A day in Seattle
Seattle is less than 3 hours away from Vancouver, which makes it the perfect destination for a day-trip across the border. The city itself is fairly similar to Vancouver in terms of weather and structure (so much so that Vancouver often plays Seattle in movies), but it has a unique American vibe.
Being my first time there, I decided to follow a pretty standard itinerary, with a TV-series-addicted sad twist at the end.
Pike Place Market
I’ve seen quite a few markets in my life and this is not your average one. There are loud fishermen shouting and throwing fish, a gallery of quirky and fun shops (like the one that sells vintage prints), colorful food stands and more. There’s also a big map where you can pin the place where you come from. Despite its being constantly crowded, this market is definitely worth a visit.
Waterfront & Starbucks
If you cut across the market and go out on the other side, you’ll get to the waterfront. The area is lively: people chilling in the sun, musicians playing, street dancers dancing… If you get out of the market from the same side you enter from, across the street on your left you’ll see the original Starbucks. It’s tiny and there’s often a huge lineup outside: not really worth the wait. Despite the “more authentic” atmosphere, the products are the ones we are already used to, so don’t bother unless you’re a hardcore fan.
Another famous attractions adjacent to the market is the Gum Wall. No metaphor here, it’s an actual wall full of chewing gum of different colors. Pretty gross, if you ask me. The best part are the messages people stick to the wall, those are quite entertaining.
One of the best museums of all times. Mr. Chihuly is a genius who makes very distinctive glass sculptures in all shapes and colors. His visionary style is immediately recognizable and has the incredible ability of blending into the surrounding landscape really beautifully. Since I can’t quite describe it with words, I’ll let the pictures talk. Highly highly recommended.
Everyone has seen the Space Needle at least once in movies or TV series. In person it’s even more impressive! On a sunny day, it’s definitely worth a visit: the unobstructed view over the city is amazing. Plus, inside it’s very modern and interactive. You can even add your name and nationality to a huge electronic world map to be forever in its history.
Don’t get there at the very last minute as tickets are only valid for specific time slots and they tend to sell out quickly on sunny days.
Non-existent Grey’s Anatomy hospital
I knew that Grey’s Anatomy is filmed in California, but according to my research the facade of the hospital was actually in Seattle. Turned out it’s not there or, if it is, it disappeared momentarily because we couldn’t find it where it was supposed to be.
We decided to cure the disappointment by having dinner at another place we had only seen on TV (on the Big Bang Theory, to be precise): the Cheesecake Factory. Their menu is insanely big, but the cheesecake was legitimately good. The perfect way to end an intense day in a foreign land.
Additional note for non-Canadian citizens crossing the border by land
Only Canadians get the special treatment in the United States, everyone else needs a visa to get in. People from the countries on this list only need an electronic visa, the ESTA, that costs 14$ and can be requested online. Apply a day or two in advance, just in case the confirmation takes a bit longer than usual. Being electronic, you don’t need to show any proof, they can check by scanning your passport. At the border, after answering a few questions, you’ll be sent inside for fingerprinting and more questions. And you’ll have to pay another 6 dollars, for no apparent reason. If you’re staying overnight, make sure to have the address of the hotel handy (they will most certainly ask you).
That’s all for today. I’m looking forward to exploring Seattle further next time.
If you have questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!
And for more destinations, take a look here. 🙂