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On my recent
mileage-run mini-trip to Seattle I got to stay downtown at the Hyatt Olive 8 (check out that review here), but I spent as much time as possible out of the hotel and around the city. I don’t typically go to a city to sit in a hotel room – I go to explore, experience, and eat. I had less than 24 hours on the ground, but that was plenty of time to do a few cool things – most of which would be fun for families.
Use Light Rail:
I am often not a huge fan of public transportation for families who are looking to get from the airport to their hotel in a new city, but Seattle is actually an exception. Their light rail system is so clean, efficient, affordable, and easy to use that I would not hesitate to use it with my daughter (and our luggage). Their are many signs in the airport that direct you to the Light Rail. Just go to the baggage claim area and signs will direct you through a parking garage and to the light rail.
It cost me $2.50 one-way to go from Seattle-Tacoma airport to the last stop downtown (Westlake). Children under 6 are free and children ages 6-18 are $1.25, and young kids would think the train is basically an amusement park ride! I purchased the ticket via a machine and no one ever asked to see it or scan it. It was well worth the $2.50, and as you can see below the train and stations were clean and user friendly. Tip: Hit the red button on the door to open if it is closed. I figured I had missed the train when the door closed, but then someone else walked up and magically opened the door by pushing the red button!
Pine Street Downtown Shopping:
The light rail let me off downtown at Pine Street right next to the original Nordstrom store that was opened in 1901. This entire part of town was amazing if you like to shop. There was big name store after big name store. I was kinda in Heaven. What was really neat is that the merchandise on clearance in a Seattle store was very different than a Texas store, so I got to stock up on a few cold weather pieces that we didn’t have on close-out in Texas (probably because we didn’t get them in the first place).
I walked about 10 minutes from the Hyatt Olive 8 to the Public Market “Pike’s Place”. It is a Seattle “must do”, and if you are staying downtown it is a very easy walk.
Pike’s Place is right on the water, and this time of year will be cold and windy, so plan accordingly. I love seafood, fresh produce, bakeries, and fresh fish, so this is my kind of place. It’s fun to watch them throw the fish!
I didn’t get a chance to visit the Seattle Greet Wheel on this visit, but I did see it from Pike’s Place. I know that the big ferris wheel would have been a big hit with my daughter if she were with me. The gondolas are enclosed and heated, so don’t let the weather detour you. Children three and under are free, children 4-11 are $8.50 and adults 12+ are $13.00.
While I didn’t make it to the ferris wheel, I did make it to Sound View Cafe within Pike’s Place to warm up for a few minutes and eat some crab cakes. This place seems to get average reviews, but it was perfect for an expensive snack, a good view, and a place to rest for a little bit in a casual atmosphere. I enjoyed my crab cakes and appreciated a place to sit and recharge for a while before continuing on my Seattle journey.
After enjoying my crab cakes, I decided to walk to the Space Needle. This walk was more than I would have done with a young kid as it was over a mile, but it was not too bad by myself. There are some hills on that mile+ so, it did feel a bit longer than it really was.
I got to the Space Needle a little before sunset, and stayed for a bit over an hour watching it turn from day to night. It was worth the price of admission, but admission wasn’t cheap. It is $19 for adults 13+, $12 for kids 4-12, and children three and under are free. Another possibility if you are going to do several Seattle attractions is to get the CityPass. There is an indoor and outdoor viewing area and a few interactive displays within the Space Needle. I’m sure we wouldn’t have lasted a full hour if my daughter had been there with me, but it would have been fun with kids as well.
After watching the sun set from the Space Needle I walked to Shiro’s Sushi. I had called to make reservations in advance, and there was a good decision. This place was delicious! I had a yummy and fun dinner with a few friends I made in the miles and points world, including Hack My Trip. For sushi I found the prices to be pretty fair. This isn’t a cheap meal, but it wasn’t unreasonable for a nice night out either. I would absolutely eat there again on a future trip.
The next morning I took the 40 minute light rail journey back to the airport and decided I needed one final seafood snack before heading back to Texas. I headed to Anthony’s in the airport and grabbed a to-go shrimp cocktail for $2.99. Of course this wasn’t near the quality of food I had at Shiro’s the night before, but it was fun to have one last bite of Seattle before heading home. Anthony’s has both a take-away counter and table service.
One thing I did on a previous Seattle trip that I didn’t have time to do on this trip is head to the Museum of Flight. I can’t remember off-hand where my photos of that museum are, but it had great aviation related exhibits for both adults and kiddos. They have indoor exhibits, and an outdoor airpark that has planes like the first jet Air Force One and a Concorde. You will have to take a bus or drive to get there as it is not in the downtown area, but it is worth it if you have more than 24 hours in Seattle.
I very much enjoyed my brief visit to Seattle, and look forward to a longer visit to the Pacific Northwest in the future. What “must sees” did I leave off my list (or just not have time to get to)?