I have done my fair share of traveling within the United States. I’ve lived in Houston, had holidays in Chicago and New York, worked in Omaha, moved to Los Angeles, and more… but I had never experienced the Pacific North West, except vicariously through my friends and their photography.
Since I was a child I have had this deep longing for Seattle. I grew up mesmerized by tv shows and movies that took place in that city. Looking back now I don't know if there was ever truly an accurate representation of the way the city moves. And, it does move in a way that I haven’t experienced in any of the cities I’ve visited.
I love Chicago for it’s wintery coziness. The buildings seem to be designed to fit well with the cool weather and bare trees, all lining the city in a way that makes every view interesting. I love New York for the people. In reality I don’t know anyone in New York but when I am there and I look around I feel inspired by the way they walk, the dedication in their faces, the drive in their spirits. I love Los Angeles for it’s culture, and they way diversity is celebrated. At times it feels like the city is evolving around me; years later I am still discovering its beautiful intricacies.
Seattle had this strange way of reminding me of other places I had been, and it seemed to encapsulate the best parts of them all. There was a magic that the city had, and part of that might have been that I was there to attend a wedding, which always seems to make me feel connected to everything around me, but the city moved in way that was just different.
There’s no way you can be in Seattle without stopping at Pike’s Place. It might have been one of the most chaotic experiences during my trip, but it honestly was a great way to start off exploring the city. There are street musicians, endless good food, great coffee shops, and it’s right next to the Seattle waterfront. While there I stopped at Storyville coffee, a great local coffee shop that donates a portion of its proceeds to reputable organizations which work to end human-trafficking. The space was almost like a lounge, and even thought it was busy, it was a peaceful place to refuel and recharge. Note: their large, beautiful cookies are delicious, and I have heard that some people do finish them by themselves, but I would bring a friend if you plan on purchasing one. They’re great, and they’re massive. Pike’s had this movie-esque charm that I loved. Go there, wear a great outfit, and pretend like you’re about to enter a story that will change your life.
Some cities just shouldn’t be experienced on foot, but Downtown Seattle definitely is a place that you want to experience slowly. Walking around the downtown area was a light experience. There wasn’t ever a moment where I felt under or overwhelmed. From Pike’s we walked to the the Olympic Sculpture Garden, which I enjoyed, but being by the water is what made the experience. If you’re in Seattle, make it a point to go to as many places by the water as you can. It just never seemed to stop taking my breath away.
There is a peace about Seattle that I kept describing as a slowness. It wasn’t that things weren’t happening, because they definitely were, but it was happening in such a peaceful way. When we were at the sculpture garden, it was reminiscent of New York City, which seems strange but one of my favorite things about Manhattan is how much is happening by the water.
If you’re looking to get even closer to the water, the Golden Gardens Park near Ballard was a nice place to catch some sun. It was cool and windy, but there was a warmth about the surrounding area. You can sit by the water and watch the boats come in and out, and watch some local wind-surfers. I love exploring new places, but I always find it necessary to pause for a moment and just listen to the waves.
On my last night in the city two of my friends brought me to Schilling Cider House “cidery". I have never been to a cider brewery, and honestly didn’t know they existed until that evening. We happened upon bingo night, which was amusing to say the least. I got a flight of ciders, and while the ciders do frequently change, when I was there I had the Pomegranate Cider; it was a journey. If it’s there, please indulge.
Once you’ve had the chance to get to know a city, I always find it to be a very unique experience to take in a great view of the skyline, so my friends brought me to Kerry Park on the north end of the city. This is probably one of the most trendy-tourist spots we could have found, but there is definitely a reason people congregate their late into the night. Together we shared this brilliant view of the skyline, and being the last few hours of my trip it made me appreciate the city even further. I snapped a few photos, and then we all sat on the stone fence eating pie and talking. The city view is what I can only call cosmic.
I’ve been to some magnificent cities, and there are parts of them all that I’ve fallen in love with, but I’ve never had my heart taken by a place as quickly as it was by Seattle. The city is more than just a city. When I went through all of my photos after my trip I realized I hadn't really taken any of the city (except a few shots of the skyline); even downtown was illustrated by culture and art through almost every picture. Frasier Crane once said about his apartment, "It’s a style of decorating; it’s called eclectic. The theory behind it is if you've got really fine pieces of furniture it doesn't matter if they match, they will go together." If you ask me that's the best way to capture Seattle in sentience. If you’ve never been to Seattle I hope you can one day take in the city and catch a little of the magic while you’re there. I’ll be back in the summer; I hope to see you there.
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