Having arrived in Seattle on time at 11am with Amtrak our lovely Airbnb host picked us up at King Street station, drove our suitcases home for us and dropped us off at Pike Place market. The market is really cool with lots of places to eat and stalls selling unique art, jewellery and a lot of fresh fish in between. I saw so many things I wanted to buy but our already very full and heavy suitcases (perhaps fortunately given we want to buy a house) put a stop to that. We didn’t last long as it was Saturday and therefore so busy we could barely move but it was definitely worth a visit.
We stopped for lunch at the Crumpet shop where I had the egg with smoked salmon cream cheese and Ben got marmite and cheese. If you’re British this place probably won’t blow your mind unless you’ve been an expat for a while in which case it might – the crumpets are a perfect replica of the normal (not the basics or finest) ones in sainsbury or tesco. If you’ve never had a crumpet before then this is a perfect place to try one for that reason. They also do sweet options with almond butter, ricotta, marmalade and various other toppings which I would have liked to try but was too full!
Having finished there we walked up to the Space Needle. At this point I’ll discuss transport options. We loved Seattle but the public transport was not great and struck me as expensive for what you get – a bus journey is minimum $2.50 and you have to pay again if you transfer to the metro or monorail. A day pass is $8. We paid $5 for the stored value Orca card thinking it would be better value. We quickly found out that it isn’t! The fares are the same as cash and the advantage of bit having to have exact change was quickly lost when we realised there is a $5 minimum top up, you have to go to a safeway or metro station (neither of which are easily find) to top up or you have to wait 24-48 hours for credit to be added if you buy online. Coverage isn’t great and services aren’t frequent. For that reason we walked most of the time in downtown. This might not work for you as it’s pretty spread out (the space needle is a mile or so from Pike Place) in which case Uber seems pretty easy and inexpensive option especially as there is free wifi or a starbucks you can lurk by almost everywhere block.
Anyway, back to the space needle. Being Saturday it was very busy so we decided not to go up but admired it from below.
Right next to it is the Seattle centre which houses several museums, gardens and an epic fountain. Its a nice place to spend an afternoon and we enjoyed watching the fountain in action.
That done we headed to the EPM museum which was highly recommended by a friend. It was great! The focus is pop culture and there are areas for fantasy, horror, indie games, the band nirvana and several others. We spent the afternoon there with a starbucks break in the middle and neither of us got bored which is a huge achievement as we both struggle to pay attention to this kind of thing. The entry price is a little steep at $25 or around £18 buy I get the impression this is about standard for museums out here. It also included a conveniently located coat check right by the cash desk which was awesome.
After that it was time to head back into town to catch a live soccer match which I’ll talk about in a separate post as it was quite a different experience to one in the UK.