Two Days in Seattle
Now that I’ve told you how we got to Seattle, and how we got back from Seattle, you might be wondering what there is to do and see while in Seattle. The city, I was pleased to discover, is the perfect size for a weekend visit. It’s large enough that there’s something for everyone, but small enough that you don’t feel overwhelmed by all the choices.
Let’s start off with the architecture. Upon arrival, you can’t help but notice the Space Needle, a prominent landmark of Seattle’s skyline that was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. It’s impressive when you stand beneath it, but … well … not so impressive I wanted to pay money to go up it.
Never mind. At the base of the Space Needle is a building that did impress me enough to want to pay the admission fee. That would be the EMP Museum, designed by Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry. The building’s deconstructivist style is just so fun to look at, and so shiny and colourful and fluid that you can’t resist reaching out your hand to touch the building as you walk by.
Inside the museum is even more fun, with exhibits more entertaining than I thought possible. Want to learn everything there is to know about Nirvana? It’s here. Jimi Hendrix? Him too.
The museum also has also some really cool artifacts from the world of fantasy and science fiction TV and film. As in: the Cowardly Lion’s costume, Susan Pevensie’s bow and quiver of arrows, Yoda’s staff, Darth Vader’s light sabre, Data’s uniform … they’re all here. Geekdom heaven, wouldn’t you say?
Seattle scored a second “starchitect”-designed building with the Seattle Central Library, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. Don’t just walk around its exterior, though. Have a quick look inside too, taking the time to go all the way up to the top floor for a remarkable view over the atrium.
Once you’ve seen Seattle’s architectural highlights, I recommend checking out one of the most unique art installations I’ve seen anywhere: the Chihuly Garden and Glass. (It alone is worth a visit to Seattle.) The museum opened a year ago, so it’s rather new, and it’s rather extraordinary. Dale Chihuly is an American glass sculptor who creates exquisite works of blown glass. Photos don’t do his work justice, but, forgive me, I’ll post one anyways.
A Seattle institution you shouldn’t miss is Pike Place Market, located near the downtown waterfront. In operation since 1907, it’s one of the oldest farmer’s market in the United States. Fresh local produce, seafood, and flowers are at street level, while the lower levels are filled with shops of all sorts, including bakeries, restaurants, clothing, and local crafts. Be sure to see the fishmongers in action as they throw the fish to each other before wrapping them up for the customer. Oh, and there’s a coffee shop in the market you may have heard of: Starbucks. Not just any Starbucks, though ― it’s the first ever one, which opened for business in 1971.
We stayed in Belltown, which turned out to be a great neighbourhood full of funky coffee shops, trendy restaurants, and lively bars. It is also conveniently located halfway between the downtown waterfront and Seattle Center (where the Space Needle, the EMP, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass are located).
One thing we didn’t have time for: a ferry ride across Elliott Bay. And there are dozens of other Seattle neighbourhoods I’m told are worth checking out. In other words? I plan to return for another weekend visit soon, because there’s lots more of Seattle to see.