Well after living in Seattle for a little over 8 months we finally made it downtown. Until just a couple of weeks ago the only time we have been downtown was on Christmas Eve when we got lost panicking for gifts for the kids after a 5 – day journey across the US to begin again. Albeit was fun, it was not much for site-seeing and exploring.
Personally, I have seen a good chunk of the midwest and south, south/west and I feel confident in saying that Oregon and Washington are two of the most beautiful states the U.S. has. I love it all. OR and WA are a green like you have never seen. Everywhere you look you have a view of a Mountain, a body of water or a beautiful forest. There is so much to love about where I live now.
Seattle, like the rest of WA and OR did not disappoint! It’s a city – like a city should be. If that makes sense.
St. Louis has its charms and there are plenty of reasons to miss it, but Seattle is exactly what a city should be and pretty exciting to feel apart of something like that. St. Louis is an old city with French roots. The architecture is mesmerizing. Places like Forest Park, Cherokee St. , U-City Loop, Soulard you can just breathe in the city. I love the sound of my feet on the cobblestone roads and the way the parks look in the fall . I loved being “just 20 minutes” from everything.
Seattle is new and shiny and working like a well oiled machine. I feel safe here and happy.
We took the kids to downtown Seattle and Explored Pike’s Place Market and the Pier with the Great Ferris Wheel near the waterfront. Like every trip this was exhausting, but we loved every minute of it. We took 2 buses to get there and a little bit of walking, but we actually love our time on the bus. It gives us time to read our books, color, meet new people, get device time and still allow us to see different parts of our new city. The trip was originally planned because I wanted to see Pike’s Place Market. I thought that alone would be a full days worth of exertion and crowds and new things. However, we got off the bus too early and the Ferris wheel caught Noah’s eye first and that left us no choice but to knock that out first.
On the way down to the Ferris wheel, I was amazed by the many urban gardens and sustainable infrastructure, transportation options (like bike rentals) and the cities uniqueness. Another difference I have noticed in Seattle compared to other places I’ve lived like St. Louis, Jefferson county and Junction City is it is far less segregated. I will get more into this later on (and post it’s link here), but Seattle is more cohesive and seems to effectively celebrate and not just tolerate each other’s differences. I am used to seeing more European influences back home in the midwest and out here in the Pacific Northwest I am noticing more Asian and Native American influences. Again, though not the same.
We made our way down to the Ferris wheel via steps, which is so nerve wrecking with little kids! I always said I would never be a helicopter parent and I never thought I was until recently. I am sure that I am not the only parent who finds steep hills or stairs scary with toddlers, but if you have ever spent time with my youngest you probably found a new meaning to that fear. Miss Arianna Rose, she is the clumsiest, happiest little girl you could ever meet. Every thing is more fun when she is around, except stairs. Nonetheless we got through it. We stopped for a few photo ops which was really frustrating for Noah and Lillia. Noah was dead set on getting straight to the Ferris wheel and Lillia just has absolutely no interest in my photography or site seeing.
On the pier with the Ferris wheel there was a waterfront open park area attached to the pier between the mall/Ferris wheel and the aquarium. Anyone that grew up with me in St. Louis will remember that one of our greatest frustrations was that there was no where that teens could go and enjoy themselves and not get into trouble. Our options were basically churches or really I guess that was it. So, for that reason I found this little park area remarkable. Aside from a few vendors there were areas to play ping pong, corn hole, gathering areas, water fountains for drinking and the pretty kind. We saw tons of kids between the ages of about 13-20 getting along, playing together, reading, playing sport or one of the activities. What was even more exciting was that these weren’t tourists. Most of the people I spoke with were locals that lived in or near Seattle. They wanted to be out and involved in their own city and be social. Mind-Blowing.
A lot of you that live in the midwest are probably reading this and saying “well so would I if….”
That, right there is the difference.
They did this regardless of what their “if’s” may have been. As beautiful as Seattle is and as well as it is working it isn’t above normal American problems. There is traffic, like Chicago style traffic. There are homeless people and tents in visible areas if you take public transportations or drive through the city. Regardless of their problems or prejudices they leave their homes, even on a Monday in August to be involved their community, enjoy their city and socialize.
It’s a healthier difference. One important enough to note.
Once we got to the Ferris wheel, I realized it was actually much smaller than the one in Chicago at the Navy Pier and even the one at Six Flags St. Louis so even though I have a newer fear of heights (I swear having kids makes you into a puss) I actually wanted to ride this one and take photos. Lillia was not feeling it. She is just like my Mom was afraid of everything. The worst of it being heights, bridges and the dark. I tried to convince her by showing her that it really is not that high compared to some of the buildings in the city and that it was enclosed. I did everything but show her the safety statistics. I don’t really like pushing the kids, I prefer when they can come to their own conclusion and own the decision they make, so I let it go. This is the exact reason why you always need to have that one kid friendly friend so that you can enjoy things too! Noah was excited from the moment it was visible and Arianna was ready to do anything he does as always. Arianna is probably the most fearless and competitive child.
We watched Erich and the babies get on and go up and then we walked around and watched the ships come in. From there we got the churros that Lillia was insisting upon (they were delicious) and tried to make a decision for lunch. We ended up eating at The Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar right there on the pier attached to Miner’s Landing. I kind of regretted eating there afterwards. It was delicious and the Great Wheel gave us a coupon for a free appetizer and the crab dip was so yummy, but it was to expensive for what it was. The Halibut was good and my crab was good but we had few side choices and substitutes. The kids burgers were cafeteria style frozen patties, meanwhile they had premium beef on the adults menu. Our server was awesome and new to the area and extremely helpful too. I don’t think it helped that this was when Noah decided to meltdown. Noah is 5 and has Autism spectrum disorder and is still grasping that not every one operates on Noah time. I got the feeling that our server was getting flack for his behavior.
We are used to the dirty looks or even being asked to leave or hearing awful gossip (about a child nonetheless), but when he’s melting down we already are doing everything we can to prevent it and then handle it. I’ll be the first to admit how frustrating and difficult it is, but I cannot muzzle my child and sometimes removing him is just not possible or it might make it worse. This time I at least had another adult, his Dad. So we quickly wrapped up our much too expensive lunch that we couldn’t take to go because we were site-seeing.
From there we enjoyed the pier for a while and then made our way to Pike’s Place Market. I’ll save my thoughts on Pike Place for after I have a full visit and make it a separate post about it. It was pretty phenomenal though. Next stop was ice cream! Cones for the kids and an affogato for Mom and an espresso milkshake for Dad. We needed the caffeine! We walked past vendors, and small businesses and even found some good view points to see the city. After a quick dispensary run and grocery run we headed home on the bus.
Our Family day in Downtown Seattle was so worthwhile. It was such a beautiful day and we got to know our new city a lot more and had a lot of fun. I think I fell in love with Seattle . It’s the melting pot I’ve been looking for and the true embodiment of the American Dream. Just living in Seattle gives you an entirely different view on your lifestyle and life choices.