If you know me, I’ve weirdly become somewhat of a Seahawks fan during their recent run. They’ve been an excellent team to bet on, are extremely fundamentally sound and play a brand of football that’s fantastically entertaining. They’re also well known for having the loudest stadium in the game (CenturyLink Field). These sort of runs of success don’t happen often, so it seemed like a good idea to head up to Seattle to see if the stadium lived up to the hype.
My college buddies Matt, Charlie and I rented a fantastic Airbnb in the Capitol Hill area. Great walking (and homeless) score. The guys appreciated the proximity to alcohol sources/convenience stores Safeway and 7-11.
We kicked off our adventure with a brief walk of the neighborhood in search of dinner, eventually settling on a well reviewed
Spanish/Mexican restaurant called Sur 16. The food was great (we got shrimp ceviche and the paella to the right), but the entertainment made it memorable. Every couple of songs, tango dancers from the studio downstairs lept up from their tables into impromptu performance.
I woke up before the guys the next morning (I’ve found that waking up early is easier when your late night activities are reading on your kindle instead of pounding Jack) – and went for a walk of the neighborhood with the idea that a Starbucks breakfast sandwich would be the best way to start off the day. I didn’t make it far though, as I was stopped in my tracks by the incredible aroma of Bakery Nouveau. I quickly got in the already busy line and pulled up Yelp to identify what the best items were. I settled on the ham and egg croissant, the blueberry something, an apple pastry and their most recommended item, the twiced baked chocolate croissant (bottom left). Needless to say, a tremendous way to start the day.
Next on our list was to lock into tourist mode. We grabbed an Uber (extremely cheap in Seattle) and headed down to Pike’s Market.
Pike’s, while a tourist trap, is a must do for any first time Seattle visitor. It’s an enormous marketplace filled with street vendors, restaurants, and artisans. We lucked out with the weather and spent several hours wandering the area.
Among the many shops we encountered a very cool spot called Old Seattle Paperworks.
It’s a neat little shop that sells
old magazines, posters and newspapers from all around the world. As a little bit of a war history buff, I really enjoyed the propaganda reprints.
Next up we stumbled upon a bumblegum alley. It’s always fun to think about who the first people who placed their used jellies on the wall were and to wonder just how many pieces are up here. It’s also disgusting. I didn’t have any gum so I added a business card instead. SCG whaaat.
Our next move was to head down the water towards the Underground tour. We learned that in Seattle, porta-potties are called “Honey Buckets.” Not a big fan of combining toilets with food naming conventions.
The Underground Tour is a definite activity for the first time Seattle visitor. It’s about an hour and a half and the (very funny and loud) guides take you through a network of tunnels (really built over sidewalks) that represent old Seattle. It was fascinating to learn about the history of how the city was built and some of the characters integral to its development into the place that it is now. It’s about $20 a person and you can show up and take it, no reservation needed. Charlie was feeling particularly photogenic and my new iPhone 6S finally proved why live photos are so great. Thanks Reena for the recommendation!
After leaving the Underground tour we headed back to Pikes, stopping on the way to scope out some of the local architecture. We found the fish markets, stopped off at Rachel’s Ginger Beer, grabbed Mac and Cheese at Beecher’s and snatched up some Peroskies at Peroshky Peroshky – I highly recommend the salmon. Ariana Grande was not welcome.
Day two brought on the main event, the Seahawk game. We kicked off (no pun intended) with my favorite meal of the trip, breakfast at The London Plane – a fantastic spot a five minute walk from CenturyLink Field. Matt and I split a fantastic avocado toast and an unreal pork shoulder plate with poached eggs and roasted tomatoes. If there is one must order dish from the trip, this was it. Thanks Vibha for crushing it on this recommendation!
Fat and happy, we headed to the Seahawks – Bears game. The game day atmosphere in Seattle was very friendly, and although we weren’t able to find obnoxious Richard Sherman shirts, the pregame walk around the tailgates was fun. The game itself was awesome. We had great seats on the lower area by the Bears sideline that gave us a great view of the field but for $400, I’d probably think twice before doing again. CenturyLink is known for being the loudest stadium in the league and, while it was certainly loud, it wasn’t any more overwhelming than anything I’ve experienced at a college football game or playoff baseball game. Part of that could certainly be the nature of the game (a 26-0 blowout) or the Seahawks poor start to the season. The cheese filled sausage I had was quite good. So was watching this clown try and talk on the phone with tens of thousands of screaming fans. We went full heel rocking the stadium giveaway facemask/hat/scarf.
Monday was our “wing it” day, and we slugged around the house waiting to meet my friend Akimi for food truck lunch. We found a great poke truck and took our poke-ritto down to lake to eat before heading to the Space Needle and the Chihuly Garden and Glass. This was another definite highlight of the trip. The abundance of color and organic shape of the glass pieces was really neat to see and was overwhelming in a sense. I also kind of wanted to push one over (spoiler alert, I didn’t) to see what would happen. Thanks Akimi and Reena for the recommendation on Chihuly!
We wrapped up the day by hiking – and make no mistake it’s kind of a steep hill, hiking up to Kerry Park for the best view in the city. We met a cute dog, took some skyline shots and then headed to the Mariner Game.
Safeco Park absolutely lived up to the billing as one of the best new ballparks in the league. Great food, facilities and fan experience. The fact that the team is lousy and we were able to sit behind home plate for $11 each just made it that much better. One word of advice though, don’t be an idiot and forget a jacket like I did.
To recap: I really enjoyed the city, felt like 3 full days was about right and look forward to going back again. Between the affordable living (Ubers were $10 from anywhere to anywhere in the city), great food, beautiful scenery, very chill people and the well designed cityscape, I can totally see why people seem to love living in Seattle. What did I miss? List your favorite Seattle finds in the comments.