It’s exciting to plan trips to places you’ve never been to!
One day, my ex boyfriend, (we’ll call him “Mr. X”) thought it’d be fun to plan a Pacific Northwest trip. When he suggested Seattle, I wasn’t particularly thrilled. It’s one of those cities I’d heard a lot about, but didn’t actually know anything about, except that it was notorious for rainy weather.
Being that it was on the way to Vancouver, B.C. where we were going anyway, I went along with the plan. I’m glad I did as I ended up falling in love with the city!
Writing about it now, so many amazing memories come back to me. I’m excited to share my Seattle adventures with you!
FACT: Real Girls Over Prepare for Trips...
Getting Ready for the Trip
After traveling 150 days+/yr. for the last few years, I’ve got a whole routine down that helps me plan for every trip ahead of time.
I learned that the city is home to the oldest Starbucks (which I’m sure coffee lovers already knew), also… Nirvana (among many other bands), quite a few major league, pro sports teams (including NFL’s Seahawks)… and what closeted kinky girl could forget… the setting for Fifty Shades of Grey (which we’ll get into another time). 😉
Check the Weather First
Bring on the Rain. I’m sure you’ve heard…. Seattle is one of the most overcast and rainy cities in the U.S. with an average rainfall of 150 days every year. Not the rainiest city. Still, enough to make me question our travel choices.
After I knew what activities we were doing, I planned my wardrobe. For a rainy city, I’d pack cozy sweaters, galoshes, raincoats, and of course an umbrella… None of which I’d end up needing though, lol.
Despite its rainy image, Seattle gets less annual rainfall than New York, Houston, Boston, and Atlanta. It does, however, have quite a few cloudy days and days with light precipitation, particularly in the wintertime.
Source: Current Results
Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
We set out from Salt Lake City, which was the first leg of our trip. Our flight was pretty smooth, only took 2 hours. We flew with Delta Airlines on an 11 AM flight.
For me, plane travel is always exciting. It never gets old, I’m like a little kid… always looking out the window. I live for the butterflies at take offs & landings.
Sometimes you fly into a city and all you see is factories or deserted fields.. Not Seattle! Hello, Cascades. As we were touching down in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, I looked out my window to see the beauty of Seattle greeting us. The love affair started.
And just like that, my negative false impressions of Seattle fell away… Honestly, the climate was a nice relief from Salt Lake City’s dry weather and high elevation. That was good enough for me.
“Destiny is something we’ve invented because we can’t stand the fact that everything that happens is accidental…”
Annie, Sleepless in Seattle
Excited for Seattle
Unfortunately, before this leg of the trip, I had ended up having a Lupus flare up in Salt Lake City which kept me in bed most of the time. So Seattle needed to come through for me in a big way to save this trip.
I try not to beat myself up about missing out on days during a trip because flare ups come with Lupus territory. I’m much healthier now and, knock on wood, haven’t had a flare up in many months.
If I were to take that same trip today, I would have been a little rock star hopping from one place to the next totally healthy. Sadly, that wasn’t the case when I took this trip. I’ve come along way and learned a lot. For people with Lupus, check out my travel tips.
From the airport, we caught a cab and headed Downtown, where we’d be staying.
One thing I quickly noticed is how clean the sidewalks and streets were! Like I’m telling ya! Looked like a movie lot..
Turns out, Pioneer Square is the oldest neighborhood in Seattle. Probably explains why I instantly fell in love. I have a thing for old fashioned things. The cobblestone streets and Romanesque Revival buildings reminiscent of the late 1800s added so much character to the city. I would explore Pioneer Square more at length later during my trip.
During the Yukon Gold Rush, Seattle was very popular due to the hordes of people heading North to try their luck at gold mining. Businesses in Pioneer Square took advantage of this and filled their shops with merchandise to sell to them, even offering classes on how to pan for gold.
Where I stayed: Embassy Suites
When we arrived at our room, we were pleased to find that it was a suite. Had to ask myself, is every room a suite? (Embassy Suites)
We had views of Elliott Bay, the Mountains, & the city all at once… it was stunning. At night, it was hard not to lie in bed, stare out the window, and be Sleepless in Seattle… While watching Sleepless in Seattle.
After checking into our hotel, we found this great oyster restaurant nearby.
We munched on crab and local oysters- Fat Bastards, Virginica, Totten Inlet, Shigoku, & Olympia- say that 10x fast! We washed it down with a couple pints while we planned our next move.
Time to Explore
If your friend loves the atmosphere of a city, your other friend loves being on the water and you love nature, you could all get what you wanted in Seattle.
Sports fans are sure to find something here with their 8+ professional teams. They’ve got serious spirit, having broken the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013 for having the loudest crowd noise at a football game. They’re practically cheering for you to come on over!
With this visit, Mr. X and I only had 72 hours to explore the city, so we had to hustle.
Seattle By Day
Seattle is one of my favorite cities because of how walkable it is. There’s so much to discover on foot.
What a nice stroll. The park had great views of Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, and Space Needle. I liked the art installations scattered throughout.
Right there, you can go to Seattle Art Museum too. I popped inside for a quick look.
Another great park with nice views. This “park” was my favorite area to walk. I liked watching the boats.
Nearby is The Great Wheel (which I went on at sunset, more on that another blog), souvenir shops (I bought my sister a stuffed otter, which the city is known for) and seafood restaurants. A bit of a touristy area.
The waterfront views & Olympic Mountains were very beautiful.
After a stroll, I went and got me some seafood! Of course a trip to Seattle is not complete without it.. it’s fresh, local, & simply the best. We ordered oysters, clams and grilled salmon. The restaurant is right on the water, we had great views from our table.
If you didn’t go to the Space Needle, were you even in Seattle? The views were 360 degrees and incredible!
If you’re scared of heights, they have virtual reality at the base of the Needle you can do instead.
We grabbed some ice cream at the top. They also have a bar if that’s more your thing. 😉
We took a fun ride through the city on the monorail near the base of Space Needle. One of the stops is the shopping plaza. I personally don’t like to spend my time shopping on vacation, unless what I’m buying is unique to that location.. but that’s just me.
Great burger place on the water. Got a bacon cheeseburger & fresh-cut fries. It was quick & hit the spot!
How iconic! It was cool to see in person after having just watched Sleepless in Seattle. The market has some great stuff- fresh seafood, meat, cheese & other goodies!
After skyrocketing prices of onions, the iconic Pike Place Market opened in 1907. Buying from farmers directly was the solution to wholesalers price-gouging produce. The Market is now one of Seattle’s most popular tourist attractions and America’s oldest continually operating farmer’s market.
Source: Pike Place Market
They even have flower stands w/ inexpensive yet, lovely bouquets. Mr. X got me some sunflowers which I carried around the city. Even on the train up to the Canada border before I had to throw them out.😊
Looking out over the Puget Sound in the afternoon, I’d see fishermen pulling in fresh catches of the day. I had to ask myself if they were going to sell them at the market. 😊
Lines were out the door! Guess people needed their caffeine fix. The founder signed the wall of his 1st location, which I thought was cool.
Being that it was Fall, I ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
We checked out this bookstore at Pike Place, in front of the market. I got a couple books which I signed and dated so I remember the city I got it from. I keep all my books.
After sightseeing, it was nice to go back to the hotel and relax. Mr. X & I enjoyed taking a dip in the pool or hot tub.
Seattle’s not just great during the day, check back for my blog, “Seattle at Night”.
Seattle Cried When We Left
So, how did the weather end up being? Sunny… so not what I had expected. I didn’t need my umbrella after all.
Because I had been preparing myself for the worst, I had very little expectations for Seattle. So it’s funny that the one thing I was afraid of (rain) never happened. Guess I over prepared myself.
The city wouldn’t show it’s true colors till literally the moment we were leaving for our next leg of the trip on a train to Vancouver. Maybe it was crying at our departure. 😉 I was genuinely surprised by how sad I was to leave. Seattle has won its way to a top contender of my favorite US cities.
And now, for my favorite part…
Real Girl Reviews
The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
Embassy Suites, Downtown
This was the right hotel choice for us!
Enjoyed our clean, spacious room w/ gorgeous city view.
Indoor Pool, Hot tub, & showers + outdoor deck w/ city views & lounge chairs.
Downtown in Pioneer Square. Location was conveniently located next to King Station where we'd be catching the train & a lot of our activities. Also, Century Link Stadium where major league soccer & NFL play.
Very walkable neighborhood, tourist friendly area.
Every morning, we had a complimentary, full breakfast & access to hors d'oeuvres, cocktails & beverages throughout day as members of Hilton Honors loyalty program. When you obtain status you have access to the lounges which depending on the location, offers all day lounge access & complimentary breakfast which is always a bonus.
You can sign up here.
5 stars all the way!! If I could give it 10, I would. If you can only do 1 thing in Seattle, do Space Needle. Open-air deck w/ 360 degree views as well as a glass floor below. Also, virtual reality for those scared of heights. Can purchase food & beverages as well as Seattle swag at their gift shop.
Pricing & info here.
A must see imo! This was one of my favorite things in the city. There's so much to see nearby on foot- waterfront area, bookstores, restaurants & coffee shops, & unique speciality stores. I spent most of my time in this area. You could easily spend 1/2-1 day here.
Left Bank Books @ Pike Place
If diversity in your authors is important to you, this may be your kinda bookstore. They have new & used books & specialize in anti-authoritarian, anarchist, independent, radical and small-press titles on anarchism, fiction, feminisism, immigration, race & culture, "dis"ability & Deafness, graphic novels, science fiction, sexuality, environmentalism, & more.
Quite a small shop. Bit of a rusty, "been around forever" vibe only true book lovers can appreciate. Got myself 2 used books off the rack outside for a few bucks.
The Oldest Starbucks @ Pike Place
Little known secret, this is not the 1st Starbucks in existence (original at 2000 Western Ave. in 1971 before moving to Pike Pl. 5 yrs later). Still, it's the oldest Starbucks still in existence. What an awesome piece of history for coffee & non coffee lovers alike to enjoy. I ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte which was pretty good.
No place to sit & line is always out the door. If you don't mind, it's worth the stop for photos. Read the history.
Taylor Shellfish Restaurant @ Pioneer Square
I love sea to table! They have fresh, local seafood here which was very tasty. Mr. X & I ordered crab, oysters, & a couple pints. Really satisfied w/ this place. Would definitely come back.
13 Coins Restaurant @ Pioneer Square
Located in our hotel, Embassy Suites, this restaurant was our saving grace after coming back late & starving from a day of sightseeing. They're open 24 hours which is a huge plus. We grabbed some pub food & beers which hit the spot.
The place had a nice rustic interior which I like.
When you walk in, there's a lot of history to look at on the walls. In the dining room, (which is quite large), we got a window seat w/ views of Elliott Bay which was nice while we were enjoying our seafood.
Ordered local oysters, grilled salmon, & clams which were all delicious. Would definitely come back.
Located outside of the Seattle Art Museum, they had interesting art displays throughout park. It's in a very scenic area w/ great views of Elliott Bay & the Olympic Mountains. Worth a stop.
What a lovely park. The whole area really gives you a feel for Seattle. I would recommend this park if you only had 1 to check out. I saw Fishermen bringing in their fresh catches of the day. Lots of seafood restaurants nearby. So legit!
Conveniently located next to my hotel, Embassy Suites in Pioneer Square, Downtown, I could see the beautiful clock tower from my window.
Something about trains & stations are so romantic to me. Right away, I noticed station's stylish look w/ it's clean, white brick & granite interior. Built in the early 1900's, the station is historic.
You can book tickets here.
One thing that would have made my train experience better, is not selecting passengers at random for the good view. That was actually really dumb. Wish there was an option to purchase that side separately or let passengers choose themselves.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my adventures in Seattle and get inspiration for your own trip!
Have you ever dreaded a destination and ended up loving it? I would love to hear about it! Comment below!
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