I recently visited Seattle, Washington as part of a larger Pacific Northwest vacation. It was the perfect place to end the week long trek from Portland, around the Olympic Peninsula, and to Seattle. As a large city it had a lot to offer for vacationers and we had a wonderful time exploring the Emerald City.
If you are interested in Portland and the Oregon Coast check out this blog post.
Getting to Seattle is very easy, they have a major international airport. It is also easily accessible by road making it a great place to build a larger trip from. If you are approaching from the west you even have the option of taking a ferry. We approached Seattle from the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park. We drove from Forks through Port Angeles and took the ferry from Bainbridge Island. They ferry was a wonderful experience! You drive right on and then you can park your car and get out for a fabulous view. There were also seats for walk on passengers, plus a rest room, and snack stand. It was such a great way to approach a new city and to watch is get closer and closer and larger and larger as we approached. Pointing out landmarks during the 20 – 30 minute journey. If you were staying just in Seattle this would even be a fun day trip out to Bainbridge Island via ferry. I highly recommend it.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Hilton Homewood Suites: Convention Center Pike Street. As the name tells you it was on Pike Street a straight shot and about a 10 minute walk to Pike Place Market. It was right next to the convention center as well. We were able to walk everywhere that we went from this hotel. It was about a 25 minute walk to the Seattle Center, and about the same in the other direction to the Aquarium and Pier area. The area directly around the hotel had lots of dinning options, and a convince store was right next door. Of course if you prefer an Uber or taxi those were readily available as well. The hotel offered a self parking garage at an additional charge.
The hotel lobby had a seating area and housed the included breakfast location, a single desk and computer as the business center, and an ATM. They also had a small selection of prepackaged food, and sundry items for sale by the front desk. The included buffet breakfast has a large seating area. The food was what I expect from a Homewood suites with lots of options and quality right down the middle for a buffet breakfast. Since you have a kitchen in your room you can always grab some extra items for lunch or snacks as well. They offered coffee and juice and sometimes fruit throughout the day in this same area. There was also a gym available on another floor, which had the basics.
Our room was a standard 1 Queen Bed Studio Suite. The great thing about all Homewood Suites is that every room is a suite. So you get a kitchen area and a seating area on top of the bedroom. Since this was a city location the kitchen/seating area was a bit smaller than you might find at other locations. The largest take away was that the fridge was really a mini-fridge with a connected “freezer” section that barely could stand up to the test of keeping ice cream frozen. But the room as a whole was large especially for being in the heart of a city. There was a lot of natural light and the bathroom was huge. There was a lot of storage space including a closet with a safe. I throughly enjoyed our stay in this room and at this hotel. I highly recommend it.
To see a room tour check out my Seattle video link here.
What We Saw
We used the Seattle City Pass to purchase joint admission to all of the attractions. I love these passes and have used them in other cities before. If you are going to visit several of the included attractions I highly recommend getting a City Pass. It’s also a great way to see what the most popular attractions are in a city. It also lets you add something that is included that you might not have wanted to spend the money on otherwise for whatever reason.
In some cities you even get preferred entry to attractions but we didn’t have that in Seattle.
Two things included on the pass that we did not do was a harbor cruise and the zoo. I would have been interested in both but didn’t have time to fit them in and we felt the ferry ride gave us a lot of what the harbor cruise would have.
The Seattle Center is a campus home to many tourist attractions and performance and sports spaces. Between them all is green space, souvenir shops, street entertainment, and a few food stands.
Space Needle – This is of course the crown jewel of the Seattle Center and the most iconic and popular attractions in Seattle. Before you arrive check the current ticket requirements we had to sign up for a timed entry. When you enter you will still need to wait in line before you can head up to the top. We waited about forty five minutes, half of it outdoors but under cover. There is stringent security and large backpacks have to be placed in lockers before you enter so make sure before you leave your hotel you don’t have any prohibited items. While in line on the left hand side there are panels describing the construction and history of the Space Needle. You get your photo taken on a green screen right before you head to the elevators. This photo download is free as are all the photos taken at the Space Needle so keep an eye out for photographers at the top and download the Space Needle App to get your photos. You will be assigned an elevator and take it up to the top with a tour guide. You’ll be delivered to the top floor. Inside here you will find a bar and lounge area. Outside is the observation deck which has very tall glass walls all around and benches. The views are amazing and on a clear day you can see all the way to Mt. Rainer. Be sure to walk around the entire deck to see all of the views. There are selfie stations where you can take your photo as well as wondering photographers. When you are done here you go inside and down one flight of stairs. This is where you will catch the returning elevator to the ground. But fist make sure to check out to the rotating glass floor here. This level is all inclosed. You take the elevator back to the bottom and exit through the gift shop. We had a lot of fun here and the views were great. I think anyone visiting Seattle should make a journey to the Space Needle, unless you are scared of heights.
Chihuly Garden and Glass – This museum features the glass artwork of Chihuly. With expansive rooms featuring huge pieces of art to smaller pieces with lots of detail. I am not normally one for art museums but this was certainly not your typical art experience with the size and style of the pieces. It was an experience to walk though. At the end there is a large greenhouse portion with stunning overhead glasswork hanging and where you can enjoy a cafe, or observe a glass blowing demonstration. Then you can walk through the garden with views of the Space Needle and glasswork pieces throughout the flowers.
MO POP = Museum of Pop Culture – This museum was so much fun and I highly recommend it for fans of pop culture! I am a big movie, TV and pop culture fan so this was a perfect place for me. They had some really exciting pieces like original props and costumes from movies, and guitars from famous artists. There were broad exhibits themed to things like fantasy, science fiction, video games, and horror movies. Then there were more Seattle specific exhibits like a huge Pearl Jam one and a Nirvana one. They also had a few traveling exhibits that rotated while we where there they had a history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement by the Newseum, and a Disney Achieves costume exhibit. The Disney one was an additional entrance fee so be sure to check what is going to be there during your visit.
**** The Seattle Center is also home to several theaters and performance spaces, the new Climate Pledge Area and Memorial Stadium. It is also where you will find the Pacific Science Center. ****
Pike Place Market – This is the iconic seafood market that is prominently featured in any movie that takes place in Seattle. On the water it has three levels, reaches across the street, and spans several blocks. I absolutely recommend walking around the area and grabbing a meal here. It is almost always very crowded but you are able to walk though early in the morning before most of the stores are open if you want to take it in without the crowds. Of course there are stalls and stores that sell fresh seafood, produce, crafts and home goods, souvenirs, and stores of all kinds, there are even sit down restaurants. A few highlights here are the first Starbucks which seemingly always had a very long line unless you arrived very early in the morning. They have special merchandise and a special Pike Place only blend. In an alleyway on one of the lower levels you have the Gum Wall which is a wall of discarded chewing gum and it makes a really fun photo opportunity. You won’t want to miss the Pike Place Fish Market stall where the workers famously throw the fish orders through the air. Then pose for a photo with the bronze pig statues, Rachel is right in front of the Pike Place Fish Market, and Billie is out back on the top level on the porch. If you take a peak into The Athenian Inn restaurant on the main level you’ll see two stools at the corner of the counter right up front with plaques on them. A scene in Sleepless in Settle was filmed here and Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner sat on these stools. The market is a must visit while in Seattle.
Seattle Aquarium – The Seattle Aquarium is right on the water appropriately enough. Located among the piers this Aquarium is moderately sized as aquariums go. With a large touching pool where you could reach you hand in to touch starfish and anemones. The building itself and the layout was different and some of it structurally entertaining. They had several large tanks with Pacific Northwest fish. About half of the aquarium was outside and this was where you would find seals, otters, and sea birds. This part of the aquarium seemed older and the enclosures didn’t provide the best views. But nothing seemed too small or run down or anything like that. The sea otter and puffins were my favorite here. I had a nice time here but I wouldn’t put it on my list for a return trip. It’s a good filler attraction if you need something else to add to your visit or if you are traveling with kids this is a good option, it’s also something to have in your back pocket for a rainy day. If you have the Seattle City Pass this is included and I would certainly take advantage of that if it fits in your schedule.
Miners Landing Pier 57 – Located right next to the aquarium and on the water was Pier 57 Miners Landing. This is your basic tourist trap amusement. It was free to walk around the indoor portion so we checked it out. The Gold Rush theming was fun and they had an arcade, shops, and a casual sit down restaurant. There is also a 4-D virtual reality simulator Wings Over Washington. Outside was a small carnival amusement section with a ferris wheel and a few other things. If traveling with kids this could be a fun option as long as you know what you are getting into, but the cost will add up quickly.
Kerry Park – Outside the heart of the city this little park had a small playground but was worth the stop to get photos with the Seattle skyline behind you. We made a quick stop between the ferry and our hotel. Free street parking was available. (photo above)
Freemont Troll – Close to Kerry Park is at the famous Freemont Troll the bridge troll statute is a really fun photo op. Free street parking was available.
If you are looking to travel to Seattle (or anywhere else) I would love to be your travel agent.
Get expert advice in planning your vacation and a personalized experience at no additional cost to you.
Contact me at katiev@katiethemagicsyours
Follow Me! https://linktr.ee/katiethemagicsyours