Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle for a few days for some in-person team meetings and thought it would be fun to play tourist in between those engagements.
Despite having lived in the Puget Sound region for almost eight years, there are tons of places we didn’t get around to visiting and I was excited to check out a few of them out while catching up with work colleagues and friends.
Although we’ve been living in Cheyenne, Wyoming for six months, I still feel very connected to the greater Seattle area and found myself feeling nostalgic for this special place from the moment my plane landed.
This feeling was compounded when a visitor at the light rail station asked me if I lived in Washington (that was the first time I had to answer that question with, ‘I used to,’ – happily I was able to answer his question about which mountain range he was seeing!) as well as when my friend saw me at our first work event and hollered, ‘Welcome home, Heather!’
It was so nice seeing everyone in person, re-visiting some favorite spots, and checking out a few new ones. Here are a few highlight from my quick trip as a Seattle tourist.
We never spent much time in Belltown when we were in downtown Seattle – I only remember intentionally going there once to meet a friend from high school while he was in town.
This trip I spent a couple nights at the Belltown Inn, which was an older boutique hotel within quick walking distance of the bus lines, light rail, monorail, and trolley (all of which are now on the Orca card – yay!). I would definitely stay there again – it was relatively inexpensive and close to everything I needed this trip.
Bonus: It is very close to a number of my favorite local eateries, including Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie (get the roasted oyster mushrooms, crimini, truffle cheese pizza) and Rubinstein’s Bagels (get the salt bagel with herb+garlic schmear). It’s also right next door to Biscuit Bitch, which has a popular second location in the market. I have no regrets about hitting up all three spots during my visit!
Pike Place Market
I sometimes walked to Pike Place Market during my lunch break when I worked at Two Union Square and enjoyed revisiting some favorite vendors this trip (Brian was not surprised to learn I made time to pop in Frans for my all-time favorite sea-salt caramels – yum!).
I also checked out two new-to-me eateries in the market while I was back. I enjoyed the clam chowder and views of the sound from Lowell’s one day at lunch as well as a breakfast sandwich with my friend and her daughter a different morning at Honest Biscuit.
A friend suggested we meet for coffee at Cafe Zingaro in Lower Queen Anne one morning so I took the opportunity to walk through Seattle Center on my way to meet him. Seattle Center holds a special place in my heart because we attended the annual Folklife Festival there one of the first weekends after we moved to Washington and I spent countless springs there volunteering at the Seattle International Film Festival.
The International Fountain came on as I was returning from our coffee break – I loved hearing the music and watching the dancing water for a few moments on my way back to my hotel.
It’s hard to believe, but Brian and I never went up in the Space Needle the entire time we lived in Washington! We did check it out once back in 2010 when we visited the city on vacation, and since I was playing tourist again this trip, it felt like I had to make time for a second ascent.
The Space Needle has undergone lots of changes in the last few years – from removing the revolving restaurant to adding glass floors and windows to the observation decks. I hurried over after work one evening andcaught the end of a dramatic sunset from the open-air deck before watching the city light up.
While I still think the Columbia Tower offers the best views of the surrounding area and the Smith Tower experience shares more about the history of Seattle, it was fun to check the Space Needle off my list and see the city at night.
While the primary purpose of my trip was work meetings, it was fun popping around to a few eateries and sites during my quick trip. Here are a few other places I visited with friends this trip to round out the list:
- Seattle Aquarium, downtown
- Diamond Knot Brewery, Mountlake Terrace
- The Fat Hen, Ballard
- Hatback Bar and Grill, SoDo
Miss you, Seattle – hope to see you again, soon!