Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Seattle & Seattle CityPass Review… Was It Worth It?

The Seattle CityPass basically saved our last few days of our vacation. All flights into NYC/Boston were cancelled for two days, due to high winds (we were told?) and having a wide assortment of places to tour kept us amused and gave us something good to focus on (you know, besides rescheduling flights, explaining what happened to our bosses and trying to stretch our budget further that we really wanted to).

Included in the Seattle CityPass:
-Two visits to the Space Needle
-Pacific Science Center (we went here) or The Museum of Flight
-Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
-Woodland Park Zoo (we went here) or EMP Museum
-Seattle Aquarium

On Friday we arrived in Seattle from Vancouver via Amtrak. We checked into our hotel and immediately went to the Space needle. Of course, being as we try to take all the available public transportation possible, we were thrilled with the 2 minute ride on the monorail. I accidentally 'interviewed' the driver, who was from Queens! Seems everywhere you go, you find a New Yorker.

 We got some good shots, despite the rainy day.
The Space Needle was built for the World's Fair in 1962. On the elevator ride up, you're told that in 1962 the 'Space Age' was well underway, and since Seattle was vital in it's development the planners wanted to focus on space as the theme.
This was the only day it was rainy. Seattle was dry and warm every other day, proving that it's reputation as 'always rainy' to be false.
Since we were right next to the Pacific Science Center, we used our next admission there. They had some cool sculptures outside to welcome us (?). I believe they were built to make the Science Center look to be a "Cathedral to Science" or some hokey like that.
This was the only place where I wished we had done our research. Had we, it would've become apparent that it was more suitable for small kids.
They did have a 'touch' exhibit, where you could feel starfish and other smushy local sealife. Tom partook, I did not. He really can't resist any opportunity to poke wildlife.We found out that these local (huge) starfish are all now sick in the wild waters around Seattle, and no one knows what's wrong. The science center had a large focus on the Puget Sound and it's habitats, so they definitely lived up to their name.
The butterfly house was the only place worth seeing again, in my opinion. For the record though, we did skip the iMax movie. But, it would've had to be an amazing movie to compensate for the rest of the museum. If we returned and used a CityPass for Seattle again, we'd be visiting the Museum of Flight instead.

Outside youcan see a lot of crazy blown-glass exhibits, and if you chose to visit Chihuly Garden and Glass you'd most likely see more inside.

These flowers make me think of Dr. Seuss, or The Lorax.
We left, and went to the waterfront to board the Argosy Harbour Cruise Tour.
We loved this! And didn't take many photos, since the weather decided to be argumentative. But the captain was very informative and personable. Definitely gave us things to talk about for the next few days we were in Seattle.
Would highly recommend. You will get great views of the city. Just not the day we went :)

We walked around the Pike Place Public Market, and people watched as we made our way back to our hotel.
I was a total sucker for the vendors, and of course, the flowers.
Later that night we returned to the Space Needle for our second tour and got some more awesome shots.

On Saturday we woke ready to check into our flight and get ready to see the rest of our list.
But of course, we found our flight had all been cancelled.
It took about 4 hours to fix everything, and to configure our work schedules with our coworkers. Not fun at all. But, it was beautiful outside our hotel room, so we ran off to to get some Starbucks (they are truely EVERYWHERE). There were two on our hotel's block alone, needless to say we were quite caffeinated our entire stay in Seattle.
Coffee in hand, we put our phones on airplane mode and made our way to Woodland Park Zoo to forget our worries. It took us 5 hours to go through it, so we're glad we had a whole day to dedicate to exploring.
They had a good assortment of animals, including elephants...
And bears.
And a penguin show.
And monkey who stuck his tongue out at us.
Oh my. That's rude.
The zoo also had a bird room where we might've spent too much time in.
Aww...... they're pecking each other.
And we probably bought way too many birdseed popsicle sticks to bribe the birds to sit on our hands.
On Sunday, our last full day, we went to the Seattle Aquarium and spent the day enjoying Pike Market some more. The aquarium was not huge and did not have very large (impressive) exhibits such as whales or large sharktanks, but it was a very enjoyable experience. 
One nice surprise was the 'water dome' as I'll call it.
Basically, a cool room where you were surrounded by fish and tiny sharks.
Having heard it wasn't a ‘full’ aquarium from someone on the harbor tour, we might've skipped it. We've both been to full aquariums, so a scaled down version didn't sound all that great. But since it was included in the CityPass we went our last day (and are glad that we did).

They did have an emphasis on the Puget Sound and regional sealife, which while informative did not have the ‘wow’ factor most would expect. But then we got to the sea lions and otters.

They changed our mind and we would now definitely return.

Also, there are some very hilly sections of Seattle in this area that reminded us of San Francisco. Odd.

Since the Aquarium is on a central pier on the waterfront, when you leave you can easily tour Pike Market and the original Starbucks. And, just a warning, the original Starbucks was sheer madness.
All the mermaids in Seattle were showing their boobies. 
I find it interesting that when in New York the mermaids are more modest.

But of course, you at least get some coffee out of the deal, so it works out.
From there we inquired of a local where to go, and they suggested Kerry Park, in the Queen Anne neighborhood. So we grabbed a bus and made our way over.

They had some cool sculptures, so we climbed on them and got a photo.

As I was looking at the skyline, the clouds began to clear.

And, being the friendly tourist that I am, I said to a nearby photographer "is that Mt. Ranier?"

He got all excited, said he hadn't noticed.

The day was spend walking around, eating amazing food and enjoying a slower pace as we neared the end of our trip.

I highly suggest researching everyplace you travel. We have tried to 'wing it' before, but find that we spend way too much time on our phones trying to plan what to do that day versus getting there. Plus, planning your trip is a good way to get excited

Tom took care of Seattle and did an amazing job with the streets, transportation, restaurants and even which parks to visit. If you want to hire him to plan your next trip, he is available :) But if you want to plan-it-yourself, know that TripAdvisor was our best friend. If you find yourself with 'free time', I'd recommend just exploring and asking locals for suggestions. Considering the amount of Starbuck's (Starbuckses?) around, they were all half empty and the workers were a wealth of knowledge.

So tell me:
Have you ever used a CityPass? If so, what city?
Did you enjoy it, and what would you recommend?


  1. You have set my wanderlust on fire. Seattle is on my list, as is most of the Pacific Northwest. Love, love, love the photos. Bookmarking this for later. Thanks so much!

    1. It seems like you're covering the east coast and I'm (for a bit anyway) covering the west.
      Taking notes from you too, this summer is calling :)

  2. so fun! We went to Seattle in the fall and loved it!

    1. Seattle in the fall does sound beautiful :-)

  3. I always wonder about those City Passes. Thanks for sharing your travels with us!


    1. I loved the CityPasses! Would get one for NYC but since they do have a set amount of time to be used, I feel I would let life get in the way :( But would definitely use it in the other cities, or recommend to others!

  4. Visiting from NE Blogger's Network Looks like a great time I really want to visit Seattle I really never would suggest the city pass for NYC even though they have no limit to use, just think you have much more freedom on your own. Lovely blog!!

    1. I agree that in NYC it's almost not worth the price (unless you're very much into seeing the museums and Empire State Building). Some people I'm sure come to the city and dream of the bus tours and the museums, and in those cases this would be a great option for them.

      Nice to meet you!


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