I grew up in Seattle, and I often miss its beautiful green forests, clean-smelling air, the Puget Sound, and views of majestic Mt. Rainier. I also miss those gray misty days when you don’t really need an umbrella. The moisture just swirls around you and gently rests in droplets on your hair. I miss picking wild blackberries along the road for blackberry cobbler.
There are so many things about Seattle that have left imprints on my mind and senses. It really is impossible to narrow my favorites down to five. Yet, here I go.
1. Pike Place Market
This farmer’s market has been active in Seattle since before I was born, probably much longer. I have memories of vendors handing me samples of grapes when I was younger than 5. I remember my father taking us to watch the flying fish at the fish market (they don’t really fly, but it sure seems like it when the vendors throw your selection to the cashier to wrap it up for you!). I have strolled down the walkways, taking in the beautiful colors and scents of locally grown flowers, organic fruits and vegetables, floral-infused honey, barbecued chicken, and sugar-glazed nuts. The craftsman booths with a myriad of skilled arts lure buyers from all regions. And the energy of hundreds walking through the market is contagious!
After graduating from high school, I worked in downtown Seattle and usually spent my lunch hours in the market, eyeing the crafts and listening to street performers. And possibly purchasing a tart frozen yogurt from the Shy Giant yogurt shoppe. On my second wedding anniversary, my husband brought me to Pike Place Market to choose the makings of our anniversary picnic. And two years ago, I ventured there again with two daughters, two son-in-laws, and a 4-month old granddaughter. Pike Place Market has always held my heart. It feels almost like a part of me.
(Click on any photo to enlarge)
2. The Scenery
Not just Seattle, but everywhere around it, you will find lakes, streams, mountains, forests, waterfalls, hiking trails, and more.
From the underground tour of Seattle to the Boeing Museum of Flight and the Fort Nisqually fur trading post to the Tillicum Village Indian Salmon Bake, the Seattle region has a rich history ready to be discovered (and even relived to some degree).
4. The Ballard Locks
I attended college my first year at Seattle Pacific University. Sometimes my roommate and I would wander off to explore or to go shopping on the weekends. Invariably we would end up at the Ballard Locks. It’s so fascinating to watch the water levels change to accommodate boats passing from Puget Sound to Lake Union. There’s also a fish ladder there where you can watch salmon making their way back upstream. It doesn’t seem to matter how old you are because I’ve always enjoyed going to the Locks (actually called the Hiram M. Chittendon Locks).
5. The Seattle Waterfront
Seattle is famous for some of its waterfront landmarks: Ivar’s Pier 54 Fish Bar (amazing seafood), Ye Olde Curiosity Shop (think tacky souvenirs, real shrunken heads and a two-headed calf), the Seattle Aquarium, the Waterfront Park, the Olympic Sculpture Park, and the Seattle ferry terminal. As you walk along the waterfront, you can smell the ocean and feel the salt spray on your face, you can see tourists from all over the world, and you can even imagine what it must have been like during its busy Alaskan gold rush days. When I was in college, I would often ride the ferry back and forth across Puget Sound as I did my homework. I only had to pay the passenger fare once! While I worked as a tour operator for Westours transporting clients to their downtown hotels, I’d always drive along the Seattle waterfront to show it off!
And really, I feel like I’m cheating you because I haven’t talked about all my other Seattle favorites. Perhaps…another time.
I have a new feature to add for your convenience…you can click on this link and download this article to your device, free of charge, so you can read it offline and use it as a guide. For a small fee, you can also upgrade to turn it into a GPS-guided route for your own exploration of Seattle! If you do, I will receive a few cents compensation.
Thanks to my daughter, Heather Young, for many of the beautiful photos in this post. She is a very talented photographer and a great travel companion! And thanks to my older daughter, Jessica Heaton, who pushed us all to make a “pilgrimage” back to Seattle in 2013 and brought her daughter to entertain us all!
And to those of you who have visited Seattle, what are your favorites?