With a double decker freeway built right along a good portion of its waterfront, Seattle is reminiscing of San Francisco before its Embarcadero Freeway was removed. San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway obscured much of the San Francisco skyline. But the freeway was removed after suffering substantial damage during the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, resulting in opening up the area’s views and allowing sunlight to reach the ground. A renaissance then occurred in the newly uncovered district.
If Seattle could find a transportation alternative to its waterfront freeway, its waterfront would be rejuvenated. Views would be reestablished, light would again illuminate the sidewalks, and business would thrive. But where would the cars go?
Visit the Mountains
You must visit the moutains. Mt. Saint Helens is like nothing you've ever seen before. It is very haunting and reminds you how fragile life is. The giant cedars, spruces, and Douglas firs in the Olympic National Park and Mt. Rainier are stunning. Some are as old as 1000 years, and 300 ft tall. We went to Mt. Rainier in late May and it was snowing really hard at Paradise. The road to Sunrise was still closed. We took an 1-mile trail to a viewpoint at Paradise, and the snow was knee-deep. We scrambled and struggled with the thin air to get to this viewpoint, and saw the Nisqually Glacier and Mt. Rainier. It was the most wonderful thing I've ever seen!
Trek through Pike's Market. ...
Trek through Pike's Market. The produce, fresh fish and meat selection are mind-boggling. The surrounding area has wonderful bistros as well as all types of gourmet & fine dining experiences. Check out the Seattle Glassworks and fine art galleries. Seattle has an extraordinary array of fine Asian art galleries. Don't miss the Space Needle. With the proximity of the majestic Mount Rainier one can take an unforgettable day trip to Snoqualamie Falls. Make reservations at the lodge and restaurant for a unique dining experience. The grandeur of Mount Rainier is breath-taking.
MOHAI - Museum of History and Industry
For a good overview of the history of Seattle and the Puget Sound region, visit MOHAI. My Seattle friend Al says that the temporary exhibits are almost always interesting. On the Saturday I visited there was an excellent one about Seattle's role in the great Klondike gold rush. However, I thought that the permanent exhibits were a little tired - they could stand some updating.
Ballard Sunday Farmers Market
While the 100-year-old Pike Place Market is justifiably famed, few Seattlites, except those who live or work downtown, regularly visit it. Instead, they go to their own open-air neighborhood markets, which operate on weekends. The Ballard Sunday Market in North Seattle is a fine example, open Sundays in summer 1000 – 1500, reduced hours in winter.
The Sunday market focuses on individual small local growers, organic foods, specialty baked items (photo #2), boutique cheeses (photo #3), and the freshest of locally farm-grown produce, premium cured meats, and “wild” fish and shellfish. The resident Hmong community, formerly of Laos, sells exotic locally-grown flowers.
Some products are very esoteric, and many vendors have strong followings of local folks. Zane & Zach’s World Famous Honey Company, of nearby Renton, combines honeys with various hot sauces, bottled in jars that are carried around the world by aficionados – and they've got photos on-the-spot to prove it, with Z&Z-carrying travelers posing with the jars in Kyoto, the Arabian Sea, on the Matterhorn, and with Michelangelo’s David in Florence. Foraged & Found Edibles has baskets of succulent wild morels and unidentifiable greens that are guaranteed safe to eat. Captain “Oyster Bill” of Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton offers his fine-quality Pacific oysters – on ice and ready to slurp.
This is a good spot to pick up a loaf of bread, some specialty goat cheeses, berries hot off the bush, and a bottle of wine or hard cider, before walking a few blocks to the free Sunday summer concert at 1400 at the Ballard Locks (Tip to come). Or, as you walk the market, snack on a delicious hot fresh crepe (photo #4). Or, have a casual outdoor lunch here, with good people-watching, at the popular sandwich bar, The Other Coast (photo #5).
The market is located on Ballard Ave. NW and 22nd Ave. NW. Park for free on nearby Shilshole Ave. NW. Bus #18 takes 20 minutes from downtown. Other neighborhood markets can be found on the website below.