Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Three Days in Seattle

After living in Seattle for a full month last August (and enjoying our time there immensely), we decided to revisit our 2nd city (Portland being our 1st city) for a quick weekend trip. We had originally planned to rent a car and drive up to Mount Rainier, spend one night at Paradise Lodge, then continue on to Seattle. That was before I had to have both big toes cut on. Two weeks after the surgery I’m just now able to walk halfway normally in my modified tennis shoes, although not comfortably and not for great distances. So we cancelled the rental car and Mt Rainier portion of the trip and purchased tickets on Amtrak. I had Amtrak Guest Rewards points that I accumulated while living in the Northeast, so I cashed those in for two round-trip business class tickets from Portland to Seattle.

Thursday 03JUN

We left Portland at 8:30 this morning. It’s just a 10 minute walk from our apartment to Union Station which is super convenient but means we hear the trains at all hours of the day & night. We enjoyed the three and a half hour ride north through some pretty scenery (lots of farmland & water) but got delayed over an hour en route due to a bridge inspection. We passed some of the time watching the featured movie Invictus and drinking an alcoholic beverage from the café car (business class passengers are given $3 coupons towards any purchase, but a bottle of beer costs $5.75 to start with!). We finally arrived in Seattle at 1pm.

We had already planned to have lunch in the International District and had scouted out some places on http://msg150.com/. We initially were going to try Thai Curry Simple as it was closest to King Street Station, but it was packed when we arrived so we continued on to Pho Bac. There we enjoyed some delicious pho (Vietnamese rice noodles) before catching a bus to our hotel, the Grand Hyatt.

When researching accommodations for this trip, we had expected to save money by staying in a private room at a hostel. However, the room rates at the nicest downtown hostels were almost $100/night. Ditto for the budget hotel chains. I decided to take a chance and bid $100 for a 5-star hotel on Priceline and the Grand Hyatt accepted my offer. It is a 30-story tower in the heart of the shopping district and walking distance to pretty much anywhere downtown including Pike Place Market and Seattle Center. I had called the hotel in advance to request an ADA room (to make it easier to take a shower due to my toe surgery) but when we checked in around 3pm, the only ADA room available at the time had not been cleaned. Instead, the receptionist offered us a standard king-bed room on the 22nd floor facing the bay, which we gladly accepted.

Once settled, we realized it was too late to head out to any other neighborhoods, so we decided to have a few beers at Tap House Grill, a block from the hotel (see my review at http://www.asmartt1.yelp.com). While perusing Where magazine in our hotel room, I had discovered that the Seattle Art Museum is free on the first Thursday of every month. We hadn’t visited SAM during our stay last August, so we headed there for what Greg & I like to call “speed museum.” The idea being, once you have been to enough museums throughout the world, everything starts to look the same. Instead of spending hours standing & staring at all the exhibits, it is much more enjoyable to NOT pick up a map or guide and just wander around only looking at the things that catch your eye for some reason or another. At SAM, I particularly enjoyed KURT (the Kurt Cobain exhibit), the Andy Warhol self-portraits in drag, the Imogen Cunningham photographs, and the Nick Cave sweater suits.

By then my feet were really starting to hurt and it was time for dinner anyway. We walked down to the waterfront to Pier 57 for our SeaFeast at The Crab Pot (again, read my review on Yelp). Our seafood craving satiated, we walked back to the hotel and called it a night.

Friday 04JUN

After a good night’s rest, we got ready and were out the door by 10:15am. It had rained overnight, but luckily was just overcast that morning. We had to walk about 7 blocks to catch a direct bus to Fremont where we planned to have brunch and then do an art & beer crawl that afternoon.

We started out at Roxy’s Diner where we had a delicious breakfast and our first alcoholic beverage of the day, a bakon bloody mary. Fueled up for some legwork, we followed the Fremont Walking Map to see all of the art installations in the neighborhood. After about an hour of walking, we were ready for our first beers at Brouwer’s Café. Serving over 60 beers on tap, the café is a great stop for any beer lover. I hear their food is also very good, but we were still stuffed from brunch at Roxy’s. We each enjoyed a pint and after chatting with the bartender a bit, we continued northwest to Hale’s Ales. They have a nice, open brewery set up with informative signs as to the purpose of each tank in the brewing process. We bellied up to the bar and each enjoyed 3 tasting glasses of Hale’s beers. Continuing our walk into Ballard, we stopped at Maritime Brewery & the Jolly Roger pub. Again, we each had a pint of beer. Buzzed and ready for some oysters at Elliott’s, we caught a bus back into downtown.

We had hoped to arrive at Elliott’s by 3pm to catch the first “session” of oyster happy hour when the oysters are only $0.50 each. But with all the beer drinking & ground we covered in Fremont, we didn’t arrive until 5pm (when oysters are $1.50 each). Still, we ordered a dozen each and pints of beer to go with them. After enjoying our oysters, we walked to Elysian Fields to meet one of Greg’s old coworkers and have more beer & food. We had tickets to that night’s Mariners v Angels game at Safeco Field, but weren’t worried about getting there before the first pitch. We hung out & chatted with Jessica for awhile, then walked to the park for the ballgame. To make it an authentic experience, we even bought a bag of roasted peanuts from one of the street vendors and enjoyed those and yes, more beer! while watching the game. The Mariners lost and Greg was disappointed to find out on Wednesday (2 days before the game) that Ken Griffey, Jr was retiring (as that was part of the reason he wanted to go to the game -- to see him play).

We caught Sound Transit back to Westlake Center and walked the remaining few blocks to the hotel where we quickly called it a night.

Saturday 05JUN

After sleeping in this morning, we packed our bags but left them in our room while we ventured down to Pike Place Market for breakfast and browsing. Based on an article in Seattle Magazine, we had Nova lox bagel sandwiches at Market Bagels. The market was super crowded -- it was a beautiful, sunny & warm day. But we enjoyed having a look at the fresh seafood, vegetables, flowers and other goodies for sale. Of course, the people & animal watching is pretty great, too!

With my feet still tired from all the walking the day before, we headed back up to the Grand Hyatt to collect our bags and check out. Then we took a bus to the International District and from there walked to Pyramid Alehouse. There were a lot of people in the area as both the Mariners & Sounders had games that afternoon/evening. We made ourselves at home at the brewery, drinking, taking advantage of free wifi, and eventually eating some lunch/dinner before making our way back to King Street Station. We arrived just in time to start boarding business class and we went ahead and settled into our comfy leather seats for the ride home. Again, we enjoyed the scenery and an adult beverage during the 3 ½ hour trip but opted not to listen to the audio for the featured movie Alice in Wonderland.

We actually arrived at Union Station in Portland about 10 minutes early and were back at the apartment just after 9pm. It was a great weekend trip and was particularly nice for me to get out of the apartment for a few days after being cooped up for almost 2 weeks due to my toe(s) surgery. Of course, I was paying for it with some achy feet & legs, but it was totally worth it!

Seattle 03-05JUN10

1 comment:

  1. Popping over from Stuff Parents Need...so excited about your upcoming trip...I'm following along, now!