As a photographer, Seattle is a treat. The city offers tons of diversity, in so many ways is the city different from other American cities. It is a place i love to visit, and I get to go there every year while my work brings me to the #SQLSummit in the town.
Visitors to Seattle know all about the Space Needle, fresh seafood on the waterfront and the world-famous Pike Place Market. However it is the those hidden, out-of-the-way gems that makes the visit to Seattle memorable.
I got no intent to describe every attraction of Seattle if you need that go get yourself a book 🙂 this blog is about the little places I enjoy so much.
Places i enjoy to visit for food a beer…
No doubt its easy to get high quality food at some amazing restaurants, yet there is some which has won my heart, places i visit every year as a tradition. You can eat for next to nothing, and with great authenticity.
Mediterranean Mix, not exactly a high-end restaurant, this establishment is very lacking in ambiance, or to the money the place looks like a dump, the food on the other hand authentic Greek food when its at its best. This is the kind of place where one walks up to a counter to order and they bring the food to your table on a tray and for 7 dollars you will have complete meal, and I swear its the best I had outside Grace. And if that’s not enough, they have a hot dog stand in front that grills the dog and offers it “Seattle style” – grilled onions and cream cheese! Amazing. This is a must-see if you are out, but not too late at night, the area is pestered with so many drunk annoying people, but in the daytime no worries at all.
Beer is always good, and there is heaps of places where they serve good beer, the Tap House is for many people a first choice. It is not where I enjoy going, the Tap House “Grill” is like a hooters without the girls. Thus their beer is good, it totally lacks any ambiance. I prefer Six Arms situated between the pike and the Capital Hill neighborhood. They brew their own beer and its never a disappointment, especially their stout is a wonder of Seattle. Besides their usual fine selection of beers they are keen to feature special event editions which I never fail to enjoy while i am usually in Seattle for Halloween.
Another place to-go is the House of Hong. A good friend of mine took us there for some Dim Sum. Prompt and pleasant service, a wide variety (and growing!) of dishes, and at an incredible value. One downside is the the parking, which seems hard to figure.
Merguez and Spanish chorizo, if you are up for a quick lunch, which is a hell of an experience, then Uli’s Famous Sausage at the pike might be the place for you. Its a small place, the tables and chairs is really uncomfortable but the food! the food is just unforgettable!
This topic is really difficult as Seattle is littered with American history and Surrounded with stunning Nature, plastered with landmarks, what should one choose. As a photographer I adore many of the places and the nature Seattle and surroundings has to offer. Yet there is a place i love going to. It is a small cab fair from downtown, and offers some of the most spectacular views of Seattle at night. I am of cause referring to the gas park of Seattle. The park at day if a OK place to visit for a little HDR venturing, but its full potential opens at night. It offers the complete skyline with Seattles most famous landmarks. Forget a hotel 45 dollar fee for a glimpse of the Space Needle. I got a few nice captures of the place in my blog post A good photograph is knowing where to stand. A little word of caution, I do not recommend dragging all your photo equipment to the place, it is very dark and isolated. A tripod, you camera with a wide lens and you are set, there is no reason why you want to look like a million in such places.
Where I venture with caution
I would also have mentioned downtown Seattle, but recently there has a been a change to the worse. There has always been a number of homeless people in the area, but it seems that it has changed from the usual crowd. It is not the usual mixture of people down on their luck and drunks, but also heavy crack addicts. It makes it a unsafe place to go with expensive photo equipment, and difficult to photograph without provoking certain types. It is a shame, while downtown Seattle is perfect for Monochrome photography. It has this special ambiance which is at odds with many other American cities, where you will find the center to be a concrete parking lot, surrounded with glass monsters.
Take a time to read this article to realize the enormous problems Seattle faces.
EMP Museum and the Needle, is it worth it
For meany Seattle starts at the iconic Space Needle. View the 360-degree panorama of the Emerald City and surrounding area seen from the observation Deck. With its height of 520 feet above the ground you can see the mountain ranges including Mt. Rainier, the waterfront, the lights of downtown Seattle and more. The question is it really worth the 23 dollars in admission. For me the it is not worth going up into the needle, sure it is an impressive sight, but the observation deck 73rd floor of Columbia Center is both higher, better and at the half price. At nearly 1,000 feet it offers the tallest public viewing area in the Pacific Northwest. The 360 degree panoramic view includes Mt. Rainier, Bellevue, the Cascade Mountains, Mt. Baker, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, the Space Needle and the city of Seattle.
The EMP museum is on the other hand a visit for all music lovers. I am not a big enough fan to enter the museum on every Seattle visit, but I love walking around the impressive and organic building which comes across as a sculptural form. If you do enter the museum, then make sure to visit the SCIENCE FICTION section in the cellar, it is pretty awesome.
Next to the Space Needle is the Chihuly Garden and Glass. It is a place you simply cannot miss, it is very difficult to describe how marvelous this place is. The pieces is both impressive in size, form and color. It is so impressive and so different that you wonder what substances the artist was on when he created it. I recommend visiting the museum during non-peak hours, otherwise it will be difficult to enjoy the displays with all the people around.
Seattle burned down a 100 years ago and they built another city on top of the old one. Most street level businesses in Pioneer Square area are actually level two of their buildings and level 1 which used to be the street level in the old city is now the basement. Some of the sidewalks near pioneer square have glass chips which let light into the 100yr old pavements underneath them. There’s an underground tour that takes you through this linked network of underground streets. It’s quite an experience. If you take the adult tour then the descriptions is a bit more colorful.