Seattle was the riskiest part of my trip, relatively speaking, because it was my solo leg - I didn’t have any friends or relatives in the city I could turn to in case of an emergency. I had also read online that while Seattle was very much a walkable city, there was a nontrivial homeless population, and some areas may be a bit sketchy after dark. As a friend of mine said though, “sketchy” in the US is probably a lot safer than “sketchy” in Metro Manila. I still worried a little bit, but given where I from, it didn’t make sense to worry about it.
My primary purpose for this leg of the trip was of course GP Seattle, but I also looked forward to being able to walk and explore the city by myself. Not that I don’t enjoy hanging out and travelling with my family, but I enjoy being able to wander around freely by myself with no real agenda, letting my feet take me wherever.
That meant instead of theme parks and tourist attractions and shopping outlets, I found myself walking around looking into small bookstores, vintage shops, collectibles stores, hobby shops, gaming arcades, and so on. My poor performance at the GP main event gave me some extra time to wander the streets as well.
I did hit a few tourist spots:
- I took some pictures at the Space Needle. Didn’t bother going up, I felt like I’ve already climbed enough tall structures in my lifetime and it wasn’t really worth the cost
- I did take half a day to go through the Museum of Pop Culture near the Space Needle, which I enjoyed. They had exhibits on Washington state bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, fantasy and sci-fi exhibits, and even an independent gaming exhibit sponsored by Nintendo.
- Supposedly, Seattle’s number one tourist attraction is Pike Place Market, which I found weird, because well, it’s a market. I did visit the market and wander the shop and had some of Beecher’s “World’s Best Mac and Cheese” (tastes great, but the cheese is very sharp, some people might not like it). There were some nice market shops - I enjoyed browsing a couple of the used bookstores there and there was a comic book store as well (was able to resist adding more to my reading backlog though). I think there was supposed to be some performance by the fishmongers in the market proper, and I did see some crowd gathered around one of the stalls and clapping, but I couldn’t push through quick enough to see what was going on, and didn’t bother waiting for something to happen again.
One thing I did not enjoy was how steeply inclined Seattle’s streets were. Going from my Airbnb near Capitol Hill to the downtown area was easy enough as it was mostly downhill, but going back home at the end of the day was always a bit of a challenge.
I like Seattle as a city, especially the Capitol Hill district - it feels like it has a lot of character, compared to say, Los Angeles (although that might be an unfair comparison as I didn’t really get to wander LA much). The city has more of a west coast-artistic vibe going on, there’s a lot of posters for events everywhere, art murals on a lot of walls, there’s more music shops and book shops, a lot of random small parks, and a lot of place are very LGBTQ-friendly, even some of the crosswalks are rainbow-colored. The bookstores I browsed were great, a couple had the staff leaving small notes on the shelves about various titles they recommend.
On my last day in Seattle, due to some combination of poor planning and cheapness, I had to spend an inordinate amount of time at SEATAC airport, pre-security. I was basically at the airport 8 hours before my flight, a personal record. I thought Southwest would at least let me check my bags and go through security maybe 3-4 hours before the 5am flight, but their counter only opened an hour and a half before the flight. So I have no real opinions on whether SEATAC is a good airport or not lol.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with some pictures!
Seattle photo dump:
MoPOP photo dump (part 1):
MoPOP photo dump (part 2) - scfi and fantasy