Sleepless in Seattle

The last time I visited Seattle, I was in school and was visiting all the major companies as a part of my school’s Career Trek. Quite obviously, I didn’t get enough time to explore the city and to be honest with you, exploring it wasn’t even on my mind. But even though I didn’t really explore it, I was stunned by its beauty and ever since it has been on my bucket list. April was a perfect time as it was tulip season and so close to Summer! Finalizing a good weekend was difficult though, due to the erratic weather in Seattle and our work schedules. When I booked our tickets, it seemed like the perfect weekend in terms of the weather but please read more to know what really happened. 😛

Where Did I Stay?

I stayed at the Grand Sheraton Seattle which is in the heart of Downtown Seattle. A day before I checked in, I stayed at my friend’s place (thanks a bunch, Harshitha!) in South Lake Union which is also a nice area.

What Did I Do?

Although my main purpose to visit Seattle was to go to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, I planned to explore the city too. I had two full days here and, of course, had to make an itinerary because Seattle has so many places to see! Here are some places I went to –

Places Visited

As you see the number of places I explored over the weekend, you’ll know why I was sleepless in Seattle! 😛

The Great Wheel

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The Seattle Great Wheel

The iconic Seattle Great Wheel stands tall on Pier 57 which is on the Elliot Bay. For about $14, you’ll get three revolutions on the Wheel and some really good views of the city and the Bay.

Skagit Valley

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is the most famous tulip festival in North America and for all the right reasons! The Skagit Valley has two major tulip fields – Roozengarde and Tulip Town, both about 70 minutes north of Seattle. We could’ve driven there but we weren’t sure about the availability of parking spots at both the fields as they aren’t really close to each other so we decided to book a tour with “Shutter Tours”. Luckily, their pick-up and drop-off spot was the hotel I was staying at and the total cost ($99) included VIP tickets, transport, water, snacks, umbrellas and some history about the fields and the town.

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Roozengarde Field at the Skagit Valley

Now, if you want beautiful pictures of you in the fields, wearing an all-white or light pastel outfit will give you the best result. I checked the weather and decided to wear a white dress but carried a light winter jacket and some spare clothes with me just in case the weather got bad. They picked us up at 7:30 am and we reached the Roozengarde field a little before 9 am. By then, the weather had gotten so bad that I couldn’t even walk in my dress. I was bummed and quickly changed into my spare clothes, took my umbrella and went out. Oh God, I can’t tell you how bad the wind and rain was. Everyone’sumbrellas were turning inside out and there were tents in the field so people could warm themselves every now and then. I knew that I wouldn’t get nice pictures of myself here but managed to get some good pictures of the field nevertheless!

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Tulip Fields at Tulip Town

By the time we reached Tulip Town, the weather got better and we luckily didn’t need any umbrellas there.

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La Conner

Between the two tulip fields, we went to La Conner for lunch. It’s a pretty little town with small boutiques and cafés.

How was my experience there, you ask? Honestly, no one talks about how windy it can get in the field when the weather is bad. If I knew better, I would’ve carried my gloves and a snow jacket (yes, that’s what you will need in this weather) instead. Apart from that, the fields are beyond amazing and you would want to keep staring at them!

Chihuly Garden and Glass

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Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass is an exhibit showcasing the studio glass of Dale Chihuly that mainly consists of three elements – the Garden, the Glasshouse and the Interior Exhibits. The exhibits are stunning and the camera does not do justice to how they look in person. Don’t forget to look up when you’re in the Glasshouse as you can see the Space Needle from here. 😉

Space Needle

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The Open Air Observation Deck at the Space Needle

If you know anything about Seattle, I’m sure you know about the Space Needle. It’s an observation deck and an icon of Seattle that was built in 1962. They recently introduced some changes to the Needle. There are glass benches that are inclined in the open-air deck so you can lean on them and view the city. Of course, people even stood on these for the thrill and it’s safe to do so as the deck is mostly surrounded by glass. The Loupe, which is the world’s first revolving glass floor is on the level just below the deck and you can literally see Seattle at your feet. There’s also a café and a wine bar up there too if you’re celebrating something. 🙂

Kerry Park

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View of Downtown Seattle from Kerry Park

Kerry Park is not only a public park but also a viewpoint on top of a hill that overlooks Downtown Seattle. It can get windy and cold there too, but definitely, visit the park later in the evening when it’s dark and the sky is clear to get an amazing view of the Space Needle standing tall around Downtown Seattle. On the clearest of days, you can even spot Mount Rainier from here!

Starbucks Reserve Roastery

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The Starbucks Reserve Roastery

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery is nothing like a typical Starbucks you walk into. Starbucks opened its first Reserve in Seattle and is one of four around the world. A visit to this Reserve will allow you to explore some rare coffees along with some immersive brewing methods that bring out their unique flavors. It also featured a cocktail bar and a bakery that had a beautiful aroma.

Moore Café

 

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The Moore Café

The Moore Café is a cute little coffee shop in the Moore Hotel close to the Pike Place Market. Now Seattle, in general, is known for its good coffee but I visited this café for their latte art and a cozy vibe. Indeed, they designed a cute little girl on my coffee and a baby bear on my friend’s hot chocolate!

Pike Place Market

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The Pike Place Market

The Pike Place Market is Seattle’s oldest public farmer’s market that opened in August 1907 and overlooks the Elliot Bay waterfront. The main things that the market is known for are the open air fish market, the first Starbucks store in the world established in 1971 and Beecher’s handmade cheese. One interesting thing about the fish market is that they’re known for their tradition of fishmongers throwing fish that the customers purchased before they’re wrapped. Apart from these specialties, you’ll find all sorts of small markets like the flower market, jewelry stores, bakeries, souvenirs, restaurants, etc.

The Gum Wall

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The Gum Wall

The Market Theater Gum Wall is a brick wall which is covered in used chewing gum and located right below the Pike Place Market in an alleyway called the Post Alley. People have been sticking gum to this wall since the early 1990s. Yes, it can get stinky because it’s a 50 feet long gum wall in a small alleyway, but worth seeing once. On the positive side, you’ll get a nice picture here as the gum wall will give you a colorful backdrop to play with!

The University of Washington

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Cherry Blossoms at the University of Washington

If you’ve heard about this University, you must’ve surely heard about the Quad. The Liberal Arts Quadrangle, popularly known as the Quad, is the main quadrangle at the University and is a trademark attraction in the Spring for its Cherry Blossom trees. By the time we went, most of the cherry blossoms had started to turn green but we luckily found some that were still pink! There are some alluring vintage buildings at the back of the cherry blossom trees which made the whole picture look exquisite.

Gas Works Park

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The Old Gasification Plant

The Gas Works Park is a public park that sits on the former Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant and is located in Lake Union. Here, you’ll find the old gasification plant, children’s play barn, and the “great mound”. Once you climb on the great mound, which is essentially a short hill, you can view the entire park, Lake Union and the Seattle skyline.

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The Gas Works Park

On a sunny and non-windy day, you’ll get stunning pictures here with the skyline in the background.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • If you’re local to Seattle or Portland, driving to Skagit Valley is the easiest option. If you’re visiting Seattle and not in the mood to drive, you can book a tour with different companies that take care of the travel, tickets, water, umbrellas, and some snacks. Most of the tours have their pick-up and drop-off spot at Grand Sheraton Seattle which was very convenient for us!
  • Want to buy some tulip stems for your home? My suggestion would be to buy them from the Pike Place Market and specifically from the place that’s right below the “Public Market” sign. It’s the cheapest ($1 per stem) as compared to some other stalls in the Market and the Tulip Gardens ($2 per stem).
  • While buying tulip stems, go for the ones that haven’t fully bloomed so they stay alive for longer at your home. Also, don’t worry about carrying them through security and in your flight as a carry-on because they’re allowed.
  • I don’t think I need to talk about Seattle’s weather in general but what I would say is pack your thick jackets and gloves with you along with your summer clothes! The rain, cold and wind at the tulip fields were so bad that everyone’s umbrellas were turning inside out and a normal winter jacket didn’t suffice. Please check the weather a day before and on the day that you’re visiting the fields to dress appropriately.
  • Another tip for visiting the fields would be to wear rain boots or shoes that will give you a good grip and you wouldn’t mind throwing them because they will get muddy in the fields.
  • Seattle is sort of hilly as well so just a heads up if you’re walking or driving around it.
  • This city has a great public transport system. We took the local metro and the monorail to most of the places that were far from my hotel for as cheap as $5-$6 for a roundtrip. We also took the train back to the airport as it was quite cheap and convenient!

Yes, the weather wasn’t perfect at the tulip gardens and it was barely sunny in the city too, but it was still a great trip and we managed to overcome these obstacles and explore the city satisfactorily this time!

 

 

 

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