Gone West, Young Man Part III: Washington

Jimi Hendrix gravesite

We were in Washington before we knew it. It wasn’t a very far drive from Portland to Seattle, the weather had improved so there were some signs of sun, and we were trying not to think about how quickly our trip was coming to an end.

On our way into Seattle, we stopped off to visit Jimi Hendrix’ grave. The memorial was very nice with different quotes and musical tributes in the stone, and several images of him that people had adorned with flowers and drawings. The ground was a bit wet and it looked like a funeral was taking place so we didn’t stay long.

We had a beautiful first impression of the city on our way in. Lots of trees outlining the city against the harbor backdrop– it looked much more friendly than I was anticipating, and although it was cloudy, it didn’t seem gloomy. We dropped off our rental car as we checked into our amazing hotel, and quickly set out to explore some of the activities on our list.

The one activity many people had suggested to us before we left was taking an Underground City tour. I didn’t really know what to expect, and I was very pleasantly surprised by how educational, informative and interesting the tour was. We had a great guide who spent a lot of time talking through the history of the city, its background as a gateway to the north and a last stop for people who needed supplies, and the issues the city faced with rising water levels and flooding.

We actually went underground to see what used to be the first floor of the buildings before the sidewalks were raised to the second stories, and it was incredible to see how many things were stored and forgotten below. We would come up from underground and see some more historic buildings and then head under those, making our way around the district, in and out of history. I definitely recommend the tour to anyone else visiting the city, and I also recommend doing it first. It gave us an appreciation for everything else we saw during our visit, having that background.

We wrapped up day one by heading back toward Pike Place Market. Although it was closed up for the evening, we did get a few pictures, found the Hard Rock Cafe so I could get my pin, and then headed down to a really nice restaurant on the water where we had an amazing platter of raw oysters and a huge crab dinner.

Seattle on our drive in
On the Underground Tour in Seattle

The next morning we set out at a decent hour and started our day at Pike Place Market and along the waterfront. We took pictures of the different piers, statues and buildings along the way, and then explored the different stalls in the market.

We hadn’t had breakfast so Brian stopped at a little doughnut shop to get us these tiny doughnut holes. We each had a few, and I was stuffed. They were very good, but very filling.

We continued walking through the fish section and through the flowers stalls, and I lost Brian for a moment when he said he wanted to check something out. I kept taking pictures until he came back– with his hands full of a giant doughnut! I could hardly bring myself to take a bite, and he spent the next half hour to 45 minutes working on it.

He couldn’t finish it– thank goodness!

Me at the Pike Place Market
Brian and his giant Pike Place Market doughnut

We decided to walk from Pike Place Market through some of the surrounding districts and over to the Space Needle. It was a nice walk and we were able to get some nice pictures of the towers as we approached it. It was a little cloudy but it didn’t seem like it would really impact our visibility so we went to the top to take pictures of the city. The harbor and neighborhoods were fantastic, and we could see which direction we were headed for our afternoon adventure in Fremont.

The Space Needle
View from the Space Needle

We left the tower and walked by a huge fountain as we headed up to the Queen Anne district. It was nice out so the walk was pretty and very peaceful, but it felt like we just kept climbing higher and higher. It was a bit exhausting, but we did get some great pictures as we kept discovering new views of the city.

I didn’t realize how hilly Seattle was until we started exploring– I had always heard of, and then got to experience, the hills in San Francisco, but it doesn’t seem Seattle has quite the same reputation. It should!

It was several miles of climbing up and down hills until we reached the Fremont bridge, gateway to the neighborhood that considers itself ‘the center of the known universe.’ I loved this area. There were tons of eclectic shops, little restaurants and cafes, a harbor, parks, etc.

A friend suggested we take time to explore this area, and although we ended up dedicating half a day, it was no where near enough time. We ended up feeling that way about all of the neighborhoods– there are so many, you just can’t do any of them justice in the short period of time we were in Seattle. They are all different with different personalities, and it was exciting

We were actually visiting the district to see the famed Fremont Troll, but had to do some exploring in order to find it. We had to climb– surprise!– another hill to find it at the top, underside of the Fremont bridge. It was pretty cool. There were a number of other people there taking pictures, driving by to look at it, etc. We set up our camera on a little ledge and had some fun.

Fremont, center of the known universe
Terrified by the Fremont troll

After visiting the troll, we decided to walk down to the harbor to see the boats on our way to a little park that overlooked the area. The sun was out, the weather was beautiful, and aside from some achy feet, we had a moment to enjoy the green space.

We returned to the main strip and grabbed a late lunch at Costas Opa Greek restaurant and split a platter of delicious items. We weren’t that hungry and probably didn’t even need to eat all of that, but the food was very good. I grabbed my baklava to go, and we set out to walk the several miles back to our hotel. Unfortunately along the way my baklava spilled inside my bag, creating a horrible sticky mess. Lesson learned!

When we got back we headed to Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, a place I wanted to go for no other reason than the name. We consumed a small bottle of ice wine, which was delicious but INCREDIBLY sweet, and called it a night.

Our last day we headed out early to grab some crepes from Pike Place Market and then headed to one of the piers to catch a boat cruise of the harbor and get some pictures of the skyline. It was a very relaxing ride with some great information and great views of the city. We even saw two of the ships from the tv show Deadliest Catch!

From there, we headed back to Pioneer Square where we had started out visit for the Underground City tour. We walked around some of the statues and shops taking pictures and then headed back to the center of town near the market to find the original Starbucks. I bought a few gifts and a drink, and we made our way back to the hotel for a siesta.

Pioneer Square

We started our evening early, in the late afternoon, dressing up and heading to Belltown, which we understood to be the younger, hip, nightlife section of town. We decided to bar hop our way back to our hotel and went from place to place trying one appetizer and having one drink at each. We got to try a range of delicious food, from sushi to comfort foods, and managed to hit almost a dozen spots before calling it an evening.

We couldn’t believe how quickly our trip came to a close. While we were planning for these weeks on the road, making our way from San Francisco up to Seattle, it had seemed like such a long trip, but of course it flew by. It was a fantastic experience, and one I recommend to others!

9 thoughts on “Gone West, Young Man Part III: Washington

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