A Southerner in The Emerald City

The Emerald City….no, not that Emerald City. I’m referring to Seattle, WA. I just returned from a trip to the Pacific NW which culminated in Seattle. This was my second visit to the city by the (Puget) Sound, but it won’t be my last. I’ve fallen head over ruby heels. Here are some recommendations and photos (after the post) from my trip:

  • Visit the Space Needle first thing in the morning. Not only were the tickets $2-3 cheaper, but the lines were non-existent. On a sunny day, you’ll get a 360-degree view of the city and be outta there in no time. It’s one of those things you have to do at least once in your lifetime.
  • Ride the ferry. A friend and former Seattle resident recommended catching one of the ferries that runs throughout the day from Seattle to another one of its islands at night. We left Seattle before sunset en route to Bainbridge Island, had dinner at the Harbor Public House and high-tailed it back to the terminal to catch the ferry back to a dazzling cityscape. It was a windy, chilly 35-minute trip each way, so bring a sweater and enjoy.
  • Walk through Pike Place Market. I went there each of the three days we were in Seattle. Yes, it’s always crowded with tourists snapping photos of the fishmongers throwing their wares, but it’s popular for a reason. Beautiful fresh produce, meats and fish abound (they’re not cheap, but we enjoyed some of the biggest and juiciest pears I’ve ever tasted from one of the stands). Gorgeous fresh flowers that would cost $50 and up in Atlanta were bundled in paper bouquets at $10 a bundle. I didn’t buy flowers since we were only staying at a hotel for three days. I did enjoy fresh baked goods from the Three Girls Bakery in the market. Chocolate drops and lavender-fringed sugar cookies were favorites.
  • Enjoy some of Seattle’s excellent fresh seafood. The locals recommend Ivar’s, one of the oldest seafood establishments. My husband is not a fan of the swimmy stuff, but he reserved an outdoor dinner spot for us at Salty’s Waterfront Seafood Grill on Alki Beach. I’ve heard this place had a killer brunch. I used the Yelp iPhone app a lot on our trip. Yelp led me to Pike Place Chowder at at the Pike Place Market. If you check in with Yelp, you can get three cups of their award-winning chowders or bisques with sourdough bread for $8. The line out the door at lunchtime moved really quickly, and the New England clam chowder has been voted some of the best in the country.

We also took a duck boat tour of Seattle, but it was really overpriced and cheesy. I don’t recommend it. My husband, ever the football fanatic, toured CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks NFL team, without me. He and other tourists were disappointed when a soccer tournament kept them off the field.

Traffic in Seattle is a nightmare and parking is gouging. No wonder 1 in 3 Seattle residents owns and relies on a bicycle for transportation. We had a rental car because we drove up to Seattle from Portland, OR, which is about three hours south of Seattle. We ended up taking the rental car back early because it was such a pain to park; it cost us more to park the car for one day than to rent it. Plus, Seattle has really great public transportation. Take the light rail from the airport. Ride the monorail between the Space Needle and downtown malls and department stores. We skipped the bus and hoofed it everywhere else.

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