I arrived in Seattle around midday after an early flight out of TO. My friend Zoe from exchange was coming down from Victoria to meet me at my hostel around 7:30 so I had the afternoon to kill before she arrived. I decided I would head to Fremont–a quirky neighborhood of Seattle located just outside the city limits. I opted for the hour long walk to get there since it was not raining, for once! The route took me along the scenic west shore of Union Lake, where tons of sailboats were out taking advantage of the nice weather. Finally, I crossed the colourful Fremont Bridge which is preceded by a sign that welcomes visitors and residents to “The Centre of the Universe.” I have yet to reach any concrete conclusion as to how this nickname arose.
I headed straight for the Fremont Sunday Flea Market which I had read about. The market was full of unique vendors selling everything from jewelry to vintage furniture. The people-watching was also a highlight of the market.
After I was done browsing, I wandered around Fremont and visited many of it’s many peculiar landmarks: the troll under the bridge, a massive Lenin statue a past resident had brought back from Poland, and a Soviet Era Rocket to name a few. The neighborhood is a also a hub for cute shopping, great restaurants, and microbreweries!
I planned my walk back to the hostel through Kerry Park–one of the more famous views of the city, and it did not disappoint. The clear skies allowed for a perfect view of the sunset over the Seattle skyline and mountainous backdrop that is hard to appreciate from the city centre.
Zoe arrived by ferry right on time and, in typical West Coast style, we enjoyed a nice dinner at Local 360–a farm-to-table joint near our hostel. We proceeded to plan out a very full next day in the city with the help of our bartender before calling it a night.
The first stop on our itinerary was a tour of the iconic Pike Place Market—conveniently located steps away from our Hostel. I am so glad we got a tour because what could seem like a tourist attraction, is actually a historical landmark that has stayed very true to its roots for all these years. Started in 1907, it is the oldest continuously operating public farmers market in the U.S. The number one rule of the market is that you must be the producer of what you sell; the concept originated in the early 1900s to cut out the middle man and pass the savings along to farmers and consumers. There are a few exceptions to the rule, in order to create year-long diversity that does not limit the market and its consumers to seasonal produce. We were there early enough to see the market coming to life; vendors are allowed into the market to setup in order of seniority–with the oldest vendor at 50 years of market tenure.
We visited the famous fish-throwing stall, whose unconventional practices have inspired a management philosophy adopted around the world–even my mom’s old company Teva. The four tenets of the philosophy are:
- choosing one’s attitude,
- playing at work,
- making someone’s day, and
- being present.
One of the last stops on the tour was the famous Gum Wall. Although the City recently scraped all of the gum off to assess if the nation’s grossest tourist attraction had been causing damage to the underlying walls, it was back in almost full force.
The only chains you will ever see are ones that originated in the market–like Starbucks, where I enjoyed an exclusive Pike Place Roast after the tour. We also hit up Beecher’s, an amazing cheese shop which has become recently famous after being dubbed Oprah’s favourite Mac & Cheese. After agreeing with Oprah, we headed to the Beneath the Streets tour. The tour took us below street level in Pioneer Square to what was ground level in the early 1900s, before the City of Seattle decided to systematically raise the streets. This decision was made to combat a number of problems associated with being located at sea level. We also explored many of the underground establishments that turned into speakeasies in prohibition, and some that remain as fully-functioning businesses today.
We spent the afternoon exploring Capitol Hill, a trendy area where many of the Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing Yuppies reside. We wandered around before settling on Capitol Cider Co.–a board game bar–for dinner and drinks.
Zoe had to head back to Victoria early the next morning; after she left, I headed to the new Starbucks Roastery & Reserve. It is a truly beautiful space where they actually manufacture all of the Reserve Roasts on-site, in gorgeous brass equipment. I headed to the “Experience Bar” to get my coffee fix. I opted for the Siphon flight; my barista performed what looked like a science experiment in front of me, before pouring my two tasting pots of coffee.
In the afternoon I met up with friends from work for lunch and then we headed to the famous Chihuly Garden and Glass. The museum had an extensive and stunning collection of Chihuly’s best work.
The next two days were spent on the “primary purpose” of my trip–work. It was super cool to see our HQ, which spans a number of city blocks. Corporate employees are allowed to bring their dogs to work, a perk that wouldn’t work as well in a massive warehouse. Despite the lure of working in a cushy office with more regular hours and my dog at work, operations still seems more exciting at the moment! I also did 2 drop-in classes at a well-known Seattle Crossfit gym–Belltown Crossfit, owned by one of the orginal Crossfit girls Nadia Shatila. It was by far the most beautiful Crossfit gym I’ve ever stepped foot in, with exposed brick walls, brown leather med balls, dark wood, and an in-gym whiskey bar!