five things to love about seattle

Seattle Trip

1. Art
art seeps from the walls

We heard about the panhandling before we even hit town. A radio news segment lamented their sizable population in between music blocks. Upon reaching Pike’s Public Market, however, my experience didn’t match those of the jaded announcers.

Listening to the report, one could have envisioned a dirty place full of dirty people asking for dirty money. Instead, we turned the corner to be greeted by a cool breeze coming off of the water, grazing across our faces, flushed from the long drive. As we walked, we could hear the distant warbling of a street performer. As one musician’s rendition of Stevie Nicks’ Landslide faded behind us, it blended seamlessly with the sounds of someone else singing Cat Stevens up ahead. It was a personal concert that moved along with us, not an affront. No one seemed to want anything other than to create something beautiful. Sure, we saw open guitar cases, but they were an invitation, not a demand. I commented that their music sounded lovely and was greeted with smiles and thanks, but not one entreaty.

The theme of creating beauty continued on throughout the trip. Art, in all its forms, seemed to surround us. There were, of course, art galleries and the beautiful sculptures of the Chihuly Garden and Glass experience. Click that link to see far better pictures than you’ll see on this blog, taken by my friend The Urban Hippie. If you don’t feel like wandering right now, here are a few of mine to tide you over:

Art glass

boats

But more than that were the tiny pieces, unassuming and content to quietly sit waiting to be discovered: the hand-drawn stickers on the backs of street signs, the concert advertisements, the spray-painted Charlie Chaplin image underneath a staircase. It seems Seattle is bursting to the seams with creativity, and it is doing everything it can to get it all out there.

Street Art

2. Coffee (of course)
beans

Everyone knows the connection Seattle has with coffee. One brand even put the city right there in it’s name. But of course, it’s Starbucks that gets all the glory (some might argue unfairly). I’m not going to get into any debate about the best coffee places in Seattle, because this is only one entry of five and I’m already late getting this post out to you guys. Suffice it to say, I was much happier with my coffee situation in Seattle than in the entirety of New York.

coffee

Instead I am going to talk about how I went to the original Starbucks, against my better judgement. The line was ridiculously long, the drinks were the same as I could have purchased a block away, and there was no shortage of judgy people taking pleasure in pointing out that they’d never wait in that line for Starbucks, of all things. Making sure, of course, that we could hear their every word.

Honestly, I just wanted a mug from that location. You can’t get it anywhere else, and I like stuff like that. It really was that simple. But as I stood in line waiting, listening to the snide comments mingled with the street performers, I thought about that store. About how that store had allowed me to pay for my first apartment, taught me about earning my way toward the things that I want, and sometimes a little bit about bad bosses versus good ones. I’ve heard it said that Starbucks is to the Millenials what McDonald’s was to Gen X. Most of us have held jobs there, either on the way to something better or sticking it out until we made it through college (or maybe just until we figured out what we really wanted out of life).

starbucks

So yes, I would totally wait in that line for some Starbucks coffee, at least once in my life.

3. Signs

Seattle has fantastic signage. Just…look at their restroom sign:
some kind of emergency

The rest of them aren;t bad, either.

i saw
the sign
pikes

4. Street Style

There were so many looks here, I was a little overwhelmed. The blue hair, the red pants, and oh goodness, the Doc Martens. I never got a good picture, unfortunately, mostly because I feel like a creep taking pictures of strangers (as I ought to). But it really was one of my favorite things to see everyone rocking such individual styles. There was no one Seattle “look.” Dressy and classic, tourist comfy, slouchy, straight-laced, wild and subdued. They were all there, and they were all just done perfectly. It was as though everyone knew exactly who they were and had plenty of practice at being that person without anyone telling them not to be.

It was pretty perfect, actually.

5. Weirdness

All of these entries have led up to the general weirdness that is Seattle. It’s a place where hand painted signs sit right next to neon, where it makes sense that native American artwork is right at home with bright blown glass, and where you can easily find a section of the Berlin wall:
berlin

Where there is a wall entirely covered in gum:
gum

And where you can apparently find a troll if you search under the right bridge; Guess I’ll have to go back some time and find it!

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