Last November I attended the National Arts Marketing Project annual conference in Seattle, and we made it a full family affair, so we could introduce the boys to the Pacific Northwest.
Now, picking up where we left off…
At mid-day during our second full day, I snuck away from the conference at lunch time and met the family at Dick’s Drive-In, a long-running institution with multiple locations serving burgers, fries, and shakes.
There’s nothing fancy about Dick’s, but it was an easy win when we wanted a little local flavor and needed to a quick meal in the middle of our adventures.
After that, we went our separate ways again. I stopped by KEXP’s studios in Seattle Center to visit La Marzocco Cafe, a coffee shop run by the Italian espresso machine company. Every month a new coffee roaster takes over their shop to serve specialty roasts and drinks. Read all about my stop at the cafe here.
Meanwhile, Beth and the boys returned to the riverfront, stopping first at the Seattle Aquarium.
Our nature-loving boys were awed by the sea creatures. You can spot octopuses up close, or walk through a tunnel with jellyfish swimming above you.
Close to the waterfront they fell in love with the seals and otters playing in their pools.
In between activities, they visited Pike Street Press, which letterpress prints cards, posters, wedding invitations, and the like.
And then they turned to Pier 55 to board an Argosy Cruises harbor tour.
Argosy Cruises offers several different tours, but the harbor tour runs the most regularly. The one-hour ride takes you through the harbor, with beautiful views of the city skyline.
During our few days in Seattle, we lucked out with some beautifully clear skies. We noticed Seattle residents even stopping to take photos in the parks and on the cruise. I know the city is known for its rain, but sometimes – sometimes – you catch the perfect days where you can see Mount Rainier in the distance.
The cruise even highlights Seattle as an active port.
Their cruise took them closer to sundown, so they could see the changing light over the city skyline.
Afterwards, we all met up for dinner at another local institution: Ivar’s.
Ivar’s was started by a fisherman on Pier 54, beginning first as an aquarium and shop selling clam chowder and fish and chips. It’s now grown to a few locations, but Ivar’s Acres of Clams is still the most iconic. The massive restaurant was renovated extensively in 2015, but it remains a cozy spot to enjoy seafood while looking out over the bay.
Part of our sampling included a flight of chowder (we need more chowder flights in our lives)…
…and some fresh oysters, of course.
Beth and the boys Ubered back to the hotel, while I walked a few blocks to the opening reception for my conference. My stroll took me past the Seattle Great Wheel, reflected at night in the water.
And then to the reception at the Seattle Art Museum. The museum remained open especially for our conference, and there were live performances from local artists while we enjoyed food and drink.
The galleries were open as well, so I strolled through the floors admiring the great variety of artwork. There were intricately carved elevator doors rescued from the original Chicago stock market building.
A room of porcelain work.
And even a Kehinde Wiley piece.
The following morning we rode to Belltown, the neighborhood north(ish) of downtown Seattle, to follow a suggestion for breakfast at CJ’s Eatery. It proved to be a flavorful and hearty meal to start the day: buttery pancakes, biscuits and gravy, country fried steak. Take a look at our full post here.
Then I peeled off back to the conference while Beth and the boys strolled down to the Olympic Sculpture Park.
Operated by the Seattle Art Museum and located along the waterfront, the sculpture park features a lovely collection of public artwork and rocky beaches.
The Old Man and the Sea.
The final afternoon in Seattle, during a break in my conference schedule, we visited the Willy Wonka-esque Starbucks Reserve Roastery.
The roastery is everything Starbucks writ large. It’s a roasting facility, cocktail bar, coffee shop, retail store – all rolled into one. You can feast on baked goods and flatbreads, sip cocktails made with cold brew coffee, watch the roasters at work, and work your way through the espresso menu. Take a look here to read about our full experience.
While I attended my final conference sessions, Beth and the boys ventured south of the city with our good friend Kimberlee to the Museum of Flight.
This is a dream stop for any lover of aviation, both modern and historic. Planes upon planes, exhibitions, interactive pieces, you name it.
The Museum of Flight is located next to the Boeing plant (which you can tour separately) and adjacent an active airport. So while you’re enjoying everything plane-related, you’re also seeing planes take off and land outside.
That concluded our Seattle adventures. Next up: a couple days in Portland!
If you haven’t read part one of our Seattle adventures, you can find them here. Or check out our specific breakfast, donut, and coffee stops: