We spent a few days around New Year's visiting a friend in his new hometown, Seattle. I'd visited twice before but only for a night or two each, so it was good to be in the hands of a knowledgeable guide this time around, and with more days at my disposal.
For starters, the weather couldn't have been more perfect. The air was crisp and the sky as blue and clear as I've ever seen it in that neck of the woods. I've been in Seattle when it's poured buckets and when it's just been that downright depressing gray that you think will never end. Needless to say, sunshine and dry streets were very welcome changes.
The only thing I can really gripe about was the city's dependence on cars for transportation. Between the Monorail, the Seattle Streetcar and buses, you'd think you'd hear about people getting to work or visiting friends via public transit. But when I asked people if they used rail or bus to get around the answer was a resounding no, and they said that they knew the same to be the case for their friends and co-workers.
Seems a shame to me that a cosmopolitan and progressive city like Seattle lacks a popular mode of public transit. Hope something will be done about that in the years to come.
On a positive note, there's nothing but an abundance of gastronomic, outdoorsy and musical related activities to be had in Seattle. Here's a few of my favorites:
- Hilltop Ale House -- try the Boundary Bay IPA and the Snoqualmie Falls IPA and dig into the popular lamb burger or any of their soups (they're so delicious)
- Take a 20 minute seaplane ride around Seattle via Seattle Seaplanes (ask for Jim the pilot)
- Watch the fish fly from fishmonger to fishmonger at Pike's Place Market
- Any hot dog your heart desires at Taxi Dogs, just a stroll's away from Pike's Place Market
- Peer out at Snoqualmie Falls, one of North America's largest waterfalls
- Join friends for an evening of beers at Elysian Microbrewery in Capitol Hill
- Satisfy your morning carvings with a egg and bacon bialy or a vegetarian quiche at Macrina Bakery in Queen Anne's
- Take a guided walking tour beneath Seattle's streets and sidewalks with Bill Speidel's Underground Tours (I learned so much about the city's history this way!)
- If you're looking for a kick-ass map, an Ork Poster, a travel guide book or a globe for your house, you have to visit Metsker Maps downtown
- Goes without saying (but I'll say it anyways) -- a visit to the Experience the Music Museum is a must-do (and if you go in April this year, they're opening up an exhibit exclusively focused on Nirvana)
- And if you need to close out the evening in a cozy, chalet-like pub, try Sully's Snowgoose Saloon in Phinney Ridge. A friend of a friend's dad's owns it and supplies it with good bar grub, lots of microbrews and the warmest group of regulars.