August 27th ~ Seattle, Washington
Sometimes the stars just align, everything falls into place, and your day unfolds magically. This was that kind of day for us.
Driving from Oak Harbor to Seattle, our primary goal was to see the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibition which is located in downtown Seattle. We parked near Key Arena and walked a couple of blocks into the heart of the Seattle Center.
Tim had never been up into the Space Needle, so when I found that a combination ticket was offered I jumped at the chance to once again test his fear of heights. Kind of sounds like I am being sadistic doesn’t it 🙂 🙂 🙂
The last time I was up in the Space Needle was approximately 1970. I was attending Oregon State University when a few friends drove up for the day. I was anxious to recapture a fun moment from my youth.
Helpful Hint: If you are planning on seeing several places in Seattle, getting the City Pass discount book may save you a few dollars. You can check it out here to see if it makes sense for you and your family.
Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, this 605 foot tall creation was once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. And since withstanding high hurricane winds and earthquakes is much in the news, the Space Needle was built to withstand winds up to 200 mile per hour and up to a 9.1 earthquake. It also has 25 lightning rods.
A bit of trivia:
- The iron workers who put it together in record time were paid $3.92 per hour.
- In the middle of August of the same year, the Berlin wall was being built, dividing East from West.
- An estimated 74,000 bolts hold the Space Needle together.
- No women worked on the construction team.
- The 125 ton restaurant on the top of the needle makes a full rotation every 47 minutes and is turned by only a ONE HORSEPOWER MOTOR!
Of course it is all about the views from the top that makes it all worth while. You can walk the exterior circle for the full 360 degrees.
Views from the top:
Lunch followed at Collections Cafe, right next door. First of all, the food was great. But the interesting thing about this restaurant, is that it is situated right behind the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibition and holds a wide variety of items that Chihuly collected over his life.
“Chihuly’s lifelong passion for collecting started on the shores of the Puget Sound where he scoured the beach as a boy looking for bright shards of beach glass. Today, his extensive collections include vintage objects and material culture of all kinds. Some items are selected based on their function, others for shapes and colors. Regardless of the reason, all have a personal connection for Chihuly and we are delighted to present them to you in the Collections Café.” ~ Chihulygardenandglass.com
The real highlight of the day was our visit to the Chihuly Exhibit. Our friends, Brenda and Steve, recently posted their wonderful pictures from their visit here and I immediately knew that I had to include this on our itinerary.
Rated as #1 out of 499 things to do in Seattle as per TripAdvisor, I can not recommend including a visit more strongly.
But first a little information on the artist, Dale Chihuly. Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, he studied interior design, attended the first glass program in the country, and continued his studies in Rhode Island where he stayed and taught for 10 years.
“In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art. His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including twelve honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.” ~ Chihuly.com
In a nutshell, he is a master artist whose modality is glass. As we entered the exhibition, each room is a piece of art in and of itself.
And then we went out into the gardens and the awe continued. Matching and contrasting with the well spaced plants and flowers, glass structures in brilliant colors were woven in and out, throughout the gardens.
The final room was the greenhouse with an enormous glass flowers hanging from the ceiling and the Space Needle offering up a backdrop.
I loved every minute of our time here and have been recommending it to anyone I can.
But our day was not over. Right in the same complex, here at the Seattle Center, is the Seattle Monorail. We purchased our tickets, and jumped on. There is only one place to get off, so even for those not used to using local transportation, this should not be too confusing.
Dropping you off in a great shopping area, Westlake Center, with many top named stores including Macy’s and Nordstrom’s. But our destination was a short three blocks away, Pike Place Market.
This is one of the countries oldest Farmer’s Markets. Pike Place Market is of course a market place, but it is so much more than that. This is a vibrant community comprised of farmers, fishermen, flower growers, artisans, small businesses, craft people, and residents. The neighborhood was chartered by the city of Seattle to provide services to the low-income, disabled, homeless and elderly.
They look after their own with services including the Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank, Pike Market Childcare and Preschool and Pike Market Clinic.
One final event of the day is worth mentioning, and again high on my “recommended” list. And of course it includes food.
I’m guessing you have heard about “hidden” gems in different cities. In this case, this is more truth than fiction as there are NO SIGNS to identify this restaurant, and it is located on an alley.
The Pink Door is located just a block off of the Pike Street/Market Place main street. To find it, go to the corner of Stewart and Post Alley, and head north. About a block up the alley, you will come to this building:
The only way we knew it was the right place was by looking at the stationary logo on the sign on the door.
There was also no address number. I was hesitant to open the door at first, but I cautiously did, walked down the stairs and almost whispered if I was in the right place. We were. Luckily it was still early and a table was found for us. The place quickly filled up. You can check out their menu here.
And the performance that was mentioned on the sign on the door? Well it changes all the time. As we were leaving, a trapeze artist performed over our head.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: This was such a fun day! Can’t think of a thing I would have changed. We sincerely thank you for following along with us as we explored Seattle. If you are heading this way, we hope your time here is as magical as ours was. Feel free to share, subscribe and/or comment below.
With love and gratitude…JJ