Seattle: The Creative City

Seattle Skyline

So May is a bit of a crazy month. There’s four work related events that I have to attend and so it pretty much just means I have a lot of traveling in my future/past.

One of these events brought me to Seattle, my first trip to the American Pacific Northwest. If you’ve been following my blog you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been going to a lot of cities in America. I’ve been going so often that trips to America has kinda lost its luster.

However, Seattle was honestly really cool. I spent almost a week there and even on the first day I was really excited and impressed with the city. There’s so much to see and do and the city itself is so fun and beautiful.

Seattle from the Space Needle
The city and the seaplane.

I’ve realized over the last year that I really like the cities on the Pacific coast of North America. Cities like Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, all of them have a really cool vibe and I love the mountains and the ocean so it’s just wonderful walking around and taking in the scenery as well.

The first thing that really stuck out to me about Seattle was that the city was so creative. For one, it’s the hub city for huge tech companies like Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft, and all three of these companies played a part of my experience in the city.

The Spheres
Relaxing by the Spheres.

When you’re in Seattle proper, Amazon is king. They have their headquarters there and you can really see the influence they’ve had in the city. For example, they have the Spheres, an alternative workspace where Amazon employees can go work if they want a different work environment.

It’s kinda neat. It’s essentially an office building housed in three biospheres filled with plants and water. The point of the place is that it doesn’t feel like a regular office and that it gives people a chance to commune with nature. It definitely does that and it’s really nice. I don’t know if I can personally work there though, it’s too humid and kinda warm.

Inside the Spheres
On the top floor of the Spheres.

There are also a couple of Amazon Go stores in Seattle. These are the fabled cashier-less convenience stores where you just tap your phone when you enter, grab whatever you want, and then just walk out. No checkouts, no cashiers, just a system based on computer vision that determines what you’ve picked up and walked out with.

It’s amazing.

I went twice and both times felt absolutely surreal. I just went about my shopping like normal. You know, with some hesitation with what to buy, checking out stuff that I haven’t seen before, impulse purchases, etc. And then when I was done I just walked out and eventually got an email with my receipt.

Really made me feel like I was living in the future.

Amazon Go
The stores of the future, today.

Boeing also has their headquarters just south of Seattle. They have Boeing Field where they test and prepare their planes, which is pretty sweet. They also have the Museum of Flight where they go over the history of aviation and spaceflight. Really makes you think about how impressive human technology really is.

The highlight for me was the Concorde they had there. It was neat because Concordes are cool planes and I saw one at the London Heathrow airport from a distance. This museum, on the other hand, actually has one where you can even go inside. That was cool.

The Museum of Flight
A Concorde half obscured by a sign.

Finally, Microsoft was actually the reason why I went to Seattle in the first place. I was invited to go to a developer event, and that was fun. I actually plan on writing a separate post just for that, so stay tuned!

Anyways, aside from the tech stuff, Seattle is just a really cool city with plenty of awesome public spaces and parks where you can kinda escape the hustle and bustle of the big city and just chill out and relax. My favourite of which would be the Seattle Center and the Gas Works Park.

The Seattle Center is a public area that was built for the World’s Fair and it has a bunch of stuff. The most notable being the Space Needle. The Space Needle is probably one of the most famous towers in the world and in my opinion, one of the nicest looking towers.

Fountain and Space Needle
The International Fountain and the Space Needle.

I’ve seen a lot of towers in my time, but the Space Needle is one unique and interesting tower. The only thing is that it’s pretty short. Not many things in the city are taller than it, but if you do a mental comparison with it to any other tower, it’s actually pretty tiny.

Still looks really cool though. And of course there’s some pretty magnificent views from both the inside and outside of the tower. My favourite is the one at Kerry Park where you see the Space Needle in the “foreground” and Mount Rainier in the background.

The Gas Works Park is also worth visiting as well. It used to be an industrial area with an oil plant and now it’s this awesome park with a view of the city over a lake. And well, the oil plant is still there, just all derelict and rusted over so it makes the entire area look like someplace out of the Last of Us or something.

Gas Works Plant
The old gas plant at Gas Works Park.

In addition to the stuff to do and see, there’s plenty of stuff to eat too. There’s so much good food in the city.

Naturally, since it’s by the ocean there’s a lot of good seafood. Pike Place Market is pretty much the quintessential touristy place in Seattle for food and stuff. They have some awesome clam chowders, cheese, and they even have the world’s first Starbucks there.

Speaking of Starbucks, since Seattle is the birthplace of Starbucks they have a Starbucks Reserve Roastery where they serve a bunch of cool menu items they don’t normally have at Starbucks. This includes alcohol which is pretty neat. I mean, how often can you say you got some alcohol at a Starbucks?

Bourbon at a Starbucks
Having some whisky at a Starbucks.

Overall, Seattle is awesome. I really enjoyed my time there and I just liked walking around the streets. There was always something interesting to see. Like, I was taking a bus to see this troll statue under this bridge and on my way there I see this statue of Lenin. Weird.

Or how right underneath Pike Place Market was this alleyway just covered with gum. The entire area just had this gum scent and it was equally cool and gross.

I think Seattle is probably easily my favourite American city that I’ve been to so far. It kinda has all the things that I like from cool tech stuff, good food, and beautiful scenery. I definitely wouldn’t mind going back and I’m looking forward to my next trip there.

Author: Gary

Explorer, Creator, Gamer. #IDKAIST MSc and #UOITGameDev Alumni.

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