Compass & Quill
Greetings From Sunny Seattle: What To Do During Spring
Travel Stories from Compass & Quill
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got on a plane to fly to Seattle this past May, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for it to be sunny and in the 70s every day. I guess the travel gods really liked me that week and must have known how important this trip was to me. Needless to say, Seattle has quickly become my favorite city I’ve visited thus far.
Despite the fact that I worked most of the time while I was there (thank God for virtual work), I still experienced a lot of great things that made me love this area.
During lunch breaks and after work, I found myself navigating through the streets of downtown Seattle with ease and was impressed by how clean the city was. My hometown was a short distance from New York City and Philadelphia, so I often had this idea that all cities were dirty, crowded, and overwhelming. After exploring the country over the years, I found cities, such as Seattle, to be more my speed. The cleanliness and modern architecture made the city seem fresh, and even though I swore up and down I’d never live in a city, I felt like living here wouldn’t be so bad.
Although my time was limited there, I tried to keep my experiences diverse. Here are the highlights of what I enjoyed the most.
Where To Stay
After spending the last year staring at the blank, white wall of my home office, the view from the hotel was a welcomed change during the days I worked.
Situated on the 16th floor of the Warwick, I had prime views of the Space Needle. On clearer days, I even saw hints of snow-capped mountains just past the sound. Growing up in beach towns all my life, this was the first time I truly saw mountains, and I found the scenery to be alluring.
Where to Eat
The first place I explored was Pike Place Market. The location offered a variety of things to discover, such as a range of restaurants, fresh food markets, wine tasting, craft beers, and more.
Being the wine lover that I am, I decided to make my first stop at the Truffle Café where I had the best wine tasting experience to date. My sommelier, David, made it exceptional. Each wine I tasted came with a personal story that covered his visits to the areas where the wines were from or details about the vines. Additionally, David had me try the wines in different ways and allowed me to identify the flavors. I swirled the wines around or paired it with different foods and tried to distinguish the subtle changes that these things made. This event definitely set the tone for the rest of the trip.
After wine tasting, I wandered down to Kell’s Irish Pub. With the time difference playing games with my eating habits, I ended up getting dinner even before the early birds showed up. Aside from the shepherd’s pie and bangers being phenomenal, my favorite part was the conversation with the owner. She was a little woman who seemed to generally love life. She came to my table to chat for a bit and told me a story about her journey to America. Her strong Irish accent made me feel like I was sitting in a pub in Ireland and only made my desire to go there that much stronger. But that’s another story.
For something slightly more upscale, I had dinner at McCormick and Schmick’s the following evening. Being a new seafood eater, I played it safe with shrimp scampi. Although it’s a classic dish, they still managed to add a little something extra that made it stand out among other scampi I’ve had in the past. My dinner mate was a little more adventurous than me and opted for the seafood cioppino. I was hesitant when he offered me a taste, but after trying it, I was actually pleased. Sometimes the textures of different seafood can disgust me (yes, I’m one of those “texture” people), but I found that this dish was cooked perfectly.
A couple of days later, a friend from San Francisco visited. Her friend (a Seattleite) took us to Old Fellows Café for a late dinner one night. The most notable thing about this restaurant was the atmosphere. The openness of the location mixed with the rustic/vintage/chic décor created a good vibe for socializing. It’s a great place either to grab drinks or something to eat.
What to Explore
To satisfy the HR nerd in me, I took advantage of visiting the Amazon headquarters (I used to work there). I’ve always been impressed by corporate campuses, so it was a great opportunity to check one out. First off, Amazon is huge and spans four blocks by four blocks and was still continuing to acquire buildings nearby. It was as if Amazon had its own little town.
We explored a couple of the buildings and I discovered that each building had its own theme. For example, one was designed to have an urban/city feel and another one was more rustic, including a library with lounging areas and a gas fireplace. If I didn’t love working from home so much, I would love to work in a corporate campus designed like this. There’s just something so inspiring about the layout.
On Friday, I took PTO to make the most of my time there. I met up with my friend, and we decided to explore the Ballard area. She explained that Ballard was being revitalized into something a bit more hip, modern, and edgy. As we casually strolled along the streets, we popped into a few of the shops. Each one offered a unique experience, and I enjoyed that they all had a distinctive personality. If you’re looking to do a little shopping for something fun or different, I take a gander down there and see what you discover.
On Saturday, I was super touristy and visited the Space Needle. It was a beautiful day, and the clear sky provided perfect views of the city and beyond. There are no words to describe what I felt once I got to the observatory deck. To see the high-rise buildings in downtown sandwiched between the ferry-filled sound and Mt. Rainier left me breathless. The combination of city and nature really made me understand why people claim that Seattle is the most beautiful place to be on sunny days.
After the epic views from the Space Needle, I jumped on the bus and headed to Discovery Park for some light hiking. Discovery Park was a great option when it came to enjoying nature without having to commit to a full day. I had assumed that all the paths were going to take me through the forest, but discovered that these trails led to some incredible views of the picturesque mountainous backdrop.
After coming through the clearing of trees, I came across the bluffs where fellow hikers enjoyed a picnic while they overlooked boats sailing through the water. After descending a bit further, I came across a beach that provided us an even better vantage point to see Mt. Rainier. I could have sat there forever.
On my way back from Discovery Park, I learned there was a casino not too far from the hotel, so I decided that should be my next stop. While growing up in New Jersey, I occasionally made trips down to Atlantic City. Although I’m not an expert gambler, I really love slot machines. When I moved to South Carolina, I learned that gambling wasn’t allowed aside from the casino boats that launch from Myrtle Beach. Needless to say, I take advantage of casinos whenever I travel.
Once I got back to the downtown area, I made our way to the ferries and bought a ticket to Bainbridge Island. When I landed, I took a shuttle to Clearwater Casino to indulge in my vices of losing money and consuming cocktails. The concierge at the Warwick mentioned there were other casinos a bit further out, but this seemed like the easiest one to get to without having to rent a car. So, if you’re looking for a little gambling fix, check Clearwater out.
As I flew back to Charleston that Sunday, I knew I had fallen in love with Seattle. Although I lucked out with perfect weather while there, I still felt it offered some of the things I’ve been missing in Charleston. Being surrounded by diversity (people, culture, businesses, etc.) made me feel excited about exploring again. I’m looking forward for my next visit out there, whether it is for another trip or for something a little more permanent.
About Compass & Quill:
Travel inspires many of my stories, opening me up to a world of new possibilities and perspectives. So, I'm sharing my travel stories here.
Travel is an opportunity to think bigger and find our place in the world. This blog is meant to inspire you to look beyond beautiful photos that make your heart race and consider what your story will be once you arrive.
Let's explore. Follow me on Instagram to get a behind-the-scenes look at all my adventures!