Alright team, I feel like I fell dormant for a minute there, but I’m back and I’m ready to play! Talking candidly, I’ve been struggling to transition into my new work routine, especially knowing that the whole routine is going to change again in a few weeks when I’m finished training! I am very excited about it all, though, and unfortunately the blog has been on the backburner for the past few weeks while I try to get my life together. I’m still working on that, but I would hate to neglect this any longer, so I’m here and I’m ready to finish up my Pacific Northwest adventure!
So…is cream cheese on a hotdog a real thing? Apparently this is what sets apart the true Seattle-ites from us tourists. If you are looking for true United States food culture, don’t try all the delicious seafood and oysters…it’s the cream cheese hotdog that will truly make you feel like you are in Seattle.
Can you tell that I’m joking?
No, not about the Seattle-style hotdog. This is a real thing! We took it easy on my day in Seattle, so I didn’t get to try one…it’s my one real regret in life. I flew into Portland to visit my college best friend, where we frolicked around downtown and did all things touristy in the quirky city, before hopping in a car and driving north through Mount Rainier National Park on our way to Seattle, Washington, our final destination. By the time we reached Seattle, we were ready to just hang out and not push ourselves too hard. So instead of trying to hit all the museums and hop in a ferry and see all the nature all in one day, we did something even crazier.
We slept in.
Whaaaaat?! Now wait, before you chastise me for this traveling sin, it wasn’t that late. I just mean that we didn’t force ourselves out of bed at 5am to be on the first ferry to Bainbridge (although we did talk about doing this). And also I recognize that some trips warrant reason to sleep in, and maybe that’s your chosen traveling style. I’m not here to judge! We allowed ourselves this one lazy morning, before heading off to Discovery Park, the first stop of the day.
Discovery Park is the largest green space within the city of Seattle, and isn’t your typical tourist destination. It isn’t overrun by sight-seekers and has a pretty laid back vibe. I mean, it’s a park. The 4-mile walking trail loops around the park, but we decided to walk up to the tip of the peninsula, where there is a small lighthouse along the beach. Across the Puget Sound you can see the Olympic Mountain Range within Olympic National Park! There are also viewpoints within the park where you can see Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountain Range, but we stayed on the coastline during our visit. Discovery Park is very scenic, and was the perfect setting for an easygoing morning to start off our day.
Olympic Sculpture Park
Another park that I was excited to see for very different reasons than Discovery Park was Olympic Sculpture Park. We stayed at an Airbnb that was in downtown, so our drive to Discovery Park was about half an hour, and the drive back into the city was roughly the same. Unlike in Portland, we had our own car in which to navigate the city, which was a blessing and a curse. While it was nice to have the autonomy that a car provides, we also ran into the issue of parking. Parking is the WORST! We didn’t have too much trouble finding parking anywhere, but paying for parking was no fun. Luckily, Olympic Sculpture Park has it’s own parking garage, where parking was no more than $5.
The sculpture park is operated by the Seattle Art Museum, but it is open-air and totally free. I went to art school for a little while, and despite taking a different course in life, I still have a strong passion for the arts and love to visit art museums…especially ones that have famous pieces that I studied in school! I was really excited to see that giant red sculpture by Alexander Calder (officially called “The Eagle,” but whatever). If we had more than one day in Seattle, I would have made an effort to go into the Seattle Art Museum. Since museums generally take up so much time, though, we decided to just do the sculpture park instead, and still get our art fix.
Olympic Sculpture Park doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to walk through the entire thing, but we probably spent around an hour hanging around and checking out all the art. It was such a beautiful day out and we were in no hurry, so we wandered down the sidewalk and took it all in. The park also has another great view of the Puget Sound.
Pike Place Market
We had plans to meet a friend for lunch, and so we used our brains and decided that our meeting point would be one of the busiest (if not THE busiest) spots in Seattle—Pike Place Market. Since we were staying in downtown, we parked the car back at our Airbnb and walked down to the market. And I mean it literally when I say “down;” I didn’t realize prior to my visit that downtown Seattle is a giant hill that bottoms out at the Sound. (Spoiler alert: we hitched a ride back and didn’t walk back up the hill after lunch—all in the name of one lazy vacation day).
We arrived at Pike Place Market early, and spent a little bit of time just walking around. It’s big enough that I would be able to spend an entire day there, if given the time. There are multiple levels of shops, but we stayed on the main level. We walked through the famous fish market and the infamous Gum Wall (probably the most disgusting “attraction” I’ve ever seen), but I was seriously won over by the flower market! I’m talking buckets upon buckets of the most gorgeous flowers. Once again, I was disappointed that I was flying home the following day, because a flower purchase would have been pretty much pointless. Next time, people. Next time.
We admired all the beautiful colors, envisioned all the awesome meals we could make with the pretty ingredients, and laughed at the gigantic line leading toward the original Starbucks (not judging here—I’m sure I would have been in that line if I were a coffee enthusiast) before finally meeting our friend for lunch!
We navigated through the crowds and down to the Pier below in search of a good lunch spot, before settling on Elliott’s, a sustainable seafood place. Being a waterfront restaurant, we chose to wait at the bar until an outdoor table opened up. Elliott’s is known for their oysters, so we ordered a round to share, while drinking, catching up, and enjoying the sun.
Always on the pursuit of good ice cream, we caught a ride with our friend to Molly Moon’s for dessert. Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream has a few locations around Seattle, and there was a line out the door when we arrived. I indulged in a huge cone of some kind of seasonal chocolate flavor, and relished in my last day on the west coast. After filling ourselves up with as much ice cream as possible, we said goodbye to our lunch date and headed back to our Airbnb.
It was early in the evening when we arrived back at our home base. I had to be up early the next morning in order to catch my flight home, and so we decided to spend some quality time at the apartment. We ordered sushi for a late dinner and had it delivered to us, so that we could have a truly lazy night and watch movies! I wasn’t sure when I was going to see my bestie again in the flesh, so we forwent a night out (and late night cream cheese hotdogs) and spent our last night the way we spent our time together in college.
Overall, I really enjoyed what I got to see of the Pacific Northwest, but I feel like I barely dipped my toes into a vast ocean! I got a taste of a few cities and a park, and I can confidently say that I would be thrilled to have an opportunity to return. I already have a running list of things I would like to do and see on my next trip (Olympic National Park is at the top), and I have to get back to Seattle one day for my cream cheese hotdog!