I have always wanted to do a solo trip somewhere to just really experience what it'll be like following my own agenda for everything and be spontaneous. So in this post I will talk about basically all of my experience for my trip to Seattle!
Honestly I don't even wanna complain about how early (4:30AM) that I had to wake up for the trip. I was too excited for it anyways haha. Heading my way off to Pacific Central Station with a MacLure's taxi. I was honestly concerned when my booking on their app didn't work because it just kept on saying searching. I couldn't afford to miss my train. Thank goodness that their phone booking system was very straightforward and fast.
I arrived at the station exactly 60 minutes before 6:30AM departure as per their recommendation. Surprisingly there are already quite a bit of people in front of me lined up. Although I got a window seat, but it was in reverse and I had to sit in front of someone and had to constantly avoid eye contact!!! The acclaimed "WiFi Equipped" train sure did have WiFi but like it was only sufficient for texting... Anything else will take at least 25x than what it would usually take. The train was also delayed for a whole 45 minutes, which kinda sucks but not that I was in a hurry or anything.
OK you know how I said its a solo trip, well that doesn't apply for the first 5 hours that I was in Seattle. My friend/mentor Jason was so very generous to offer to not only pick me up but also drive me to places that aren't easily get-to-able by public transit.
Perry Park has a pretty decent view of the city not bad.
In my opinion I think Gas Works Park is overall better than Perry Park, although it doesn't include all of the tall buildings like Perry Park, but it does have much nicer environment (by the water and have a hill that you can stand on to see the city) and did I mention it is wayyy bigger.
Okay I think this is one of those place that like everyone goes to just to show that they've been in Seattle. It was cool but we had a super short stop of basically less than 6 minutes. First there were too many people there and second it isn't the cleanest place that I've been in Seattle.
Then we moved on to try out a really good Mexican restaurant called Cactus (Bellevue Square location). The portion was gigantic for me and it was very reasonably priced.
If you like shopping, I think Bellevue Square is a great place for you to be. It is enormous, and got a great collection of stores that you would normally see in North America.
Wooo here comes the fun part (for me). My friend works in one of the notable big tech companies so he told me on a tour of the office and it was great. I also told him to snag two pictures of me in front of the company signs haahah.
Finally after about 5 hours-ish since arriving in Seattle, my friend dropped me off at my hotel – Grand Hyatt Seattle. Thank goodness I didn't fall for the room option "High floor room" that is an extra $100 per night. All I had to do to get basically the highest floor for non-suite style rooms was to ask the front desk when checking in. Those are one of the nicest front desk service I've had at any place (probably second to my experience in Japan). On the 25th floor, regardless of which way you are facing you are gonna get a great view. And the view I got was fantastic. Looks great during the day and even better at night. Honestly I think I definitely underestimated how fancy it is, I'll let pictures speak for it self...
Yea so my room was pretty great to say the least. Now heading to the Chihuly museum of glass and the space needle.
This gotta be one of the most photogenic place I’ve ever been to, and definitely the prettiest museum of all. The art pieces are all so intricate and vibrant and expressive. The colours and shapes of the glass sculptures speaks for the story behind itself. I would say this is definitely worth the ticket price, especially the discounted price after 6pm!
While I wait for my Space Needle admission (which was a bad experience that I will talk about right after this) I began to walk to checkout the cool Amazon Bio-dome office and the futuristic Amazon Go grab and go shop. However, here comes the scariest moment of the entire trip. I was just walking into an area that had the road blocked for automobiles due to construction. And out of no where, this random middle-aged guy pulled up inside his sketchy white truck beside me and just started yelling and swearing at me... Like I didn’t do anything I simply walked by... So because I consider myself considerably more vulnerable and have much more to lose than he have I have turned and just speed walked away. So I waited until that guy finally left, and I walked again this time with some legit looking pedestrian and thank goodness everything was fine.
Man one day, just one day I will work here!!! The office seems so futuristic and nice.
Fantastic experience, I think this would be the future of retail shopping. Absolutely no lines, just walk in and walk out. Very efficient, and (un)surprisingly accurate tracking. I think Amazon not only uses facial recognition, but more of a whole body recognition based on overall bodily appearance, as well as continuous body tracking (thus the hundreds of cameras/sensors) to accomplish this unique experience.
Alright here comes the kinda disappointing part. When I ordered ticket for the Space Needle when I just got out of the Chihuly Museum of Glass, I was like okay lets get the entrance ticket at 8:30pm for the sunset at 8:45pm. However, little did I know, that “entrance” ticket was more like “entrance to lineup for a spiral long line” ticket. Entrance was only the beginning. I “entered” at 8:30pm but only to actually get up to the top at like 9:00pm. Which means I missed the sunset by about 15 minutes... (so close yet so far...). Oh well, I should’ve known better because I actually saw bunch of people lining up the spiral but I didn’t give it a second thought. ANYWAYS, enough ranting... Overall, I’d say the view was pretty decent. I don’t know if its worth for the price, but for sure you won’t find another place that can give you such a complete 360 video of both the city and the waters. (Sky View Observatory is a great alternative, however, it is more of a in city 360 view, which is still pretty good) (Also, in the same building – Columbia Tower, 40thfloor there is a Starbucks there with a decent (free) view.)
So after enjoying the night view, I decided to head back to hotel by taking an Uber (because I was actually scared). The driver was super nice, so that’s that.
This is an excellent view to fall asleep with, I must say haha. It’s been a very long day so I fell asleep almost instantly on the GINORMOUS bed.
Wooo hooo, day 2, I woke up nice and early to get my way there to Pike Place Market to try the famous Lowell’s Restaurant & Bar, for their Dungeness Crab breakfast. It was pretty good I have to admit, but it is on the pricier side of things. But hey, added bonus of a great view of waterfront.
Then I proceed to see the super famous flying fish toss and paid a visit to the very kinda disgusting gum wall that have a lot of bee near it.
Now off I go to the Museum of Flight... One word to describe the museum it would be – Magnificent. It is totally worth the ticket price, because there are so much to see!! Museum of flight is basically four little museums combined into one. I kid you not, I spent a full 3.5hrs just looking stuff. And I think I was going pretty fast considering I only stopped to read the description on planes that I had a interest in.
I was also lucky enough to came to Seattle just in time for the blue angel’s performance. They took off at the museum of flight, and here they are.
Now I’m on my way to checkout Seattle’s Central Public Library. You might wonder, bro why are you going to a library during your vacation? Well my answer to that is, this isn’t any library...
Yea, now you know why. And the inside was even crazier. It is a big spiral walk way that gets you from floor to floor, with millions of books. Personally, I spent actually about an hour in there, because I found some very rare to see sheet music with explanation for many of Bach’s work.
After that I went to the super famous must try chowder place – Pike Place Chowder (Pine St. Location bc there are no line ups here, while the actual pike place location have like a super long line). Yea the chowder was on point great, no doubt about it.
Although I’m basically allergic (or hyper reactive) to coffee, I still can’t not pay my visit to both the first Starbucks ever, and the first Starbucks reserve. Both were great, pro tip, go to the first Starbucks at around 8pm, there are essentially no line, while during the day there is a ridiculously long line.The Starbucks reserve gave me so much Willy Wonka vibes with all of its gears and gigantic brewing tanks. The interior decoration was second to none, and the service appears to be on the same level. Overall the experience was fantastic. Personally, I think the first Starbucks was pretty overrated (to go in), I mean its cool to take a few pictures outside but it really isn’t worth the line up. However, they do got some special mugs that have the original Starbucks logo on ‘em.
Now... time to head to apparently Michelin Star Soup Dumpling place? -- Din Tai Fung. Man I wish I can say I love everything about this place. But the story is, I had a terrible experience with the greeting waiters, who literally forgot about my place in the line... I waited a whole 35 minutes for the table, and I went up to them, and then they were like oh oops, sorry, we’ll get you seated now... So aside from the bad initial impression, I think the food was actually pretty good. The soup dumplings held together very well yet also preserved some juice inside (but I think it is still on the dryer side of soup dumplings). The spicy and sour soup was also very good and from what I can tell pretty authentic.
And this concludes my second night in Seattle! I spent the night worrying about some personal stuff but it was alright, found solution pretty fast. I enjoyed my second and last night slowly with some mellow jazz, felt like the top 1% haha.
I know today I won’t have that much stuff to do so I allowed myself to finish getting ready at like 10:30AM haha. The hotel checking out was very smooth, and the luggage hold service was excellent.
I’m heading my way to University of Washington! (Conveniently the light rail heads directly into the campus from downtown so it was super quick) Loved the campus, they got some really nice and old (in the good way) libraries and buildings.
Okay, now I basically have 0 more thing to checkout in Seattle. I've definitely underestimated how efficient solo travelling is... So the bored me decided to just head to south lake union region to see Google and Amazon's offices... pretty boring, but I also got to try out some pho which was pretty good.
Finally, my last stop, the 40th floor Starbucks in Columbia tower. I mean it is a great place to be in general, they got tons of seats in the lobby level and free view on 40th floor.
Finally, I'm on my way back to Vancouver. Fun things always comes to an end, and I think I've had enough time in Seattle... I mean it is a typical US big city, it got the wows and the bads. Personally I still prefer living in Vancouver, but obviously for a better future (for my career) I think Seattle is definitely up there. Dare I say it is probably higher than SF for me. Purely from the fact that SF is more sketchy than Seattle. Its not like I feel super comfortable walking on either of the streets at night, but its just that Seattle feels just a little bit better (just a little bit).
Anyways, this concludes my first solo trip experience. Overall, I think I had a great time there, thanks to Jason for all the help he gave me. I think while solo travelling gives you a lot of freedom, but I think a big part of the fun for travelling is the experience and the laughs you share with friends. I think for my future trips, I will probably refrain from solo travelling often but opt for more accompanied trips!