Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Seattle is a great town and the type of place I could see myself living in someday (if we don't return to Detroit). The city is lively, clean, and there are tons of things to do there - one moment you can be in your car in the heart of downtown and 15 miles later find yourself in the mountains.

Snoqualmie Falls is located just 25 miles east of Seattle and is a pretty spectacular sight. The Falls surge 270 feet over a magnificent rock gorge (that's 100 feet higher than Niagra Falls) making it one of Washington state's most popular scenic attractions.

Back in the city, you can take a boat cruise for more great views including some nice island scenery.

The Pike Place Market celebrated their 100th Anniversary just five days ago! To commemorate the occasion, a series of pig statues decorated by local artists can be found populating Seattle's sidewalks. This is in tribute to "Rachel" a 600 pound bronze cast piggy bank that is the Market's official mascot. It is said to bring the merchants that set up shop there good luck.

The Market itself is a fun place to hang out (and buy fresh fish and produce).

It is home to the famed Pike Place Fish Co. who attract throngs of customers who not only buy fish, but are their to watch others buy it as well. The big draw here is their "flying fish." When someone places and order, the employees throw the fish around to each other while weighing it, wrapping it, etc. before finally throwing it over the crowd and directly to the customer. The entire spectacle makes for a loud, fun atmosphere (something I never really associated with purchasing salmon or halibut).

Near the Market is the world's first Starbucks (founded in 1971). Man, do I wish I had thought of that idea (then again, I was only three at the time).

The Seattle Art Museum recently reopened after an extensive renovation. They had a pretty good collection, specifically their modern art section, which is something I really enjoy but didn't see when we were in Florence. Like the Uffizi, SAM had their own Botticelli and also other works by artists like Jackson Pollack, Jasper Johns and Jacob Lawrence (who gained fame while living in Seattle). Unfortunately, the Museum was enforcing the dreaded "no photos" rule pretty hard, so all I could get was a shot of the exterior.

The nicest way to end a day in Seattle is the nicest way to end a day pretty much anywhere else on this planet. Kudos to my nearly 6-year-old daughter Julia for taking this photo.

Finally, thanks again to my cousin Dan (and his girlfriend Sarah) for hanging out with us and showing us a great time in Seattle. Hopefully we can return the favor someday when they visit us in Thailand.


If you have to go to just one place in Seattle, it would be the Seattle Center. Ironically, it seems to be located in the center of the city (fancy that) and is home to many great attractions. Most famously is the Space Needle, which has come to symbolize the city. It was constructed in 1962 for the World's Fair and offers some nice views from the top. Unfortunately, we didn't experience that because at $16 a person it seemed like too much of a rip off for a 43 second elevator ride just to check out Seattle from above.

The International Fountain is pretty nice and helps to enhance any photo it appears in...

Then again, maybe not...

A fun thing to do when visiting a city like Seattle is to check out some museums. At the Seattle Center there are a few including the Pacific Science Center, but we chose the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Hall of Fame and Museum. They offered prices of $15 for adults, $12 for kids and our girls were young enough to get in for free. The admission covered both museums and was a pretty good value. The only downer about it was the "no photo" policy, so all I have are exterior shots.

The Experience Music Project is kind of a cross between Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (or any Hard Rock Cafe) and a typical children's interactive museum. They have many exhibits and displays of instruments, most of which center around Seattle's rich music history. This includes famed local acts like the Ventures, the Kingsmen, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. The biggest exhibit by far focuses on the city's most famous native son: Jimi Hendrix. I always like checking out those old guitars, outfits and stage gear.

The EMP also has a section where kids can play different instruments, record their own songs and make their own karaoke-style DVD, so a fun time can be had there for all.

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame and Museum was pretty cool for me. This is another place with tons of displays of memorabilia, props and costumes used in films and on TV. If you want to see the actual shirts that Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock wore on Star Trek, this is the place. The same goes for fans of Star Wars, ET, Planet of the Apes, Aliens, Forbidden Planet, Battlestar Galactica, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (among many others). Weapons, masks, robots, etc., it's all here. Some of the displays kind of stretched the line about what I consider science fiction (Indiana Jones' jacket and George Clooney's Batman suit aren't really sci-fi to me), but it was all fun. The designers of the Museum actually did a great job too, because when you walk through the building it seems like you're in a huge spaceship or on a cool movie set.

Back outside, the Fun Forest Amusement Park offered a good time for kids of all ages.

Key Arena (home to the NBA's Seattle Supersonics), the Seattle Children's Theatre, McCaw Hall (which houses the Seattle Opera) an amphitheater, a food court and many other attractions can be found at Seattle Center, making it a must-see destination for travelers to the city.


Our first trip to Seattle, Washington was short but sweet. We arrived on Friday, August 3 and by the following Monday, we were on a plane headed back to Asia.

During the three days we were there we saw quite a bit of the city and its surrounding areas and that's mainly because we had an excellent tour guide. Special thanks go to my cousin Dan for showing us around. He really was the host with the most and made this brief trip a truly memorable one.