It’s been awhile since I sat down and wrote a piece for my blog… I guess I was having that “writers block” we hear so much about. But I’m back and I have lots of things I want to write about so hopefully this is the start of regular posting again!
Last year I was lucky enough to spend five months traveling around the USA, exploring 18 states along the way. My first stop after leaving my friend Raechel in Vancouver was Seattle, Washington. I didn’t know too much about Seattle before going there, but once I realized it was where my favorite film of all time, 10 Things I Hate About You, was filmed, I knew I was going to love it (see more on that below). I wanted to share my top picks for new visitors to Seattle so here we go…
Here’s my top picks for visitors to Seattle:
- Stay at the Green Tortoise Hostel
Now this one is mainly for solo/budget/younger travelers who usually stay in hostels – make sure you stay at this one! Even if it says it’s not available online, including their own website, call them and make it happen! Best hostel I stayed at in all of America, mainly due to the fact it was literally across the road from the Pike Place Market. They also organize free tours every day and have free local beer on Fridays and Saturdays! Check them out here, and don’t forget to check out the Shop part of my website where you can get $25 USD off your stay!
- Do a free walking tour of the Pike Place Market
The Pike Place Market is a large, confusing, multi-level maze and when I tried to explore it on my own, I didn’t see too much and left after about half an hour. But when I went on a free walking tour with Jake from Seattle Free Walking Tours, I learnt SO much about the history of the market, I saw parts of it I would’ve never found on my own (including the gum wall) and I got free tasters of some of the products (find out more fun facts about the market in my other blog post, 6 Fun Fact about the Pike Place Market). I’m not sponsored at all by this company but I generally thought they were amazing and wanted to share. Find more about them here.
- Find the first ever Starbucks store and taste one of their special blends
The first ever Starbucks actually has two locations due to the fact a fire burned down the first one and it is now a random café – however their second location is still operating and offers a special blend not available anywhere else! Make sure you’re at the right location too, I saw a LOT of people taking selfies at a location two blocks away thinking that was the first one…
- Do an Underground Tour and find out about Seattle’s interesting history
This was recommended to me by a worker at the Green Tortoise Hostel and it was one of the best things I did in Seattle! You’ll learn all about Seattle’s rich working class history while walking around tunnels which formed part of the underground that were used decades ago. Find more info here.
- Visit the Museum of Flight and step inside Air Force One and Conchorde planes
A little outside of Seattle you can find the Museum of Flight, an interactive museum showing all aspects of aviation and the history behind some of the most influential aircrafts. My favorite part, however, was the massive holding area of a variety of airplanes! Walking through Air Force One where JFK had sat and also exploring a Conchorde plane were incredible for this non-aviation geek, I can only imagine how much real aviation buffs would enjoy it. The Green Tortoise Hostel also put on tours to this museum, but I simply caught the bus there myself without any difficulties.
6. Find all the 10 Things I Hate About You film locations!
I genuinely think this is the best film from our generation (who can resist Heath Ledgers smile..) and was on a mission to find all the iconic film locations while in Seattle. The Fremont troll under the bridge is a popular one, but nearby is Gas Works Park (where they had the paintball fight and their first kiss in the hay bales!). If you want to visit their high school, you have to head a little bit out of the city to nearby Tacoma – but it’s totally worth it to see the actual bleachers Heath ran across while singing that delightful song over the PA system. While you’re there, you might as well head to North 28th Street and find the Stratfords family home! And don’t forget about Lake Union where they had their paddle boat date (which is totally a thing you can do too). Ahhh, such a great film.
7. Head to Kerry Park for sunset
Another recommendation from a hostel worker and how I spent my last night in Seattle. Kerry Park is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, with breath-taking views over the Seattle, especially at sunset time. On a good day, you can even see Mount Rainier from here.
8. Visit the Museum of Pop Culture and celebrate everything of our generations!
One of the more fun museums I’ve visited in my lifetime, which includes things like props/costumes from the Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter, Kirk Cobains guitars, the biggest tower of guitars I’ve ever seen, and so much more.
- Catch a ferry to Bainbridge Island for the day
Another tour option by the Green Tortoise Hostel is to catch the ferry across to Bainbridge Island (approximately 1 hour on the ferry) and explore for the day. Bainbridge Island is a vacationers paradise – small quaint shops, lots of sophisticated restaurants and bars, and that feeling of being away from everything and everyone. I wanted to go back and stay for a week straight in an adorable little bed and breakfast, using a push bike with a basket as my main form of transport.
- Find the house from the movie Up!
There’s a tiny house in Seattle that was previously owned by a lady named Edith Macefield. She was reportedly offered over one million dollars for her property so they could develop commercial buildings on the entire block and she refused – leaving them to develop a 5 story building around her house. In 2009, Disney publicist attached balloons to the roof of her house, as promotion for the movie Up, in which the main characters house is also surrounded by looming development. The house still stands to this day and is definitely a sight to see.
- Head up the Space Needle and see views all over the city
Last but not least, no visit to Seattle is complete without a visit up the Space Needle observation tower. Make sure you pick a day with the best weather, as there’s no point going all the way up to just see grey clouds! They’ve also recently upgraded the restaurant here and I’ve heard it’s amazing so try it and let me know!
I only had a week in Seattle so of course I may have missed some of your absolute must-do’s when visiting the Emerald City – let me know in the comments below what you recommend to friends!