Where do I even begin when recapping Woods Go West, the 10-day trip my brother and I went on recently? I have visited my brother in Asheville for Thanksgiving the past couple years but we’ve always talked about doing a real vacation. Seattle and Portland were high up on our lists (beer…mountains…beer) and when we realized we had friends in both cities, it was a no brainer. The trip was one amazing experience after another and I was so glad to be with my best friend. As he put it: “hell of a trip sister, hell of a trip.”
Before I get into the highlights, let’s talk logistics. We spent the first two nights in Seattle, staying with my friends Gretchen and Rich. Then we took the train to Portland and spent four nights there, staying with my friends Brooke and Ryan. A train ride back to Seattle rounded out the trip and we stayed with Greg’s friend Morgan for the last three nights. It was a lot but we knew we wanted to experience both cities and we are incredibly grateful to our friends for helping us do that in a budget-friendly way.
During the first part of our Seattle adventures, we went to a Mariners game and a Sounders game. The Sounders game was hands down one of the best sporting events I’ve ever been to. The match was against their big rivals: the Portland Timbers. It’s one of the biggest soccer games in the U.S. and the 67,000+ fans who filled the stadium proved that. Before the game, we took part in the march to the stadium (video), where thousands of fans walk about a mile chanting, raising their scarves and setting off smoke bombs. The atmosphere was unreal and kept going once we were in the stadium where the Timbers fans were representing hardcore in their section. NFL is my main sport but I was completely enthralled by the match. If you were bored at this game, you’re doing it wrong.
A trip to Seattle wouldn’t be complete without hitting the typical tourist spots. We lucked out on the day we visited the Space Needle and had perfectly clear skies that gave us an amazing view. The Chihuly Garden of Glass is a must-see while you are at the Needle; Chihuly’s work is absolutely stunning. We also visited the Experience Music Project which had some cool memorabilia and a fun studio where you could try out different instruments. And of course we had to stop by Pike’s Place Market where we sampled fresh cheeses, seafood, olive oils and other delicacies. The famous gum wall was so gross but made for a cool visual.
Outside of the Sounders game, the biggest highlight of Seattle for me was Mount Rainier. Rather than hike on the actual mountain, our friend Morgan took us on the Naches Peak Loop Trail. The view of the mountain from the trail is gorgeous and breathtaking. We also did a short but steep detour down to Dewey Lake which was incredibly serene. It’s a bit of a drive to Mount Rainier from Seattle but it’s completely worth it.
One of the perks of staying with friends is getting to experience the city like a local. On the last day of our trip, we took Morgan’s boyfriend’s boat out on Lake Washington. We lounged, rafted up with friends on another boat and did happy hour Seattle style, which means docking at Iver’s Salmon House and sitting on the deck overlooking Lake Union and the Space Needle. It was a beautiful day and the perfect way to wind down from our nonstop adventures.
I could go on forever but you get the point. Seattle is awesome and there’s so much to do. In an effort to keep this blog post from being a full length book, I’ll just give a quick shout out to some of the other spots we visited:
- List – amazing tapas but not the best service
- Via Tribunali – crazy good pizza
- Judkins St. Café – great brunch
- Standard Brewing – nice local spot in the Central District with solid beer
- Pyramid Brewing – convenient spot before the Mariner’s game but it wasn’t my favorite
- Elysian Brewing – I enjoyed my beer if for no other reason than the name: “The Men’s Room”
- I ran on the Elliott Bay Trail and the I-90 Trail. Both had awesome views of the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, respectively.
We just scratched the surface of Seattle on our trip. Did we miss your favorite spot? Comment below and let me know what you love to do in the Emerald City!
Be sure to check out our Portland highlights too!