I’ve never been one for the spontaneous. It’s not that I don’t like adventure, it just never works out for me. Except for last weekend when everything alined. $100 round-trip tickets via Southwest, a generous best friend going to college in the city, and an unplanned holiday weekend. Destination of choice: Seattle, Washington.
I flew into the city Friday evening around midnight. Little did I know that was the clearest the weather would be all weekend. I didn’t mind. Although the rain and fog may deter many tourists, I was thrilled to have an excuse to wear cute rain boots, cozy sweaters, and drink tons of coffee (which there’s certainly no shortage of in Seattle). I’m sure I annoyed the other delightful women in my uber pool as I bounced in my seat giddily as we drove over the hills and through the bright, big, beautiful city. The two older ladies I shared a ride with were staying at a gorgeous hotel in the heart of the city, so I got the opportunity to drive through and gaze at all the lights like a four year old.
The next morning we were up bright and early. I was staying with my best friend at the University of Washington, so we got up early to run some errands down University Way. We ate a big breakfast at the campus dining hall before embarking on our adventure. After a couple minutes on the quick and surprisingly clean subway, we landed at the pinnacle of all things touristy in Washington: Pike Place.
I adored everything about Pike Place. The cheerful people playing music on the streets, warm food, endless rows of the most beautiful flower arrangements I’ve ever seen, and authentic Seattle artistry in many different forms. We made sure to hit every tourist spot you can imagine at Pike Place. We stepped foot inside the first Starbucks store, stuck our gum to the Gum Wall in Post Alley, and ate crab cakes at Lowell’s Restaurant and Bar with “three floors of water view seating” to gaze out at the harbor.
Sunday morning was a slower start. We started off with another big breakfast then headed into the city to visit the Seattle Center(near the Space Needle) for the Day of the Dead festival. Although we attended this event as a requirement for my honors class back in Arizona, I’m so glad we had that experience. I loved seeing even more of the artwork and culture that emerged from the woodwork of the city. The latino community was very vibrant, and the event reflected that.
From there we hopped on the monorail and made our way back to Pike Place and the piers. We walked along to the Seattle Great Wheel where we took some Instagram-worthy pictures and saw panoramic views of the city. If you decide to go, don’t be afraid to go up on the wheel while it’s raining. It’s still a beautiful view, and I felt very safe. If the line isn’t too long, they may let you go around more than three times!
After our ride we walked down to Ivar’s. By then I was getting fairly chilly, so I warmed up with a hot cup of white clam chowder. What I didn’t know was Ivar’s claim to fame wasn’t just their delicious chowder. We sat on the deck on the pier and within five minutes we were swarmed by birds! While most places discourage guests from feeding seagulls, Ivar’s encourages their guests to share their food with their feathered friends. The seagulls are treated really well at Ivar’s, so we got in on the fun and threw french fries at them to catch in mid-air. It was a terrifyingly hilarious experience.
Our last trip for the weekend was a little closer to campus. We ubered to North 45th Street to visit Meowtropolitan. This quirky coffee shop is known for being Seattle’s First Cat Cafe. For $10 an hour, you can get cozy with some coffee and cats. We went around 7 p.m. on Sunday evening, and it was another unique signature Seattle experience. I can’t come close to expressing to you how much coffee I drank on this trip, but Meowtropolitan was a very different experience from my hourly Starbucks.
Around 4 a.m. Monday morning I said my goodbyes to University of Washington and took the most cheerful uber back to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. I fueled up with my last Starbucks of the trip and groggily made my way to the gate. My heart was tight as we took off. It only took me 48 hours to fall head over heels with the city, yet I was hopelessly in love. There’s still so much I want to experience there, so I know I’ll be back.
My best friend and her friends went above and beyond to make it the best trip ever. They showed me the best sweets, bought me the most exquisite bouquet of flowers I’ve ever held, and blew Texas hospitality out of the water offering to show me as much as they possibly could in one weekend. No matter where you’re traveling and what you’re doing, amazing people can really change your adventure. I’m so glad I had some of my own to bring me along on mine.