Published: September 16th 2009September 8th 2009
I step outside on 3rd and Pine and before I can even turn the corner, I hear: "Oh, here comes the rain again!"
I take one whiff of the air, smell the heavy dampness of the Pacific Northwest and think: Yeah, I'm in Seattle.
Of course, while packing for this trip [I'm going to a few concerts in George, Washington, but get to bookend the excursion with a few hours in Seattle], I kept checking the weather. Seattle's reputation for being a rainy city made the idea of bringing my rain boots attractive, but as the chances of rain decreased I opted to leave them at home. Besides: it actually rains more in New York or Miami than it does in Seattle; I just forgot that it drizzles like mad here.
Luckily, the rain didn't last for long and I soon found myself edging down the steep street toward the neon sign of the Pike Place Market, looking out into Elliot Bay and trying to take it all in amidst a nice light drizzle. It was beautiful: damp air and wet pavement, boats in the bay, tourists and locals mingling in the market, a variety of fish being
thrown into mounds of ice only to be picked out and sold minutes later, musicians playing in front of the original Starbucks (and every other street corner), vendors offering free samples of nuts, jams, and chocolates galore... It was only 11 AM and I had the whole day in front of me. And then the sun came out.
Most of the rest of my day was spent walking around the Seattle Center, sitting in coffee shops or docks in South Lake Union, and climbing Queen Anne. Walking around Queen Anne especially was pleasant, since the views were spectacular. Though I did not find Kerry Park for the ultimate panorama of the downtown area, I did get a lot of exercise and got to see some very pretty (and I'm sure expensive) homes. The gardens were beautiful, the scenery amazing, and the staircases that scaled the steepest climbs were very picturesque.
After a while, I got a little bored since none of the rest of my party had arrived yet, and so I probably lost some enthusiasm to go find all of the interesting places I had planned to see like the Center for Wooden Boats, the Elliot Bay
Book Company, Discovery Park, and the Locks. Part of the reason was also the fact that Seattle's public transportation system confuses me intensely. After spending all my energies climbing around Queen Anne, I was ready to sit and hang out. Fortunately, some of my friends arrived a few hours later and we got to spend some quality time in a few happy hours where I sampled some delicious prawns and wine. Nightlife in Seattle is a wonderful time :)
The remainder of the weekend was quite good as well. The drive east was very scenic as we passed through the Cascades and Mt. Rainier and made our way to the more rolling wine-region of Washington. The concerts were fun and the scenery at the venue was amazing as well. George is situated right on the Columbia River, which cuts into the earth to make these huge cliffs not unlike a baby Grand Canyon. Give it a few thousand more years to unearth some geological paint-by-numbers and it might be just as grand. Of course, it still rained all weekend, which was fun until we had to camp in it.
When we got back to Seattle after
the series of concerts, we made our way back downtown. This time we had a car, but we also had rain which made it hard for us to get the motivation to explore. We made a quick run-through of Pike Place and tried to head up to Discovery Park in the Magnolia neighborhood. By the time we got to Magnolia, though, the rain was too much for a half-hour trek to the West Point Lighthouse, at least for us tourists. We ended up finding this dive bar in Ballard, full of locals and really good fish & chips. The bar was probably one of the best parts of Seattle since it not only involved some great food and local beer, but actual Seattle life. It was cool sitting in the little bar full of pictures of boats, men in plaid, a pinball machine, and a roof over our heads!
Of course, next time I head to Seattle, I'll bring my boots and it won't rain a bit. But I'll dedicate more time to the city, get to see some more of the things on my list, and soak up Seattle regardless of the weather!
There are more photos below