And now, it’s time for Part Two of our exciting Seattle adventure!
Prior to our trip, I bought one of those Eyewitness Travel Guides for the entire Pacific Northwest (I’m a total nerd about travel guides, and this series in particular, so I wanted to know what we were riding past while on the train from Seattle to Central Coast, even if we couldn’t pop in and visit everything), and I spent part of the flight out evaluating this book and seeing what our options were.
Going to Seattle, I had an idea of what I wanted to do:
~ See Brandon Lee’s gravesite (I had a REAL obsession circa-1994)
~ Wave at all the houses we passed in case any of them belonged to Dave Matthews
Unfortunately, as I had previously mentioned, we had a significant plane delay, that resulted in us missing out on several things. Because we were in Seattle on a Sunday, most things were closed by 5 or 6pm, so losing the hours of 11am – 2pm was a significant chunk of our day. Thankfully, my little book and my dear friend Casey were a big help in getting us to maximize our stay!
Pike Place reminded me of a cross between Pittsburgh’s Strip District and Quincy Market in Boston. The Strip is a shopping area that is crazy crowded (but fun!) on Saturdays, for people to get meat, cheese, fish, breakfast, and other specialty foods like chocolate and Asian groceries for low prices. Quincy Market is a tourist-y spot, but full of lots of cute eateries and good clam chowder.
If you’ve ever seen the famous Seattle photos with the ‘Public Market’ sign and the coffee mug (there’s a good example of it here), you’ll recognize the area where I’m standing. What’s different here is that those famous photos are created by an optical illusion. There’s not actually a Public Market sign with a coffee cup attached to it, but on this street a block or two up, there’s a protruding coffee mug on a building, and if you stand at the correct angle, you can make the two seem part of the same sign (we obviously didn’t realize that until we were walking back from the market, confused).
There’s also this famous girl, Rachel the Pig. She’s a piggy bank who collects money to help fund the Pike Place Market Foundation, which puts money into children’s programs, health care, and senior centers.
After braving the windy weather and threat of rain at the Pike Place Market for a few hours, we headed back north a few blocks to our hotel, the fabulous Kimpton Hotel Monaco. We became Kimpton fans a few years back when we randomly stayed with them while visiting Chicago. Now we’re hooked, and if there’s a Kimpton in the area, we don’t even look at other hotels.
Kimpton rooms are gigantic and very classy. And since we’re In Touch members (that’s their loyalty program), we get all sorts of perks, like free stuff from the mini bar, free internet, and money off at the hotel restaurant! You can’t lose!
Kimptons are also pet friendly, no restrictions on size or breed or anything like that. They have people who can walk your dog for you while you’re out of your room, and at the Hotel Monaco, if you couldn’t bring your pup, they have a special friend you can borrow for the night (more to come on that in a bit).
Aside from the unique outside architecture, the library is also known for its book spiral. This spiral stretches across four floors of the building, but you can walk straight through it without using steps, escalators, or having to wander into different sections (the numbers on the floor match up with the Dewey Decimal system).
Next, it was off to the Space Needle to see what the fuss was all about. This is what you see from the top of the Needle (if you can brave the wind and the fact that the Space Needle kind of shakes in it).
While it is a cool-looking thing to see, I have to admit that I was the tiniest bit underwhelmed. I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building and had dinner at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe in Toronto (can’t remember what it’s *really* called, but my guess is Canadian Space Needle), and unfortunately, this wasn’t really all that different. The view was not that far off from what you see when you go to the Boston Skywalk in the Pru (which I’ve done like eight billion times when people came to visit me during my time as a Cambridge resident), but it was definitely more expensive.
So, tl;dr, Space Needle = not all that.
At this point, we were starving from running around and trying to cram sightseeing in, so we stopped by Tilikum Place for dinner, and then settled back into our fabulous accommodations at the Hotel Monaco.
I actually called the front desk and said, “Hello, I’m calling to inquire about how to order a goldfish,” and the clerk said, “Oh, sending one right up!” About ten minutes later, one of the maintenance men appeared at our door holding the bowl and said to me, “Here is your goldfish, and her name is Nancy!” and he smiled a lot. I have to imagine that goldfish delivery is at the top of the ‘best things I do as a maintenance man’ list. I’m sure everyone smiles when a goldfish arrives!! (I know I sure did. And then I video-Skyped my mum so she could see Nancy. And then Michael and I spent the rest of the night saying things to Nancy that we say to Lucy, like, “Who’s a good fishy?” DOG WITHDRAWAL IS THE WORST!)
While it was a whirlwind tour, we had a great time in Seattle. If nothing else, our brief stay gave us all sorts of ideas of what we would like to do the next time we are in town. 2013 Achievement list…? 🙂