When I recognized that I had missed two consecutive weeks, I promised an epic F4F post to make up for it. Then I skipped that next Friday. Yes, I know, I'm a bad blogger. Don't worry, I'm wearing my cone of shame.
On a lighter note (second thing), I'm making it up today.
A coworker of mine was heading over to Seattle for a family vacation and wanted some tips on where to go/what to see. She was only planning on a three day trip, so there clearly was not time for everything. So I gave her my top 10 things to see and do while in the Emerald City.
(In no particular order...)
What to do:
1. The Ballard Locks. A good place to kill a couple hours. Watch the boats pass through from lake to sound or vice versa. There's also a fish ladder, beautiful garden, and open shaded grassy areas perfect for a picnic.
2. Woodland Park Zoo. It's not the greatest zoo in the world, but it is better than Point Defiance and the zoo in Portland. And it's far superior to the Boise Zoo. So Woodland Park is the best in the northwest. It takes a full day to truly appreciate, however I usually do the zoo and the locks on the same day since they're in close proximity.
3. EMP. I'm a music nerd and the Experience Music Project is a must for any music obsessive personality. However, the EMP can be enjoyed by anyone with any level of musical knowledge. Filled with the history of modern music and a treasure trove of memorabilia from musicians that called Seattle home. Many of the exhibits are interactive, giving everyone a hands-on experience that is worth the admission price.
4. The Monorail. There's cheap parking on the north side of town - around the Seattle Center. Park, then walk to the Space Needle. The monorail travels from there to West Lake Center and everything you could ever want to see Downtown is within walking distance. The monorail is a fun ride and is the quickest method of travel between Lower Queen Anne and Downtown. Sure beats the traffic.
5. Downtown and waterfront shopping. One could spend a full day exploring in and out of both quirky and mainstream retail outlets. Westlake Center, Pike Place Market (must see the fish tossing on the main level, but there is a wealth of interesting shops in the lower levels), The original Starbucks, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Sports Den, and Pirates Plunder. Also, (a little outside of Downtown) REI's flagship store is an essential shopping destination. The store features a 65' freestanding rock climbing wall, and gear sampling/testing stations (including a mountain bike test trail).
6. Pioneer Square and the underground tour. The underground tour walks through Seattle's eccentric history and is a delight on it's own. But it starts/ends in Pioneer Square - home of a famous totem pole, art galleries, parks, museums, and antique shops. There are also several great ethnic eateries in the adjoining International District. Another place to lose a full day in wandering.
7. Gasworks Park. A small piece of Seattle/Hollywood trivia: Gasworks Park was one of the many locations in and around Seattle used for filming 10 Things I hate About You. It's a fun park that used to be the Gas and Light Company property. It affords spectacular views of of the north end of the city across Lake Union.
8. The Japanese Garden and Washington Park Arboretum. This is (in my opinion) the most relaxing location in Seattle. Sandwiched between Lake Washington Blvd. and Broadmoor Golf Club, these gardens stretch north to Union Bay, opposite Husky Stadium.
9. The Bremerton to Seattle ferry. This attraction comes with a stipulation. The ride mast be taken from Bremerton to Seattle, and it must be taken at night. It doesn't matter how you get to Bremerton (take the ferry or drive the long way through Tacoma and across the Tacoma Narrows) or how long you stay (it is a fun little town if you want to spend some time there). When dusk approaches, get on the the ferry and head back to Seattle. The sinking sun will provide enough light to enjoy the scenic vistas as you leave the terminal. Twilight will fall by the time you pass Bainbridge Island, and once you turn into Elliott Bay, you see the quintessential site of the City: night has fallen and the city is lit up. The ferry provides an unobstructed view that is equally stunning and priceless.
10. Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge. Roughly a half hour drive east of Seattle, Snoqualmie Falls is a quick detour away from the city. It's a popular attraction and worth the trip. It is not as voluminous as Niagara Falls, but it is taller - dropping 270 feet. There is a breathtaking viewing platform above the falls, a trail leading down into the canyon (for those that want to hike to the base of the waterfall) and the lodge. For an extra special touch, the Salish Lodge has both dining and a day spa. Get a massage. They also have a Coffee Exfoliation treatment. I don't know what that is but it sound invigorating.
What to eat:
1. Alaskan Sourdough Bakery on Pier 57.
2. Old Spaghetti Factory.
3. Dick's Drive In. There are five of them to choose from in and around town. (my personal favorite is the one in North Seattle on 45th.) It's an absolute - and greasy - part of Seattle history.
4. Serious Pie. Delicious, creative, and artistic pizzas. Applewood oven. Ever changing menu.
5. The New Orleans. Jambalaya, gumbo, po boys... It's not 100% authentic creole cooking but it's as Cajun as it gets on the west coast.