Some seek out warmth, and prefer to frolic in the sun on their Spring Break. Expansive white beaches. Umbrella drinks. Lazy afternoons. Not for us, not this year. Spring time in Seattle comes rolling in, like the morning fog that hangs over the city until the mid-day showers wash it away. Then, and only on a few choice days, do you get to see blue skies against a blue Elliott’s bay. That’s one of the things I love most about visiting Seattle. The weather. Just as the snow, in our home state of Colorado helps define the place. So do the grey skies and wet streets help to define Seattle.
One of our favorite brother-in-laws, Bill, always says of Seattle, that your enjoyment of the place is fully dependent on how you dress. So, before you pack away your winter sweaters, stocking caps, and boots, plan a trip to the Emerald City. It never disappoints.
Seattle has grown expensive. Not San Fran or New York expensive, but close. We’ve stayed on Denny Ave, at Pan Pacific, at the Marriott near Lake Union, and other less nice hotels around town. With this trip, I think we’ve found our new favorite – The Mediterranean Inn on Queen Anne. Its clean, small, and provides easy access to the Seattle Center activities, and its a straight shot back South into Seattle’s Belltown and mid-town neighborhoods. There’s a Tully’s coffee at 2nd and Harrison that serves great morning quiche. And, a Safeway across the street in case you need a late-night snack. Book directly through them, via phone, for the best rate. On our one semi-sunny afternoon we walked the 1.4 miles from the Aquarium up to the hotel. The walk was great through the waterfront and Belltown neighborhood.
Seafood, seafood, seafood. And, if you are lucky enough to start your Spring Break in mid-March, halibut is in season. Walking from our hotel at 1st and Republic, we headed toward the Olympic Sculpture Park on Western, between Bay and Broad Streets. The park overlooks the bay, and is full of families, runners, and tourist. The sculptures are wonderful, and feel right at home with Seattle skyscrapers as their backdrop. We winded our way down to Alaska Ave, right along the waterline and headed South to Pier 66. There, we found happy hour at Anthony’s Bell Street Diner. It sits on the first floor of the pier building, under the swankier Anthony’s. Their lounge, which is kid friendly as long as you sit along the windows, has an amazing happy hour selection. Half-pound snow crab for $10. Calamari, and oysters on the half-shell. Their chowder was some of the best we’ve tasted.
Growing up in the Northwest, we have the privilege of visiting Seattle with some regularity. Here’s another blog post on some of our other dining recommendations in Seattle.
What to Do
As with all of our trips, we start with a loose itinerary. A little planning makes a huge difference in ensuring you seeing and experiencing what is most important to you. For a short trip, like this one (only 36 hours), we plan our days this way: a morning activity, an afternoon activity, and an after dinner activity. In some cases, there are must-eat places, and we’ll plan around those. But other, like this trip, we just found high rated/reviewed places near the areas of town our sight seeing happened to be. I actually write these types of itineraries out on a slip of paper I keep in my bag. That makes it easy to reference. We learned that long ago, especially when you travel overseas. With limited or no internet/cell access you have to go old-school with your planning.
You’ll see on our itinerary; we didn’t make it to all the places we’ve listed. That’s okay, we know we’ll be back again.
On this particular vacation, our 13 year-old son was in charge of our days. He picked the activities, modifying the plan based of what sounded fun, in the moment. Since, we’ve been to Seattle before, some of the more obvious sights were not on our list: Space Needle, Science Center, Pike Street Place Market. We’ve visited and written about them before in early posts: You Don’t Have to Be a Seahawks Fan to Enjoy Seattle.
This trip included the Experience Music Project (EMP), a peek at the original Starbucks, shopping at our Washington State University alma mater store, 2 p.m. feedings with the sea lions at the aquarium, and a ride on the new-ish, Ferris wheel.
The best part about Seattle, like many big-city vacations, is the people watching. When we arrived in town on March 22, we climbed up from the Westlake Center light-rail stop to hear sirens and see tons of police activity. As we hopped into our Uber on the way to the hotel, we passed by the 80-foot Sequoia tree that grows next door to Macy’s, we spotted man at the very tippy-top of the tree. #ManinTree started trending on Twitter. So, we along with everyone else stuck in downtown Seattle watched in wonder as the man, safely perched in the Seattle’s Christmas tree, threw apples and pine cones at the police trying to patiently talk him down.
Thanks to that crazy scene, and possibly crazy man, we started our Seattle Spring Break in the right mindset – live in the moment, and know that Seattle could never disappoint.
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