And Surrounding areas
In the early 21st century, Seattle continued its long-standing reputation as one of the most livable American cities. The city and its suburbs remained a centre of high technology, Internet commerce, and the arts. Political activism was commonplace, resonating with the city’s progressive past, and Seattle was a leader in such areas as recycling, “green” building, and renewable energy. Prominent in the political ecology of the Pacific Rim, Seattle attracted talented people from all over the globe, creating a feeling at once local and international, tranquil and thriving.
Coffee and love
I visited Washington in Jan of 2019 and upon stepping off the plane I fell in love with the state. From the bustling city of Seattle, to the snow capped mountains towering in all directions, to the west coast beaches, and the parks and trees all covered in a thick layer of moss. Washington almost has a storybook feel to it. Upon arriving to SeaTac after a 5 hour direct flight from Pittsburgh, I was met by my friend for a ride to the hotel. Upon arriving at my room in the heart of the city I quickly got some rest so that tomorrow I could wake up bright and early to see the sights and explore the area. When I woke I opened the curtain in my room to check the weather and reveal the city and about two blocks away the Space Needle. The view of the city scape even from my 2nd floor hotel room was amazing, and looking at the Space Needle I grew more and more excited to see the view from the top. After grabbing a shower, some quick breakfast, and my camera, I set out on my trek. The first stop was the Space Needle and surrounding museums, which at the base of the Space Needle you can buy tickets for one or more of the attractions. I suggest going early and buying the Seattle CityPASS which allows you to do a number of things for about 108$ with more info below.
Knowing I only had a day to see the city I opted to buy the museum passes each directly. The first stop was the Seattle Space Needle, so when you come in you walk up a long spiral ramp at it's base that has the history of Seattle and the building of the structure. Once at the top of the ramp you are able to get a photo in front of a green screen and then you hop onto the elevator and are taken to a nose bleedingly high 520 feet up to the observation deck. The elevator travels at about 10 MPH and the whole ride takes about 43 seconds to reach the top. The views of the city area amazing and they have a café you are able to buy food and drinks at as well as a glass floor to stand on for the brave hearted. The ticket allows you to come in the morning and again 3 hours to closing. After a small photo shoot I was back down and leaving through the gift shop (which has a bunch of cool retro futurism art to buy) I was off to the Chihuly Glass Museum which was only a short walk away. The museum had Dale's beautiful glass structures littered among the exterior garden and throughout the museum, even having a glass blowing demo going on. I met a nice couple exploring as well and they allowed me to use them as models while we walked about the museum. We still had some time so I decided I wanted to go to the Museum of Pop Culture and I'm extremely glad I did. This museum's architecture is wonderous with bending shapes and colors and uses of a wide range of textures it was truly unique. Once inside and I got my ticket they gave me a map and sent me on my way. They have rooms devoted to bands like Nirvana, Hendrix, and Pearl jam. Whole areas devoted to movies from the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror as well as an indie game exhibit. While I was there they had an additional limited run exhibit of marvel characters and art so naturally this made me very happy. Even writing this now I wanted to go back and explore because they are offering a Minecraft installation, as well as one on tattooing history. After me gushing over photos I was taking of Groot and the Necronomicon the museum was closing and I was off to my next sight to see, Pike Place Market. (On my way I took some photos of a Frenchie named Winston.)
Pike Place Market is one of the first farmers markets in the USA and has been keeping that tradition on since its inception in 1903. The place was like walking into a chef's dream, the amount of amazing quality and unique ingredients, decadent foods, wonderful aromas and interesting oddities as well as many handmade items. I could have spent hours here alone, it made me wish I lived in the city for a few months just to be able to cook with those ingredients! About halfway down from the start of Pike Place sits the original Starbucks which is a fun thing to see, and a bit further down from there is the Gum Wall, the Seattle Selfie Museum, and the bronze piggy banks Rachel and Billie, devoted to rising money for charity by collecting lose change. After some exploring, I decided to finally have a proper cup of Seattle coffee from a local coffee shop I found with a bit of googling. Street Bean Coffee Roasters is a local coffee shop that helps street-involved young people get real world job skills and training. I ordered a double caramel macchiato, and this isn't your Starbucks macchiato (which is heavy with sugar and milk) this is two shots of espresso a touch of caramel flavor and a mark of milk froth served with club soda. I was in coffee heaven and awake for two days.
Over the next few days I was exploring places all round Washington, namely Yelm, Tacoma, Olympia, and then headed out west to the coast to finally see the Pacific Ocean. I stayed the night on the coast at a small hotel in Ocean Shores and in the morning ventured out north to drive up the west coast of Washington to explore the Olympic National Park. The park has four regions: The Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west side temperate rainforest and the forests of the drier east side. Within the park there are three distinct ecosystems which are subalpine forest and wildflower meadow, temperate forest, and the rugged Pacific coast. I can't wait to go back and hike them all, I wanted to stop at The Tree of Life but sadly I didn't get to. I did get to explore an area around Lake Quinault where pristine blue waters met blue skies, dark moss-covered pines and mountains shooting out behind them. After some time, I headed off to Aberdeen (home of lead singer of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain) and watched the sunset's golden glow beam off Mt Rainier in the distance. Washington is by far my favorite place I've visited, and I can't wait to get back and see more.