I had the privilege of visiting Seattle for the first time this past week. It was for a food journalism conference, which is just about the greatest work-related reason to travel.
Of course the food and drink were excellent. The conference sessions were enlightening. I met some very charming and interesting people and got to spend time with my Seattle-based cousin and his wife.
But one unexpected highlight of the trip was this:
Two wheels borrowed from my cousin that provided me free and fun transportation (and exercise to burn off some of the aforementioned food and drink) around a most bike-friendly city.
There is a lot of beauty in the Pacific Northwest, and between bike rides and conference events I packed in some memorable views in my four days there. Here are nine memorable views of and from Seattle.
After getting off the plane and catching up over dim sum with my cousin Spencer and his wife, Allison, we jumped on bikes and headed 7-8 miles north for some hiking. On our way up a particularly long and painful hill, we stopped for a break and were met with the above view of Puget Sound from Magnolia Park.
And turning to the left… hello, city.
2. Discovery Park
Our hiking destination was Discovery Park. It was a nice maybe 3-mile loop with a section along the beach and a section up into the rainforest. Pretty foliage and more lovely water views. With blue skies!
3. Gas Works Park
On day two I ventured out on bike by myself to visit Gas Works Park. Above is the… gas works. But the real view is of the city, seen across Lake Union.
See the Space Needle?
The photos don’t really do it justice. You’re standing on the top of a very green hill with the city around you in every direction. The lake is quite active with boats and rowers.
4. Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is a far more impressive place than I realized. That’s another story, but I’m including it in my list of views because if you glance up out shop windows or in alleys you might be surprised to see something like this:
There’s also the gum wall, which was completely cleaned off in November, but is back and once again quite a sight to see (and smell).
5. Out my hotel window
I enjoyed several sunrises and sunsets out this window at the Sheraton in downtown Seattle. But up 25 more floors was our conference room, which had this view of Elliott Bay that same night:
(Corban’s earnest reaction when I showed him this picture: “Wow! Look at that construction!”)
6. Rooftop of an Amazon building
Spencer took me up to the roof of one of many buildings owned by his employer, Amazon. Above is a view of Lake Union from the side opposite of Gas Works Park.
Another side of that rooftop looks out to the Space Needle.
7. The Space Needle
Based on my knowledge of Seattle weather, I think this view from the bottom with blue skies above is probably noteworthy.
The view from the top was spectacular. I was not expecting it to take my breath away like it did.
Here is downtown and Elliott Bay.
Below is Lake Union again. Watching the traffic flow from this vantage point was mesmerizing.
And on the other side… mountains.
From inside the glass atrium where our dinner/tasting event was held, we had another nice view looking up through some Chihuly artwork to the Space Needle.
8. Elliott Bay Trail
The next morning, I was up early enough for a solo ride along the Elliott Bay Trail. Once I got past Pike Place Market and the cruise ship docks, the view was peaceful. We finally got some real Seattle weather—misty and gray. No complaints though.
Their fall colors are quite a bit ahead of us here in Wisconsin, so this ombré wall was a treat along part of the ride.
9. Woodinville/Chateau Ste. Michelle
I only got a quick glance at winery-laden Woodinville as we headed into Chateau Ste. Michelle for a wine tasting dinner, but the scenery was lush. The grapes are all grown in eastern Washington, but this area 30 minutes outside Seattle is where many of Washington’s hundreds of wineries make the wine.
The view inside at our dinner was fabulous—or at least the food and wine was! It was the perfect end to my trip.
After that I was off to the airport for a miserable red-eye home. But these two faces that greeted my sleep-deprived face made me grin more than any sweeping sight from the previous days.
It was good to be gone and it’s good to be home.
*Side rant: WordPress really degrades the image quality once I hit publish!