When I traveled to the Emerald City

I skipped the ruby slippers and opted for some cushy red sneakers. How fitting, now that I realize it—this Dorothy wasn’t visiting the Emerald City to find a way back home, but to see how different it was from home. With its overcast skies, sporadic rains, and overall quiet, Seattle was a welcomed change of pace.

A view of the Seattle Great Wheel, which stands at 75 feet tall.

We took the light rail from the Seattle-Tacoma airport, where I got motion sickness watching the evergreens blur into streaks outside the windows. We walked around downtown for a few hours with our backpacks and layered clothing as telltale signs that we were from a warmer part of the country, spoiled by the sun. Downtown was so quiet. Aside from the hum of transportation and the faint wind moving through the leaves of treelined streets, There existed a certain cold, jarring quiet. Maybe Seattleites really do prefer to keep to themselves, inside the coffee shops and the bookstores.

We stayed in Capitol Hill, with eating establishments and nightlife within walking distance of our apartment. Dressed in our jackets and beanies, we did our best to visit both the really touristy areas as well as the local joints.

Seattle’s iconic Space Needle

Food/Drink

Caffe Senso Unico | Their coffee was so smooth, and soy and almond milk were just two of the dairy-free soy alternatives. I found their house-made rice milk to be anything but the watery stuff you’d find at your health food stores.
Quinn’s Pub Seattle | The caramelized radicchio could be described as just that. Rad. Savory House-made polenta croutons, cream, citrus sauce, edible flower petals, crispy garlic, green onions balance out the bitterness with of the radicchio.
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream | I won’t argue with them when they say that ice cream makes you happy. Lactose intolerants/vegans take note: their vegan cococnut strawberry ice cream is creamy, deliciousness that makes you forget those sad, dairy woes.
Scratch Deli | Their Veggie breakfast sandwich was delicious. Flaky, crusty ciabatta bread, mushrooms, and tangy roasted tomatoes.

Looking up to the Historic Chinatown Gate, located in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District
Manao Thai Street Eats | I was missing rice again. The Panang curry wasn’t too sweet, but the lemon grass was definitely prominent. I just found it strange that my veggies came steamed, separately.
Cafe Pettirosso | While the balsamic roasted vegetables in the Red Flannel Hash contrasted nicely with the horseradish sauce, the Mexican mocha really caught my attention. Made with Ibarra Mexican chocolate, it was like my mouth was enveloped in the velvety, chocolatey goodness.
Tofully | We quickly ducked into this Korean restaurant in the Chinatown-International District, after nearly four hours inside the Seattle Pinball Museum. The tofu hot pot bibimbap was worth the mouth-searing.
Rock Box | “Rock like a salaryman.” Rent out one of the karaoke rooms to sing with friends like they do in Japan, or belt it out in the bar. The songs are current, and the lychee martinis delicious.

See

A breath-taking glass sculpture suspended from the ceiling of the Glass House at the Chihuly Garden and Glass.

It was every bit as beautiful in person.

Chihuly Glass Garden | See installations of Dale Chihuly’s beautiful glass sculptures. This might have been one of my favorite touristy things in Seattle—next to the Pinball Museum.
Seattle Space Needle
| It’s a little crowded at the top, but that 360º view of Seattle was nice.
Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour | Most of the tourists were there. You could tell because they were either in ponchos or hoodies, or they were layered up. No matter, either way. The view of Seattle from the water was picturesque, with clouds rollin across the sky.
Seattle Aquarium | We were able to catch the seals getting x-rays and weighed. Why the x-rays? Because someone threw a penny into the tank. Love seals? Don’t throw coins into the tank. They won’t grant you any wishes.
Experience the Music Project | The permanent exhibits were exceptionally well-designed, although there were opportunities for interaction. One of my favorites was the Indie Game Revolution exhibit, sponsored by Nintendo. Because video games.
Seattle Pinball Museum | $15 per person for unlimited play. Work your way up from the retro machines—some dating back to the 60’s—to the current ones. I eventually found a few favorite pinball machines, and spent hours playing to achieve those multi-ball bonuses.

Inside the Seattle Pinball Museum

The unassuming brick facade of the Seattle Pinball Museum houses two stories of pinball machines, both old and new.

Shop

Glasswing Shop | A beautiful men’s and women’s clothing & accessories store. It seems customary these days to have shops sell both clothing and succulents and/or air plants along with the relevant indoor gardening accoutrements. What got me, however, was the cabinet of blackbird fragrances. I sprayed a sample of their Broken Glass fragrance on one of the blotters, and it left a beautiful, woody scent in my backpack.
Retrofit | This furnishing/home goods store has some really cute stuff, and a couch that I would’ve loved to put in our living room, if shipping costs weren’t a concern. According to their website, they actually design custom sofas. Hmm…
Sugarpill | Browse this specialty foods shop and apothecary for essential oils, incense, artisan chocolate, tea, and seasoning. I found a fragrance oil with top notes of sampaguita, which made me think of the Philippines.
The Elliot Bay Book Company | On a sunny day, you can see the light flood into this Seattle staple through the tall windows. It’s a beautiful bookstore, and I always appreciate when a shop encourages its employees to leave reviews of the books they’ve enjoyed.

Seattle sure looks beautiful from Puget Sound, with the clouds rolling across the sky.