Seattle, a city on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, is surrounded by
water, mountains and evergreen forests. Logging was Seattle's first major
industry, but by the late 19th century, the city had become a commercial and
shipbuilding center as a gateway to Alaska. Growth after World War II was
partially due to the Boeing company, which established Seattle as a center for
aircraft manufacturing. Today, it’s home to a large tech industry, with
Microsoft and Amazon headquartered in its metropolitan area. Its growth
rate of 21.1% between 2010 and 2020 makes it one of the nation's fastest-growing
Getting there ...
This trip was originally planned before the pandemic to attend Joe Hisaishi's
concert in April 2020. The concert was delayed for more than 2 years, and
the trip plan was extended from a weekend concert to a 2-week vacation including
Mount Rainier and
Elias. Our flight arrived in Seattle before noon, and we took the
light rail (officially called "1 Line", or formally Central Link) to Seattle
downtown. After checked in to our hotel (it's great that our room was
already ready at 12:30PM), we walked a block to a famous Taiwanese dumpling
restaurant Din-Tai-Fung (鼎泰豐) to have a nice lunch as our first meal for our
- Chihuly Garden & Glass
After lunch, we took the futuristic Monorail, the nation’s first full-scale
commercial monorail system, to the Seattle Center, an arts, educational,
tourism and entertainment center including the Space Needle and several
museums. Our first stop was Chihuly Garden & Glass, an exhibit
showcasing the studio glass of Dale Chihuly.
Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass
while studying interior design at the University of Washington. In 1968, he
went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice, and started the
development of glass as a fine art. Chihuly has created more than a
dozen well-known series of works, including an ambitious exhibition in 1999,
Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem; more than 1 million visitors
attended the Tower of David Museum to view his installations. Chihuly
Garden and Glass is the comprehensive exhibition dedicated to showcasing
Chihuly's work. It opened in May 2012 at the location directly next to the
Space Needle. Through its community partners, Chihuly Garden and Glass
supports opportunities for education and involvement in the arts.
- Space Needle
Needle is no doubt the most iconic landmark for the city of Seattle.
It was built in the Seattle Center for the 1962 World's Fair. The
Space Needle was once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River,
standing at 605 ft (184 m). The tower is 138 ft (42 m) wide, weighs 8,660
tons, and is built to withstand winds of up to 200 mph (320 km/h)
and earthquakes of up to 9.0 magnitude. Going up to the observation
deck (at 520 ft (160 m) above ground) is one of the most must-do tourist
activities in Seattle. We got the timed entrance tickets for 7:15PM so
we could stay up there late until sunset (~9PM).
7/2 (Day 2) ...
Starbucks Reserve Roastery
The Starbucks Reserve program began as
Starbucks desired to compete in the high-end coffee market to show the
immersive and dramatic expression of their passion for coffee. The
first Starbucks Reserve Roastery was opened in Seattle’s vibrant Capitol
Hill neighborhood in December 2014. We came in the early morning
to have a breakfast with their special Reserve coffee (although I could not
really tell any difference...).
- Amazon Spheres
The Amazon Spheres are three spherical conservatories comprising part of
the Amazon headquarters campus in Seattle. The Spheres were created to
reconnect people to nature through biophilic design and provide a space to
take in the positive effects of exposure to nature, like increasing
creativity and reducing mental fatigue. The
spheres, which range from three to four stories tall, house 40,000 plants,
as well as an employee lounge, workspace, meeting space and retail stores.
The Spheres indoor gardens are open to visitors by reservation during the
first and third Saturday of each month. Reservation is free and is
open 15 days before the date (so you have to act fast to make the
reservation on the day when it becomes available if you plan to visit the
- Joe Hisaishi
(久石 譲) Concert at Benaroya Hall
The main purpose of this trip is
to attend the concert by Joe Hisaishi. The concert was originally
scheduled in April 2020, but it got delayed twice due to the pandemic.
Joe Hisaishi's music for animator Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿) has been our
favorites since our childhood. The songs from My Neighbor Totoro,
Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind, Kiki's
Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away,
etc., brought back our good old memory and emotion. These are songs
which I will never be tire of listening.
- Pike Place Market
After the concert, we walked to the Pike
Place Market. Founded in 1907, the Market is one of the oldest and
largest continuously operating public markets in the United States and is
brought to life by the hundreds of farmers, crafters, small businesses, and
residents. We bought a small basket of cherries which were really
fresh and delicious.
- Kerry Park
After dinner (another nice Chinese restaurant Haidilao
海底捞), we went to the Kerry Park for the classical Seattle skyline at night.
Originally we planned to use the public transportation since we already bought
the Orca cards, but we decided to take a Uber when we got to the bus stop and
did not feel too comfortable to wait for the bus in the unknown
neighborhood. When we got there at 8:30PM, there were crowds
of people lining up at the edge of the park. Even though Mount Rainier
was totally blocked by cloud, the Seattle skyline was still a fantastic
7/3 (Day 3) ...
- The Original Starbucks
We walked to the
original Starbucks at 1912 Pike Place in the early morning. We got
there before 6:45AM (it opens at 7AM) and found we were walking a few steps
beyond another couple to claim the #1 spot in the line (if I did not stop to
take this photo, then we
would be the first ones to get there :-)).
- Pike Place Market
We had a lunch with Woanyu's schoolmates (high
school and college) at the Athenian Seafood at the Pike Place Market.
It's a nice and causal 3-hour lunch/chat.
After lunch, we walked a little bit around the
waterfront and to the Gum Wall.
Since it started to rain hard, we decided to retire back to our hotel and had a
relaxed afternoon (e.g., watching Netflix, playing games, etc.)...
7/4 (Day 4) ...
We checked out our hotel before 8AM, and took the light rail back to the
Sea-Tac Airport to pick up our rental car. It's time to move to our next
destination: Mount Rainier.
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