Somewhere Over the Rainbow

When was the last time you took a day trip? I’d argue that it’s been too long and suggest visiting the Emerald City, better known as Seattle. But how many of us hear the name “Seattle” and immediately think of where to park and how much we’ll have to cough up for gas?

 

As many of you have read, there are plenty of interesting places to visit and fun activities to do in Downtown Tacoma near the UWT campus.

 

But what about all those loyal Ledgerhammers who’ve been following us along and have checked out all these local attractions?

 

The good news is for just $3.50 you can catch the 590 Bus at the bottom of the UWT campus stairs along Pacific Avenue and find yourself at 4th and Pike in Seattle in no time at all. Here is a list of bus times: http://www.soundtransit.org/Schedules/ST-Express-Bus/590 It’s so easy a flying monkey could do it! By being eco-friendly and taking public transit, not only are you saving yourself from the anxiety of seizing a parking spot or the heartbreak of smashing your beloved piggy bank to afford fumes, but you’ll be riding with a clean conscious having left your carbon footprint behind.

 

Whether it’s museum viewing, shopping, grabbing a bite to eat, or enjoying public art, you’ll be able to find it in Downtown Seattle. Once you’ve step off the bus in your ruby red slippers, you’ll be within walking distance of the Seattle Art Museum on 1st Ave. and Westlake Shopping Center onPine Street.

If museum viewing is on the agenda it’s important to remember the museum is closed on Mondays and new hours will start July 1. To learn more about the hours of operation, admission prices (there are free days!), and details about the special exhibits, please visit: www.seattleartmuseum.org Also, for those interested in shopping at Westlake Shopping Center, here is the list of stores: http://www.westlakecenter.com/directory

 

Follow the Cobblestone Road

 

If touring the Seattle Art Museum or shopping at Westlake Shopping Center doesn’t suit your fancy, I highly recommend Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Pike Place Market in Seattleis a must experience / must see. Often times you can smell the fish before you see them, but remain diligent because 12 to 16 pound King Salmon are frequently tossed over the crowd directly under the famous red neon “PublicMarketCenter” sign. You can read all about Pike Placeand the type of shops that call it home on their website: http://pikeplacemarket.org

 

The Gum Wall was once a Seattleside street secret, but now it’s a popular photo destination. I’d say it’s something to go see, but not something to stick to. Pun intended. There’s so much more to see than a wall stacked and layered with used chewing gum. You might notice on your way down to the Gum Wall a petite little café. The quirky thing about this café besides being underground and near a wall infested with gum is that ghost tours are offered.

 

If you’re lingering in Pike Place as the vendors are shutting down and packing up shortly after dusk, you don’t have to go far to feel an eerie or spooky presence. Also, make sure you’ve planned out a return bus time to Tacoma or you’ll be stranded with the spirits of long gone vendors.

 

You will find the original Starbucks along Pike and although it is usually spilling over with eager coffee enthusiasts and tourists which means a long wait and guaranteed invasions of personal space, it is pretty cool to go into the actual shop and feel the history of one of the most popular and successful businesses on display. It all started there…in that small little store…with all that rain.

 

Something new in Downtown Seattle which is gathering a lot of attention and interest is the Ferris wheel on the waterfront. The Seattle Great Wheel can be found at 1301 Alaskan Way and it operates Monday thru Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with extended weekend hours. You can purchase tickets and read fun facts about the wheel at http://seattlegreatwheel.com/

 

Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!

 

Alright, there aren’t lions, tigers, or bears in Downtown Seattle, but there are several novelty shops that feature such beasts in the form of hats and funky knee high socks. Also, I can’t help but mention that the Woodland Park Zoo currently cares for four baby lion cubs born in November and their parents and two brown bears who are brothers, but the tiger exhibit is closed in preparation for building a new enclosure.

 

WhatPike Placedoes have to offer is fresh fruits, and vegetables, and sweets, and tea and spices! Oh, my! Whether you’re in search of a Washington apple or a pineapple, you’ll find it displayed beautifully out front. Vendors often have samples to share with passersby or potential clients. Also, the vegetable displays throughout the market tempt me into becoming a vegetarian. The heads of lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, and tomatoes among other garden delights make you crave a massive salad fit for a king or queen.

 

Eating healthy is made easy when taking a stroll down the main street past the fruits and vegetables. The small shops create senses and impulses that betray your healthy eating mentality. The sight of gelato, ice cream, frozen yogurt, caramel apples, taffy, cotton candy, and the aroma of fudge awake your inner child and alert your sweet tooth. I have to admit that it is nearly impossible to visit Pike Place Market without sampling something sweet and delicious.

 

Another aspect of Pike Place Market and Downtown Seattle is that it’s hard not to share your food discoveries with others and the market provides an excellent environment for gift gathering. The shop Market Spice comes to mind when thinking about sending Northwest-y treats to friends and family afar. Also, you’ll find pottery and blown glass along your market stroll as well. Lastly, one cannot avoid the strikingly luscious bouquets of colorful flowers. The fact of the matter is there is something in Pike Place for everyone.

 

There’s No Place Like Home… There’s No Place Like Home

 

Aren’t we lucky to call the Northwest our home? With the weather getting better and more enjoyable, now is the perfect time to get out and adventure with friends. I listed just a few fun options but there are so many more within the different levels of Pike Place Market not to mention the side streets and waterfront. Don’t even get me started on the shopping around 5th Avenue!

 

Click Your Ruby Slippers

 

To return to Downtown Tacoma you’ll want to catch the 594 Bus on 2nd and Seneca. The trip back to Tacoma will cost $3.50 and the bus will take you to the Tacoma Dome Station which is where you’ll want to get off and catch the light rail back to campus. You’ll want to checkout bus times prior to leaving campus to avoid being stuck in Seattlewithout a way back to Tacoma. You can find the bus schedule at http://www.soundtransit.org So don’t be a cowardly lion and plan yourSeattle trip today!

 

Post yourSeattleday trip photos to Instagram and include the tag #thetacomaledger

 

Special thanks to Rupinder Suman for being my bus buddy.

 

Photos by Kate Harpel with illustrations by Danielle Burch.

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