seattle | NOVEMBER 2018
For some reason we scheduled our Seattle trip to take place in November.
If you do a quick Google search, “Things to do in Seattle in November” you’ll find that the worst month to visit Seattle (or Washington for that matter) is November.
Some roads begin to require chains.
Hiking trails and National Parks are closed.
There is no sunlight.
The weather is constantly rainy, foggy, dark and cold.
But nevertheless, the second week of November we flew out to Washington to experience Seattle for a long weekend…
and we had perfect weather.
THE FUTURE OF FLIGHT AVIATION CENTER & BOEING TOUR
I’m starting at the beginning of our vacation and what also happened to be a really fascinating activity - Boeing’s factory tour. This tour is open to the public but does require purchasing tickets ahead of time. I would recommend booking at least a month in advance to ensure the date and time you want. We booked as late as three weeks out and had some limitations in our options. During this tour you’ll get to see the Boeing Everett Factory (the largest manufacturing building in the world) and witness the live assembly of airplanes. The tour is about 90 minutes, a reasonable price, and doesn’t involve much physical ability. It was absolutely fascinating watching the assembly of a 747-8 (the world’s longest passenger airliner), learning about the new 777X, and of course, laying eyes on the now popular, 787 Dreamliners. Boeing’s factory is equipped with a runway and you’ll be able to see planes take off for their test flights! Everett is located just 20 minutes north of Seattle and this tour is definitely worth the drive!
I spent $78.00 in their gift shop and I have zero photos of this experience because…secrets. No photography is allowed.
MUKILTEO LIGHTHOUSE PARK
Visit this park after your Boeing factory tour. Mukilteo is just 15 minutes from Everett and well worth the quick stop. This park has its own parking lot (you’ll need to pay for at the kiosk) and on your way you’ll have some sweeping views of Washington’s iconic ferries. This waterfront park has an adorable lighthouse and keeper houses to view and a paved walking path for you to enjoy a walk along the waterfront.
PIKE PLACE MARKET
I am juxtaposing our favorite park with Pike Place Market, our least favorite experience in Seattle. It’s not that I wouldn’t recommend doing this, I would just want to prepare you for the crowds, the shouting, and the feeling of being thrown into a river that is headed downstream. Pike Place is full of Seattle culture and really unique experiences. Here you can see the original Starbucks, which opened in 1971 on 1st & Pike, and if you hang around the seafood, you can watch the entertaining art of fish throwing. Either way, take your time to stroll through the market and speak to the merchants. Here you can find some truly special souvenirs and you’ll certainly make a memory to bring back home.
As more of an “obligated-to” and less of a “must-do” we headed up to the observatory deck in the Space Needle. Tickets for the Space Needle are surprisingly expensive (much like everything in Seattle, for that matter) so we tried to make the most of our dollar and purchased the combo ticket, featuring both entrance to the Space Needle and Chihuly Glass Garden. The garden was already on our list of things to do, so the combo ticket was a natural choice for us. However, there are other combo tickets available, paring nighttime with daytime, or the Woodland Park Zoo or Children’s Museum.
With the chaos and gift shop below, the observatory deck is straightforward and a quick activity. The Space Needle has two ways for you to experience the Seattle skyline: the upper deck features an indoor/outdoor all glass observatory and benches called Skyrisers, while the lower deck (called the Loupe) features a revolving glass floor.
While this is a quick activity, I certainly had fun, definitely got freaked out, and it was a nice way to see the city from above!
CHIHULY GARDEN AND GLASS
With everything we did in Seattle, the Chihuly Glass Garden was my favorite experience. The garden came highly recommended by friends, co-workers, and travel bloggers. For a pretty forthright name (“glass garden”), what you will find is pretty indescribable. Chihuly creates a magical and beautiful exhibit out of blown glass and every room differs from the next. Grab your camera and spend time wandering around here. While most of the exhibits are indoors, some of the best sculptures are outside in the garden, so watch the weather before you buy your tickets.
Kerry Park is where you can snag your iconic Seattle skyline photograph. Be prepared for this to be more of a grassy area than an actual park (the park is just over one acre). You’ll find parallel street parking, a statue, some benches, and one hell of a view.
THEO CHOCOLATE FACTORY
This tour barely made it in our trip and I am so thankful it did! I discovered this tour through one of my favorite bloggers, the Everywhereist. As a Washington native and a name like ‘Everywhereist,’ I was quick to take her word and ignore some of the negative reviews on TripAdvisor. This tour is a cheap ticket, only 45 minutes and well worth it! I don’t want to give too much away and many reviews online will tell you what to expect, but I will say, it was so fascinating learning about the cocoa bean and how Theo came to be a USDA organic, Non-GMO, fair trade certified chocolate factory. Theo is small, charming, and delicious! This tour includes lots of taste tasting (some gluten-free, some not) and this is the only gift shop you won’t mind being dropped into at the end of the tour.
ALKI BEACH PARK
For a small moment and an even smaller park, I dare say this was my favorite photograph location from our trip. Just a short drive away from Seattle, across the water, is Alki Beach. Alki is a precious town outlined by charming homes, restaurants, and the Seattle skyline. This beach park has a very easy parking lot and it’s free. We loved this spot (and shot!) so much that we visited at both sunset and after dark.
Just 35 minutes east of Seattle are the stunning Snoqualmie Falls. The falls make for a great excursion if you are looking for a free activity that is easily accessible and outdoors!
Compared to some of the other nature hikes in Washington (Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Olympic National Park) Snoqualmie has a convenient parking lot, an easy walking path, and many overlooks and viewing areas.
Two tips if you decide to add this to your itinerary:
- Decide ahead of time which parking lot you will use. There are two upper lots and one lower lot. Of the two upper lots, one will cost $5.00, while the other lot across the street is free and provides access to the falls via a walking bridge. The free lot is not much farther but does get filled up quickly! Also, be sure to check for closures, after viewing the upper falls on our visit we drove down to the lower falls, only to find that the lower parking lot was closed due to weather conditions.
- Watch the weather! If the clouds are low or the day is particularly cloudy, the falls will disappear. We visited twice before being able to see the falls, the first attempt was a foggy failure! I would recommend visiting in the afternoon, when the earth and air are both warm from the sun. I attempted an early morning photo shoot and encountered the mountain’s fog. Luckily, these falls are just a short distance from downtown Seattle and the drive (or two) is breathtaking!
After our four days on the beautiful West Coast, we found ourselves more in love with Washington State than the city of Seattle itself. Give yourself the time to leave the city and wander around some of Washington’s beautiful national parks.
You might just find that it’s your favorite part.