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Trip Report - Seattle Garden, Art, and Theater

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western WA
Destination Expert
for Seattle, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Family Travel
posts: 8,986
reviews: 14
Trip Report - Seattle Garden, Art, and Theater

I recently hosted a couple of visitors and thought you might like to see our itinerary. One has a career in the arts and has traveled extensively but never to Seattle, and the other has been to Seattle several times, but never in summer.

They said they were interested in gardens, art and museums - especially things they had not seen before, theater, scenic views, the Asian immigrant experience (have read Jamie Ford's books), the working waterfront, and historic Seattle. They were up for walks but not hiking. They were interested in moderate dining and do not follow food trends. Washington wines were of interest, but not spending time at tasting rooms. They had full access to a car and driver (me!).

It was a great week!

Itinerary follows.

western WA
Destination Expert
for Seattle, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Family Travel
posts: 8,986
reviews: 14
1. Re: Trip Report - Seattle Garden, Art, and Theater

Day 1: Arrived at 8pm. Drove up the Viaduct through Seattle to see the skyline at sunset.

Day 2: Snoqualmie Falls, lunch at Mt. Si Golf Course café (good food, panoramic view!), Bellevue Botanical Gardens - the Perennial walk was amazing and inspirational. Dropped them off on the Kirkland waterfront for a walk up to town while I ran an errand, dinner in the bar at Ivar's waterfront at the Mukilteo ferry. We arrived at the Everett Performing Arts Center for the Village Theater's production of "Funny Girl" . Great show in a nice small auditorium.

Day 2: Took the bus to Jackson and 2nd so we wouldn't have to pay for parking all day. Our goals: Pioneer Square and International District. First stop was the Klondike National Historic center on Jackson, where we watched the movie about the impact of the Gold Rush on the history of Seattle. Walked over to Occidental and checked out a few galleries, stopping at the Grand Central Bakery for lunch soup and sandwiches which we enjoyed while listening to live music in Occidental Park. Resumed our walk up to Pioneer Square and noted the Romanesque architecture all around. Browsed several more galleries and shops. Walked down to King and checked out the restored Amtrak terminal. It is incredible if you haven't been! Took the glass elevator up to 4th and walked to Uwajimaya for a look around and a quick snack. Walked to Wing Luke Museum and took the tour. Very interesting, and highly recommended! Afterwards, we went to the New Century Tea Gallery across from Hing Hay Park for a tea tasting ceremony. It is free, but we bought some tea in appreciation. Vietnamese food for dinner at a new place above the Viet Wah grocery, then back home by bus. We saw all the Dota2 players and found out what that was all about.

Day 3: Went to Snohomish Antiques District for shopping and lunch. It was Klahaya Days so the area was packed, but still plenty of room to get around. Drove to Seattle for dinner at the Dragonfish before seeing 3 One Acts at the ACT.

Day 4: Took the Edmonds ferry to Kingston on a quick trip to the west. Stopped at CB's for some fresh peanut butter, drove through Port Gamble and drove across the Hood Canal Bridge just to see it. Stopped in Poulsbo to see the waterfront and have a look around plus lunch. Considered visiting the Poulsbo Marine Science Center but didn't have time. We did have time to get some bakery treats at Sluy's, of course. Next stop: The Bloedel Reserve. Reservations are no longer required as of this year. We planned to go to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night being performed there that evening but it got kind of drizzly so we didn't stay. We also would have liked to go to the new Bainbridge Art Center but didn't get an early enough start. Took the Bainbridge Ferry back to Seattle before dark, which offered a great view of the city and the working waterfront (as requested!).

Day 5: Drove in to the city at 9am, when traffic had dropped off a bit. Got street parking for two hours right near Pike Place Market. Saw three fish being thrown, lots of flowers, original Starbucks, et al. The Gum Wall was avoided! Walked down the Harbor Steps back to the car and swung by the Olympic Sculpture Park. They walked over the bridge and I met them on the other side. Then we headed to Volunteer Park, as they are fans of the Olmstead brothers. Really enjoyed seeing the big old mansions in the neighborhood, as well as the park. The SAM Asian Art museum was closed, so we toured Lakeview Cemetery and Louisa Boren Viewpoint on our way to the Burke Museum and UW. After touring the Burke which was much enjoyed, we walked to Drumheller Fountain for another Olmstead fix. It was a beautiful day and the mountain was out. It looks like they have torn out the cherry trees to put in the light rail station? I was surprised to see it. We stopped at the Bartels's in the U Village to pick up gifts for friends back home - Bartell’s is a great place to pick up items made in Washington. From there we drove to West Seattle to see the waterfront, have dinner and tour Alki Beach with a friend. We made reservations for lunch at the Space Needle at their suggestion, and were glad we did -- almost none were available (and this was a must-do for one visitor).

Day 6: Got a later start this day after the busy past few days. Had lunch at the Mediterranean Kitchen in downtown Bellevue (have the appetizer plate) , then took in the BAM Bellevue Art Museum. They had a fascinating collection of paper art that really stretches the term “origami”, as well as some notable prints and a very interesting collection of artworks made by Japanese Americans while interned in the camps. This provided a unique view of the time in the camps and displayed some very interesting artwork. Recommended. From there we headed to the Seattle waterfront for a ride in a friend’s boat. We arrived about an hour early as traffic was much lighter than expected, so we took a quick loop to see the sculptures Waiting for the Interurban, the rocket, Lenin, the Troll and Sadako and her paper cranes (who had also been featured in the paper art exhibit in Bellevue). We were out on the boat through sunset, traveling from the floating bridge to the locks and back, seeing a bald eagle, a float plane land right next to us, several beautiful old Chris Crafts, and a giant gravel barge. There were several people out in small electric boats with “Rent This Boat” printed on the side, so you could replicate this experience even without a friend with a boat. We tied up at the barge at Ivar’s Salmon house for dinner. I pointed out Chihuly's boathouse (former crew fraternity) and collection of RV birdhouses next door. I also pointed out the old UW crew house and the George Pocock Rowing Center, as they are now working on the book “The Boys in the Boat”.

Day 7: The final day! We had a lot to do before leaving the city for their 8:30 pm flight. The day dawned rainy and foggy so we put our Space Needle plans on the “maybe” pile. While the weather was bad, we went to the Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. The Art Deco in Japan exhibit was interesting and well worth seeing. We looked at the conservatory but decided to go back to Seattle Center and go to the Collections Café at the Chihuly for lunch instead of the Needle. The Chihuly center was beautiful and a real highlight. If you go to both the café and the center, buy the tickets first as they have some café coupons inside. The gardens filled with glass were particularly beautiful and a good ending to our art and garden week. After leaving the Chihuly, we walked through lobby of the EMP for a look at the building interior. We stopped by the Olympic Sculpture Park where they saw the Richard Serra they hadn’t had time for the first time. We also dropped by the Hat and Boots in Georgetown on the way out of town. As we left Seattle, we were treated to a complete double rainbow over the Duwamish. They got to the airport early, with time for a Dilettante Ephemere mocha and dinner at Anthony’s, plus perhaps some shopping at the Made in Washington store.

I had a great vacation from home, and my guests had a lot of fun and got to do everything on their lists. They are hoping to make it back soon, perhaps timed to attend a Broadway tryout at the 5th Avenue or an opera. You can really get a lot done in a week! I had personally never seen the Bloedel, the SAM Asian Art museum or the Chihuly so it was a good excuse to get out there. Locals and visitors, we live in a beautiful place with so much to do in every corner!

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2. Re: Trip Report - Seattle Garden, Art, and Theater

Sounds like a lot of fun in a beautiful city! :).

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reviews: 62
3. Re: Trip Report - Seattle Garden, Art, and Theater

ainwa, I really enjoyed reading your TR since it is from the perspective of a local, and I got some ideas for our upcoming visit. Thank you.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 156
reviews: 24
4. Re: Trip Report - Seattle Garden, Art, and Theater

Wow what a fun "stay-cation" for you. Sounds like a great week!

western WA
Destination Expert
for Seattle, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Family Travel
posts: 8,986
reviews: 14
5. Re: Trip Report - Seattle Garden, Art, and Theater

Thanks for the feedback. It really was a fun week. I wanted to post to show that you really can pack a lot into our long summer days. I live outside the city, so I also wanted to show that this can work as a vacation option - just avoid rush hour!

I will be returning to the Bellevue Botanical, BAM, Bloedel, SAM Asian Art and the Chihuly. I've known about all of these, but never taken the time to visit.

Even though we packed a lot into every day, there was so much more to do. We made a master schedule at the beginning of the week after making some decisions and ruling out many things (wine tasting, two days on the Olympic Peninsula, Whidbey Island, main branch SAM, additional galleries Pioneer Square, Smith Tower, Museum of Flight, Mt. Rainier).

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reviews: 143
6. Re: Trip Report - Seattle Garden, Art, and Theater

Many thanks; lots of interesting info.

7. Re: Trip Report - Seattle Garden, Art, and Theater

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