Three Days in Seattle

Although Seattle is known for its cool and rainy weather, there are plenty of indoor activities in the compact and easy-to-navigate downtown.

The Seattle skyline has an instantly recognizable identifiable city landmark. The Space Needle was opened in time for the Seattle World's Fair in 1962. At 605 feet high Space Needle has been surpassed in height by more recently built skyscrapers, but it is a much loved icon.

Pike's Market

My wife Fern and I first walked through the vibrant Pike's public market center located at Pike Street and First Avenue. Pike's is one of the oldest continuously operated farmers markets in the United States. It is the most visited tourist attraction in Seattle and covers 17 acres. The market includes shops, restaurants, craft stalls and fresh foods of many types, including hundreds of food stalls showcasing produce, seafood, baked goods and prepared foods.

The market opened in 1907 so that consumers could buy fresh products directly from farmers. In 1971, a project named Save the Market was launched to prevent the planned demolition of buildings. Today the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority ensures the continued growth of the market and maintenance of quality foods. The market is hard to miss with its neon Public Market sign. The market is the heart and soul of downtown, and the tastes and smells are mouthwatering.

Chihuly's Garden and Glass Works

The glass works is located next to the iconic Space Needle and showcases the work of famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. The Glass Works comprises three main areas-- the outdoor garden, the indoor glass house and the indoor exhibit galleries. The exhibition, which opened in May 2012, was the highlight of our trip.

The eight beautiful galleries reveal the most significant series and installations of Chihuly's career, celebrating his efforts to push the boundaries of glass as an artistic medium. The dramatic glass house is the centerpiece and allowed us to become fully immersed inside, as we looked over the colors, inventiveness and scale of his art. It boasts a 40 foot tall glass and steel structure with over 4500 square feet of space. It contains one of Chihuly's largest suspended works -- an impressive 100 foot long assemblage of flowers in hues of reds, yellow, orange and amber. The outdoor garden contains stunning installations that spark wonder and inspiration along with paths, trees, and flowers.

In one of the galleries called the Persian Ceiling Room, we actually walked under an overhead panel which contained an assortment of backlit pieces that resemble a swarm of jelly fish. Looking closely, we also saw a series of glass cherubs. In another gallery, called the Float Boat and Sea Life Room, two float boats contained an array of spheres, thin glass and odd shapes, starfish and sea shells, all in explosive colors. Chihuly's glass art overwhelmed us with the light, creativity and colors.

We also attended two hosted gallery talks where we learned more about Chihuly's life and works. We also watched several short films in the theater explaining some of his projects. Born in 1941, Dale Chihuly studied glass at the University of Washington, the University of Wisconsin, and at glass factories in Venice, Italy. His works are contained in over 200 museums.

Beecher's Handmade Cheese

Across from the market, Beecher's Handmade Cheese features a wide variety of artisan cheeses, grilled cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese and the like. We tried the tasty breadzel which is made with bread, heirloom grain flour, cheese, garlic and herbs. Cheese samples are available. Through glass windows, we enjoyed watching the employees processing cheese. No preservatives are used.

Dining

The downtown area has many restaurants. One night we the Yardhouse, located at Pike Street and Fourth Avenue. The menu is extensive, the prices were moderate and the atmosphere is very lively. We did notice that at night, the downtown area seemed a little funky and sadly we noticed many homeless on the streets.

For something different, we went to the University District area and had dinner at Harissa Mediterranean Cuisine. This small Lebanese restaurant features Middle Eastern paintings and wall hangings. We started with a tasty hummus and pita appetizer, followed by a tabbouleh salad and a delicious seafood stew. The prices were reasonable and the service was both prompt and friendly. This restaurant is near the University of Washington campus.

Lodging

We stayed at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in the heart of downtown. A Starbucks is conveniently located in the lobby, along with a collection of glass artworks.


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Saul Schwartz lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife Fern. He loves to travel throughout the world and share his experiences through stories and pictures. Saul has published many articles, but most focus upon his passion to travel.
Photos by Saul Schwartz



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