Over Labor Day, I hauled myself up at the ungodly hour of 3:30 AM, hopped on an Amtrak train to BWI and somehow survived a 5-hour flight next to a man with extremely long legs. What’s awesome about traveling westward is that you essentially get all of the time you spent on the plane back – which I love. So I took advantage of the time, and met Sarah (my best bud, soul friend, life force) for lunch a little north of downtown Seattle, and then proceeded to explore downtown, and up into Queen Anne the next day. I’ll write more about our hike around the foothills of Mount Rainer (holy hills) but for now, I hope you like these photos!
One thing I can say: buy an ORCA card. If you’re familiar with DC’s transit system, it’s literally almost the exact same as a SmarTrip card. An ORCA card is reloadable, costs around $2, and works on all buses, trolleys, etc, except the metrorail. It also works on the LightLink, which is the Seattle underground/above-ground transit system.
Sarah works literally one block from the Space Needle.
I ended up buying a daypack the week before the trip while picking up my hiking boots at REI. It’s the Co-op Flash 22 Pack, and it was supremely helpful both in hauling groceries home after my trip and serving as my personal item on all of my flights and travel. It’s super light, held up really well in the Seattle rain (phone was in an exterior pocket and didn’t get soaked from the city’s traditional mist). I also primarily used it as my daypack when Sarah and I went hiking, and it was the perfect size for a water bottle or two, an outer layer, granola bars, phone, keys, wallet.
Seattle really quenched my thirst for a huge city again. I hate admitting it, but I miss Chicago’s skyscrapers, and I miss the way the river cuts right up against the riverwalk. Seattle really felt similar to Chicago in that way – it’s right on the Sound, and while I’m sure the skyscrapers downtown aren’t the main draw, they made me feel happy for some reason.
I immediately headed here as soon as I landed because 1) the weather was sucky and I figured it wouldn’t be crowded, and 2) I was curious! I’ve only seen photos!
It was extremely crowded, and the sun came out right as I got there, so it was hot and sweaty and a little claustrophobic. But I’m still glad I went.
In addition to the main market, which you’ve probably seen photos of, there are also levels of the market down below as well. I found a cute little vintage mug shop down there, and almost caved and bought the Mt. St. Helens mug.
Post Alley is an alley right next to Pike Place, and is also filled with cute-but-touristy shops. Worth an amble.
One of my other goals for my first day in Seattle was to get as close to the water as physically possible. Mission accomplished.
After making it downtown, I headed over to Pioneer Square to get a cup of coffee at Cherry Street Coffee House and to make some personal phone calls – it was nice to take a break from walking. Sarah recommended Pioneer Square, and I’m so glad she did. The area is one of the oldest in Seattle, and has all of these giant green trees and old shopfronts.
This is pretty much where day one ended because I just walked back to meet Sarah for dinner. Day 2 + 3 are coming soon, and I’m working on an interactive Google Map showing you around the city from my point of view. Stay tuned!