Visiting the US, An Oh-So-Happy Guide to Seattle

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Seattle’s gorgeous view seen from Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill

There’s something about the US Pacific Northwest that always keeps me going back for more. The wet and cold weather, for some people, can be sad and miserable, but for me, it drives my creativity like crazy and I feel comfortable listening to the rain. There’s nothing better than wandering around one of the US’ best historic port cities of Seattle, sampling their fabulous food and check out their neighbourhoods and well-preserved old town. This is a city of readers, bikers, artists, music enthusiasts, foodie and more.

Check out our YouTube episode on Seattle that features the city’s top attractions and Mayflower Park historic hotel where we stayed.

So, here’s our guide to Seattle:

NOTE: This guide acts like a contents page for what I have earlier posted on my journal about our days in the city. So, check the links when you read through for more details.

How to Get There:

From Bangkok, fly direct by Delta Air Lines, our sponsor, whose direct flights to Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, makes the airlines our all-time favorite when it comes to the US destinations.

Stay:
Stay at the historic and downtown Mayflower Park Hotel that is celebrating its beautiful 87th anniversary next year. Located just three blocks away from the famous Pike Place Market and all other downtown attractions and not to mention its so convenient annex to the Monorail to Seattle Center and Space Needle, this hotel will make you feel right in Seattle with all its rich and luscious history, beautiful rooms and lovely services. We stayed at one of their famous corner suites with one classically and lavishly appointed bedroom, a separate living room, and two bathrooms. They also have free WiFi, a lovely Oliver’s Lounge bar and an award-winning Andaluca Restaurant. What a fabulous experience!

Local transportation:
From the airport, take the Sound Transit Light Rail that connects the Sea-Tac airport to downtown for just US$2.75 per person. So make sure you pack light (with layers instead of one big and bulky sweater) and enjoy the low fare of their public transportation.

When in the city, there’re the aforementioned monorail to the Seattle Center which include a bunch of attractions from science and music museums to the funky and dazzling Chihuly Garden and Glass. And the Space Needle, of course!

Seattle is walkable, with its city blocks pedestrian friendly. However, you might want to bring the most comfortable walking shoes so you can explore the city with oh-so-happy feet. Also, check out the Sound Transit System that combines light rail and bus routes covering the whole city and beyond.

Tourism Resources:
The best website for Seattle tourism is, of course, Visit Seattle, the official tourism commission for the Emerald City, who also lent us a great support. THANK YOU ^^.

Things to See:

1. Pike Place Market – for food, flowers, fruits, vegetables, artisan cheeses, Greek yoghurt, breakfast with the view of Puget Sound (and a seat sat by Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle movie), handicrafts, strong coffee, French style pastries, sandwiches and much much more. If you are interested, walk and talk and eat with Savor Seattle tour.

2. Walk the waterfront of Elliot Bay, with piers consecutively numbered and each with its own attractions. Here, you can drop by at the Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Ferries Wheel, Argosy Cruises or just enjoy the typical cloudy, windy and unpredictable scenery of Seattle.

3. Check out their old town. Take the underground tour with the original operator. And soar high to the top of the Smith Tower – one of the most beautiful high-rises in the city. This historic building is where most of Seattle locals resort to when they wanted the view before the Space Needle. I particularly think that a trip on their gorgeous historic brass-framed elevator is worth the US$7.50 ticket you need to get to the top.

4. Delve into the local life at Capitol Hill neighbourhood, which, for us, is walkable from the downtown area (about 20 minutes). Apart from the lovely Melrose Market, check out Elliot Bay Book store and take a sweet and cool stop at the luscious Old School Frozen Custard.

5. Act like a local and take a ferry to Bainbridge Island. This is a cheaper version of Seattle’s magnificent harbour tour and you also get the real local feel. Once at the island, either drive all the way to Port Townsend and explore the eerie (think the Twilight saga) Olympic Peninsula or just take it easy and follow this walking-cycling guide to the Bainbridge island.

Seattle City Pass:
If you are here in big group, it is wise to purchase a pack of Seattle City Pass which will not only give you the discounts, but a fast-track check-in through all included attractions, such as the perennially crowded Space Needle.

A pack of City Pass covers tickets to the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruise Harbour Tour, Pacific Science Center, EMP Museum, and a choice of two faraway attractions of Woodland Park Zoo or the Museum of Flight.

One thing about this City Pass is that you need to organize your time accordingly. Make sure you set the schedules to fully explore everything you have purchased. This is not a cheap pack, and the best thing to do is check the website of each place for their operating hours so you can plan ahead.

To Eat:

1. La Penier at Pike Place Market – a lovely place for strong coffee, good selections of in-baguette sandwiches and French pastries.

2. Etta’s for lovely seafood dishes and classic Pacific Northwest fare. Our review of Etta’s is here.

3. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese or all cheesy nibbling. My favorites are their milky tasting fresh curds and Mac and Cheese!!

4. Fresh local fruits and pastries (sticky buns at Cinnamon Works, or savoury pastries at Piroshky-Piroshky) at the Pike Place market.

There are a whole bunch of foods in Seattle, you can check them out at Visit Seattle’s website.

And remember, it is always wise to bring a compact umbrella.

Have a good one!

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