A few months ago, my good friend and college roommate Lilly asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. Of course, that would mean I would be revisiting the Emerald City in which I spent four years of my life during college.
It’s been three years since I last visited the city that I consider to be my second home, so I was absolutely ecstatic to return. I booked my flight for Sept. 18 through 24 and was ready for yet another adventure that would help satisfy my Seattle appetite!
Pike Place Market
I contacted another one of my college friends, Rudia, who lives in Puyallup, located about 35 miles south of Seattle. She was nice enough to catch the bus up to downtown Seattle to meet up with me the day after I arrived.
After grabbing a cup of coffee at a Starbucks near Westlake Center, we ventured down to Pike Place Market, about a 15-minute walk away. As we headed down Pine Street toward Pike’s, a whiff of nostalgia brushed by. The scene was exactly how I remembered it to be on a nearly flawless day: Seeing the distinct, red “Public Market” sign in front of a gorgeous backdrop of Elliott Bay took me back to my Saturday trips to the market, a perfect escape from the rough dorm conditions and grueling homework assignments.
After leisurely walking past a few bakeries and shops, we finally approached the corner of Pike and Pine for the famous fish area of the market. This part of Pike Place is best known for its tradition of fishmongers hurling orders at customers.
But having seen this many times, we snapped a few photos and made our way out of the bustling market area and back out onto the main street.
Our next destination: The Seattle Great Wheel!
Seattle Great Wheel
I never got the chance to ride this since it first opened in 2012, three years after I graduated from college. Even as a Washington resident, Rudia never rode this giant ferris wheel either, so this was a treat for both of us.
Lucky for us, we were the only ones in line likely because we were there early on a weekday. We purchased our tickets and proceeded to enter our glass-enclosed car.
The views in all directions were spectacular: In front of me was the sight of ferries and sailboats gliding along the pristine waters of Elliott Bay.
To the left, I spotted CenturyLink and Safeco Fields, homes of the Seahawks and Mariners, respectively.
Behind me, I could see the highrise buildings shrinking as we slowly rose higher and higher. As we descended, I got a glimpse of the Space Needle peeking out from behind the buildings.
Circling three times and taking in the views, I paused for a moment, wondering what possessed me to ever consider moving away from this gorgeous city.
All in all, the Seattle Great Wheel was a great experience, making the $13 admission price no problem at all.
When Rudia asked me what else I wanted to do, I thought of all the other fun attractions around the downtown area — besides shopping of course — and I completely forgot about the famed Gum Wall. Throughout the years I’ve spent in Seattle, I couldn’t believe I’d never been to this landmark, so there was no way I could leave downtown without checking this place out.
The Gum Wall, located in Post Alley under Pike Place Market, is a brick alleyway wall covered in just that: gum. Supposedly, the tradition started in the early 1900s when patrons of a nearby theater started putting coins in their gum and sticking it to the wall. Theater workers tried to clean it up, but eventually gave up. It was later deemed an official tourist attraction by market officials.
Today, the Gum Wall stands as a germy yet fascinating part of downtown Seattle, giving it its quirky character.
We left our marks on the wall — thankfully, Rudia was prepared with two pieces of Eclipse — and bid adieu.
After a bit of retail therapy at Westlake Center and Pacific Place, we caught a bus to Chinatown and said our goodbyes. I had a great day and was ready to start the next chapter of my Seattle trip: Lilly’s wedding!