I love visiting the city of Seattle, and I quite frequently feel the urge to just buy a plane ticket and go visit for a day. I’ve always felt drawn to this city, even when I lived in the Midwest – and always thought someday I’d visit and love it. That idea came to pass just a few years ago, and I can’t quit going back to visit! I don’t know what exactly it is, because I tend to not enjoy crowds and noisy places, but the bustling city of Seattle just has something special.
So what are some of my favorite spots to hit up – and the spots I always try to squeeze into a trip to Seattle?
*All photos taken with Nikon D750 and 50mm or 35mm lens, except the Alweg photo was taken with an Olympus OM1n and Kodak Gold 400
The Pike Place Market is one of my favorite places to visit in Seattle. The Market is almost always packed and hopping, but that seems to be just right for the scene. The produce and the fresh flowers, the neon signs, the crowds – there is so much to see, and photograph, in this market! Be sure to try a fresh piece of fruit or grab a cookie from a bakery. There is an excellent coffee shop upstairs, and some great little donuts in a hallway. Literally packed with good food, fresh flowers, and so many photo oppurtunities!
The Gum Wall
This is right at Pike Place Market, in Post Alley, and honestly, it’s gross. I feel the need to hold my breath in this “alley” filled with chewed gum… but, it is a hot spot (especially for photographers) and one that can make for some interesting photos. But really, it’s gross. Back in 2015, they cleaned the alley for the first time in twenty some years… workers removed 1.75 tons of gum. Have no fear though, the walls are back to being pretty covered!
The Alweg Monorail
The Alweg provides mostly a tourist type of transportation, but this thing is super cool. It’s a monorail that buzzes a short distance up over the city. It will get you close to downtown and the Market, as well as pretty close to the Space Needle on the other end. It makes hopping from the Space Needle to Downtown easy, and the ride is fun. It's a couple of dollars, and well worth the ride!
As with most cities, often just walking the streets can be prime photographic real estate. There is always something moving or colorful or just strange, so keep a camera handy and just take a walk! I’ve ran into flash mobs, parades, street performers (leave a tip), and and just enjoy the scenes that play out!
The Ferry Boats
A ferry boat ride is always high on our list of things to do in Seattle. This will take up most of a day, but the boat ride is fun and gives some beautiful views of the city. It also gets you to some of the less explored places around the city. You can drive or walk on, and have a few options of boats and destinations. Be sure to keep an eye out for Mount Rainier, depending on the ride. Also, coming back into Seattle at sunset is a light show with the city skyline!
If you do take a boat ride, be sure to walk around the harbor area when you get to the island. The boats parked in the water, especially at the right time of day, make for some fun photos! The photos above are from the harbor at Bainbridge, right near the ferry. We were waiting for our boat back to Seattle downtown. The islands are easy to enjoy on foot, and have a lot of great things to see and photograph.
It’s often hard to park and can be overwhelmingly crowded, but it can be worth a quick visit. Kerry Park is a small park that tends to be a super crowded spot (especially at sunset). It’s worth the view, though. Be prepared for a crowd of tripods and don’t take a car, if you can avoid it. This park sits at a high point in the city, so it gives a good view of the Seattle Downtown skyline. This is a great spot to get fun city light photos! Be sure to look for Mount Rainier back in the distance, too!
Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks are both within easy driving distance of Seattle. Both parks are beautiful and can be easily traversed by car and provide some amazing photographic inspiration. Olympic National Park is stunning, but requires a bit more planning and is best reached by ferry boat and car. If you need a break from the city, these National Parks are easy day trips and will give you a break from the city buzz!
Do you have a favorite city to visit with a camera in hand? Let us know about it! We are always looking for new places to visit!