Weekend Escape : Seattle
To combat SF's freezing, foggy summer, we escaped up to sunny Seattle for a weekend. We spent the long summer days wandering the city and catching up with old friends. Great food, sunshine and tasty drinks filled our days. It was so nice to get out of the fog and be reminded that real, actual summer exists. Just not in San Francisco.
We wandered around Downtown, Capital Hill, First Hill, Bell Town and Queen Ann. We rented Lime bikes and rode along the waterfront and north until the bike trail ended. We played tourist and had fish and chips. We explored little boutiques and coffee shops. It was wonderful to not have to bring a jacket everywhere.
I've never actually been to Seattle in the winter, so I feel like I have a completely twisted view of it, but it's amazing. I always forget how walkable it is, and am always happily surprised. It's probably more walkable and compact that SF. And it's clean. So clean! Even the grittier bits are cleaner than SF. There are so many cute, locally owned restaurants and boutiques. I did a bunch of research before we went, and plotted a bunch of great spots on a Google map.
Renting Lime bikes made getting around super affordable and convenient, and we didn't have to sit in traffic. The electric assist bikes were especially awesome. The bikes were super easy to find and perfect for our group of five.
We spent Friday night near the Space Needle on the roof of our friend's apartment. We had a perfect sunset view of The Needle, fired up the BBQ and hung out by the fire pit. The lack of amenities in SF is insane, and I can't believe that so many of the new apartment buildings in Seattle come with so many great extras. We had a big group, so being able to use the community space was perfect.
We spent Friday night at the Hotel Theodore downtown and Saturday night at the Ace Hotel in Bell Town. Hotel Theodore was modern, clean and recently renovated. The bed was gigantic and fluffy and the AC worked perfectly. The Ace was very cool and urban, but doesn't have AC. We had to sleep with the windows open because it was so hot and were surprised at the amount of street noise. We live on two cable car lines, so we're used to loud city sounds, but were just surprised that it was so loud.
The Ace is probably perfect when it's not the middle of a heat wave, but I wouldn't recommend it for peak Summer. The best part of staying at The Ace, other than the location and cute decor, was the price. We opted for a room with a shared bathroom in the hallway, and it was a great way to save $150. I never found the bathroom occupied when I needed to use it, the showers were solid and the bathrooms were conveniently located.
I loved getting up early on Sunday morning and walking from the Ace down to Pike's Place. We're used to farmer's markets starting as soon as the sun comes up, but managed to get down to the market when everyone was still setting up. There were hardly any tourists. It was great to just wander among the flowers, fish and fresh produce. Even though it's cliche, I love coming to Pike's Place. Is it normal that there weren't any free samples?
Like everyone else in SF, whenever I travel I'm stunned by how cheap it is. I know that Seattle is quickly getting more expensive, but damn--it's way cheaper than here. Housing, food, drinks, transit, literally everything is cheaper, cleaner and more efficient. I definitly want to come back in the winter so I have a more complete mental picture, but every time I visit the PNW I love it more.