Seattle was the second stop on my Canada-to-Mexico trip. I only had a short amount of time — 24 hours, to be exact — and it rained for some of it (duh), but I was still able to see a lot of the city.
How I Got Here
Since I was coming from Vancouver, I took the scenic Amtrak Cascades train down from Canada. I wrote up some things you should know if you take that train here. I took the 6:30 train from Vancouver, which got me into Seattle’s King Street Station around 11 a.m.
Where I Stayed
I’m lucky to have a friend in Seattle, so I skipped the hotel and stayed with her.
Pike Place Market: Tourist central, but when in Seattle you’ve gotta check it out. And despite the tourists and the crowds, it felt legit — like you’d totally buy the stuff here, rather than it being full of tacky souvenirs.
Gum Wall: To one side of the market, this alley is pockmarked with chewed gum wads. The city actually removed it all recently because the gum was so heavy it was weighing down the buildings. But that didn’t discourage chewers, and the wall is back in action.
Beecher’s Cheese: Seattle’s favorite cheesemonger is heaven for mac and cheese lovers like me. The cheese curds were pretty incredible, too. Worth the wait in line.
Original Starbucks: It’s a Starbucks with an old logo. And a really long line. I stopped for a pic, but I’m pretty sure the coffee inside is the same as all the other Starbucks you’ve ever had.
Cloudburst Brewing: A new brewery that’s taking Seattle by storm. The brewers used to work for popular local brand Elysian but when that company was bought out by Anheuser-Busch, so they went out on their own and cook up a new type of beer every batch. The taproom is a casual and inviting industrial space.
Gas Works Park: This park on Lake Union has giant rusted out gas tanks rising out of hte green grass. There’s also a covered pavilion with brightly painted iron gears, pipes and other machinery. Surrounding the park are a number of pretty houseboat communities and there’s a great skyline view of the city and Space Needle.
Freemont Brewing: A short walk from Gasworks Park, this is one of the breweries to hang out at in Seattle. There’s a nice outdoor area that apparently gets packed on nice days (it wasn’t too crowded on this cloudy Saturday afternoon). Inside they have big bowls of free pretzels and apples that you can munch on with your beers.
Stroup Brewing: Tucked in the Ballard neighborhood between residential houses, this little brewery has a funky beer garden patio and a local food truck parked outside. We got a growler to go on our way to Discovery Park.
Discovery Park: A massive green space with odd buildings reminiscent of Lost’s Darma Initiative, this park has a lot of nice walking trails and some great views of the Olympic Peninsula and mountains. It also has a bunny problem; apparently Seattleites? have been releasing their pet rabbits here and they’re reproducing like, well, rabbits. You’ll probably see them nibbling around the park.
Ballard Neighborhood: This used to be the salty seamen’s hangout; now it’s one of Seattle’s hipster hoods. Ballard Ave is lined with boutique bars and shops.
Percy’s & Co.: An apothecary-themed spot, there are jars of cocktail concoctions and eyedroppers of drink elixirs on the back bar of the brick-walled bar. I told the bartender I was in the mood for a mule and she whipped up some mint-mule-champagne concoction that was amazing.
Sexton: Another really good cocktail spot, plus solid modern American food: think boar burgers, chicken pot pie, and a few types of mac and cheese. The cocktails here were good too, and there’s an outdoor back patio for when the weather cooperates.
Pioneer Square: Seattle’s historic heart, this square was overrun with film crews shooting the sequel of 50 Shades of Grey. (They asked, but I declined to be an extra…) It’s a nice space, but there are a lot of homeless people nearby — some were super friendly, others were pretty aggressive.
Underground Tour: Seattle was originally built lower than it is now; to make up for the tides and sewer issues the city rebuilt itself a whole level higher after it burned down in the late 1800s. You can still go underground and see the old storefronts and sidewalks, plus a lot of crap that people threw down there. Speaking of crap, the word apparently comes from Crapper, the man who popularized the modern toilet, which played a big role in Seattle’s development. The tour cost $19 for about 75 minutes of Seattle history, underground exploring, and toilet jokes.