5 Must-Dos When Visiting Seattle

Finding solace—and a bit of connection to my east coast roots—in the Pacific Northwest.

I recently got the opportunity to travel to Seattle for a quick weekend, and it couldn’t have been more worth it. San Diego, for me, has been a tough experience. Having grown up in South Jersey—where life is a bit slower, the foliage is a bit thicker and the seasons a bit . . . seasony-er—moving to San Diego was shocking, both environmentally and culturally.

While I have felt richness in friends and experiences both in San Diego, it’s never felt like home. Though my experience pales in comparison, I can’t help but feel some small sense of empathy for the millions of refugees displaced each year from their homes, and the strife that goes with it. I’ve learned that without a sense of place, a grounding beacon, I struggle.

From the short time I’ve spent in the PNW, it’s densely forested woods and moisture have felt a lot like home.

Here are five things to do when you visit Seattle.

1. Check Out The Enchantments

Even if you don’t climb, the drive out on route 2 is beautiful. There are many small towns along the way. And don’t worry about food; you can just visit one of the farm stands to grab fresh fruit and veggies.

Our plan was to climb in the Enchantments, but after a late start we didn’t think we could make it in a car-to-car push.

If you do want to climb in the Enchantments, make sure you get a permit! Otherwise, Index is an awesome little town, and there is world-class climbing there.

You can also take a train to Leavenworth, which might be another really cool experience.

2. Visit the Space Needle

Even though it’s rather expensive at $35 per person, I’d say a ride up the Space Needle is worth it.

One of my favorite things is getting up high, and the Space Needle definitely lets you do that. You can stay up there as long as you like, and on a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier! It gives you a great overview of the city, and a pretty interesting history of the Space Needle itself.

3. Rent a Bike

Seattle is one of the most bike-able cities I’ve ever been in. They have designated bike lanes almost everywhere, and some places even have a separate bike path.

Bikes let you check out what you want, without the limits of walking or the expense of an Uber/Lyft. And from what I’ve seen, there is a lot to explore in Seattle.

4. Go to Pike Place Market

If you like farmer’s market, Pike Place Market a must-see and it’s one the oldest continuously operated farmer’s markets in the country. I don’t know how to verify this, but the claim seems reasonable.

It’s got a ton of shops, and a cool history to it that I won’t spoil here. The gum wall is nearby, but honestly I don’t see the appeal.

5. Stop by REI

If you’re into gear, or have been shopping around for some new stuff, check out the REI.

Since it’s the flagship, they carry every single product in-store; on top of that, they have some really cool landscaping.

If you happen to park in their garage, make sure to note the time it closes or you’ll be locked out until morning. Don’t worry if you are though, from experience I know that their landscaping is great if you have to spend a night under the stars; just know that their sprinklers go off at 3 am.

Beta: The recycling can out back has some good cardboard boxes, too.