Monday, August 24, 2015

Seattle Part 1- Things to Do

Hello again!

I am sorry I haven't posted in forever, but I finally have something interesting to share! I just got back from a Seattle, WA and Portland, OR trip and am eager to let you in on some experiences of what I did (and ate) in those places!

I love the idea of adding a travel element to the blog, so let's get started!

Our flight to Seattle was an late one, with us landing at 12:30am West Coast time.  Unfortunately, due to mismanaging at Hertz Car Rental, we ended up waiting 2 hours for our rental car! We were tired, hungry and not in very good moods! 

We stayed outside of Seattle, and while I would normally show you the accommodations, they were part of an affordable hotel chain, Coast Hotels, and very adequate, if nothing special. The people at the Coast Hotel Bellevue, were very nice, which made up for the fact that the hotel could use a bit of a refurb.  Also, the bed was incredibly soft; we dubbed it The Marshmallow Bed, which sounds great in theory, but wasn't too kind on our backs.

Back to the city, itself. 

Seattle is a beautiful city sandwiched between the Puget Sound (which leads to the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington. This was the perfect place for me as I am never happier than beside a large body of water! 

Driving through the city, you better not be afraid of bridges because they are everywhere, but man, do they provide for some stunning views!  Also, be prepared that as you get closer to the water (Alaskan Way in the main waterside strip) the hills get steep! Work out those calves beforehand!

The weather in Seattle was definitely cooler than here on the East Coast, but we welcomed the change. We didn't really experience any of the famous Seattle rain, but I would have benefitted from a sweatshirt at night as it got a little chilly, even in August!

I hear you: what are the things to do in this awesome, techy, green city?

We only spent a few days in beautiful Seattle, but I think we hit many of the major highlights, starting with the Emerald City's most important icon, The Space Needle!

The Space Needle was built in 1962 for the World's Fair in Seattle. It was built on purchased land within the fairgrounds, which later turned into the Seattle Center park. This was our first stop in Seattle, and I would suggest any tourist plan to spend their first day wandering the park which also houses an artistic themed children's playground, 

The International Fountain( a spray fountain),

the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, The Seattle Center Armory, the Pacific Science Center 

and the EMP Museum. 

We spent some time wandering before we got to the Space Needle, but I would suggest you head there first because the tickets are for specific timed entrances.  Around 3pm we bought tickets for 6:30pm, which gave us some time to wander and explore before heading back for a quick line up to the top.

The top of the Space Needle is very similar to the top of the Empire State Building, but with more amenities.  It is an observation deck through which you can get a 360 degree view of the city and the water that surrounds it. Inside there is a revolving restaurant, or if you are feeling less fancy, a cafeteria style food and drink counter at the top.  

Once you go up, you are allowed to stay up as long as you want, so it might be a nice idea to head up to the top for lunch (as long as you don't get vertigo!)

The Space Needle may be the most iconic spot in the Seattle Center, but it is not the most fun, or interesting, by far! We had lunch in the Seattle Center Armory, which at the time was hosting an Iranian festival. It was interesting and informative and definitely a feast for the eyes, with all of the jewelry and art stands.  There were also performances of women in brightly colored traditional dress whirling around like dancing petals in a stream.

One of my favorite places in the Seattle Center (and my last in this long post!) was the EMP museum.  EMP stands for Experience Music Project and is a Museum containing music, 
Sci-fi and pop culture. It also has a sound studio where kids and adults can experiment with music and sound.

While we were there we saw a Star Wars costumes exhibit, 

a horror exhibit (which I found interesting, especially the bit about the science behind our attraction to fear),

a fantasy exhibit, which was particularly exciting for a fantasy book nerd like myself,

and sci-fi exhibit, which was visually stimulating and showed some of the iconic figures of the Sci-fi genre, but was a little flat to me.

They had various music exhibits including a Nirvana exhibit (c'mon, it's Seattle) and a Jimi Hendrix exhibit (the shape of the museum is supposed to emulate the iconic image of Hendrix's guitar post stage smash, engulfed in flames, from above.  I didn't see it, may you will)

There was also a Chuck Jones exhibit and video game exhibit.

As you can see, the museum is eclectic and definitely strays a bit from its original goal of being an interactive music center, but I loved it.  I found that it really celebrated "nerd culture", which, being the huge nerd I am, really appreciated and found value in!

Ok, this post is already long enough, so I will leave it there for now.  More on things to do, see and eat in Seattle next time!

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