48 Hours In Seattle
A sure sign of your advancing age is when all of your friends start to get married. If you’re like me, your fridge is consistently adorned with at least one save the date card. And if your friends are like mine, none of them will get married anywhere close to home. Destination wedding, cross-country move, grandma’s hometown….whatever the excuse, you find yourself shelling out unbudgeted funds for plane tickets and hotel rooms. But when you love your buddies, and the destination is Seattle, you have no choice but to pack your bags and go.
And so it happened that I spent just 48 hours in the Emerald City. Truthfully I was there a little longer, but subtract time involved with nuptial activities and an afternoon sacrificed to the evil god of hangovers, and two days was all I had left to play with.
I began the first day by exploring some of Seattle’s best known neighborhoods. Just northwest of the city center is Fremont, an eclectic collection of quirky shops and ethnic restaurants. After taking in the gorgeous views of the harbor, I hunted down the giant troll statue under the Aurora Avenue Bridge. Bizarre, but worth a look.
Also worth checking out is nearby Ballard. This waterfront community boasts a strong sense of Scandinavian heritage and enough bars and restaurants to keep you busy for days. What attracted me, however, was the Ballard Locks. Here I watched sailboats and motor yachts navigating the canal system that connects Puget Sound with Lake Washington and beyond. Through the glass panels of the “fish ladder”, I also witnessed determined salmon in their endless upstream quest to migrate. Scenic, educational, and best of all, free.
Trip Tip: Both Fremont and Ballard are accessible by the city’s Metro Bus Service. Navigation is easy, rides are cheap, and a designated portion of downtown is completely free.
My day two meanderings led me to beautiful and historic Pioneer Square. To stroll here is to step back in time to the gold rush era. Shady trees line streets occupied by turn-of-the century buildings, one of which still advertises hotel rooms for 75 cents a night. The picturesque central park reveals an authentic totem pole from the Tlingit group of indigenous Alaskans.
This is the heart of Seattle, where it all began, and the Underground Tour brings the city’s history to life in an unforgettable way. By literally descending underground, you are guided through the submerged remains of the original city destroyed by the Great Fire of 1889. I was fascinated by how little I knew of this notable event and was happy to hand over the $15 admission fee.
Trip Tip: Always ask about student discounts. The Underground Tour is $12 with a valid college I.D.
No trip to Seattle would be complete without a visit to the world famous Pike’s Place Market. Fresh local produce, vibrant flowers, and a variety of souvenirs entice from a seemingly endless maze of crowded stalls. After a cup of hot coffee and the juiciest peach I’ve ever tasted, I took in the entertainment of the market’s comedic, bait-tossing fishmongers. A fabulous way to spend a crisp fall morning.
Needle? No, Thanks.
Finally, with my departure time drawing ever nearer, I made the executive decision to skip the Space Needle. It wasn’t easy for me to snub the most iconic structure in the city, but a $16 elevator ride seemed hard to stomach. Besides, I’m a Florida girl and need to be out on the water. Luckily for me, the ferry crossing to Bainbridge offers spectacular views of Mt. Ranier and a charming island destination, for roughly the price of a ham sandwich. You truly can’t beat that.
Trip Tip: Stay a few hours on Bainbridge Island. Have lunch at the Harbour Public House and taste the locally grown wine at Eleven Wineries.
“I Hate Goodbye’s!”
Alas, as in a sad movie, it was time to bid farewell. There are few places where just 48 hours will suffice, and in Seattle it was just enough to whet my appetite. But the ultimate upside to having my friends marry off and move away is that I will always have a great excuse to go back, and maybe even an old fold-out couch to sleep on.
Here’s to hoping the next invitation contains the words “Bora Bora”.
By Allison Savage