Cool Seattle Experience

How lucky we were to enjoy our entire trip under sunny blue skies. I've waited in airports or flown over Seattle many times, but now I regret not stopping by sooner. This is a hip town surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Cool Seattle Experience

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by travel2000 on November 14, 2000

I loved Belltown, a funky part of Seattle. It reminded me of Melrose Avenue in LA and Soho in New York when they first became populated with cutting edge stores and restaurants. Lots of fun modern stores and excellent restaurants line the streets of Belltown. Many luxury condos were already being built in the neighbourhood so I think this is the place to be these days.

The Boeing Everett factory tour was very interesting. I saw the almost completed Rockn'Roll Museum by Frank Gehry, and even took a monorail ride through the building. A little bit of Disneyland spiced in. The Ballard Locks was educational and it became addictive to watch how the boats rise and fall.

Seattle is surrounded by the most beautiful scenery in the pacific northwest. And I'm sure the sunny weather made our trip extra special.${QuickSuggestions} I recommend spending at least 2 nights and 3 days in Seattle. That would give you enough time to enjoy the sights as well as drive around to explore neighbouring areas. Surrounding Seattle are islands and the beautiful Puget Sound. Absolutely stunning scenery here. We drove down from Vancouver and actully stopped by Whidbey Island first. I highly recommend making a longer trip to explore areas outside of Seattle. We were lucky enough to enjoy sunny weather, but I know the mist and the clouds would not dampen the experience. I was told that there is actually less rain in Seattle than in Los Angeles. It's just that in Seattle, rain falls over more days and is usually not in a downpour.${BestWay} Within the downtown waterfront areas, the public buses are FREE every day between 6am and 7pm. You can stroll from one end of town to the other, and then hop on a bus to carry you back. We parked our car at a guarded outdoor lot close to our hotel in Belltown. The parking fees were paid through our hotel bill and came up to $20 for two days. Beware that many streets in downtown are one-way. We picked up a free map published by WHERE magazine which showed arrows pointing the direction of each street.

There is also a monorail from the Space Needle to Westlake Center, downtown. The trip is very short, but you do go through the new Rock'n Roll Museum.

Sights such as Boeing and Ballard Locks are quite far away from city center, so driving is recommended. For freeways, try to avoid early mornings and afternoons after 3pm. We ran into a lot of traffic on the freeways. It was as bad as rush hour in Los Angeles.

Ace Hotel

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by travel2000 on November 14, 2000

I found this hotel through an article in Wallpaper magazine. Then, it was also recommended by my sister as the hotel in Belltown and that's where the action was. This is a small hotel in a renovated old brick building. There are both rooms with shared baths and rooms with private bath, which is what we got. Our room was at the back, facing a parking lot and had a sliver of waterfront view. The decor was simple, sparse and very modern (very Wallpaper, if you are familiar with the magazine.) At the foot of our bed was a copy of Karma Sutra and a condom. The bathroom had a utilitarian feel to it, with stainless steel industrial sink and a large tiled shower, which was the highlight. When you leave, remember to take with you the full-size bottles of shampoo. Great mint conditioner.

Our room was noisy, especially at night when the restaurant workers talked after work in the nearby parking lot. Overall, I thought this place was over-hyped and over-priced. I would recommend staying here if you are a modern architecture lover and want to be in the center of Belltown action.

Here is their website: The Ace Hotel
Ace Hotel
2423 1ST AVE
Seattle, Washington, 98121

Flying Fish

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by travel2000 on November 14, 2000

I found this through WHERE magazine, which I picked up at my hotel. This is a great free magazine on Seattle, and it listed the top 10 most popular restaurants from Zagat's Survey. We decided on Flying Fish because the woman chef was a James Beard award winner, we wanted seafood, and the place is a short walk from our hotel. We got there after 9pm and were lucky to get a table. It was packed and the interior was nicely decorated and not formal at all.

We tried the oysters (very fresh) and the thai salmon cakes for appetizers. Then we had foie gras special and blackened marlin. They were all excellent. However, the desserts were disappointing. The sorbet had no flavour and the pot de creme was very dry and not creamy at all.

Overall, I highly recommend this place. The price is a little high, but the food is completely worth the money. Just stay away from the desserts- walk over to a small cafe and have coffee.
Flying Fish
2234 First Ave
Seattle, Washington, 98121
+1 206 728 8595

Ray's Boathouse

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by travel2000 on November 14, 2000

We found this institution driving around after seeing the Ballard Locks. It's on a picturesque waterfront overlooking the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. We promptly stopped by for lunch and were not disappointed. The seafood was fresh and the service good. We sat outside on the patio and had a grand panoramic view. There was a slight breeze and boats coming and going through the side to the Locks. A very scenic spot and a perfect place for lunch.
Ray's Cafe
6049 Seaview Ave Northwest
Seattle, Washington, 98107
+1 206 789 3770

Macrina Bakery

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by travel2000 on November 28, 2000

This is such a cute bakery/cafe right in the middle of Belltown. The coffee here is excellent-we had a huge bowl of cafe latte, creamy and served at drinking temperature, not overly hot like most places. The croissant and pastries were excellent. There are a few tables for a quick breakfast or lunch or afternoon snack. There is also a good bread selection.
Macrina Bakery
2408 1st Ave
Seattle, Washington, 98121
(206) 448-4032

Boeing Everett Factory Tour

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by travel2000 on November 14, 2000

We knew the last tour of the day was at 3pm and barely made it to the entrance on time. We bought our tickets and rushed into the auditorium where our guide was giving a short talk and showed a background movie about the factory.

The Boeing Factory is the largest building in the world by volume. This is where 747s, 767's and 777's are built. Inside the huge space, there are cable machinery running along the roofs, sections of planes and the assembly machines, and bikes for employees to get around. We were able to see how the intricate system of cables carried entire sections of planes and wings throughout the factory. The tour ends with a bus tour around the runway area (we saw a Korean Airline jet land after a test flight) and the parking lots of planes waiting for delivery. Our guide also gave us interesting tidbits about cost, payment process, and how planes are tested and delivered.

Our tour group had people from all over the US as well as Germany and Asia. Afterwards, we browsed the company store and bought a handful of wooden airplanes-they fly very well and kids love them.

Check out the website for information: Boeing Everett Factory Tour
Boeing Company Factory Tours
3003 West Casino Road
Everett, Washington, 98203
+1 206 544 1264; +1

Ballard Locks

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by travel2000 on November 14, 2000

This was very educational and fascinating to watch. This is part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. This is where fishing boats (large and small) and yachts make the trip from salt water to fresh, or vice versa. The boats enter a tank, which is either filled with water or have water sucked out, depending on the direction it is going. This rising and falling of boats is fun to watch. We happened to see two large cargo boats go through the same process.

There are also viewing rooms which run alongside the fish ladder (this is where the fish migrate upstream) but they were all closed for construction when we were there.
Hiram M. Chittenden Locks/Ballard Locks
3015 Northwest 54th Street
Seattle, Washington, 98107
(206) 783 7059

Pike Place Market

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by travel2000 on November 14, 2000

Along the waterfront in downtown Seattle, this market is famous for the fish stand where they toss fish to one another. Almost every time they show a clip about Seattle on TV, these guys are filmed tossing big fish back and forth over the fish stands. Pike Place market has stalls selling fresh fruit, wines, vegetables, seafood, spices, tea, coffee and tons of t-shirts and other souvenirs.

Though it was very touristy, I still enjoyed the noise, the people and the vibrant colors of the merchandise. And those fish guys are funny!

Here is the website: Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market
85 Pike Street
Seattle, Washington, 98101
(206) 682-7453

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