Who knew? Downtown Seattle is built on a steep hill, making walking back to the hotel somewhat difficult

SEATTLE, Wash. – I now know something I did not know before. Seattle – at least the downtown – is built on a steep hill. Why is this important? Well, just walk up that hill once or twice and you will know.

Our hotel, the Renaissance, is located at Fifth Avenue and Madison, six long blocks uphill from the waterfront. When we arrived yesterday we decided to do the obvious – have lunch in a seafood restaurant. On the water, of course. We discovered that Ivar’s Acres of Clams (love that name!) was directly down the hill from our hotel.Seattle 1

So we set off and soon discovered how steep it was…of course, it was a rather swift trip down but we knew the trip back would be difficult.

That said, we had a great lunch. Chet had the clams and I had the white chowder and a crab cake slider. Super soup! It was a great introduction to the fine food of this city. Also, Seattle has a reputation for dreary weather but the sun slipped in and out of the clouds so it was nice.

We walked around a bit to get our bearings and then knew we had to head back to the hotel for naps. We had gotten up at about 3 a.m. and we were bushed. We decided that catching a taxi was the right idea. Indeed, it was. We ate dinner at the hotel and went to bed early.

Seattle 2We awoke feeling refreshed from our traveling and headed out to do some sight-seeing. Years ago we did the Space Needle, so that was not at the top of our list. Instead, we headed to the ever-popular Pike Place Market. It was a nice walk (four blocks over and five blocks down). This route took us through a very nice shopping district. We even deviated into a store called The City, obviously an urban Target store – a testament to the effectiveness of their branding.

We spent about an hour and a half exploring the Market. We didn’t buy anything (after all, we are about to board a cruise ship), but we did check out the “flying fish” stall. Our grandkids want to see this so I hope it is a bit more exciting for them than it was today.

We tried someplace different for lunch, Elliott’s Oyster House,  on the water at Pier 56. This is an elegant restaurant that is highly rated by Zagat’s. Chet tried the crab chowder – crab meat topped with corn chowder – and once again I had the white chowder. I think that today’s was even better than Ivar’s. Knowing the calories in good chowder, it is a good thing I don’t live here.Seattle 4

After lunch, we took advantage of our Seattle CityPASS — this is a booklet you can purchase that provides reduced rates to the city’s six major attractions (more information below). We decided to do the one-hour harbor cruise on Argosy Cruises (right next to Elliott’s). It was enjoyable and a nice look at the waterfront. The information was excellent, the weather sunny and so was worthwhile. After the cruise, we again caught a cab back to the hotel, which is quite lovely and offers nice views.

Late tonight our daughter, son-in-law and grandkids arrive from San Diego. So tomorrow’s sightseeing will revolve around them.

Right we are heading to dinner at the city’s top-rated Italian restaurant, Tulio’s, to celebrate Chet’s birthday. His son Glen is flying in from Oregon to join us. What’s really nice is it is only a short block away!

For more information on visiting Seattle, go to www.visitseattle.org.

Photos by Chet Janssens

More on CityPASS:

Each Seattle CityPASS ticket booklet saves travelers 43 percent off regular combined admission prices for the included attractions. 2013 pricing: $74 for adults, $49 for ages 4-12.

Each booklet includes prepaid admission to the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruise harbor tour, Pacific Science Center, EMP Museum and the Woodland Park Zoo or the Museum of Flight. Tickets may be purchased online or at the various attractions.








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