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For those born before 1990, Seattle is the city where Tom Hanks’ and Meg Ryan’s long-distance love connection first blossomed; for those born after 1990, Seattle is the rainy (and, um, steamy) backdrop for Anastasia Steele’s and Christian Grey’s sexcapades. But whether you’re more Sleepless in Seattle or 50 Shades of Grey, fans of both can agree that Seatown is a gem in the Northwest.
With picturesque views of the Puget Sound and it’s lush green-tree-lined shores — a welcomed sight for any SoCal drought victim — as well as the towering city skylines, the Emerald City truly combines the best of both worlds.
The city is just a two-hour flight from Los Angeles, making it the perfect destination for a refreshing weekend getaway — but football fans, be warned: Speak ill of the Seahawks and you may not return fully intact. (No, really, people are serious about Marshawn Lynch up there.)
From the touristy must-sees to the hidden local hangouts, here are four easy activities to squeeze into your next getaway.
1. The Fremont Troll
Five years ago, the giant clay troll sculpture beneath the George Washington Memorial Bridge was just a passing attraction. However, in the age of Instagram, the massive monster with the blood-red eyes and the buggy squashed under his massive hand is a must for your “Selfies in Seattle” album.
And if you’re really digging the selfies with statues vibe, a massive erection of Lenin (Vladimir, that is) resides just around the corner — giant, painted red palm and all.
2. Pike Place Market
Starbucks! Cheese! Men throwing fish at each other! There’s so much to love (and eat) at the Pike’s Place Public Market, so be sure to bring cash and an appetite.
If you’re down for a bit of a wait, you can stop in at the original Starbucks to grab an authentic Pumpkin Spice Latte. Or, if you’re lazy, you can walk half a block to the less famous Starbucks and wait a reasonable amount of time for your PSL fix.
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The renowned Beecher’s Handmade Cheese shop (which, it should be noted, very generously offers free samples and pretends not to notice when you take more than one) as well as the cozy Le Panier bakery also are definite musts. beechershandmadecheese.com; lepanier.com.
And if you’re craving fresh seafood but don’t necessarily want to buy, prepare and cook a freshly caught salmon from the market, you can stop into any of the restaurants along the water, like Athenian Seafood Restaurant & Bar. Not only is the grub delicious and the view bar none, but Tom Hanks filmed a Sleepless in Seattle scene there, which also is important. athenianinn.com.
3. The Pie Bar
Do you like pie? Do you like alcohol? Then Pie Bar is for you. A favorite of University of Washington students for obvious reasons, this cocktail and dessert bar is one of the coziest spots around. In this case, however, “cozy” is definitely a euphemism for “absolutely tiny,” so if you’re claustrophobic, be warned.
If you’re willing to risk it, however, you will not be disappointed by the fat, gooey slices of warm pie that pair perfectly with handcrafted “pietinis” — yes, those would be pie-flavored cocktails. piebarcapitolhill.com
4. The Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
Just a five-minute Uber ride from Pike’s Place Market is the Space Needle, a structure so special that it even has its own cartoon mascot named Wheedle. Built for the World’s Fair in 1962, the super-tall skyscraper offers 360 views of the city that you might otherwise miss, unless you have a Christian Grey-type on hand to take you on a helicopter ride. If that’s the case, then good for you. spaceneedle.com
Adjacent to the Needle is the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, which is filled with the colorful creations of the world-famous partially blind glass blower Dale Chihuly. The brilliantly lit rooms feature hundreds of shockingly colorful creations that give Dr. Seuss’ imaginary worlds a run for their money. chihulygardenandglass.com.
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