Day 1: Tour Museums Near The Seattle Space Needle
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Chihuly’s glass art museum is an impressive collection of hand-blown bowls, aquatic life, flowers, and abstracts. Make your way through each exhibit, marveling at the fixtures hanging from the ceiling, eye-popping reflections, and displays that fill an entire room. It’s a wonder how one man could create so much art in a single lifetime. Step outside to the garden and experience the essence of Seattle in one spot – art, the Space Needle, and of course, a little rain.
Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
MoPOP chronicles pop culture that found its roots in Seattle. Discover the history of musicians such as Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Pearl Jam, who got their start in Seattle. Explore the greatest and most innovative film and tv creators with themed galleries and interactive exhibits.
The Center For Wooden Boats
The Center for Wooden Boats is on Union Lake and offers a living history museum that showcases the incredible history and craft of building wooden boats and maritime photography. For a truly immersive experience, you can rent a wooden boat and learn to sail or take part and the free public sail on Sundays.
Where to Eat?
Citizens’ Coffee is a great breakfast or lunch spot located just a few blocks from Chihuly’s. I recommend the Koreixan (Korean and Mexican Fusion) Tacos and a cappuccino.
Day 2: Shop, Eat, and Drink in Downtown Seattle
Delicious food, coffee, and cocktails all under the Starbucks Reserve’s roof. Once you’ve had your cup of joe and filled your belly with food, you can roam the store admiring the roasting machines and roasting process. At the specialty bar, you have the option to try several coffees with one brewing method or see how the flavor of one coffee changes with different brewing methods. For an extra dollar, you can try a premium coffee such as Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.
Pike Place Market and The Gum Wall
Listen up early birds, this isn’t a case where the early bird gets the worm. The farmer’s market hours are 9am-6pm, but many shops and stalls don’t open until 11 and close around 6. To ensure you don’t miss a thing, the best time to head to Pike Place Market is around lunch. Pike Place is 6 stories of antique shops, souvenir shops, art exhibits, and restaurants. Surely, there is something for everyone.
A better name for The Gum Wall is Gum Alley as gum decorates the walls, windows, and pipes of a small alley. It’s quite an impressive sight to see when you are in the area.
Even if shopping is not your style, Elliott Bay is an important part of Seattle’s history and provides magnificent views of the bay, Seattle’s Great Wheel, and endless bird watching.
Olympic Sculpture Park
This free 9-acre waterfront park is part of the Seattle Art Museum that uses its roots as a former industrial area to combine the beauty of art, nature, and architecture. Unlike traditional sculptures, the art intertwines with modern cityscapes such as metal trees and artistic benches to create a unique experience in the once abandoned space.
Day 3: Visit Seattle’s Pioneer Square to Discover The City’s Surprising history
I’m not usually one for chasing sites of once important locations that look nothing like its historical reference. I was skeptical of the attractions in Pioneer Square for that reason, but Seattle’s surprising and unexpected history will have you hooked!
The preserved Pioneer Square marks Seattle’s founding location, which was poorly situated at sea level. High-tide and mudflats caused some unexpected side effects as the founders learned to make do with the only piece of land not already inhabited by Native Americans. Exploding toilets, potholes filled with sawdust and gold sniffing beavers are among the surprising facts of Seattle’s history you’ll learn at these must-see museums in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square.
Bill Seidel’s Underground Tour
The tour guides at Bill Speidel’s Underground Tours missed their calling as comedians, or maybe Seattle’s blunderous origin story is just that comedic. You’ll uncontrollably laugh as you learn how high tide and The Crapper don’t mix. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the official name for the latest and greatest line of toilets from the 1880s.
“Watch the purple!” our guide said as we walked from one location to the next, pointing out the stained glass at our feet. As the underground tunnel tour progressed, I learned the stained glass sidewalks were skylights for Seattle’s hidden city. Builders added manganese dioxide to the skylights to decolorize the glass and give it a clear appearance; over time the UV light from the sun turned the manganese purple.
Women outnumbered men more than 2:1 and some women realized there was a profit to be made…as “seamstresses”. The Underworld Tour tells the raunchier, more accurate, and not safe for children version of life underground in the 1890s.
Klondike Gold Rush Museum
“GOLD! GOLD! GOLD!” headlined the news as one journalist convinced the world that Seattle was the final and best pit stop before striking it rich in the Klondike Gold Rush.
Learn how selling supplies to the victims of the 1800s version of a lottery ticket launched a town recovering from fire and depression into the prospering city it is today.
If history is not your thing, what about learning the origin story of one of the nation’s favorite fashion retailers? I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but you won’t be disappointed with what you learn at the National Park Service’s Klondike Gold Rush Museum.
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
The Asian American Museum, in the Chinatown-international district, explores the diverse history and important contributions of 26 AAPI ethnic groups to Seattle and the nation.
UPS Waterfall Garden Park
UPS Waterfall Garden Park is a small Japanese garden is on South Main and 2nd Avenue and was built to honor postal workers.
King Street station And Union station
Take a detour for the historical photo opportunities at King Street Station and Union Station at 4th Street and Jackson ave. Union Station was built in 1911 to serve the Union Pacific Railroad and the Milwaukee Road and King Street Station was built in 1906 to serve the Great Northern Rail railway and Northern Pacific railway; it now serves as the Amtrak station. Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kubota Japanese Gardens
Kubuota Gardens are about 20 minutes from downtown, but in the direction of the airport, so it is a perfect pit stop on the way out of town.
Quick Travel Photography Tips
- Bring a lightweight travel backpack
- When indoors open your aperture to let in more light
- To avoid crowds get up early, stay out late, or be patient and wait for a small break in the crowds mid-day
- Bring a lens cleaning kit
- If you only bring one lens, bring a wide-angle lens for street photography or a macro lens for indoor or food photography.
- Look for puddles to capture reflections