Something we don’t often do when we are traveling is visit a city strictly as tourists. Usually, we stay off the beaten path, hit up locals’ hangouts, and generally avoid the “touristy” things that a city is known for. So when we decided to spend a day in Seattle being touristy, we were a little outside of our comfort zone. It turned out to be quite the fun adventure!
Decoding Seattle Transit
While we’re no strangers to public transportation, each city seems to have its own little nuance that makes reading the maps just a little different. Seattle has many modes of public transportation, including buses, lightrail, monorail, and trolleys. The many modes of transportation are quite nice and you can use the Trip Planner to plan your entire trip and know exactly what lines you need to take. It’s quite handy, actually! Our major goal was just to find a lightrail station outside of the city so that we could park and take the lightrail into Seattle. Parking is near impossible in Seattle, so if you are going for the day, it’s best to just take the lightrail in and walk to your destination. An all-day ticket on the lightrail and bus system was just $6 per person, and you can get on and off as many times as you need to during the day.
We hopped off the lightrail at Pioneer Square and walked out to the waterfront. We didn’t have any particular plans, but we wanted to see all the hustle and bustle of the touristy waterfront. We walked around for a bit and saw all that there was to offer, from silly penny smashers to boat tours, and everything in between. Although it was definitely geared toward tourists, Seattle was definitely not the most ridiculously touristy city we’ve visited. That was a nice surprise.
The waterfront was gorgeous and offered beautiful views of the bay. It was a bright, sunny day, with temperatures only reaching about 75 to 80 degrees (F). That is near perfect weather to enjoy a walk around Seattle, as the cool breeze off the water keeps you from getting too hot at any time.
The Pike’s Place Market
The one really touristy thing we wanted to see in Seattle was the fish market inside Pike’s Place Market. We have always heard the fun stories of fish being tossed around and it basically being a show for passersby. So, we made our way over from the waterfront and to Pike’s Place.
While it was very crowded in the market, we were quite pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to navigate. The open-air market is large enough to accommodate the many hundreds of customers and tourists who come through. Granted, we went on a weekday midday, so we can’t speak to how crowded it is on weekends. I imagine that would be much more crowded, but regardless it was a pleasant surprise.
Pike’s Place Market has vendors selling everything from fish and produce to trinkets and local art. The main drag of the market is on Pike’s Place, but the whole market spans several stories of the building as well as the next street over. Street entertainers are dotted around the market and set a fun vibe for the whole experience. We never felt pressured to look at or buy anything in the market either, as the locals seem to be used to tourists coming just to look.
The one thing we were disappointed in was the fish market. It turns out that the fish tossing only happens when someone purchases a fish, so the entire time we were in the market we didn’t see any of that famous fish tossing. While some of the workers were answering questions about the fish, they didn’t have any interest in entertaining. Understandable, just not what we were expecting to see, and we were bummed that no one was buying the fish at that time.
Seattle’s Space Needle
Seattle’s iconic Space Needle was an absolute must see when we were visiting Seattle. Built in 1961 for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle stands a huge 605 feet tall and was dubbed “The 400 Day Wonder” for being successfully built in a mere 400 days. Although it is no longer the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River, it is still an iconic landmark of the city. The Observation Deck at the top of the Space Needle is 520 feet high and offers views of downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and Elliott Bay.
While visiting the Space Needle, we had a great little spur of the moment live chat on our Facebook page! If you haven’t already, head over to Facebook.com/adventureinabackpack and like our page so you can be in on these random live chats that we host. We had a great chat with our Facebook fans while sitting in front of the Space Needle and enjoying the beautiful weather.
As the evening started to wind down, we stopped in at Cloudburst brewery for a beer and to sit down for a bit. We had walked a lot! We’d had quite a fun day and were in need of some chill out time before making our way back to the lightrail. We enjoyed the local brews they had on tap, but we were bummed to find out they did not fill growlers on demand so we couldn’t get a fill up there.
After walking around Seattle for a while more, we decided to stop in at The Pike Pub for a beer and a quick snack. While we don’t often eat out, we had been out all day and were out of snacks! It was a nice treat and we were being touristy that day anyway. Honestly, the food was pretty good but not amazing, but the beers were great. It’s always nice to find some local breweries and sampling their brews.
Seattle in a Day
While we only had one day to tour around Seattle, it was fun going to the city and seeing many of the more touristy places the city is known for. We had a great time and were pleasantly surprised with how beautiful and friendly Seattle is. There was a surprising lack of traffic in the city, which we attributed to the fact that parking is near impossible and the public transit was easy and inexpensive. That is a great attribute for Seattle in our book!
Overall, we had a great time in Seattle and would consider it a very livable city. We highly recommend getting out and seeing some of those touristy places in the city as well as getting off the beaten path.
Be sure to subscribe below for more adventures in the Pacific Northwest and beyond! Until next time, #LiveVicariously!
Like this post? Pin it!