Oh Seattle, where do I begin! I delayed this post a little wanting to give it a bit of extra consideration. The city itself now ranks pretty high on my personal list of favorites. Between the trendy modern vibe of the city and the beautiful landscape which surrounds it, I feel like the Pacific Northwest appeals to so many different types of travelers. I would go back in a heartbeat, and Christa has mentioned several times since returning that college in this area might be in her future as well.
For this particular adventure, Christa and I were traveling with the twins who are now nine and my parents, who although are indeed retirement age, don’t let that fact slow them down.
The main objective of our trip was to participate in a 5K Bubble Run event, for which we had been ramping up to throughout the summer. Anyone who is an avid runner might scoff at the idea of much training for a 5K, but for the semi couch (computer) potato lifestyle I had been living this previous winter, it truly took some effort to build up to the 5K distance.
Also, one of the things that gets us through a long or difficult hospital stay, tends to be dreaming and planning our future getaways. I have heard it said that a good 75 to 80% of the enjoyment you get from a vacation actually comes from the planning. That percentage sounds a little bit high to me but it actually is fun for me to prepare and look forward to our next destination. When Christa had been hospitalized in isolation for the full two weeks last February, planning this vacation to Seattle was a big part of getting us through with sanity!
Let me first brag on the beautiful hotel we stayed in & tell you I would highly recommend it to any family. We stayed at the Hilton Doubletree Suites, South Center Seattle, in a two room suite which worked out to be quite spacious and had ample room for us. To start things off with a bang- double tree gives you warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in. While admittedly not a “need”, I find it to be such a treat! We shared a couple & set a couple back for a later snack. Inside our room we had plenty of outlets in convenient places to keep all of our phones, camera and laptop charged up so we could work a little amid our sightseeing. To be honest- most of the travels we take now are focused around blog-worthy events & locations, so travelling with some gear is a must. Christa also needs to have room for her therapy vest & nebulizer set up near electricity. The desk space worked perfectly for this, and she could work on the laptop each morning and evening while completing her treatments. It was also crunch time for 4H projects, as our county fair was the week we were scheduled to return home. Those write-ups for the judges weren’t going to write themselves!
The beds were amazing to come back to each night. I adore their crisp white linens, and they felt so comfortable to settle into after a long day on our feet. I will admit that I have a little bit of a hangup about pillows, and often travel with my own. I do not go to this extreme when we fly however so I’m at the mercy of the hotel, and these were wonderful! We all slept like babies throughout the trip which makes such a big difference in everyone’s experience. Even the twins who happily shared the pull out sofa were comfortable and cozy.
Our accommodations included breakfast for two, so I decided to let my parents enjoy that perk. I have been on a shake kick leading up to the run, and had grabbed some easy breakfast items for the girls at a Super Target our first day in town. The suite had a nice sized mini fridge perfect for drinks, some yogurt and Christa’s meds which need to be temperature controlled. We were set!
The first thing we wanted to make sure we visited was the Pike Place market. It’s just such an icon of the city I wanted to make sure that we hit it on a good weather day. On our walk there we passed through post Alley and left our DNA on the famous Gum wall. Kind of gross but artistic in a weird way too.
Strolling through the isles at the market and picking up baskets of sugar snap peas and berries, was definitely a highlight of the trip. To call this venue a farmers market is definitely an understatement. Fresh flowers, honey, local artisans, produce and of course seafood were everywhere you turned.
Eclectic little shops and interesting foods to sample easily filled our entire day into the evening at the market. According to the maps it had five levels, and I am not sure that we even saw it all. One of the things on my must do list was to see the original Starbucks, which we checked out several times but had such an incredible line that we opted to just keep moving both times. None the less, I was excited to see where my favorite coffee stop originated.
The next day we decided we would venture out a little further and do some sightseeing. We wanted to take a ride on a ferry so we boarded one that would cruise us around Puget Sound. It was awesome to check out the shoreline from a different vantage point.
Then use of the monorail & train transit system made it easy to get around the city. Another place I’m glad we didn’t skip was the Pacific science Center. The little girls had a blast there interacting with all of the exhibits and catching a 3-D IMAX movie as well. The day we visited here the weather was extremely hot for Seattle (like 98*) so having the option for some indoor activities was perfect.
While in the area we also took a gander at the space needle. Unfortunately the top deck/restaurant was closed for repairs so we were unable to eat in the rotating restaurant as we had planned but it was still a pretty cool site to see. That evening we wanted to have a little beach experience so we drove around to Alki beach. Well not a smooth white sand & warm water beach, the girls were still enthralled looking for shells and running and playing barefoot in the sand. There is just something about a beach! We rented a cute little lime bike and took turns cruising up and down the boardwalk on it which made us feel a little more like a local on an evening ride along the sea before finding some delicious salmon at an Alki beach neighborhood restaurant.
The next day we had decided to travel south just a little and check out Wild Waves theme and Water Park for the day. The yelp review rating wasn’t that wonderful but everything about it looked nice to me so we decided to give it a try, and I’m certainly glad we did! All of my girls found plenty of rides that they enjoyed and even a few that grandpa and mom were willing to tag along on.
After exhausting the rides, because the lines really were not very long at all we’re headed over to the waterpark. The grandparents were able to catch a nap and some reclining chairs in a shady spot and we enjoyed the waterslides and wave pool. My only complaint of the day was the super overpriced food with in the park, which honestly is nothing different than you find in most theme parks so I shouldn’t have been surprised I guess to pay six dollars for a small ice cream sandwich that had the word “huge” printed on it LOL!
Then it was just a short drive back to the hotel, which was also conveniently located next to a Cheesecake Factory. I won’t go on about this because I’m sure you’re all familiar with cheesecake factory, but if you can’t find something you love on their menu, I can’t imagine what you’re looking for! I had the avocado rolls FYI- delicious!!
Saturday morning brought about the Bubble Run which we had been waiting to participate in. I had purchased our tickets on Group-on which gave us VIP access and a few extra little fun accessories. Literally thousands of people gathered at the Washington state fairgrounds all in white T-shirts ready to plow through massive piles of colored bubbles as they ran. We all agreed it was much easier to run the 5K distance when you were anticipating the next pile of bubbles and on a course with so many twists and turns and other participants to distract you. This would not have been a Run for those wanting to knock out their best times but for us it was perfect. At the finish line, waited ice cold drinks and granola bars as well as a bubble shooting canon which the twins couldn’t get enough of. There was fun music and dancing and bubbles everywhere, to the point it looked like several inches of snow had fallen on the ground! We had to squeegee bubbles off of the little girls before getting back into our rental!
After showers and getting our second wind for the day we headed to Chinatown where the annual dragon fest was taking place. We were excited to find a vendor serving rolled ice cream and sampled some mochi & tea at a cute little eatery where it was cool inside.
Dragon fest meant that there were street performers and additional vendors that we would not have seen every other time of the year so we thought we hit this area on the perfect day.
As always seems to happen, departure day rolled around much too quickly. We had managed to find a nonstop flight (which is always my first choice when traveling with the kids) between Seattle and Omaha on Alaskan Airlines which departed around 11 AM. One last Starbucks in the airport and we were on our way back to the Midwest. Smooth sailing & a little nap on the flight was the perfect way to end our adventure. Christa loved the city so much that she became interested in checking out universities in the area and is keeping it on her list of possible places to live in the future.
If I had to get this vacation a rating on visitor friendliness and things to do it definitely gets a five star in both categories.