Last weekend a couple of my chums and I took a low budget and absolute blast weekend trip to Seattle, WA. Here are some of the highlights from our two-day, one night adventure! It wasn’t until I was compiling this list that I noticed that we visited quite a few parks. Seattle seems set up for enjoying nature and being immersed in it.
Pike Place Market – Pike St. & 1st Ave.
This eclectic and vibrant market area, where locals and tourists mingle, offers all sorts of goods to look at and buy. Fresh flowers, seafood, tea, coffee (first Starbucks location!), all kinds of food, clothing, collectibles, souvenirs and so much more from over 500 vendors please the crowds daily. Despite being packed like a cat in a small box, we ended up with 3 large bouquets of flowers on our drive home – couldn’t resist!
- Free to wander and explore
- Reasonably priced food and finds
Sam Olympic Sculpture Park – Western Ave. & Broad St.
A city park and green space along the Puget Sound with interesting large sculptures and well-maintained gravel paths connected to Myrtle Edwards Park by a walking bridge.
- Free to wander
- Free western Sound view with art to admire
Kerry Park – W. Highland Dr. & 3rd Ave. W
On the paper map it’s labeled Bayview Kinnear Park. This small neighborhood park overlooks the Puget Sound and the Seattle downtown skyline with a great view of the Space Needle and, on a clear day (which we didn’t have), Mount Rainier.
- Free and often photographed view (think quintessential postcard)
- Play structures
Lake Union & Lake Union Park
Water and waterways surround and interconnect Seattle. This particular lake, one of the smaller bodies of water, offers plenty, including sights of the Space Needle and historic Gas Works Park.
- Center for Wooden Boats – free half hour sailing excursions on Sundays
- Fremont Avenue Seattle Ferry Service – low cost tours of Lake Union
- Free to wander and watch the boats sail
Mystery Pop Machine – E. John Street between 9th and 10th
In front of the Locksmith shop resides an old soda pop machine. Its six selection buttons all labeled “Mystery” give you no clues to that day’s flavor choices. You could get Coke or you might get Pepsi. We tried all six buttons and got six different drinks.
- $.75 for a random pop
Seattle Central Public Library – 5th Ave. & Madison St.
A striking structure designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus of the Netherlands and built in 2004, the abstract-looking building has caught my imagination numerous times. This time we actually went in and took a quick tour. Wow! It was more impressive on the inside than the outside! I’d never been in a library with escalators and spiral levels instead of floors. I loved how all the glass allowed for so much natural light.
- Free self-guided tour of the 11 levels of the library
Jack Perry Park – near S. Massachusetts St. on Alaska Way S.
A small, little out of the way, park and public water access next to the Coast Guard Station. It took us some time to actually find it, but if you get on Alaskan Way South and drive south, it’s on the edge of town, on the right, down an unassuming drive.
- Free to park and hang out
A few miscellaneous thoughts on keeping costs low without sacrificing a good time:
- Parking – It turned out to be cheaper on the street than a garage for the most part – for the areas we were parking. Street parking was between $1-$4.50 an hour, and Sunday was free to park on the street. However, we did find parking in garages with charges as cheap as $10 a day.
- Gas – Our estimation was not too off, but we learned to estimate a little higher on the next trip.
- Food – We packed most of ours and only bought dessert, drinks and snacks.
- Lodging – We chose to stay at a place through Airbnb. It was not exactly cheap, but divided among friends the one we stayed at was reasonable for a safe and clean place to stay.
After reading about the Willamette Waterfront bridge tour loop in Laura Foster’s book Walk There! 50 treks in and around Portland and Vancouver, four friends and I decided to take the jaunt.
Once in Portland, Oregon we parked about 2nd and Morrison SW Morrison Street. The street parking is pretty safe in Portland, but don’t leave valuables sitting in view anyway. If my short-term memory serves me correctly, the fee was $2 an hour and free after 7 p.m.
Starting out at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, between the Hawthorn and the Morrison bridges, we headed north. The 2.6 mile walk took us under the Morrison and Burnside bridges. As we passed under the Burnside Bridge we caught a glimpse of the art market being packed up. If we had thought of it earlier, it might have been fun to go there first, but we were late in the day. Another adventure awaits…
Approaching the Steel Bridge we were lucky to see that a boat was also arriving about the same time we were. That meant we saw the suspension train tracks rise to allow the boat to pass through. I had never seen that. The section of train tracks horizontally rose up and then there was the gap for the boat to pass through.
We chose to cross the Steel Bridge on the upper level – the sidewalk along side the car traffic. There is also the option to cross on the bike/pedestrian path on the lower deck along side the train tracks. We then headed south along the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade. Again we passed under the Burnside and Morrison bridges before crossing over the Hawthorne Bridge.
After our walk along the river in the Portland drizzle, we certainly were hungry! So, we went to Escape From New York Pizza. Yum!
Let’s tiptoe through the tulips…
Well, actually let’s take a walk through the tulips. A photographer friend invited me to join her in taking tulip photos to enter in the Pro Photo Supply’s “Catch the Color” photo contest.
By the time we were able to get out to the fields in mid April, the flowers were at 80% color or bloom. 100% apparently was toward the end of March. The variety of 80% colors and the immense fields of flowers at this year’s Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon impressed me and seemed to impress the dozens of other photographers taking photos as well. We were told that by the end of April, not a bud or flower would still be there. Despite being “late” in the season, I enjoyed the late morning photo shoot.
The price of admission seemed a little high at $5 per person; that’s just to wander around looking at tulips. The cool kiddie rides, pony rides, the cow train tour and elephant ears all – naturally – have an additional cost. The tip from the guy in the admission booth was to park as close to the tulip fields, behind the blue porta-potties. Not exactly my first chose – behind the outhouses that is – but parking in the corner of the lot did help when leaving and trying to find the car in a packed lot.
While most likely the tulip color is over, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is open throughout the year with other flowers and country appeal.
Over the Easter weekend I stayed a few nights in Depoe Bay, Oregon with my family. While Depoe Bay does not have the lovely beaches of neighboring Lincoln City, the ocean front town and its piece of the coast is still beautiful. The ever-changing weather of the Oregon Coast made this a gorgeous experience. And naturally, I did make it over to Taft Beach in Lincoln City.
Saturday morning we rose to bright and beautiful! With bright blue skies and a blue ocean, my blues were far, far away.
Just look at those little harbor seals smiling for the camera!
By the afternoon, the World’s Smallest Harbor had a bit of chilling aura, with gray skies and good old Oregon drizzle.
Personally I wouldn’t want to go out on the ocean in weather like this, but then again, it would beat being baked…
Then the next day came around.
Easter Morning, with its rays of sunshine at Taft Beach, reminded me once again of the freshness and the new Life Easter stands for.
It was chilly, but held the promise of a nice day. I like people watching by the way. These three friends came out to run on the firm packed sand and stopped to watch the harbor seals bobbing in the water. I see friends shaking hands, saying ‘how do you do?’ – what they’re really saying is, ‘I love you‘…
Here is Depoe Bay. This is it. Well, most of it anyway. It is not a big town. The day was still nice at this point. Refreshed, we walked through the neighborhood and into town, noting every sign for the upcoming “Crab Feed” plastered on every light post and telephone pole.
It stormed. What. A. Surprise. Not. But when the sun came out – ooohhh….
A rainbow! And over our neighborhood too! Actually, if you look closely, you can see that it is a double rainbow! Not wanting to be sent into the cove with the elusive pot of gold, I didn’t get as close to the edge as I wanted to. If I could have gotten just a little more northwest, I could have captured more of the rainbow. The rainbow wasn’t just an arch – it was three-quarters of a circle!
Leaving Depoe Bay by way of Lincoln City, I got to stop at the little D-River, a contender for world’s smallest river. Here it is folks. That’s just about an entire river right there.