We spent 4 amazing weeks exploring Seattle. What beautiful chaos this city is! There is a vibe here that we’ve not really experienced in a large city before. I’m not even sure I can really explain it. As far as cities go, this is a really different, worth exploring, beautiful city. The feel and the look of the city is so different at night vs. daytime. It is truly beautiful chaos.
Once we got our big rig though the crazy traffic in Seattle to our friends “compound” area, we pretty much didn’t do much driving. Thank you to our fantastic “tour guide” friends for both allowing us to park our home in your parents back lot with you, and most of all for being tour guides, and taking one for the team by always driving.
Driving in the traffic of Seattle is a huge challenge! Did I mention we have a dually? We have fondly named Seattle as the City of Prius’. We’re sure they built the roads just big enough for a Prius. When you have to do a 6 point turn in a park turn around, you find out fast that this town just isn’t made for a dually.
We have been to so many places that capture our hearts for various reasons but can sum up our desires pretty easy. We are more likely to enjoy mountains over oceans and small towns over big cities. But we have often enjoyed our travels that have taken us out of our comfort zones.Justin Ford
Seattle was definitely out of our comfort zone.
We did some fun exploring in Seattle! We know there is so much more to see and do, but here are some of our favorite things we did this time!
Ballard Locks / Deadliest Catch Restaurant
A lock is a device constructed to allow boats and ships to pass between stretches of water that are at different levels. In the case of the Ballard Locks, it is a water passage that allows boats of all kinds to pass back and forth between Lake Union and the Puget Sound. The Ballard Locks was such an interesting thing to see in action. We spent quite a bit of time walking around and watching the process. We also wandered around the visitors center at the Ballard Locks. Check this place out if you go! It’s worth a stop! Some really interesting old pictures, a quick movie on the history, and some interactive stuff for the kids. Ever watched the series The Deadliest Catch? Yes, we had lunch at the restaurant they often visit after a day of fishing, and no, we weren’t lucky enough to catch them there!
Breweries, Cideries and Coffee – OH MY!
I’ve never been a beer drinker. Justin loves trying local beer throughout our travels. I have one cheap-o favorite that I kind of like with pizza now and again, but boy did I get to love the ciders! Who knew? I’m still learning what I like and don’t like, but I’ve really enjoyed trying the samples and learning about my new found love of cider.
Pike Brewing Co – Founded in 1989, this place is just fun! Grab a beer and peruse one of the world’s most extensive collections of beer art and memorabilia. Once you sit down you can’t help but stare at the walls filled with it. There is also a museum! Pike Brewing Company’s Microbrewery Museum is free and open to the public whenever The Pike Pub is. Pike Brewing Company’s free beer museum is located inside The Pike Pub and contains thousands of authentic pieces of beer memorabilia, from English tap handles and Prohibition posters to advertisements, mugs, bottles, figurines and more. Just a really unique brewery!
Schilling Cider House – What fun this was! We went in for a sampler, and I learned so much. When you go in, you can pick 6 samples from their menu board. You write down the numbers on a card, and they bring you out your samples to try! Only it’s more than just a small sample! Fun times!
Beer Star – This wasn’t a brewery but more like a tap house. Enjoyed some one of a kind ciders, beer and food next door you can purchase and bring over to your table on the tap house side.
Joes Coffee – The most amazing coffee I’ve ever had! Located on the Pike Place Market’s main street. It’s not just coffee! It’s a chocolate concoction of pure bliss! If you haven’t been to Joes Coffee, you’re really missing out! Don’t forget to pick up the coffee infused chocolate too. I think Justin and I were zinging on coffee … I mean chocolate for 2 solid days. Come to think of it, we did get a lot done those days!
Ladybug Coffee – AKA: Bikini Barista’s. In some cases, you are lucky to actually see them in a bikini! Ha! We talked about visiting one while we were there. Just because it’s an experience, and what man wouldn’t want to see that? Ha! We never made it to one before they closed, but something to put on our “next time” list.
The Space Needle
Of course! We decided to beat the crowds and go at night! What a real treat that was. It is ridiculously pricy but we will only do it once in our life. I don’t do heights real well, so the glass benches that leaned back against the 10 mile drop (possibly a bit of an exaggeration) to the ground gave me a bit of queasy vertigo feelings. The spinning glass room was pretty cool, but again, it was a challenge for me. Justin did just fine. I highly recommend going at night. The city is all lit up, and there were hardly any people. We had no wait for the elevator, going up or down. Yes, this is a touristy thing to do, but I was surprised how calm and beautiful the city looked from up there. And how differently you see things. I won’t ruin the surprise for you, but there are some strange things on roofs you can see from up there!
Space Needle Park
If you’re traveling with kids, this is the most unique and fun park I’ve seen in a long time! The kids will LOVE IT! And maybe the kids at heart too!
Pike Place Market
Another very popular, touristy thing to do. But you just gotta do it. Fish throwing and fresh flowers everywhere! But so much more! One of a kind shops, homemade foods, jellies, jams, honey, jerky, and crafts. If you’re looking for it, chances are it’s here!
The Gum Wall
Known as the second germiest destination in the world, The Gum Wall is a must-see attraction for those visiting Pike Place Market. Did you know every year they scrape this gross gum wall clean and everyone starts over? After getting over the aroma of fruity gum mixed with fish (this is near the fish market) I actually found this wall almost artistic! The alley way of Lower Post Alley is covered with gum. I couldn’t bring myself to add to the history, but feel free. It’ll blend in quite nice. Don’t miss the very large “Post-It” note collection too! Much more sanitary. And you can write your message and post it on the wall.
TIP: Walk down to the fourth level of the Pike Place Market, and in the middle of the hallway you will find some really fun little stores! Including the Giant Shoe Museum. The wall has signage and artwork that reminds us of a circus sideshow. Visitors can drop a few quarters into small coin boxes, which will open up curtains and show off impressive shoes through viewing slots. A pair even once belonged to Robert Waldow, the world’s tallest man. Don’t forget to visit the magic shop, and wander around a bit on this level. You’ll find some pretty neat things to see.
Want to check out some other places to visit in Washington? Make sure you visit our Off The Beaten Path in Washington blog post!
Seattle is Charming!
Look closer! That’s my advice for everything in Seattle. You’re bound to miss something pretty neat if you’re don’t. It could be something small, but slow down in this busy city, and try to look at everything. I was standing admiring the demolition of historic viaduct, the Farris wheel, the water, and the ferries coming across. Our friend pointed down and showed us this massive charm display. Hanging steel charms feature the names of thousands of Pike Up donors who contributed to the MarketFront. You too can have your own hanging charm made!
There is a great place to watch huge jets and even the little sea planes land and take off right over your head, and even do a little fishing if you want. Near the Boeing plant, you’ll find a great put-in area. The water is so clear and the fish so amazingly big on the bottom! What we noticed – All these beautiful mansions on the water, with elaborate decks out to the water, and on a beautiful, clear, warm Sunday morning no one is out having coffee or reading a book out on their deck. Seemed sad! We didn’t see one person just enjoying a beautiful Sunday morning outside.
Just wow! Middle of the week, middle of the day and you’d swear it was a Saturday night. Between 24 hour traffic and 24 hour people, I’m not sure anyone in Seattle actually works! Ha! If you’ve not driven down the main street, you’ve missed out. Unique houses, some very small and old, some very modern, new and large. The highlight of Alki beach (I think) is the Avenue of Stars, which begins at about 64th and Beach Drive and runs along Beach almost to Benton Place. Representations of 27 constellations are embedded in the sidewalk, with one brass star for each star of the given constellation’s well-known asterism. The constellations are grouped on the sidewalk by the season during which they’re visible at around 10 p.m. from Constellation Park. This is yet another thing I may not have noticed had it not been for our friends pointing it out. We didn’t go to Constellation Park, but I highly recommend it. You and your kids will love it!!
Rolled Ice Cream
You gotta visit The Cold Plate in Seattle. Sometimes you have to endure one of my funny stories here in our blogs. I’ve heard all the hype about rolled ice cream and it’s been on my list of things to try for more than a minute. While in Idaho a few months ago we made a quick trip to the post office and upon arriving back to the truck Justin says “there is a rolled ice cream shop across the street, wanna go?”. I’m almost sure I grew bionic legs and sprinted across that street. I pulled on the door expecting the best day of my life (well, it is ice cream you know!) But sadly, we were met with a locked door! We were there on a Wednesday, and this shop happen to be closed on Wednesdays. I have been dramatic about it ever since. Teasing Justin that he owes me rolled ice cream just about every chance I get. When our friends heard my reference (maybe for the 15th time) they were on a mission to get me to the rolled ice cream shop (possibly to get me to shut up about it already). It is absolutely all that you’ve possibly heard. It’s more flavorful, creamy, not as sweet, and possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever had. But it won’t become a regular treat for me, as you get very little for a very hefty price. But it’s very worth it! You have to try it at least once.
Another very iconic place to go in Seattle. It’s the picture you see on every post card, or poster out there. We arrived just before sunset which is again a perfect time. With the sun setting it lights up the buildings, and of course the space needle. Mt. Rainier never seemed to really show us it’s grandeur while we were here. I’m bound to see it in it’s full glory one day. But if you look closely, you can see it in my picture from Kerry Park. Still amazing!
Ferry Ride – Bainbridge to Seattle
Another check off the bucket list for me! Justin had done this as a child, but I had never been on a ferry ride. Again, our friends came through for us! Just such a great experience. We took the ferry around sunset and the city lights were just starting to come on as we approached Seattle. If you’ve never taken a ferry ride, it’s just a must! Bring a jacket! Even if it’s hot, you’ll need one on the ferry.
Another special thank you to Nate and Heather for all the fun, the laughter, the spontaneous trips to the breweries, the massive amounts of driving, sharing the history and fun of this amazing city with us, and most of all for your friendship! We are so very blessed to call you our friends! Our family!
More beautiful Chaos in Seattle to explore in the future I’m sure!
Always remember – Just because you may not be a “city person” doesn’t mean you won’t find something amazing, beautiful and unique in the city. If you look close enough, you might even find a quiet place to sit and enjoy the view!