We, at HOBNOB, detest typical tourist spots, and usually avoid. Sometimes, though, you can find a high road along the well trodden paths. Our report focuses on things of beauty: art and nature mix so well in Seattle, in so many ways. Read on.
Pike Market: A foodie mecca. Indulge in the low architecture and fresh foods (bonus if you can purchase and cook some!). Fresh produce and fish prevail, along with some other touristy souvenirs. Halibut and salmon shined silvery and lush. Restaurants line the way. The original Starbucks is a crazed tourist magnet. We ate an excellent late lunch at Seatown, which is a tiny bit away from the fray. pikeplacemarket.org
The Space Needle: Drawn to the Jetson design, we purchased tickets a half hour in advance and made our way around a spherical ascent to an elevator—surprisingly, a very organized and painless process. Once you hit the top level, you can opt to grab a drink (we did) and enjoy one of Seattle’s greatest assets: townsfolk who are cool, edgy, open, and fun to connect with. Throughout our 4-day visit all the people we encountered were amicable and always returned our humorous remarks with another. Loved hanging out here, at a table next to the window. As opposed to visiting the Empire State Building, this spot offers more to enjoy besides the views—which were spectacular. spaceneedle.com
Chihuly Garden & Glass: Located right next to the Space Needle is an exhibit supreme. Born in Tacoma, Washington, glass designer Dale Chihuly has created whimsical blown pieces of extraordinary proportion. Colors glow, shapes twist and intermingle in natural and stark settings. Truly a must-see whether or not you are familiar with his work. You can buy a dual ticket at The Space Needle that includes this exhibit. chihulygardenandglass.com
Olympic Sculpture Park: A perfect spot to mingle with Seattle locals just going about their business: jogging, walking their dogs, surfing the net, or just strolling along. The path meanders down to the water, and has benches, driftwood, and rocks along the way for lingering. This park is part of the Seattle Art Museum offerings. Free. seattleartmuseum.org
Volunteer Park: Up in Capital Hill’s 1930s Millionaires Row is a park with a number of options for sauntering and relaxing. First, housed in art-deco splendor is the Asian Art Museum. It’s small, and perfect for killing an hour or two. Impressively, they had lots of activities for children, who seemed happy and engaged in creating art. Right next door is The Conservatory, the home to an indoor tropical forest, representing all the house plants you’ve ever had, and a section with exotic cacti. The current exhibit showcased chrysanthemums in all their forms, uplifting a rather common flower. As the finale to our visit, we climbed the stairs that enveloped a former water tower and took in some history and views. The Olmsted family, designers of Central Park and many other parks in the nation, designed Volunteer Park and we applaud their efforts.
Seattle Art Museum: An eclectic mix of modern art and antiques provide the perfect excuse to be indoors in case of inclement weather. A five-minute walk from Pike Market. seattleartmuseum.org
Washington Park Arboretum: If you want to witness an astounding selection of trees in all shapes and sizes, head here. Some trees measure 20 stories high. Paths meander through the 230 acres, some ending up on water, or twisting through ancient species. I did partake in a cannabis ritual before touring, which made the experience even more spectacular. Like a mini vacation! Free. botanicgardens.uw.edu