have been wanting to go back for years, but the reason I haven’t is that the price for plane tickets has never been justified for me. What the hell, it costs like $200-250 to fly from LAX to NYC, but closer to $300 to fly from LAX to SEA? That doesn’t make any sense. I mean, I know what that is, but it still annoys me, which is why I have been putting on this trip for so long. But this is the first summer I am back in the US and working again and since I didn’t really know my vacation schedule or how the company I work for reacts to traveling, I decided to keep it local and do something I have been wanting to do for a long time. And in regards to the plane tickets, since I just bought a bunch of one-ways, I don’t think I saved any money, but the timing was fine and the price was in my range. Oddly, my best deal was the SEA-LAX leg at $118 on Southwest (with a stop in Sacramento) and the worst was SFO to SEA at like $128 on Virgin. What the hell?
Anyway, since I don’t really have anything big coming up at the moment, I decided to bit the bullet and just go this summer. After 4 days in SF with my sister, mother and various friends, it was finally time to hit something new! During our marathon driving vacations as a kid , we went to Seattle with a day trip to Vancouver and ever since then I have been wanting to go back. I remember the city being just the right size, right on the water and beautiful! I get off the plane and the first thing that greets me is the HEAT. What the hell? Another reason I chose Seattle was to ESCAPE the heat. Of course, I had just come from SF, the always coolest city in the lower 48, so my comparison was a bit off. I took the lovely Link Light Rail straight from the airport right into town, and the last stop is like 3 blocks from my hotel. Choice!
I stayed at the Moore Hotel, right at the edge of Downtown and Belltown. 2 blocks from Pike Place Market! The room I reserved was European style and upon check-in, the guy asked if I wanted a room with AC and a toilet on a lower floor or a top room with just a bed and sink. He did slyly tell me that this was the hottest day they had had all year so far and that it was supposed to cool down and before I could even choose, he suggested the top room. And what a great choice! I had a view of the Sound and part of the Public Market sign. I left my window open every day but closed it within a crack at night because the hotel was on a busy street and it did get loud. The room was HUGE! Came with a HUGE closet, sink, desk, two chairs, queen bed, tv and drawers. And look what met me when I walked in!
I am so used to hostel style places and this place provided bar soap, cheap towels and plastic cups, it was beyond what I expected! Plus there was a public computer in the lobby so I could quickly check and clean out my mail every day. Not expected at all. And the best part was location. It was easy walking distance to EVERYWHERE. 3 minutes to Pike Place Market, 20 minutes to both the Space Needle and Pioneer Square and a nice 45 minute walk up to Volunteer Park and the “Black Hole Sun” doughnut. Plus, when I was there, the weather did cool down considerably.
I was only in town 2 days and I covered a lot of the city area. The first thing I did when I woke up on the first day was do the Underground Tour as this is something I have wanted to do since I was a kid. It was fantastic! Very funny and informative about the history of Seattle. My guide was also a history teacher for a while and her enthusiasm for the subject was a great bonus. After the tour, I walked back to Pike Place Market via the harbor front, which I have to say at this time, isn’t the most attractive. Some of the piers are done up in pure tourist fashion which I am kind of meh on. Great for kids though! I walked around the market and loved getting lost amongst all the levels of it. I watched some fish being thrown before grabbing some lunch in the area. In the late afternoon I walked over to the Space Needle and went to the top. I am sucker for observation decks and almost always have to go to the top of the highest building or famous structure in town. I did the Space Needle 20 years before, but this time I thought I would mix it up a bit and go at dusk and it was definitely different! I don’t know if I would recommend sunset for a first timer, but no matter what time of day, the view is great.
The next day, on the recommendation of the front desk when I checked into my hotel, I took a long walk up to the Capital Hill area and over to Volunteer Park. Volunteer Park is home to a pretty cool water tower you can walk up and have views of the park and Space Needle (FREE!) as well as “the doughnut” as everyone calls it. You might know it better as the thing Soundgarden were referring to in the song “Black Hole Sun”. After seeing it, guess what song I had in my head for the rest of the day? I took a leisurely walk back into town, stopping for lunch on Broadway which is filled with normal shops and restaurants.
To read my Yelp reviews on places I ate, see my Yelp page here. One place I didn’t eat at was Starbucks. Since Seattle is known for coffee and I can have Starbucks anywhere else in the world, why would I have it here? I drank all the local coffee I could. And it was delish!
Moral: And that was my time in Seattle!! Perfect weather, enough to do around town for 2 days with no car. Anymore time and I would recommend renting a car for day trips to nature places outside the city. Project for next time!