seattle // day 1

Post Alley in Seattle



Our first full day in Seattle begins with a visit to the famous Pike Place Market. On our way there, we walk by the Gum Wall, one of the city’s strangest sites. Olympe wants me to take a picture of her in front of it, and I make sure she doesn’t get too close so she doesn’t get stuck there (that would be unfortunate).

Gum Wall in Seattle

Gum Wall in Seattle

Gum Wall in Seattle

Gum Wall in Seattle


Once inside the actual market, we’re a little overwhelmed by both the crowd and the amount of options for food. Because we had failed to get doughnuts in Portland (Voodoo doughnuts will have to wait), we attempt to compensate by getting breakfast at Daily Dozen Doughnut Co. Open since 1990, Daily Dozen sells doughnuts that are about 2 inches in diameter, and are thus a kind of hybrid between doughnut holes and full-sized doughnuts. Because of their small size, the goodies are sold by the 1/2 dozen or by the dozen only. We order a dozen plain, and 1/2 dozen sprinkled, along with some coffee. None of us are really fond of doughnuts, but perhaps that’s because we’ve never had these doughnuts. The pastries at Daily Dozen are nothing like those from Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme, and I can’t help but wonder whether that’s because there are various types of doughnuts, or because the latter have been doing things wrong this whole time.

Daily Dozen Doughnut Co. at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Daily Dozen Doughnut Co. at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Daily Dozen Doughnut Co. at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Daily Dozen Doughnut Co. at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Daily Dozen Doughnut Co. at Pike Place Market in Seattle

If you’re not feeling doughnuts first thing in the morning, perhaps you’d prefer to try Honest Biscuits (I’ll definitely try it the next time I visit!). Just next door is Tenzing Momo, a relaxing natural remedy shop where you can find anything from incense and essential oils to healing stones and Chinese medicine.

Tenzing Momo at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Tenzing Momo at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Tenzing Momo at Pike Place Market in Seattle


The rest of the market is very touristy, and I wonder if many locals actually do their groceries there. Perhaps they go earlier in the morning to beat the crowds. Every couple of minutes, the fishermen throw fish at each other (and catch them, obviously) while chanting something.

The Original Starbucks is located across the street, but I’m not a big enough fan of the company (if I can even call myself a fan at all) to wait in the seemingly never ending line to get inside. Instead, we visit Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, where we witness cheese being made beneath our very eyes (and taste some of the cheese, too).

Pike Place Market in Seattle

Crabs at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Seafood at Pike Place Market in Seattle   King Crab at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Pike Place Market in Seattle

Pasta at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Pasta at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Pasta at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Seattle

We turn on 1st Avenue and take a peek inside Metsker Maps, a boutique perfect for explorers and travelers. Not only are there vintage maps and globes for sale, but there’s also a wide selection of travel guides. I flip through a fun book that compiles maps of the different subway systems in the world.


Metsker Maps in Seattle

Metsker Maps in Seattle

Public Market Sign at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Public Market Sign at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Walking further along 1st Avenue leads us to Federal Army and Navy Surplus, where we are tempted by the many backpacks, retro first-aid kits and canteens. On 2nd Avenue, I drag our group into Peter Miller Books, a bookstore filled from floor to ceiling with wonderful art and design books. Some of these must be hard-to-find, too, as a portion seem to have been imported from overseas. There’s a large amount of Scandinavian and Japanese books, if you’re into those!

Federal Army and Navy Surplus in Seattle

Federal Army and Navy Surplus in Seattle

Federal Army and Navy Surplus in Seattle

Federal Army and Navy Surplus in Seattle

      

On 3rd Avenue, we stop by Moorea Seal, which is recommended by some of the blogs I follow. I love everything in the shop, especially its jewelry selection and assortment of wallets. Better yet: Moorea Seal has Pinterest! You can follow them here and join me on their bandwagon of fans.

Moorea Seal Store in Seattle

Moorea Seal Store in Seattle

Moorea Seal Store in Seattle

Moorea Seal Store in Seattle

Moorea Seal Store in Seattle

Jewelry at Moorea Seal Store in Seattle

Moorea Seal Store in Seattle


I lead us back to the river to the Olympic Sculpture Park, which features works by Calder, Serra and other recognized artists. Our two favorite sculptures are Louise Bourgeois’ Father and Son, a fountain whose water flow changes to reveal either one of the two sculpted characters (the father or the son). Echo, by Jaume Plensa, is a rather clever piece: from behind, it looks like a giant phallic shape, but from the front, you realize it’s actually a giant distorted face!

Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle


Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle


Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle

We gradually approach Seattle’s iconic Space Needle, built for the 1962 World Fair. We don’t bother going up there, since it’s probably nothing special (real, snobbish reason: it’s too touristy). Instead, we head over to the EMP, a pop culture museum that seems to have promising exhibits. The building itself was designed by Frank Gehry, and is particularly interesting to look at, both inside and out. Admission to the EMP isn’t cheap, but you could easily spend the entire day there, so it’s worth it in that sense.

Seattle Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle

The first exhibit we see chronicles Nirvana’s rise to fame, from the band’s early days to its musical legacy. There are some pretty unique memorabilia pieces, including handwritten letters, smashed guitars, original posters, and more.





     

     



My favorite exhibit, though is the one dedicated to Hello Kitty. Its galleries feature heaps of Hello Kitty products, some of which I hadn’t even imagined existed. Bento boxes, sewing machines, waffle makers, slippers, calculators... I’m pretty sure there’s even a vacuum cleaner! It only makes me want to go to Japan even more.













The horror film exhibit is also great (shoutout to the creepy Furby - I mean - Gremlin).







We walk up, cross over some bridge and enter the neighborhood of Capitol Hill. Right near the bridge we find Melrose Market, a building that contains a number of shops and eateries. Sadly, I don’t realize that Butter Home, which is on my list of cool stores, is located inside Melrose Market, which explains why we fail to find it. However, we do stumble upon Glasswing, a trendy concept store resembling an elevated version of Urban Outfitters.




Ten minutes away by foot is Everyday Records, which I now know is owned by the same folks as the Everyday Music store we visited in Portland. Just like it’s sister store, Everyday Records is huge and has a wide variety of used and new CD’s and vinyls. Also on 10th Avenue, just across the street, you’ll find the Elliott Bay Book Company, a bookstore I end up preferring to Powell’s. Any Portlander who reads this may find my words blasphemous, but I truly do find Elliott Bay to be less overwhelming and more navigable than Powell’s. I discover a number of great graphic design books, while Mom falls in love with The Kinfolk Home (after we leave, Dad pretends he has to use the restroom and returns inside the store to buy it for her upcoming birthday).

Everyday Records in Seattle

Everyday Records in Seattle

     Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle

Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle

Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle

Since it’s New Year’s Eve, mom makes a reservation at Nishino, a Japanese restaurant with good reviews. Though my parents agree the omakase is nowhere near as good as the one at Sushi Seki in NYC, they admit to having unreasonably high standards. (Sushi Seki has really spoiled them, I guess!) At Nishino, the Omakase consists in an appetizer, a broth, some tempura and a platter of sushi, sashimi and rolls. And let’s not forget the mochi for dessert (Olympe’s favorite). I pass on the omakase and went for rolls instead. Both my choices are perfectly fine, except I am completely unprepared for the amount of wasabi they contain!

Nishino Japanese Restaurant in Seattle

Nishino Japanese Restaurant in Seattle

Nishino Japanese Restaurant in Seattle

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