Seeing Seattle Again – Family Delights

Genie Davis November 3, 2011 No Comments

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It’s been a number of years since I last visited this city by the sea, and the last time I spent a great deal of my visit in several iconic tourist spots my children wanted to enjoy: the bustle and varied cuisine of Pike’s Place Market, boat rides, the salmon locks, the Rock and Roll Museum and the adjoining Space Needle, arguably Seattle’s best known landmark.  Read about our family experiences in the related Seattle articles below.  This time, I was determined to take my family a bit off the beaten path, and see Seattle again from a fresh perspective.

Seattle Outdoor Parks

A trip to Seattle is always fun, and new outdoor parks enhanced our trip.

Volunteer Park

Our first stop was Volunteer Park, and its wonderful gardens near Capitol Hill. Here you’ll find a charming conservatory filled with a display of beautiful plants from all corners of the globe, and a water tower you can climb and get a nice perspective of the city without joining the tourist throngs hurtling to the top of the Space Needle. The area around the park feels cozy and quaint. Nearby sandwiches, soups, and deserts await at the reasonably priced, fresh-produce oriented Volunteer Park Cafe. Try a cheese sandwich and a lemon cake.

Sitka & Spruce Restaurant

If you’re looking for more formal fare, try the Sitka & Spruce. This restaurant was recommended to me as someone who enjoys convivial dining – the room is dominated by a long table you can share with friends or strangers who may or may not be chatty. My kids enjoyed discussing food choices with adults other than mom, but there are also smaller tables about if you’re looking for a more private setting. The food here too is fresh-sourced, and we loved pumpkin crepe, and the salmon. Our vegan was thrilled to have a veg version of a fish-centric main dish created using mushrooms, turnips, and celery in a delicious ragout.

Olympic Sculpture Park

If you have time before sundown, work off your meal with a visit to another free park. Justifying both the calories and costs of our repast, we hit The Olympic Sculpture Park near the Seattle Art Museum, where some awesomely impressive pieces blend in among trees and flowers. Kids of all ages, even the stroller set, will enjoy the interesting art works and meandering paths. Everyone will love Alexander Calder’s “Eagle” soaring on steel wings. You can wander through the park to the waterfront, where there’s a pleasant small beach and the wide open green space of  From Myrtle Edwards Park over looking the bay.

Seattle Shopping and Sailing

Heading inland, Seattle’s hip and happening  Pike-Pine Corridor has a wonderful book store in the Elliott Bay Book Company, replete with a large children’s section. Browsing encouraged, which came in handy for us when Seattle experienced one of its frequent rain showers, and as usual, I’d forgotten an umbrella.

Another alternative is the South Lake Union area which is packed with cute shops and impressive galleries. Best of all you’ll find the Center for Wooden Boats where your kids will enjoy a look at beautiful old water craft or you can rent a boat and take it out on the lake. We spent a great afternoon out on the water with old friends more water-accomplished than I am, and the kids were delighted to see not just ocean but a lake in the same urban center.

Seatle Boating

It's always a treat to take the kids out on a boat...

Arboretums Within The City

If a sail isn’t your think, you can still enjoy the outdoors at a wonderful mile-long trail from the Museum of History and Industry. The Arboretum Trail leads you over paths and a boardwalk through trees and small islands divided by inlets of water. In the actual arboretum you’ll find a fruit orchard. Despite the nearby freeway hum, you’ll feel like you’re out of the city proper.

You don’t have to leave the city limits to immerse yourself in the region’s stunning natural beauty. Drive or take a bus 15 minutes from downtown to the parking lot of the Museum of History and Industry (2700 24th Avenue East; 206-324-1126; seattlehistory.org) and pick up the milelong Arboretum Waterfront Trail. A network of well-maintained paths and boardwalks takes you through thickets of alder, willow and elderberry into marshy islands alive with the trills of red-winged blackbirds and marsh wrens, and over shallows where kayakers prowl amid the rushes and concrete pillars of the freeway overhead. If the sun is out, you’ll want to prolong the outing with a stroll through the flowering fruit trees in the adjoining arboretum. The museum itself, which explores Seattle history with photographs and displays, is moving to a larger space at the end of next year, at Lake Union Park in a former armory. One of the most interesting exhibits was all about salmon. We were led through early twentieth century fisheries and got a look at the invention that caused salmon processing to be mechanized, transforming the industry and the region. Surrounding the museum is a garden slugged the Garden of Iconic Objects, which children love. The random and cool artifacts include a fire bell, a deck gun from the USS COLORADO, and working gas street lamps. We trust the garden will be included in the location migration.

Full days meant much needed rest. We chose to stay in the heart of downtown at Hyatt and Eighth Avenue; city views and modern furnishings combined with a killer rate on a travel web-site made the selection easy; public transportation and our own feet made getting around pretty simple from this central location.

Related Articles:

Seattle Washington – It’s Only Rock n Roll in the Rain
Seattle When the Sun Shines

 

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Genie Davis is a multi-published fiction author, screen and TV writer, and travel writer. If it was possible, she'd like to spend every day traveling. www.geniedavis.com

Tags: Sharing Experiences, Travel Excursions

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