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  • Writer's pictureAlex Willis

24hrs in Seattle

If you follow my stories on Instagram, you probably noticed I bookended my Alaska trip with a couple days in Seattle. Since I was traveling all the way from the east coast, the flights I looked at to get into Fairbanks included layovers, which got me thinking. I had an aunt living in Seattle I’ve yet to visit and this would be the perfect opportunity to visit her, see the city, and capitalize on the extra days before and after when I needed to be in Alaska.

I didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time in Seattle, but between my first 12 hours in the city before Alaska, and the day and a half after, I think I got a pretty good taste for it (literally, be prepared for all the noms).

Alex is standing in front of the first Starbucks' window pointing at the sign.
Oh hi there, first ever Starbucks!

I arrived in Seattle around 10:00am when my aunt scooped me up from the airport and we headed downtown to drop our stuff off at the hotel.

My aunt made a super sweet gesture and booked us a room so we could make the most of my time (as she lives a little outside the city) and get to see as much of downtown as possible. When we arrived at our room, we noticed there was a stocked fridge in the hallway, filled with various beverages for guests to take --- you know our asian butts stocked up ;P --- and the amenities didn't end there. The room was also fully stocked with water, fancy soaps, and even mouthwash, toothpaste, and toothbrushes ready to go (I def took these for AK!). They had an awesome pair of slippers I took and was glad I had for the house camping in Fairbanks (more on that later).

Since my journey began at 2 am EST, I had gone for comfort and traveled in sweats. I took a min to change and refresh, and was ready to see Seattle!

Apparently the lounge was something to behold, so we decided to stop in on our way out. It definitely lived up to the hype. The lounge was AMAZING. There was a legit coffee machine and a huge array of snacks. We decided to make ourselves a latte, grab a bite, and hang out for a minute before venturing out.

In the evening there were heavy hors d’oeuvres that ended up being our dinner. I made a DIY charcuterie plate, but there was also sushi, fried pork, fruit, a salad bar, and more, if you can believe it.

Alex in front of the public market sign
If you don’t take a picture here, did you even go to Seattle?

A popular farmers market located in the heart of Seattle’s downtown, you’ll see various stands selling anything from seafood to ceramics. I was impressed with the diverse number of shops and eateries with cuisine represents from every corner of the world.

The Gum Wall

On the other side of the market, down a back ally was this corridor covered in chewed up gum. It was... interesting. My aunt told me a YouTuber filmed himself taking off a piece and eating it... I gagged. Although it's crazy to think about the amount of gum needed to cover that much real estate, and how much time it must have taken – also, I have so many questions, who and why, and how did this start?! The whole of it just grossed me out, but I guess it's cool, if you're into that sort of thing.

The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak & Oyster House

One of my aunt and uncle’s favorite places in Seattle for seafood that’s not super touristy, The Brooklyn was delicious! We started with tiger lily martinis and oyster samplers, then the local favorite Dungeness crab salad. It was So. Good.

Seattle Great Wheel

Following lunch, we headed to the great wheel. In my aunt’s option, the view from the Space needle was “meh” and the wheel came recommended by my other aunt and uncle who went when they visited previously. So, up we went! Although we didn’t partake, there was a bar in line before the ride, and if you wanted you could bring an adult bevvy up with you. It was neat seeing a bird’s eye view of Seattle as my aunt pointed out various points of interest.

The First Starbucks

Back at the Public Market, among various storefronts, was the original Starbucks with a line in front to prove it. I thought it would be neat to have a drink from where it all began, but looking at the line, I wasn’t sure if the wait would be worth it. They had an employee manning the door and managing the line out front, so I asked her if it was worth it; if there were any specialty drinks that could only be found there. Apart from a few specialty knick-knacks, and reserve blends of coffee, she said they had the same menu as anywhere else. So, I got my photo, and my aunt and I headed to the reserve.

A cool place, much larger than the original Starbucks, the Reserve had three bars: Main bar, Mixology bar, and Experience bar. Where you can, as the names imply, order specialty coffee drinks, alcoholic beverages, or deepen your love for coffee. It had a cool, open-concept floor plan where you could see beans being roasted as well as purchase specialty coffee and other coffee-related items. I ordered the whiskey barrel-aged cold brew and it was as delicious as I was hoping it to be, so I decided some of the specialty batch coffee needed to come home with me.

During my return to Seattle, on my way hone from Alaska, my uncle was back from his business trip and I got to catch up with him as well as their adorable pup, Chloe. We took her on a walk down through a park by the water and then headed out to dinner.

Dinner was at my aunt and uncle's favorite Thai place: Isarn Thai Kitchen. It was a smaller restaurant with a cool Southeast Asian feel with open-air like seating, as the windows to the street were fully open. They don’t take reservations and there’s always a bit of a wait, so we waited at the bar and enjoyed a cocktail in the meantime. I ordered the Unlikely Pair: plum wine and tequila mixed together with grapefruit, and it was surprisingly enjoyable. The food we ordered was delicious and authentic Thai, with a Seattle seafood flair. The flavors reminded me a lot of my favorite home-cooked dishes.

The next day, we went to another delicious Asian eatery for lunch: Ba Bar. It was my first time at a Vietnamese fusion place and it was neat seeing all they had on their menu – a combo meal with an Old Fashioned and bowl of pho?! Now that’s me if I ever saw it on a menu! But since I can get great pho at home, I opted for something different. I ordered the Com Tam Sai Gon: grilled pure country pork chop, quiche, shredded pork rind, aged boat fish sauce, broken rice, served with pho broth... with a fried egg on top! Mouthgasm. They have a couple locations, so if you’re in Seattle, definitely check them out!

Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum

This was recommended by a fellow Juniata College alum, Ali Blum. When she saw I was in Seattle, she messaged me on Instagram recommending I check it out. And I’m so glad I did! You may be thinking a glass museum? But trust me, it was cool. Besides drinkware and beer and wine bottles, we don’t really give glass much thought. Chihuly used glass in such an innovative way. He created sculptures with them and a sculpture garden, where rigid glass and soft flower petals blended together seamlessly. It was like being transported to another world.

My favorite room was the first one, the Northwest Room, where he was influenced by the Native American culture, specifically their hand-woven baskets.

I know technically I didn’t do all this in one day, but, I feel if you’re committed enough, it’s definitely possible! :)

I didn’t get to see it all, but I hit some of the main spots. Now I want to go back and explore more of what’s outside the city and see Mt. Rainer!

If you’re planning a trip to Seattle, I hope this helps! And if you’ve been there before where would you recommend I go next time?

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