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Hubs and I flew up to Seattle this past weekend, just to relax and have a change of scenery.  It was a very short trip–we arrived on Saturday morning and left on Sunday evening–but it was long enough to refresh us and feed our travel bug.  We stayed at the Westin Seattle, which is located in downtown and is ideal for its close proximity to Pike’s Market and the Westlake Station.  The Seattle Center, International District and Pioneer Square were just a hop, skip and jump away on the metro system.

We got a room on the 35th floor of the hotel’s North Towers with floor-to-ceiling windows on one side of the room, affording us awesome views of the city such as this:

The hotel staff let us check in early, so after we dropped off our luggage, we began exploring Seattle.  We’ve both been to Seattle before, but that was years ago and this was our first time together.

First stop, Pioneer Square.  Its definitely a seedier part of town–lots of vagrants and unsavory looking characters roaming the streets.  It reminded me a little of the Tenderloin or Civic Center area of San Francisco.  Even though we were lost, I was a little scared of pulling out the map for fear of being targeted as a tourist and then being mugged.  However, it is the historic part of Seattle and we were able to check out some of the sites in our guidebook.  We also stumbled upon the QWest football stadium, which Hubs loved, and we had to get some pictures with it in the background.

Even though it was only 50 degrees outside, I had to try the gelato at Cafe Umbria.  The pistachio gelato is insanely delicious!!

The Glasshouse Studio is a little shop in Pioneer Square that reminded me of Italy, primarily because of the glass-blowing section of the shop.  Customers can watch the glass artists at work, as they pull white-hot glass from the furnace and mold and shape it into vases and other types of art.  There were even glass frogs!  I wanted to buy something from this shop, but was too afraid it would break on the return flight back, even if it was carried-on.

Next was Chinatown and the International District, which isn’t nearly as impressive as SF’s Chinatown or even NYC’s Chinatown.  My favorite shop was Uwajimaya, a huge (clean!) Asian supermarket that was more than a market.  It also had a multi-restaurant food court, a Kinokuniya bookstore, and more.  Much nicer than the Ranch 99s and Nijiyas down here.

Seattle becomes pretty dead at night so after the Int’l District, we headed back to the hotel room to catch the sunset.  We went out again for dinner and were on a street corner near the hotel looking at a map when a couple stopped us, asked us if we were looking for something, and then invited us to dinner with them.  They were quite nice.  The dinner invitation came about when Hubs asked them for restaurant recommendations.  Since they were on their way to dinner, they invited us along.  We walked with them for a little bit, maybe a few blocks, then parted ways.  It was only 5pm and we weren’t very hungry yet.

Dinner ended up being at Pike Place Chowder at Pacific Place.  Very low-key and delicious.  We ordered the four-chowder sampler and the large cod and chips.  Way too much food, but all of it was very good.  My fav chowder was the seafood bisque with the New England clam chowder close behind.  They’ve won awards for their chowder and its not hard to see why…the chowder was savory, chock full of potatoes, seafood and clams and well-seasoned with herbs and spices.  However, I wasn’t able to take good pictures as we were in a mall food-court setting with poor lighting.  😦

To be continued…