I’ve heard many good things about Seattle but if I’m completely honest, I never thought I’d end up going there. That was until I booked a two-night stay at the end of my west-coast USA trip, the main reason being because it made my flight home from my San Francisco and Portland trip much cheaper. So after a brilliant weekend in Portland I made the four-hour journey to Seattle by train with Amtrak.
As I was purely passing through Seattle to save money, when it came to picking out things to do (and admittedly by this point in my trip I was exhausted and ready to come home), I kept it very simple, and very touristy. I came back to London with some happy memories from my time there and managed to cram in a lot in 48 hours. Here’s a quick run-down of the things I go up to:
Got a ferry to Bainbridge Island and came straight back again
This little trip is worth it simply to admire the Space Needle and Seattle’s high-rises from afar. The crossing costs $8 for a round-trip, takes 35 minutes each way and offers a brilliant view of the Downtown Seattle skyline. If you’ve got more time, take a longer ferry ride around the islands and explore the area more, but when you’re struck for time like I was this made for a pleasant afternoon’s sailing nonetheless.
Took a trip to the very first Starbucks
Then saw the queue, and ran away. Why I was so fixated on visiting the chain’s first ever store, I’ll never know. It’s located right by the waterfront and Pike Place Market, but I doubt there’s a time of the day when it’s quiet. There are plenty more great coffee options around so don’t feel like you’ve got to drink a latte here!
Had a stroll through Pike Place Market
Arguably one of Seattle’s most well-known attractions, this was a very cool market experience where I got swept away in the endless flow of people making their way through. I got suitably smooth-talked into (almost) purchasing food I would’t be able to take back to London by a few market traders including one fishmonger who tried to convince me to buy a few lobsters and fly them home in his specially designed odour-free flight cabin storage box. Ermm, no thanks.
Pike Place Market is a really quirky place to shop. There are so many colourful stalls and outgoing personalities to go with them. You can admire the incredible floristry skills on display at the flower stalls, selling the biggest bunches for as little as $5. If only bouquets were that cheap in London – my house would be covered. I also laughed pretty hard at some of the brilliant signage and on offer including ‘pleeza no squeeza’ on a display of avocados and ‘don’t even think about touching the display’ – a simple but effective way of telling the tourists to keep their hands off. I obeyed.
Smashed up a load of shellfish at the Crab Pot
Okay, I’ll admit it. Its been a bucket-list wish of mine to visit a restaurant in the US someday that I’ve seen on Man vs Food. The Crab Pot episode stuck with me for ages – how satisfying would it be to smash up a load of shellfish yourself after your server has poured a bucketload of fresh seafood and potatoes onto your table and provided you with a bib?! Yep, you can do just that, right here on Pier 57. De-stress with your little wooden mallet of joy and get messy.
Took a short trip north to the business district for breakfast
Here I had breakfast at a gorgeous place called the Portage Bay Cafe, just round the corner from Amazon’s global headquarters in an area full of shiny new apartment blocks, clean streets and healthy eateries. I’d been pretty over-indulgent with my food choices for the entirety of my holiday so I was pretty keen to eat something remotely good for me on my last day.
Portage Bay certainly didn’t disappoint when it came to a fresh and a healthy start. The selling point here for was the amazing breakfast bar – a full spread of fresh fruit, syrup and cream to top off your meal. This chain pride themselves on offering locally sourced organic and sustainable produce with many of the local food producers listed on the menu. I liked that.
So, there we have it, a summary of my whistle-stop tour of Seattle. Now I’m really hoping life takes me back there one day!