🌮 Seattle, days 1 & 2: Gas Works Park, Fremont Troll, Pike Place Market, and lots of food (2019)

Howdy! This is a long overdue post which was intended to be the continuation of my Seattle, day 0 post in 2019, but I didn’t get around to finishing them. Since I’ve got a little extra time on my hands, I’m gradually getting around to a small backlog of these travel posts. ☺️ They’re sort of part of an unofficial mini-series called Travel Throwback Tuesdays. I haven’t consistently been publishing blog posts on Tuesdays, but I hope that I will be able to prepare some of these posts in advance.

Also given that some of these memories were from such a long time ago, and I didn’t make notes, I might fail to remember exact chronological details. 😢 Still very much looking forward to sharing a handful of photos and experiences, though, even if it might not all be described to a T. 💙

A woman with short dark hair, wearing a light coloured top and shorts, white shoes, and a denim jacket, standing in front of a colourful mural with her hands in her pockets.
Me in front of a mural in downtown Seattle – the mural was intended to bring awareness to domestic violence.

Day 1

Boeing Factory Tour

We had two full days in Seattle after the afternoon of our arrival. We stayed in a pretty nice Airbnb on Capitol Hill, and I dare say the location was much better than the Airbnb itself (even though the Airbnb was not bad). We rented a car, and to be honest I’m really glad that we did. Seattle doesn’t seem all that bad to get around in, but it made it easier considering we had activities planned that were a bit out of the way – particularly the Boeing Factory tour – so I’ll start with that, since it was the first activity we did on our first full day!

A rainbow-striped crosswalk painted on the road, with a colourful mural on the building on the opposite side of the road. The street is quiet.
Pride crosswalk 🌈

We booked the factory tour in advance, and it’s a 90-minute activity but does go by pretty fast! We had to arrive early, mainly because they like to make sure you have enough time to get settled and use the restroom. There are no restrooms available during the tour, and because you’re on factory premises, you aren’t allowed to carry anything either as it’s considered a drop hazard. So they don’t allow phones or cameras.

Empty runaways at the Boeing Factory in Seattle. The grass between the runways is a yellow-green colour. Some planes can be seen far off into the distance. The sky is blue with the clouds having created white streaks.
We got to observe and take photos from a viewing platform after the factory tour.

While I don’t have any photos to share of the tour itself, I recommend doing it if you happen to be in Seattle and can spare time and a bit of coin to travel north of downtown Seattle for 30 minutes. The tour is only $25 USD and that’s pretty decent for the experience you get. Even if you aren’t into planes. The Boeing Factory is the biggest single building in the world and it’s quite fascinating. We had a really good tour guide as well.

A plane on a runway in the distance. Further away, other planes can be seen. The skin is blue with some streaks of white clouds.
We spotted a UPS plane taking off!

Gas Works Park

After the tour we drove to Gas Works Park, a park that offers really lovely views of Seattle. You can see the famous landmark, the Space Needle, on the skyline, and also catch a few sea planes landing in the water. At least, we saw one! And you get some nice views of Lake Union too.

I first saw Gas Works Park in 10 Things I Hate About You.
A view of Lake Union in Seattle, showing the Space Needle building prominent on the skyline. The sky is full of streaky clouds but it is a bright day. A couple sits in the foreground on the grass, looking out at the water.
A beautiful view of Seattle.
A view of the city of Seattle across Lake Union in the foreground, and a motor boat speeding past from the left to the right
Another view with a motor boat making its way across the water. 🛥️
The city of Seattle seen from a viewing platform, with Lake Union in the foreground and the city skyline in the background. A seaplane overhead is heading into the distance. The sky is blue but streaked with clouds.
We spotted a seaplane! We also saw one landing in the water.
A large copper-brown-coloured structure, part of a coal plant with pipes and ladders. Some graffiti is on the structure. The sky is blue with some clouds.
A close shot of one of the parts of the coal plant at Gas Works Park
Remnants of a coal plant and some old buildings as part of a park. Way into the distance, the skyline of Seattle can be seen
Some of the retained parts of the plant make Gas Works Park very interesting to hang around
A selfie of a man and woman, with a large lake and a city skyline in the background. There is a couple sitting on the grass behind them. The man and woman have sunglasses on top of their heads and are smiling.
Nick and I with the city of Seattle in the background

Fremont Troll

Another landmark we wanted to see was the Fremont Troll, a giant art sculpture which was popularised by the film 10 Things I Hate About You (the scene where Bianca and Cameron are going for a walk and having a chat about Bianca’s sister, Kat). It’s bizarre seeing it in person, as the way it appears in the film made me think it was in a more open spot. But it’s literally under the Fremont Bridge and can be seen from the street if you’re driving past.

A signpost below a bridge, displaying a red stop sign and a green sign reading “Troll Ave N”.
Troll Avenue, where the Fremont Troll resides.
A troll-shaped sculpture beneath a bridge. The troll’s
The Volkswagen is a life-size one – that should give you an idea of how big this sculpture is!
A view of the street under a bridge, across the length of the bridge. The bridge’s pillars are in view, and some cars can be seen in the distance parked by the sides of the street.
The view in the opposite direction when your back is to the troll sculpture.

Since we were in the area, we stopped for lunch at a nearby cafe. I’d made the decision to take my (12oz/~360ml) reusable glass coffee cup on this trip, and I’ve really loved taking it! If I’m dining in, I don’t bother using it since they will often supply me with a mug (yay!), but if I don’t expect to be around long, I’ll get it in my cup. It means I can also take my time drinking it and walking around with it. But, flip side, I do find myself wanting to have coffee and tea more often. Hahaha.

A cafe setting with wooden tables and chairs, and a wooden wall with a giant colourful mural reading “WA” with some icons of the state of Washington in USA. A woman sits with a laptop at one of the tables, deep in focus.
We ate in a cafe that had this cool art on the wall.

Discovery Park, walking trails, and the old lighthouse

We’d seen recommendations to go to Discovery Park and “see the old lighthouse”. To be honest, the lighthouse isn’t much to see, and if you’re spoiled with yellow, hot, sandy beaches like the (in)famous Bondi Beach in Sydney, you will think of this rock beach by the lighthouse as being rather odd. But that’s the thing to do here, apparently! That’s where folks like to hang out with their families and enjoy being by the water. However, the walk there is lovely, and there are a few easy-to-medium trails to walk on. We took a couple of different trails to the lighthouse and back. Going there, we ended up walking down a very big hill and were not keen on walking up the hill to go back, so we opted for a trail that thankfully had some stairs that were easier to climb.

A woman with dark hair standing in the middle of a walking trail. Green shrubbery is visible on either side of her. She is wearing a white strapless top and natural coloured shorts, and has her hands in her pockets.
Good walking shoes 😉
A view down a walking trail with green trees and bushes on either side.
On the way to the old lighthouse.
The path leading up to a small lighthouse. There is a grey rock beach and some weeds to the left of the path. The water of a lake can be seen in the distance.
The lighthouse and rock beach at Discovery Park.
Wooden stairs as part of a walking trail, leading upwards. The canopy provides adequate shade.
Stairs on the way back, via an alternate route, to the parking lot.

I had really been wanting to do a hike with Nick as we had not done a proper one for… well, since forever. A trail was good enough at the time, and we did end up doing a proper hike in Cradle Mountain earlier this year. But I love any little excuse to do a stroll or a walk through nature.

A Kurt Cobain memorial at Viretta Park

Our next stop was to visit a bench. It wasn’t just any bench, though. The bench, in Viretta Park, is located behind a house that Kurt Cobain, deceased frontman of grunge rock band Nirvana, used to reside in in the 1990s. He was found dead in that house after he committed suicide in 1994. It is said that Kurt Cobain sat on this very bench and wrote some songs.

A park with open space, one big tree and a lone bench with one path across the front of it. There is a bright red bike on the path.
Viretta Park as seen from the road

There were a lot of notes and messages written for Kurt to thank him for what he contributed to music, and to rest in peace. We saw one couple at the bench taking a few photos as we looked for a spot to park, but otherwise, there was not another person in sight. It was strange thinking that it was literally the same bench that was there thirty years ago. I sort of wondered how the landscape around it changed, because the park the bench sat in was on a small hilly surface, and the clear view of the road and water didn’t make it feel very private. When I read about the bench and imagined its history, I had pictured more trees in the park, a slightly larger park, and hidden from the street.

A close up of a bench with some writing painted on it in white, “We miss you”, “legend”, and some handwritten notes tied to the bench, one reading “Love you Kurt”.
Some memorabilia and notes for Kurt Cobain.
A close up of an old bench with words painted on it reading “thank you Kurt”. Some notes and messages on paper are tied to the bench.
Some more messages for Kurt.
Viretta Park is in a neighbourhood close to the water’s edge.

Dinner at Tavolàta

That evening we had dinner at Tavolàta, which was really good! It was another recommendation from my friend Kyle. Since we hadn’t seen the Starbucks roastery, and it was nearby, we stopped to have a look. On the way back to our Airbnb for the evening, we stopped by Frankie Jo’s, an ice cream parlour that sells dairy free ice cream. Being lactose intolerant, I can’t pass up on that one. 😀

A white dish of polenta with tomatoes and an egg in the middle. It’s a dark evening setting and some Diet Coke can be seen in the background on the table.
Can’t say no to polenta!
A dish of spaghetti and meatballs with a generous serving of cheese, on a restaurant table. The lack of light shows it is the evening.
Spaghetti meatballs 🍝
The inside of a cafe with multiple wooden shelves and tables. The shelves have products available for purchase including mugs and coffee. The space is artificially lit, and it’s dark outside.
The Starbucks roasters was quite busy – it’s recommended to see this rather than the “first” official Starbucks store, as there is more to see here.
Big machinery inside of a coffee roastery.
Some of the machinery.
People sitting on high chairs at a high table inside of a cafe. Someone can be seeing working behind the bar. The place is dimly lit with artificial lighting.
Lots of space to sit and grab a hot beverage.
A side view of the outside of an ice cream parlour with a round pink sign reading “Frankie & Jo’s”. Two people sit on a bench outside the parlour, and some people can be seen sitting inside though the glass window.
Waiting outside of Frankie & Jo’s.
An ice cream menu indoors, printed on a mirrored surface. In the mirror’s reflection, big globe lights hanging from the ceiling can be seen.
The menu at Frankie & Jo’s.
A close shot of a scoop of ice cream in a small cardboard cup. A plastic spoon sticks out of the cup, which is held in someone’s hand.
Pretty sure I got the salted caramel ash flavour – I am a sucker for salted caramel.

Day 2

Brunch at Nue

The second day started with us getting brunch with my friend Lucinda, who used to live in Sydney but now resides in Seattle. We ate at a cafe she recommended, called Nue, which had some hearty, rich dishes inspired by cuisines around the world.. I was feeling brave so I ordered chicken and waffles. This was my first time eating the famous dish, and I have to say I didn’t mind it at all. 😉 After all, waffles don’t always have to be sweet! 🧇

A white oval plate with two small saucers of ice cream and sweet sauce, and a round waffle cut into quarters and a standing shower of chicken wings, garnished with herbs.
Chicken and waffles!

Pike Place Market and the (infamous) Gum Wall

We spent the rest of the morning exploring Pike Place Market then walking past the infamous Seattle Gum Wall. So, I definitely recommend the market, but I don’t so much recommend the gum wall. As far as markets go, if you’re into them, I wouldn’t miss it. I’m more of a market observer than a market “participant”, so I don’t usually go around buying all the nibbles and snacks, but I love to explore them. This one is worth visiting, and probably more fun if you know someone local who can tell you what’s good.

The side of a street heading down towards the entrance of a covered indoor market by the water. Some stalls with umbrella covers can be seen in front of the entrance. A large sign above the roof of the market reads “Public market”.
Down the road to the entrance of Pike Place Market.
The inside of a building, dimly lit, with some glass shopfronts visible. A sign towards the ceiling reads “House of jade”. Some people can be seen, with backpacks, and one person with a pram and children, in the common area in front of the storefronts.
One of the inner underground levels of Pike Place Market
Some people walking up a gradually sloping path between the stalls of an indoor market. One sign reads “Seattle Hats” and another reads “Lavender”.
Another level above ground
The front of a fish shop inside an indoor market. Some of the seafood can be seen. There are several people gathered around the shop.
A world famous fish shop inside the market
A brick wall littered with various pieces of paper, some resembling business cards and photographs, stuck to the wall with an infinite amount of small pieces of brightly coloured, masticated chewing gum.
The infamous wall of gum.

The gum wall is actually a little disgusting up close; I took a photo of it and I couldn’t even stand that. 😂

A drive around to see the Space Needle and the neighbourhood of Ballard

After that we fuelled up with a coffee and a qwaffle (croissant waffle) from Anchorage Coffee, also recommended by my friend Kyle. 😆 Then we drove past the Space Needle and explored other areas of suburban Seattle by driving.

A small waffle in a white styrofoam box with some sweet syrup in a small cup next to it.
A waffle with the internal texture of a croissant.
A tall structure with a round observation neck up top. In the foreground is an open car park with some cars parked in it.
The Seattle Space Needle, which I photographed from inside the car while Nick drove us down Denny Way.

Ballard was an interesting neighbourhood but we missed the farmers street market that they have on Sundays. They were just taking everything down as we arrived. It’s worth noting that there are other markets that are around Seattle, so it’s definitely worth looking into them or planning your trip around some of them. 😊

I stopped by this tea shop in the neighbourhood of Ballard for a nice tea.
Some tall sculptures with mushroom tops, in the middle of an open park.
Some interesting mushroom sculptures in Ballard.
A road edged by very tall and very green trees. There are blue skies. A crosswalk can be seen on the left.
Driving through the University of Washington

Dinner at Fogon Mexicana

It was a long wait for the Mexican joint we visited, Fogón Cocina Mexicana (yet another great recommendation from Kyle – mate I owe you a couple of coffees next time our paths cross! ☕), but we put our name down and explored downtown. We bought a cinnamon roll from a place that specialised in creating them, seeing as we were expected to wait an hour for a seat the Mexican place. But it took a while to prepare and we had to wait, so we ended up having to hastily make our way back to the Mexican restaurant with the cinnamon roll, and didn’t get to eat it until later. 😂

A plate of nachos with toppings of pico de gallo, avocado and onion, sitting on a wooden high table.
A plate of soft tacos served with black beans, placed on a wooden high table.
Mmmm tacos. 🌮

I am scarred by having good Mexican food in the States. It shits on everything and anything we have in Australia. No real tacos down under. 💔🌮

We took a moment to check out the Jimi Hendrix statue before heading back to our Airbnb for the night.

A dark bronze statue of a man playing a guitar, atop a stone with a plaque. The statue is on the sidewalk of a city, in the evening.
The bronze Jimi Hendrix statue in Capitol Hill.

The next morning we left our Airbnb and hopped in the car to make our way to Portland, Oregon! This was where Nick and I spent a couple of days working remotely, then I spent the rest of the week at XOXO 2019 ✨

I really enjoyed Seattle because it was easy to navigate and there were so many interesting places to eat. It was a city that reminded me of Sydney, but a little more relaxed. We didn’t go up the Space Needle or do too many other tourist activities, but that’s not really how we travel anyway. 😊 I would say, depending on the city, some tourist attractions are worth seeing, and some are not always worth the effort. I would love to visit Seattle again and stay in another neighbourhood, and experience more of what the locals are into.

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