Seattle Nirvana: Great Stuff to Do in Seattle

December 2015

After our wild and wet Oregon road trip, the city lights of Seattle were calling. Like, true tourists, we opted for the scenic route oblivious of the weather forecast. After driving for a couple of hours, very light snow started to fall. Within 30 minutes, it was coming down by the bucket load and the road was starting to look like a ski field. Without 4WD or snow chains we started to get concerned about how we would get over the Snoqualmie Pass, the highest point between Seattle and Hood River. Concern turned to panic when we saw trucks and cars pulling over to chain up. The overhead signs flashing stern warnings, ‘chains or 4WD only’. I was concerned we wouldn’t have enough traction to get up the hill. Julie was concerned we wouldn't be able to keep control going down the hill. We tucked ourselves in behind a couple of snow ploughs and prayed to the weather gods.

Ten miles later we both started to breathe easier and I loosened my steel-like grip on the wheel as the lights of Seattle came into view and the snow turned to sleet. 

We stayed three nights at another Air BnB gem. A new-looking shared house in one the trendier parts of town. The only other occupants were a couple of shy Finnish girls. We quizzed the owner about dinner options and followed up on his top recommendation, a buzzy Mexican restaurant called The Matador. We raised a glass to thank the weather gods. And here’s something you won’t hear too often, the Brussel sprouts were to die for.

A 20-minute bus ride took us into the centre of downtown. We mooched through a couple of department stores then wandered the Public Market including the world famous Pike’s Fish Market. Here, the fish fly through the air from the front of the counter to be snaffled and wrapped by the bearded dudes standing behind.

At the base of Seattle’s Space Needle is Chihuly Gardens. We were aware that Chihuly had created the amazing glass petal sculpture that is part of the ceiling at the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas. Other than that we had no idea what to expect from this visit. Our jaws dropped as soon as we walked into the first exhibit hall. A mind-blowing gallery of techno-coloured glass sculptures. Vivid colours popped before our eyes from indoor and outdoor exhibits. A demonstration of glass blowing techniques showed us how some of the exquisite works of art are created. Julie’s favourite was the floor to ceiling seascape. A vibrant collection of blues and white with the odd golden sea creature thrown in. Mine was the very first sculpture, a forest of neon blue and pink glass tubes.

breakages need to be paid for

noen forest

A visit up the Space Needle provides incredible views of Seattle. They have this neat smartphone application that shows 3D animated holograms when you point your phone at pictures on the floor.

At the nearby EMP Museum (experience music projects) we were undecided whether to pay the $25 each admission fee when a lady offered us a free ticket. Clearly a sign that we should see what this funky looking building had to offer. Dedicated to pop culture this museum is very different from any other we had visited. The first exhibition was dedicated to local indie rock legends Nirvana. Other exhibits included Hello Kitty, Jimi Hendrix and video gaming history. The centre piece of the main walkway being a two storey high guitar sculpture.

On the top floor you can release your inner musician with sound booths fitted out with a drum set, bass guitar, lead guitar and keyboards. Hours of fun. On the drums Julie did her best Animal (from the Muppets) impression; she should probably not give up her day job. Oops too late

A giant two storey iMax screened iconic music videos and documentaries. The full Michael Jackson’s Thriller video was playing when we arrived. I offered to show our funky moves learnt at Burning Man, but they were having none of it.

So that was our whirlwind trip to Seattle. A perfect weekend getaway. We managed to cram quite a bit into just two full days. The Chihuly Garden and Glass being one of the favourite things we have done so far. But, now it was time to head back to Portland to start our 6 week house sit.


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