Saturday, August 8, 2015

FINALLY, a tourist in Seattle!!!

Sad to say but we have been in Seattle for 14 months and have not done much of the tourist type of things that are here.  We have been to Snoqualmie Falls in Fall City but that was about it.  Tex works 5 days a week in a very stressful job and by the weekend, he is so tired that all he wants and needs to do is rest. 

BUT, since he hasn’t been able to take leave the past year, he has several days that he has to “use or lose” by Oct 1st.  So with that in mind, he has scheduled a few days here and there so we can finally go downtown and see the sights.

On Wednesday of this week, we went to Pike Place Market and the The Waterfront.  It just so happened that the weather cooled off and it was a beautiful, cool day.  We started out at Pike Place Market and went through all the shops and storefronts.  There are so many that it would be impossible to go through every one of them in one day.  We went into the ones that we found interesting and made our way down to the open air Farmers Market area. 

Since it was a weekday and we went fairly early, it wasn’t yet crowded.  We stopped by Pike Place Fish Co. first off to see the popular fish market and to watch them “throw the fish”.  They put on quite a show.  If you ever go there though and want to buy fish, I would recommend shopping around for prices.  We found that their prices were quite a bit higher than the other fish markets. 

Rachel the golden pig is a big piggy bank that profits the Pike Place Market Foundation which supports housing and service for their low income neighbors.  It is right in front of Pike Place Fish Co. and directly under the popular Pike Place Market sign.

Rachel the golden pig

We just happened upon a roof top garden on our way through the Market.  It was such a surprise!  This roof top garden provides fresh fruit and vegetables for the Pike Place Senior Center.  It was a beautiful rooftop oasis.  It also had it’s own version of Rachel the pig.  It was a chalkboard pig that you could write on the pig and drop in your donations.  The views from the garden were spectacular even though it was a cloudy day.

For breakfast, we ate at Caff√© Lieto.  It serves what they call “Biscuit Bitch”.  They serve Southern style biscuits and gravy but they also have all different kinds of gravy.  Their biscuits are huge and so delicious!! 

Biscuit Bitch from Caffe Lieto

The produce and flowers throughout the Market were just gorgeous.  There were even some fruits that we had never seen or heard of, such as sweet rambutan and Romansco Cauliflower, among others.

Pike Place Chowder is a very popular restaurant.  People line up for hours before they even open. 

Line waiting for Pike Place Chowder

The original Starbuck's is located in Pike Place Market.  People line up for hours to get coffee there, even though there are several other Starbuck's and other coffee places nearby.  On this day, one of the Market's buskers was performing.

The Original Starbucks 

You can’t go to Pikes Place Market without visiting the famous Gum Wall.  It is one of the Market’s quicker attractions.  It all started when patrons of the Market Theatre were asked to leave their gum outside. It is actually located in Post Alley and encompasses both sides of the alley for quite a ways.  I always pictured it as a small wall but it is actually quite extensive.

Can you see the window behind the bars?

TIP!!!!!   If you go to Pike Place Market, I highly suggest parking in Public Market garage.  It is directly across the street from the Market and has a covered breezeway over the street into the Market.  It costs $3.00 per hour up to 4 hours and then goes up from there.

We parked in the garage and toured the Market then walked back to the garage and took the elevator down to the Waterfront level.  If you do this, you save yourself and your legs from walking hundreds and hundreds of steps down and then back up.  This is a little known fact that not even my local native Seattle friends knew about.  We just happened to figure this out by chance because we parked right next to the elevator.

The Seattle Waterfront consists parks, piers, ferry and ship terminals, promenades, and public spaces.  It includes the Seattle Aquarium, the Great Wheel, Olympic Sculpture Park, arcades, restaurants, shopping, bike paths, fishing piers, boat launches, cruise ship terminals, ferry terminals and gorgeous views of Puget Sound.  Downtown Seattle is just a few blocks away as well.

Interesting sculpture/bike rack across from Seattle Aquarium

We did the obligatory shopping as well as riding the Great Wheel.   Located on Pier 57, the Seattle Great Wheel is the largest observation wheel on the west coast, standing 175 feet tall.

Seattle Aquarium

Ferry to the islands

Seattle Seahawks stadium foreground/Seattle Mariners field background

Some other interesting facts:

  The wheel has 42 fully-enclosed gondolas. 41 white gondolas each seat up to eight adults.  Cabin #42, the VIP cabin, has leather bucket seats, a stereo system, glass bottom floor, and can seat up to 4 adults.  In total, the wheel can hold over 300 passengers at any given time.
  The wheel was manufactured in various parts of Europe and the United States, and assembled right at the end of the pier.
  The wheel extends nearly 40 feet beyond the end of the pier, over Elliott Bay.
   The Seattle Great Wheel is open year round. With fully-enclosed gondolas and a covered waiting area, the rain can't stop the wheel from spinning!
   The wheel weighs 280,300 pounds.
   550 tons of concrete were poured to create the foundation for the wheel

The views from the Great Wheel are amazing!  On a clear day you can see the Olympic Mountains to the west as well as some amazing up close views of downtown Seattle.

Also located at Pier 57 is Miner’s Landing.  There are a lot of great shops and restaurants here along with the Great Wheel.  Located inside is also a beautiful vintage carousel. 

The Riverfront is currently experiencing some construction as Seattle is in the middle of a multi-year project to replace the seawall after removal of the Alaskan Way viaduct.  The project includes a new seawall, surface street, parks and green spaces and paths.

The entire waterfront is still accessible during the construction.  They have even added some fun games along the walking path such as a ping pong table, shuffleboard and were painting a large human size checkers board the day we were there.

At the end of the day, we ate at Ivar’s Fish Bar on Pier 54.  We had their Fish and Chips and it was AMAZING!!!  The price was great as well.  If you go to the Waterfront, definitely plan to eat at Ivar’s!

All in all, we had an amazing day!  There is so much to see and do at both Pike Place Market as well as the Waterfront.  You could definitey take a day or more to do just one of these places.  We chose to do both in one day and just saw the things that were important to us.  We have seen Aquariums all over the Country, so we didn’t spend time there.  We don’t have little kids so that helped as well as we were able to move along quickly. 

TIP!!!!! If you plan to do anything where you have to buy tickets, buy them ahead of time online.  It will save you so much time because you won’t have to stand in line to buy tickets.  We did this and even though it wasn’t very busy the day we were there, it still saved us a bunch of time. 

So, if you are ever in Seattle, Pike Place Market and the Waterfront should be on your To Do list.  And we were so glad we had found that elevator and didn’t have to walk back UP the hundreds of stairs to our car at the end of the day!

Until next time!

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