Seattle, WA: Day One

Card designed and sold by  Pike St. Press  in Seattle, WA

Card designed and sold by Pike St. Press in Seattle, WA

It's been awhile since I've explored a place I have never been to before. A place that I have little to no expectations or previous images of how it's going to be. When my stepmom provided a means of Southwest transportation and essentially a low-cost ticket to anywhere with a deadline of June 16th, I chose Seattle. Because, why not?

I spent three full days there, arriving at 9am on Thursday, June 4th, and leaving 10:30am on Sunday, June 7th.

My lasting image of Seattle is green and blue. Those are the colors I primarily saw from above, and below. I expected the green — actually even more green than I saw — but I didn't expect all the blue.

This trip I really tried to not plan too much, but leave some time to discover. However — because I'm me and love to plan— I ended up doing a lot of research beforehand to have in case there were specific places, tours, or events I'd be disappointed if I didn't see or take advantage of. So basically, each of my three days there ended up being jam-packed. In the best way possible.

The first day in Seattle was a combination of planning and wandering.

First day itinerary:

  1. "Free" Walking Tour @ 11am (I say "free" because they ask to contribute whatever you feel at the end of the tour, and they did such a great job that I contributed/paid as much I would on a regular tour, but technically you could contribute nothing). 
  2. Pike St. Press where I picked up a couple of cards, including the one above
  3. Taxi Dogs for lunch at the Victor Steinbrueck Park
  4. Pike Place Market
  5. Gum Wall in Post Alley where my friend and I made a sticky mark
  6. Columbia Tower — 40th floor Starbucks and a {free} view
  7. Seattle Art Museum [SAM] — {free because of First Thursday}
  8. The first Starbucks store at 1st & Pike
  9. Watched the sunset back at Victor Steinbrueck Park
  10. Went to sleep! (Especially after only getting four hours the previous three nights)
Seattle, WA

I arrived in Seattle at 9:30am. It was a tough morning — mostly because I stayed up until midnight, and then woke up at 3:30am so I could get to the airport by 4:15am and catch my flight at 5:30am (I typically get to the airport about an hour early — especially for LAX).

The first challenge was getting from the airport to the Green Tortoise Hostel — where I would be staying the next couple nights. Luckily, it was in an important area — right across the street from Pike Place Market — so the Link light rail went straight to it. Of course, I had some challenges finding the light rail once I got off the plane, despite the many signs posted. At one point, I thought that it was on a different floor as it seemed to be indicated that way from one of the signs. Turns out — after standing in an elevator pressing "4" over and over again — I was actually on floor 4, and I needed to keep walking. I did that without looking back at the lady that gave me the informative advice.

And then there was that point when I got off the light rail, a stop before the final stop (apparently the last stop is more crowded, and even though the last stop was technically closer to my destination, it wasn't much closer and I wouldn't have to deal with as much foot traffic at the previous stop), I went in the wrong direction for a solid three blocks until I realized that my Maps app was really confused. And so was I. Solid start folks.

Once I got to my hostel, I had just enough time to put my suitcase into storage (my room bed wasn't ready until later in the afternoon) and freshen up in the bathroom. And then began the real first planned Seattle adventure.

Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA

"Free" Walking Tour: 

Jake, the guide, was the kind of person I love on tours — super enthusiastic, engaging, and passionate about the city. I took quite a few tours while in Seattle, and this was definitely my favorite. Plus, as a starter to this trip, it really oriented me to where things were, gave me tips on things that I hadn't heard about or seen during research, and also gave me a greater appreciation for the city and it's origins.

Seattle, WA

Taxi Dogs for lunch at the Victor Steinbrueck Park: 

Although I waited about ten minutes to order (which felt like a long time considering I was the only one at the register and he was cooking hot dogs for the previous people in line), I kept reminding myself that hey, you're on vacation and you have absolutely nowhere to be. Enjoy waiting. When I finally ordered, I was really confused about the option to add cream cheese. Who puts cream cheese on hot dogs? Has that ever been a thing and I just missed out? According to the hot dog cook, it's a Seattle thing. and since it was a Seattle thing, I was going to try it. And you know... it was pretty good. Not spectacular, but I wouldn't be against it if it was an option again.

My hot dog and I then went over to Victor Steinbrueck Park which has a beautiful overview of the water. There were other people and noises around, so I just sat and listened.

Seattle, WA

Pike Place Market:

Pike Place Market is a long stretch of vendors that includes a lot of people, noises and — most important of all — great food (and free samples).

The "fish throwing" wasn't as exciting as I imagined. When someone orders a fish, the guys take it and throw it to another worker (and maybe the person who ordered it? Because the lady that was there to catch the fish didn't look like she worked there...) while yelling the order. It was fun, and the guys were friendly in general. I actually had a really amazing sample of smoked salmon. But it wasn't some elaborate circus act or anything.

The market also has fresh flowers, souvenir shops, clothes, a really great cherry stand, and some restaurants. There's also lower floors that were fun to explore.

I went to this market a lot while I was there because it was right across the street from the hostel. #PrimeLocation

Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA

Gum Wall in Post Alley where my friend and I made a sticky mark: 

The Gum Wall was not as easy to find as "it's in Post Alley." Because there's kind of two places Post Alley is... or it connects weirdly. But basically if you're facing Pike Place Market, you go to the left, down a driveway, and veer to the left and there it is. In all it's glory of germy stickiness.

Of course my friend Tina and I contributed. We had just met up (she's in a grad program at the University of Washington and had finals the following week, so I wasn't able to hang out with her the whole time, but it was kind of a relief, and a nice sense of comfort to know someone close by), and this was our first stop. 

Someone had posted a map, and I realized that no one had marked the actual place of the gum wall on the map. So I took the opportunity to combine our two pieces of gum to make a heart on the map where the gum wall is. Because, you know, what better way to seal a friendship of over fifteen years than with some gum?

Seattle, WA

Columbia Tower — 40th floor Starbucks and a {free} view: 

This was a piece of advice I picked up on the walking tour — that if you want a free view of the city from a very high point, go to the Columbia Tower. And of course, there's a Starbucks on the 40th floor. So Tina and I went up and got some drinks and a free view. It wasn't as great a view as the Space Needle, but we also didn't go to the observatory which is about 20 floors further up and costs some money. We just relaxed there and talked until they kicked us out as they closed up.

Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA

Seattle Art Museum [SAM] — {free because of First Thursday}: 

The first Thursday of every month, a lot of the museums are free and there's an art walk in Pioneer Square. I didn't make the art walk, but I did get to take advantage of free entrance to the Seattle Art Museum, which has a working man sculpture out front that actual moves up and down and only stops moving on Labor Day! How fun is that! 

There were some parts of the current exhibits I really enjoyed. Mostly the things that are pictured. There was also a modern art area that had paintings with some really exquisite coloring. My camera couldn't capture those colors, but I just looked at them for five minutes each because I loved them so much.

I don't know how I would have felt about paying $20 for a ticket. Maybe when their new exhibit — Disguises — opens, and I had more time? That exhibit actually opens this week, on the 18th, so if you go, let me know if it was worth it. I will say that at that point, I was pretty drained and looking for every opportunity to sit down.

Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA

The first Starbucks store at 1st & Pike: 

Apparently the actual original Starbucks store was located on the corner, just a couple stores down. Unfortunately that burned down or something, so this store which was used as storage was utilized. The details are kind of hazy, but from the walking tour, I learned something like that.

Either way, there's a lot of original here. And just for the record, on Thursday, June 4th, 2015, I was the last person to order something. I know that has a lot of meaning, so just wanted to point that out. I highly recommend going when they're about to close. It was way less crowded, and no line, like there was earlier in the day.

Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA

Watched the sunset back at Victor Steinbrueck Park: 

With Starbucks in hand (this time a Vanilla Steamer), I walked over to the park again and watched as the light faded away. By this time it was about 9pm. It didn't get completely dark until 10pm, which really made me confused because, for me, it felt like 7 or 8pm. I loved watching the colors change and then to walk back and see the lights more visible on the Farmer's Market sign. 

By the time I got back to the hostel, I was completely exhausted. It was truly an amazing first day though. And — if you could imagine — the next day was as completely filled.