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Staycationing the Seattle Way

May 18, 2021

For some time, international travel has been such an integral part of my rhythm. Since 2006, I have skimped and saved for a yearly “big” trip, with 2008 and 2020 being the exceptions. While traveling, I have encountered so many amazing people. Whether minutes, hours, or days, the people I have met have deposited priceless memories in my memory bank, and some have given me sage advice about life. The sum of their counsel can be boiled down to this: Do what you can now. There have been years when I didn’t really “want” to travel, but voices surfaced and pressed me to do it now, so off I went. 

2020 was the first year when I actually could not travel, so I am happy that I journeyed when I could. Until 2020, I took the ability to travel at will and having borders open for granted. As luck would have it, I had discovered the beauty of a staycation in 2019. Seattle is a beautiful and walkable city! So put on your walking shoes and let’s go! 

Seattle skyline and Elliott Bay from Kerry Park

Fresh eyes on my city

Walking around the city and taking photos is a huge part of my staycation activity. When I ride the light rail home after a trip, there is a moment when downtown Seattle comes into view. At that moment, I sigh and revel in the fact that I am home. Seattle’s skyline is something I like to photograph. There are locations with amazing views of downtown that make for iconic pictures. My favorite spot is Kerry Park (think of Frasier’s view) because the view also captures the Space Needle. Seattle is walkable, but it’s also hilly. So, you can walk part way up Queen Anne, or you can catch King County Metro bus 2 or 13 (get off at Ward Street) from downtown. From the park, you can see our container terminals in the distance as well as Mount Rainier. From there, it’s an easy walk down the hill to visit The Museum of Pop Culture, which is a great way for music lovers to pass time, and the Seattle Center. Both are open at restricted capacity so check before you go. Once things reopen, check out the neighborhood art walks around the city.

View of Seattle skyline from West Seattle

Maritime moments

Another place to get a good view — and a great day trip — is to take a ferry to Bainbridge Island. The ferry ride is a little over 30 minutes. It’s especially nice on a sunny day. You can roam the downtown area, which is a walkable distance from the ferry terminal. Be sure to have brunch or lunch, get ice cream, and peruse the local shops. Coming and going, you will catch amazing views of the container terminals. West Seattle is also a great location for an iconic Seattle skyline picture and a water taxi ride away. From the water taxi, you can take a free DART to Alki where you can enjoy the beach and some good eats. I like to walk to Alki and take pictures along the way.

On a side note, Leavenworth, Snoqualmie Falls, and (hopefully soon), Victoria, B.C., are also possible day trips.

If you are a wine connoisseur, there are wineries in Woodinville and the eastside of the Cascade Mountains in the Yakima Valley and Walla Walla Valley. 

Speaking of Eastern Washington, visit the eastside for sun in the summer, fishing, water sports, and more. 

View from Rattlesnake Ledge

Take a hike

If you are a hiker, there are plenty of hikes near and far. Rattlesnake Mountain Trail is a popular place to hike and relatively close. A longer day trip would be to visit Mount Rainier National Park and day hike. Climbing takes training of course. Future climbers often use the Howe or Blaine street steps to train. I’ve done Rattlesnake Mountain Trail, and I loved it once I reached the top.

Take in history and culture

I love murals and older buildings, so Pioneer Square, Lower Queen Anne, and the International District (ID) are areas I love to wander around and take pictures. While in the ID, there are so many wonderful restaurants to choose from. I am a huge fan of Harbor City’s dim sum, and Uwajimaya is always a good place to load up on snacks. 

Centennial Park along Elliott Bay

Park yourself

Seattle also has so much beautiful greenspace. Seattle has a reputation as a “rainy” city, which is true, but the summers here are so amazing! And the reason we have so many beautiful parks. The Washington State Arboretum is one of my favorite parks to wander around. There are sections that seem so far away from the city and are silent. Volunteer Park is also amazing. The park has the “Black Sun” monument that had been linked to Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.” Speaking of parks, the Port has several waterfront parks that are worth a look. 

Roam the market

I would be remiss if I did not mention Pike Place Market. It is also a perfect place to roam. Remember the market has several levels, so give the shops at the lower levels some love. The market is a great place to people watch, take photos, and sample culinary delights. Shops are still open and practicing social distancing. There are also Farmers Markets open around the city year-round. I just discovered the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall, and I want to go back to see more.

LaTonja Brown in Seaside

Smell the salt air

I did make one small trip last year and that was a long weekend in Seaside, Oregon. Washington and Oregon beaches are great places to visit. The beauty of Washington state (and Oregon) is hard to beat. There are not many states that can boast of having ocean beaches, mountains, and desert. So, it’s a great place to be a “local traveler.”

Travel advice

For those with the travel bug, here’s more travel advice from my blog:

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