When my friends wanted to go somewhere for my birthday, I needed to pick a place that would be exciting for us all, something new, and somewhere where people didn’t know us just in case things got a little messy, illegal, and very very sticky.
Seattle was where I picked. End of March and Early April in the North West? Is that a sane choice? I really didn’t care if it rained all the time we were there or if it was as cold as Maine. I wanted to see the other corner of the US I had never seen before.
Landing on Wednesday, and heading out on Monday (with a stay in Vancouver for Saturday and Sunday night) we had ample time to explore the town and see what it had to offer.
Some may not see it, but in my mind, Seattle is a very walkable city. Most of us on the trip grew up in New England and didn’t mind walking a mile or two to get around town. The only challenge with Seattle was its hills. So our legs and buns had a work out during our stay, it was all worth it and the crisp Washington air was amazing.
We of course went to the Seattle Space Needle while in town. It's a must do when you get to Seattle, everyone said, and we listened. My additional must do in conjunction with the needle was to take the monorail from down town to the spire. The whole experience was charming and reminded me of riding the monorail in Disney way back in 1982 tied in with the happy hour visits to the Las Vegas Stratosphere. The views were amazing and the history displays in and around the needle were an added bonus.
And why do I say Seattle is a walkable city? Because you get to see so much more by doing so! I had planned the monorail to the needle and made that very clear to my friends as they kept saying it only went about 8 blocks, but I had not told my traveling companions where we were going next, after the needle. I had wanted to walk by a place called The Rabbit Hole down on 2nd Avenue. “A quirky lounge with a decadent vibe" is its description. Tie that into the fact that it's a Whiskey Bar, I'm sold! I think we stayed there for about three hours, so many drinks and umpteen games of skee ball. Yes, I was the overall winner and we were keeping score. I miss that dark, wooden place.
Another day found us doing the waterfront. Of course you need to visit the Public Market. It’s a good tourist trap and some of the best food is actually across the street from it. Watch them throw the fish, try one of the many apple types (I think over 50), and stop and smell the flowers.
The walk down to the real waterfront found us passing the gum wall. Now, this has been scraped completely down to the brick before, but kids will be kids and it gets re-gummed all the time! Once down to the waterfront, we were shocked as to how good this little big aquarium was to visit. The octopus, jellyfish, sea otters, and many items in the touch tank were quite enjoyable and worth the small admittance fee.
We had seen Seattle from the Space Needle, but The Seattle Great Wheel was another stop on our waterfront experience. Some were a little afraid of heights so I made sure to rock the carriage. This was yet another experience that was, yes, touristy, but quite simple and enjoyable and one I would do again.
We did go to some of the great gay bars of Seattle, Pony – a small place with a great big attitude, Diesel – we met the owners who were so inviting and proud of their awesome bar, Madison Pub – where we played pool and drooled over some rugby players, The Cuff Complex – where we played Miss Pac Man and sang karaoke, The Seattle Eagle, Queer Bar, but didn’t have time for all of them
We rented a car from Avis while there and were able to see two great natural beauties. Around this time of year, if you are in Seattle, make your way to the University of Washington where they have a multitude of cherry trees. Cherry blossom season on the campus is a work of art. The quad area with its massive trees is a sight and the direct and unobstructed view of Mt Rainer was yet another sight I would love to see each year.
Our second great beauty was Deception Pass and well worth the drive from Seattle. To get there from the city, you partake in an awe-inspiring ferry ride, with massive amounts of water on both sides rimmed with mountains every direction you look. Deception Pass itself is where Route 20 connects Whidbey Island with Fidalgo Island. Watching the water rush through the pass and make natural whirlpools, and seeing the massive structure humans made to get from point A to point B, we all took some time to marvel.
One of our last spots we found while walking around was a bitch, Biscuit Bitch. Try whatever you want here. We wanted it all. What we ordered and put in our rat holes was so so sooo good.
What I liked about Seattle was its ability to do what ever it wanted. The architecture, the food, the fun, the city has a feel. That’s what I need from a city, a feel, something almost palpable to take home and keep as a souvenir. I’ve been to many cities before and don’t have the same connection with Seattle I had from day 1.
Thank you, Seattle. We will be back soon.
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