A Walk in Downtown Seattle: A lot has changed?

After checking in to the Hyatt House, my sister and I headed out for some lunch and a roam around the city on this Monday afternoon.

Our first stop was this hole in the wall Mediterranean place near the hotel called “Eggs and Plants.” The interesting part about Seattle at the end of May was that most indoor dining was still shuttered. And many places such as this expect you to order online and just pick up food. I walked into the place fully masked and was told to go outside and use Uber Eats in a stern tone. Certainly the first time that’s happened. Anyway, other than adjusting to this interesting norm, the food was really good. I would certainly recommend their falafel sandwich. 

After lunch we just wandered down to Pier 62. The city was far from ‘sleepless’. There was hardly a soul on the streets. In fact the only people we encountered along the walk up to the pier were homeless folks and IV drug users (people you don’t ordinarily see during the middle of the day). One gentleman I walked by was trying to poke himself to find the vein so hard that I thought for a brief instant about maybe helping him find a vein. The sight of his bloodied arm made my stomach turn and he could’ve very well ended up at the hospital at that rate.  Just keep walking, just keep walking was sort of what I told myself.

Pier 62 was pretty much empty when we got there. Only signs of life was this woman who yelled at a man sitting on the bench for disturbing the peace because he was on the phone.

It was a quiet place to just sit and enjoy the sights of the Puget Sound. Mount Rainier clearly visible off in the distance, towering over the city. It gave me a moment to introspect and be thankful that we had the chance to resume some level of normality in travel. Given the year we had in 2020, I wasn’t even sure if this would be possible in 2021, that too in the city where the virus was first identified in the US.

Of course there were also the great views of the bay and the Olympic Mountains off in the distance.

It was a quiet time on the water too. Nothing but a single sail boat out in the distance.

After chilling out by the pier area for a bit, we headed out to check out the original Starbucks. After seeing the line stretch out over the block, we decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. This was pretty much the only place we saw tourists or signs of life in all of Seattle.

The area is of course very interesting with Pike’s Place Market and the rustic buildings in the area. I was intrigued by these interesting looking pipes.

And of course Pike St Press is always worth a visit for an image or a rather pricey journal. I didn’t quite appreciate the nonchalance of the person working there on the day or their not wearing masks at that time, but whatever. It’s all good, still a nice place to visit.

And of course there are these cool looking steps and interesting art.

We started walking back toward the hotel and encountered more of the same, a deserted Seattle. Luckily this time the only thing we couldn’t ignore were the beautiful murals and art work adorning some of the buildings.

Some of it was being “edited” as I took pictures and so I was given some odd glances. I’m not entirely sure it’s ok paint the walls or not but it certainly gave the area some character.

 

We started keeping a brisk pace after we heard “you have a beautiful camera” a few too many times from the people wandering the streets. Some of them gave us odd looks and frankly the empty streets didn’t feel all that safe.

After arriving back at the hotel, we spent some time on the beautiful hotel terrace where I noticed that the clouds were beginning to look promising for a spectacular Seattle sunset. Got to love the Space Needle, am I right?

And so I did the only logical thing, I sprinted off to the legendary Kerry Hill to get a classic shot of Seattle on this gorgeous summer day. I’m lying, I only moved because I couldn’t stand the smell of pot which some people were smoking at the terrace lounge.

For a place notorious for being the “it spot” for Seattle views, it was largely empty when sunset rolled around. I thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet while seeing what I often thought was a rare sight in rainy and dreary Seattle.

 

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After a good night’s rest, I explored the Olympic Sculpture park the following morning. It was yet another beautiful, sunny day in Seattle. 

It’s a nice park and all, but I didn’t find it too entertaining, especially with refurbishment going on. The Olympic Mountains were nice to see though off in the distance once again. We didn’t see too many shady characters in the park but on our way back we saw yet again a a few too many druggies walking around. I have nothing against them btw, I hope they get the attention they deserve to resolve their issues.

Bottom Line:

It was nice walking around the center of Seattle after a very long time (last time I was here was back in 2007). The city’s gorgeous natural setting really can’t be denied at any turn and it has its share of unique architecture. I wish I had the chance to check out or photograph “the Spheres” but that is something that will have to wait for another time. With that being said, Seattle is certainly reeling from the effects of the pandemic. The streets are no longer full of life and you can certainly see a more than your average share of shady characters walking about. I’ve heard from multiple sources about how the city has changed, but I honestly couldn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes.  Here’s to hoping the vaccines have returned a sense of normality and vibrance to the Emerald City since my visit back in May. 

What’s your recent Seattle experience been like? Has it changed a lot since May?

5 Comments

  1. Matthew

    Just visited Seattle last weekend from San Francisco, and the city felt alive and popping. From the massive cruise ships and tourist crowds downtown, to the packed bars on Pike, it felt like things are back to normal (whatever that is these days). If you’re headed there, make sure to have a few dinner reservations in place as walk-ins are difficult. My friends manage restaurants and they’re telling us that business is back to pre-COVID levels.

  2. A

    It’s sad and not the Seattle I know. I’ve seen parts of downtown (Pike) busy but otherwise it’s dead and make the homeless so much more present. I recently walked from my office to the link light rail on my way for a trip (it’s about 2 blocks), I was honestly scared by the homeless. Seattle has to address this.
    It’s gotten much more noticeable recently.

  3. DaninMCI

    The new Seattle isn’t all due to Covid, the protests there, autonomous zone, poor city leadership, and lack of leadership support for police are all adding up. They have always had a homeless problem, you just didn’t notice it with a bunch of people around. The cruise ships are returning for now but if they get shut down because of covid again they may never be able to afford to come back.

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