What do you think of when you think of Seattle? Nine times out of ten, the answer can be summed up in one word: rain. The other 10% will usually say something about a Seattle-based movie that most likely wasn’t even filmed here. But, us Seattleites know the real story. This gorgeous town of ours has everything – mountains for skiing and hiking, beaches for sun bathing, big and small towns for exploring, lakes for swimming, and it’s all surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Puget Sound.
It’s hard to narrow down all of my favorite places to visit, but here is a condensed version of my must-do Seattle list:
Pike Place Market – Founded in 1907, Pike Place Market on the Elliott Bay waterfront is the oldest continuously operating farmers' market in the United States. Yes, it’s a tourist haven, but what most people don’t know is that the locals actually shop here too. It’s the perfect place to pick up fresh fruits and veggies or a big bouquet of beautiful blooms. And, if you really, really want a flying fish of your own, just know that most sellers will ship your catch home for you so you don’t have to carry it in your luggage. (http://www.seattle.gov/TOUR/pikep.htm)
Enjoy Some Nature – Whether you are an die-hard outdoorsy fanatic or you just want to enjoy some beautiful Seattle scenery and get some energy out, there are plenty of trails and parks to visit that make for the perfect afternoon. While Seattle boasts over 400 parks to choose from, some of our favorites are Green Lake where you can leisurely circle the 2.8 mile lake, Volunteer Park where you can hike to the top of the water tower and look out over the park grounds, and Discovery Park with 534 acres to explore and hike through.
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Fremont Market / The Troll – If you end up in Fremont, you should schedule your visit on a Sunday. The Sunday market has treasures galore and is part local artisan market, part farmer’s market, and part flea market rolled into one. You can find everything from antiques to jewelry and even some furniture and craft supplies as well as our favorite local photographer who has been capturing $10 shots of our family for over a decade. If you feel like a walk after the market, you can visit one of our favorite Seattle landmarks: The Fremont Troll sculpture that lives under the north end of the Aurora Bridge. How many other cities have their own 18ft, 2-ton troll living under a bridge?
Indoors Isn't Always Bad – If you do by chance end up in Seattle during a rainy day, you can seek refuge in one of their many indoor activities, including museums, bounce/trampoline places, Playdate Seattle, EMP museum, REI Clubhouse play zone, a ton of indoor pools, an indoor sand play area, and the famous Seattle Science Center. We love the Pacific Science Center and could spend all day there learning, playing, and taking pictures in the butterfly house. (https://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/)
Take a Ferry – Washington State has one of the largest ferry systems in the US with 10 ferry routes and over 20 ferry vessels, and they are a great way to inexpensively see the Seattle surrounding areas and take a day trip. Hop on a boat by foot or by car and go explore an island for the day or stay overnight. You can catch a ferry right in Seattle or up north in Edmonds. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can go even further north and hop on a ferry to the San Juan Islands and be transported to some of the most picturesque islands I have ever seen. (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries)
Enjoy the Local Food – While many other cities are well regarded for their amazing food, Seattle is fast becoming a foodie city and there is no shortage of amazing places to eat. From fancier Tom Douglas restaurants to our amazing food trucks, Seattle has some amazing cuisine you won’t find anywhere else. Whether you dine downtown or in one of the smaller neighborhood restaurants, you will find eclectic menus, local ingredients with tons of fresh fish and vegetables, and a hometown atmosphere that will make you feel right at home.
In short, there is something for everyone in Seattle with mountains, lakes, rivers, ocean, and some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever see anywhere. And, in regard to the weather? Yes, it does rain here but you should know that this summer we have had less than 5 rainy days so far, and we’ve been seeing the high 80s and low 90s most of the time. So, Seattle may always seem drizzle-y and grey in the movies, but you have to remember one thing: they weren’t really filmed here.
Leanne Heilman lives in Seattle where she spends her days and nights taking mini adventures with her husband, Tyler, and their three children. They both write at Rave & Review (http://www.raveandreview.com) and are busy starting up a new site where they craft, build, and create together.