The last time I visited Seattle was five years ago when I was still studying in Vancouver. I went down to Seattle just to visit an old friend from childhood. What I knew about Seattle back then included: 1) it is where Starbucks was founded, 2) its famous landmark, Space Needle, 3) it is a rain city just like Vancouver, 4) Vancouverites like traveling south of the border for shopping sprees, and 5) it has a prestigious school, University of Washington, just north of downtown. What I didn’t know was that every summer, it attracts thousands of visitors by hosting the biggest gaming event in North America. As a video game addict, Kev was longing to attend PAX Prime for the first time. Thinking that it would be a great chance to have a proper tour in Seattle and at the same time, check out what PAX Prime is really about, I agreed to accompany him. That’s what brought us to Seattle, also known as the Emerald City, this summer.
To get to Seattle from Calgary, we first flew to Vancouver, where we transferred to a small aircraft before landing Seattle.
We flew over the Rocky Mountains…
many little islands on the West coast of North America…
the vast, blue ocean…
above puffy, white clouds…
…and finally reached the amazing city- Seattle 🙂
I was thrilled to be so close to the ocean again! Even though I wasn’t planning on taking a swim in it, the gorgeous view, soothing sea breeze and abundant fresh seafood were enough to keep me satisfied 😀
Kev and I did take a quick tour to the Space Needle and the Seattle Center. However, instead of indulging ourselves in the urban oasis of arts and science, Pike Place Market sparked more of our interest on our trip. We were so easily seduced by food, haha!
Pike Place Market is the hottest tourist attraction in Seattle, located in the heart of downtown Seattle, parallel to the Alaskan Way, along the shoreline of Elliot Bay waterfront. Established in 1907, it is one of the oldest public farmers’ markets in United States.
Beneath the Public Market Center sign, I found Rachel the Piggy Bank! It is the iconic mascot as well as the best public fundraiser for the Market. She is named after a real 750-pound pig who won the Island County Fair in 1985. Her cousin, Billie the Piggy Bank can be found on Western Avenue at the foot of the Hillclimb steps.
Inside the Market, you can find local produce, fresh seafood, artisan/specialty food, crafts, flowers and many more!
Oooooh, look at those massive, fresh of the boat seafood! If you are lucky, you might see fishmongers throwing fish purchased by customers before they are wrapped. I am not sure if they still do that. We heard from our friends that they will ask you to pay if you request them to throw fish.
I have heard of russet potatoes, yellow potatoes, red potatoes. But fingerling potatoes? It is something new to me!
Across from the Market, walking into Post Alley, you will find many other vegetable and fruit vendors, bakeries, restaurants and shops tucked away in this narrow pathway.
Who says Seattle is only famous for coffee? Try the handcrafted fresh ginger soda from Rachel’s Ginger Beer!
Grab a cup of spicy, refreshing ginger beer, comforting ginger beer cocktails, or sweet, fizzy ice cream floats! The strongly fragrant taste of ginger has me realized what ginger ale is supposed to taste like. I think I’ve found my new, favorite drink 😀 Besides the original flavor, they also offer various special flavors to impress customers’ taste buds.
Right besides it is the famous Pike Place Chowder, which, according to Kev, serves the best chowder. I will go into more details in my next post when introducing the 5 must-eats in Pike Place Market. Let’s skip ahead for now.
If you wander around in Post Alley, some interesting stores might catch your attention. For example, I came across this tiny convenient store that is fully stocked with exotic food, spices and hot sauces. Look at the wall of hot sauces!!
Any particular one stands out to you? Too bad there was no testing bottle. Or else, I would be real tempted to try some of them out 😛
Another thing that really opened my eyes is the Cotton Candy grapes. You have to try it once. The plump, juicy green grapes seriously taste like the popular circus treat!
If you don’t mind seeing the dirtiest tourist attraction in the world, head over to the other end of Post Alley and visit the Gum Wall.
Outside the Market Theatre, the brick wall is covered with colorful chewy gum. Back in 1990s, theatergoers got irritated while waited in line to get tickets so they stuck chewing gum to the wall. The theater workers attempted to scrap them off the wall twice, but eventually gave up. Now, it is a piece of art!
Well, at least I think it is an interesting sight. Some people even selected it as the backdrop for their wedding photos. In contrary, Kev thought it is disgusting and refused to even have it in his sights.
Many people can’t leave Seattle without seeing the very first original Starbucks at Pike Place Market. Don’t be surprised if you find tons of tourists crowding into the store.
They are all waiting to see the birthplace of the world’s famous coffee company. The store still retained the company’s original logo. If you’re a big Starbucks fan, bring back a Pike Place Market mug or a bag of Pike Place Roast as a souvenir!
To end summer with no regrets, I suggested to Kev about traveling across Elliot Bay to West Seattle. We hopped on the water taxi and enjoyed a short ride despite the cloudy, rainy weather.
Water taxi to Seattle is located at Pier 50. Fares can be paid in cash/credit (US$4.75) or with ORCA (US$4). If you’re paying in cash, keep in mind that they don’t give change.
The water taxi is actually quite huge. Divided into 2 levels, it can hold roughly 100 passengers. The bottom level was quite stuffy so Kev and I headed towards the upper level, where we could get some fresh air and feel the breeze.
All set… ready to go!
As the water taxi sailed away from the pier, the fantastic views of the city skyline came in sights.
It was only a 15-min ride to West Seattle. Welcoming us was the beautiful views of the Seacrest Park.
Hey look, I spotted a jellyfish in the sea!
After disembarking the water taxi, Kev and I quickly snapped a few photos with the Seattle city view.
We were thinking of taking the free shuttle bus to the Alki Beach, where you could find the miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty and the Alki Point Lighthouse. Unfortunately, the rain started to get heavier and we unwillingly gave up the thought of touring around West Seattle. If anyone is interested in spending some time in West Seattle on your next trip, here is the map with attractions in the area!
I definitely had a fun time at the busy, lively Pike Place Market. Next time, I will visit West Seattle again and spend a relaxing afternoon on the beach!
In my next few posts, I will continue sharing with you other fun stuff we did, some attraction sites we visited, and most importantly, all the yummy food you could not miss in this exciting city. Stay tuned!
This post has been submitted as part of the #WeekendWanderlust linkup. Big thanks to A Southern Gypsy and other co-hosts. For more travel posts, please click on the image below~ Have a lovely weekend, everyone! And Happy Canadian Thanksgiving 🙂