A long weekend in Seattle

Seattle has been on my list of travel for a long time. Seattle is a technology / industry hub with no shortage of things to do. Surrounded by water, mountains and trees, there are lots of lots of outdoor attractions and beautiful views. I only had a few days to explore, so I carefully planned my top picks but left a little time to check things out based on local recommendations. Below describes a long weekend in Seattle, with multiple sights each day but just enough time to relax and soak in the Pacific Northwest.

One of Seattle’s most famous destinations is Pike Place Market, which started in the early 1900s, where farmers could sell produce to local citizens. It has grown to include vendors, the fish market and tourists – lots of tourists.  Some of the highlights of my visit: The fish market, where if you’re lucky you’ll see the stall employees tossing the fresh fish to each other. There are also lots of shops along Pike Place, including the first Starbucks and Beecher’s cheese (home of award winning mac & cheese). If you head just one street over, you’ll find Pike Place Market Chowder. There likely will be a line, but it’s well worth bread bowl and chowder.

Views of Seattle are a must. You have two real options, the iconic Space Needle or the Sky View Observatory.

A little travel tip, at 900 feet – the Sky View Observatory is higher than the Space Needle (600 feet), has a shorter wait and is way cheaper!

To get to the Sky View Observatory, you enter Columbia Tower, take two elevators (there is a sign and security can offer directions). It’s around $13 a ticket, with discounts for military, students and seniors. You can buy a ticket by the security desk on the ground floor – though you still have to stand in line and show your ticket up top, so may not be worth it. I was thoroughly impressed with the views, it absolutely exceeded all expectations!

If you, like me, are determined to hit major iconic sights, then you will also need to make it to the Space Needle & Chihuly Garden and Glass – Located in Seattle Center, these two famous landmarks are definitely worth a visit while in Seattle. Hands down, the best deal is to get the combo pass of the two (they would be $29 each or $44 for the two!). The Space Needle has just finished renovations with new glass! Chihuly Garden & Glass features American artist Dave Chihuly’s blown glass sculptures. I do love that both places are offering free pictures (staff takes a photo then you go to a little kiosk and get to email a copy to yourself for free). At Chihuly, it’s in front of one of the pieces of art. The Space Needle takes the photo in front of a green screen and you can choose one of 4 or 5 backgrounds – so you end up with a great memento.

Bonus views: If you have some time, make your way to Kerry Park. It’s just a small overlook, but it’s a beautiful view of the city and a lot of fun to drive around the charming neighborhoods.

Seattle is located right along the Puget Sound. Water activities are popular – but if you don’t have access to a boat or want to pay to take a tour – don’t worry, Seattle has ferry boats! Three sides of Seattle are surrounded by water, so Ferry boats take you to more directly to the cities across the water. One such example is Bremerton, home to the USS Turner Joy, a decommissioned naval destroyer.

Like nontraditional tourist activities? Then I highly recommend the Bill Speidel’s Underground tour. Did you know that Seattle has underground tunnels? I’ll save the details for the tour but Bill Spiegel’s Underground tour was a treat to learn about the tunnels that were built after most of the city of Seattle burned to the ground to make the ground level higher.


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