Moving to Seattle was such an amazing experience for us. It was the city of our dreams; bustling street scenes surrounded by a vast and beautiful natural landscape. What makes it so wonderful though are the people. We arrived with a connection or two but no real family or friends, and by the time we left, we were leaving behind some very dear lifelong friends.
Our personal favorite hang out spots included: Volunteer Park which contains the Conservatory for me, the playground for Jude, and the Bruce and Brandon Lee headstones in the cemetery for visiting family members. We also loved Kubota Garden in the fall, sailing on Lake Union with seaplanes buzzing about and appreciating the houseboats, and picnics and sunsets at Gasworks Park. Beach days were split between Golden Gardens for the shaded forests, playground and tons of activities, and Alki Beach for the awesome mountain views and boardwalk vibes.
Though you also can’t beat a walk around Fremont to visit the Troll and Bus Stop People, also known as ‘Waiting for the Interurban.’ Discovery Park is another can’t miss location. It has the best view of Mount Rainier, a nice little beach and a lighthouse. Olympic Sculpture Park is obviously a great spot for scouting cool Seattle sculptures, but is a fantastic spot for tossing a hammock in the shade or a stroll along the beach. As many parks as Seattle has, Freeway Park has got to be one of the most creative. It is a large park with water sculptures, flowers and gazebos and is built on top of the tunnels that contain Interstate 5. This is a great example of how Seattle uses clever methods to make a greener city.
Being Seattle and expecting some rainy days, there are plenty of amazing indoor spots as well, like the Pacific Science Center, Museum of Pop Culture and Armory in Seattle Center, and the Museum of Flight and the Aquarium. The Boeing Air Museum of Flight is by far our family favorite. Matt is a plane and WW2 buff, so the exhibits are so fun to check out with Jude. And in case you didn’t know, Seattle just happens to have the coolest library you could ever find; if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check it out! Lastly the aviaries of the Woodland Park Zoo are very stimulating!
There are plenty of great suburbs around Seattle as well. Bellevue for one is definitely worth a look. Especially if you have little ones, and at least an hour to spare, you have to see the Bellevue Downtown Park. With a short drive out of the city, you can visit the incredible Snoqualmie Falls.
Outside of the city, we loved visiting our nearby State and National Parks like Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Park. Our day trip to Mt. Rainier was an amazingly clear, sunny day and we enjoyed driving the scenic roads and views of reflection lake. Even though we visited in July, the mountain was still too snowy for hiking with Jude, then 8 months old. Towards the end of summer, we spent a weekend exploring the Olympic Peninsula and, by far, our favorite sites were the lush Hoh Rainforest and stunning Rialto Beach. Sol Duc Falls was the highlight of the rainforest and the Rialto sea stacks at sunset were simply amazing! We were also fortunate enough to go hiking and camping all over the outskirts of Seattle.
Being from Spokane, I will admit it isn’t my favorite place in the world but can be a beautiful city with plenty of attractions for visitors and locals alike. One of my childhood favorites was always the gondola that hangs over the rushing Spokane River. The artwork in the park are some of my favorites, like the Bloomsday Runners, Garbage Goat and, how could you forget, the giant Radio Flyer. In general, Riverfront Park is an amazing place to be. People of all ages can enjoy the carousel, feeding the ducks, riverfront views, and the pavilion and clocktower.