I love when people I know visit Seattle. There's something special about the city and it's distinct personality that requires actually visiting it to understand. No matter how many times I talk about the turtle log at Green Lake, or talk about constantly having mountain views, people don't really get it until they finally take the trip to the northwest corner of the United States.
A few days ago, my friend Mara came up from California to Seattle for the time to take her sister to UW orientation. So this is how, with the limitations of a college student budget and a time constraint of six hours, she got to see Seattle while avoiding the tourist traps that drive everyone from around here crazy (I'm lookin at you, Ride the Ducks Tours).
I picked Mara up from her hotel downtown and we made a beeline for the Fremont bridge and parked (unclear still if I did so legally or not) in downtown Fremont.
Fremont: lunch, chocolate and Gas Works Park
One of my favorite things about Fremont (aside from the art) is the variety of food you can buy there. We went over to Simbad's for a couple of falafel sandwiches to-go (only $6 each, woohoo), which to took over to a bench by the waterfront so that we could watch the boats as we ate.
On our way back to my car, the smell of fresh chocolate coming from Theo's was too much to resist, so we slipped inside for some sampling before settling on a raspberry bar. Then it was just a quick drive east to Gas Works Park.
Gas Works should always be on your list of places to take people when they visit Seattle. Between the perfect views of downtown, the cool structures, and watching seaplanes land right in front of you, it's one of the most beautiful places imaginable. We took some pictures before walking up to the top of the hillto take in the view.
Ballard: coffee, boutiques and the locks
Ballard's been growing on me a lot lately, so I figured it'd be a great place to bring Mara next.
We started at Caffe Umbria, a bougie espresso/coffee shop that has become my favorite spot to sip a nice americano while getting some work done. I ordered a soy latte, and lemme tell you, it did not disappoint. After we finished our drinks, we walked around market street, popping into shops to check out local art.
When the meter ran out, we got back into the car to go just around the corner to the Ballard Locks. Thankfully we managed to find a parking spot (which is quite a feat for such a sunny day). At the locks we walked around, took some pictures, and appreciated the scenic beauty.
Green Lake: Ice cream and the lake
We were running low on time by the time we made it to Green Lake (shoutout to Seattle traffic), but we still managed to get everything done in time. If you have extra time, take the full walk around, I promise it's worth it. Since the first time my mom took me for a walk around it when I was a little kid, Green Lake has been my favorite part of Seattle. There's something for everyone; if you want to go in the water, rent a boat for a few hours, sit in the sun, or just kick a soccer ball around in the grass, this is the place to be.
In attempts to nab a safe parking spot (be wary of this, a few days ago someone shattered a window and broke into my mom's car when she had parked it in the street), we parked in the PCC garage and went in to choose an item that would grant us with an hour and a half of "free" parking. Or item of choice were ice cream bars (they have delicious Rice Dream bars), which we took with us down to the lake. We walked around the lake for a little bit, took in the views and managed to catch sight of a few baby ducks before retuning to the car to call it a day.
And there ya have it, my idea of the perfect way to show someone around North Seattle! No major cliche tour things, no major dolla dolla bill spending, and with the added bonus of a really nice tan that developed from spending so much time out in the sun!