things to do in seattle

It’s Always Sunny in Seattle & Canada (At Least When We’re There): Spring Break Day 3

With the three of us being Southern California natives, it became a daily ritual to check the weather each morning in Seattle. Was it going to be raining? Was it going to be freezing? Should I wear everything I packed just in case?

Monday morning, as we got off to another (wonderfully) slow start, we layered up for a cold day, but made sure our clothes had a little extra give in order to prepare us for our first activity. Among the seemingly endless benefits of getting to stay with/know/love the Beliel’s is their access to a baseball facility equipped with turf, batting cages and pitching mounds. Being the baseball lovers/ex-softball players that we are, we were anxious to take advantage of such a place. We mostly wanted to hit, mostly to see if we still got it, mostly to pump our retired though still prominent egos.

SPOILER ALERT: We still got it.

SECOND SPOILER ALERT: After hitting 6 buckets of balls each, we would wake up the next morning feeling like we were collectively run over by a truck and would spend most of the day groaning.

From the hitting facility we made our way to The Matador to meet Darryl for lunch. Now, the website for this restaurant notes it as being a “local bar chain serving classic & contemporary Mexican dishes, plus cocktails, in a stylish space.”

Let it be known that all of this is true.

I however, do not feel I can give you a completely accurate personal review of the restaurant, because after binge eating the pre-meal chips I ordered a meal that was too spicy for me to completely enjoy. In fact, after taking a few bites of the street tacos (which were loved by everyone else at the table, by the way) I realized that I, a giant wuss, was not properly equipped to enjoy them, and began trying to scrape some of the sauce off with a chip—which I quickly began referring to as my “safety chip.” Yes, this IS a completely ridiculous thing to do, however, it does work and I’d like to officially submit it as a lifehack for those similarly afflicted with baby tastebuds.

Around 2:00 p.m., the four of us wished Darryl goodbye and headed to Flatstick, a pub chain native to Washington known for its craft beer and indoor mini golf. Since we were all full—or in my case, still slightly aflame—from lunch, and were worried we wouldn’t be physically ready for all the bending and moving involved in mini golf, we opted for some beers and some Duffleboard.


You read that right: duffleboard. It’s basically the love child of shuffleboard and mini golf. You play to 21, but you have to get exactly 21. If at any point you go over, your score drops back down to 15. If I were to give you my best piece of advice, it would be: pay attention. It is so easy to get caught up in getting your form right or worrying about where your ball is or isn’t that you completely forget there are other players and then suddenly they have 21 and you only have 9 and the game is over.

This lesson took me about 15 games to learn. And of the near 30 rounds we played in total, I still only won two games. Thankfully, Flatsick also has Nintendo 64, where I was able to get some of my mojo back playing Mario Kart. My inner six-year-old was living. for. it.

Once we’d successfully completed every course of Mario Kart, we decided it was finally time for mini golf. Unfortunately, a private party had the entire course booked until 9:00 pm, and since it was only 6:00 p.m.—because yes, we spent 4 hours in the mini golf bar, not playing mini golf—we decided to go home, regroup and come back later.

In that time, we created and completed our own version of the Hot Guy March Madness bracket, this time crowning Channing Tatum as the winner, and ate Wendy’s in the Wendy’s parking lot like the classy adults we are.

When we arrived back at Flatstick around 10:00 p.m., we all grabbed a club, took to the course, and showcased some solidly sub-par mini golf abilities. Afterwards, we returned to the duffleboard table—where we may or may not have accidentally broken the club—and we sipped beer and laughed. At one point we talked about the plans we had made for that Monday. There was a ferry we were supposed to take. There was a park we were supposed to explore. There were sights we were supposed to see. But as we all leaned over the table, talking trash and watching the night tick by, we didn’t regret a thing.

As we lay down to sleep that night, knowing it was our last night in Seattle, Natalee, Mel and I kept saying the same three things:

1) We needed to make our own duffleboard at home

2) We wished we didn’t have to leave in the morning.

3) This trip was already everything we hoped it would be.

Read Day 4 here.


It’s Always Sunny in Seattle & Canada (At Least When We’re There): Spring Break Day 2

While it’s common on vacation to want to get up and out and on the road as soon as you can so you have ample time to do as much as you can, there’s something to be said about moving slow and cruising out and going where the day takes you. While preparing for our trip, we made a loose plan of what we wanted to do each day, but were all in agreement that we didn’t want to be locked down by that plan. So Saturday morning, as we all yawned our way out of bed, we smiled, knowing the day was ours to own.


Since this was Mel’s first time in Seattle, the Space Needle was definitely a must on the to-do list. Unfortunately the Speedle (as no one calls it) was under construction, so while we did get to go to the top, there was a whole section closed off and a lot of wood and cardboard lying around. Thankfully it was another sunny day so the views (almost) made up for it.


Just down the road from the Speedle (which I’m now calling it forever) is the Armory. Home to a wide variety of restaurants on an average day, this particular Saturday it also happened to be the hub of an Irish Heritage festival. As we walked through the double doors we were met with Irish accents, foods, and souvenirs. And when we took a seat to eat lunch, we were gifted with some Irish dancing.

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With our senses then peaked, we made our way to Chihuly Garden & Glass, home to a collection of glass work done by artist Dale Chihuly, where we spent a solid hour dragging our jaws around on the floor. Honestly, if we were given a nickel every time we said, “wow,” this trip would have paid for itself in the first 20 minutes we were inside. It was such a different kind of art and the pieces always took you by surprise. If I had to choose a favorite, I’d say the Persian ceiling. Over the last year, after noticing how much we all have a tendency to look down when we walk, I’ve tried to make it a habit to consciously look up, be it at the ceiling, the sky or the trees. That being said, turning the corner to find this above me brought an immediate smile to my face.


Around 2:30 we were back in the car, heading to an equally important, though not nearly as exciting destination: Safeway. You see, when I travel I always—ALWAYS—forget toothpaste and tend rely on my travel mate(s) to back me up. When packing for this trip however, I made it a point not to repeat history and focused nearly all my energy on remembering it. This however, proved fatal, as in doing so I forgot my toothbrush. And since (remembered) toothpaste on the finger can only work for so long, a trip to the grocery store was rudely in order. Luckily Safeway came through in a major way, not only providing me with a toothbrush, but with a Star Wars light saber toothbrush that lights up and includes sound effects. Needless to say, I’ll never leave home without it.

Next on the agenda was Kerry Park. After traversing our way through the hilly streets of Seattle, we parked our car and looked out at the city from a new vantage point, again silently savoring the sunny weather. Just up the road from the park—and down the road from Meredith Grey’s house!—we found a sign for an open house on the prestigious Highland Ave. It was a modest 4 bed, 4 baths, 5,000 square feet with a view of Kerry Park and the Speedle. We took a tour, asked for the details, and put a cool $4 million dollar (cash, obviously) offer on it, figuring it could be, you know, a casual summerhouse or something.


Then, with a new tour guide in tow, we went to see the hottest guy in Seattle, the freakiest guy in Fremont, the brawniest brute to ever live under a bridge, Timmy* the Troll. (*More commonly known as the Fremont Troll, however, “Timmy” has yet to be  disproven)

This handsome devil didn’t come up in our searches prior to the trip, so seeing him ended up being a perk of knowing a local. We popped in, took a photo, and kindly asked him not to haunt our dreams.

From there we went to Gasworks Park, which is green and hilly and overlooks Lake Union. We spent a solid hour and a half there, just sitting in the sun, making easy conversation and watching planes go by. A few days later, when our trip was coming to an end and we were talking about our favorite parts, this place and this whole day, really, would be a common choice. We were just existing, not worrying about time or responsibilities, and none of us were looking at our phones. It was a quiet kind of happy that I can still feel when I look at the pictures.


For dinner we made our way back into the city to Li’l Woodys. We all opted to build our own burger, and Mel and I split a big order of crack—French fries with a milkshake for dipping, which DEFINITELY lives up to its name, by the way.

To cap off our night, we headed to Roxbury Bowl, where we learned three valuable lessons:

  1. I have a future as a sideline reporter. (Unfortunately all footage of my exhilarating work is lost to the Snapchat black hole, but let’s just say ESPN should keep their eyes open)
  2. Tickets won in arcade games can be used wisely.
  3. In life and in bowling, it is important to let go, let live, and keep it loosey goosey. (There’s really no explanation I can give for this one other than, you had to be there. But let me suggest that whenever you’re feeling down or stressed or in need of a strike in the 10th frame, just lean back and shimmy those shoulders and feel the pressure melt away.)

Read Day 3 here.

It’s Always Sunny in Seattle & Canada (At Least When We’re There): Spring Break Day 1

Similar to our last trip to Seattle, this one started early. After waking up to a 3:50 a.m. alarm, my sister and I made our way through the doors at LAX by 5:15. Lucky for us, the Virgin America check-in desk was there to welcome us with the soothing alarmingly loud sounds of Beyoncé and Sean Paul. I tried to be mad, but I couldn’t. In fact, I’m pretty sure I tapped my foot at one point, bringing incredible shame to my fellow non-morning people.

Once we boarded our plane, Natalee and I were excited to find a wide selection of movies and television shows available to enjoy during our three-hour flight. We were also excited to see the Virgin America safety video, which is known for its fun and outlandish choreography. Three hours later however, when I woke up with my mouth slightly open and a crick in my neck, I realized I’d missed everything, including takeoff, landing and snacks. I was both bummed and impressed.

After grabbing our luggage, Natalee and I took a seat to wait for our friend Mel who was flying in on a later plane from Utah. We made use of our time by playing the Washington lottery, where Natalee won $7 and I started our trip $5 in the hole. Once Mel landed, we picked up our first rental car and officially started our adventure.

First on the list of sights to see: The World’s Largest Cowboy Hat & Boots. (Obviously.)


As some of you may know, I have a weird fascination with the World’s Largest Roadside Attractions, and one of my goals for this year was to see three. So after pulling up to a park in Georgetown and Vanna White-ing the hell out of this bad boy, I officially checked one off the list.

gold pig

From there we made our way to Pike’s Place Market, where we did our due diligence and pet the golden pig. We also aggressively hovered around the flying fish booth, munching on free samples of dried fruit as we waited for a headless halibut to go airborne.

We then did a few loops of the market, popping in here and there, smelling and tasting and touching all of the things. Some impulse important purchases here included apple chips (which are made of magic and dreams), ghost pepper garlic salt, and jalapeño raspberry jelly (both of which may or may not make you breathe fire).

For lunch we ate at Le Panier, a French café where we each ordered a macaroon and a sandwich on a baguette, and the only words we pronounced correctly were “water” and “yum.” Afterwards, as we walked back through the market, we took note of all the blooming daffodils and the undeniably sunny weather—the latter of which we tried not to mention in fear of jinxing it.


Our next stop was the gum wall, which after seeing it I can now say is really more of a gum hallway. Once you turn the corner you are literally surrounded by half chewed pieces of gum in every color. Some are simply stuck to the wall while others are pulled and warped, trying their best to emulate art. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little grossed out, but that didn’t stop me, or any of us, from immediately making our own fruity (and minty) contributions.


From there we made our way through the gum hall and down the hill to the boardwalk. We walked along the water and rode the Great Wheel, again marveling at the untraditionally dry weather we were being blessed with. Then, after making our way back up to our car, we officially wished Pike’s goodbye and headed outside the city to stay with our ever generous Seattle hosts: the Beliel’s.

For our first night in Washington, they truly went above and beyond the call of duty. After treating us to an incredible dinner—which may or may not have been a strategy to convert us to Seahawks fans—they joined us for a green beer in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and challenged us to some shuffleboard. (Kim + Dee Dee = shuffleboard champs)

When we got in bed that night, Mel, Natalee and I could safely agree on three things:

  1. We were happy.
  2. We were blessed.
  3. We couldn’t wait to see what tomorrow would bring.

Read Day 2 here.


Congo music was my first mistake. Why the hell did I think I would want to wake up to Congo music at 3:15 in the morning?! To make matters worse, I put my pants on backwards and put on two different shoes. But it all worked out in the end. I got to the bus station with everything in-tact and on straight.

My flight was an hour earlier than my family’s and we were changing planes in different cities. So when I landed in Sacramento, I didn’t look for them. Instead I bought a hot chocolate and a muffin and tried to make “BILOXIFY” exist on Words with Friends.

When I landed in Seattle, I made my way towards baggage claim, shuffling through angry parents and fancy businessmen. Then, distracted by the fish pattern on the tile, I got stuck in a door and yelled “barnacles!” into the ear of a senior citizen. (I was doing great so far.)

Kristine, Natalee, and my dad landed about 30 minutes later and found me sitting in a chair next to a woman who just finished expressing her intense desire for a taxi and a tall glass of egg nog.

After they grabbed their luggage, we made our way out to the terminal and found my dad’s friend, and our gracious host and tour guide for the weekend, Darryl, waiting for us in a white Honda Odyssey. We gave hugs and made a few bad jokes, then we made our way to Pike’s Place Market for some window shopping, fish smelling, and lunch eating. Some memorable moments include Natalee falling off a golden pig, a man in orange overalls hurling a 24 inch steelhead passed a woman’s head, and a jolly bearded man selling identical replicas of Zelda Ocarinas.

We then made our way around the harbor, popping in and out of miscellaneous shops, taking a lot of touristy pictures, and trying a local gin that said “hey tongue, ever wondered what a leaf tasted like?”

It was a beautiful day. Sunny with slight breeze like the beach. It made me start to think that all that talk of non-stop rain was a bunch of Hawk s***. (You know, like horse s***, but with the Seattle football team? No? I’ll move on)

Just as the sun began to set, we made our way to the top of the Space Needle and took in what is probably the most beautiful view of Seattle you could ever find. Then, just as our stomachs were starting to growl, we pulled into Teatro ZinZanni (TZ, as we will now call it) and took a seat at our reserved table. TZ is a 5 course dinner theater production. Dinner on steroids, if you will. After our orders were taken the lights were dimmed and we were transported into a world with acrobats, dancers, and a pink stiletto heel wearing man named Lupe. It was a fantastic show that made me gasp, dance, laugh, and wish I was in better shape.

The next morning we were up at 7:30—no Congo music this time—to make our way to Treehouse Point, a bed and breakfast comprised of a number of unique treehouses built by the man, the myth, the star of Treehouse Masters, Pete Nelson, and his crew. We had a tour set for 11:30, so Darryl, my dad, Natalee, Kristine, and I hopped in car around 8:30, cheered Darryl’s daughter, Kyleigh, to victory at her soccer game, and then met her, Dee Dee (Darryl’s wife), and their two sons, Casey and Cody at Treehouse Point.

Our tour guide defined jolly. He bounced around the trail, spewing facts and anecdotes about the houses with a bright smile and an unbreakable enthusiasm.  And the treehouses were majestic, to say the least. Each one had a different story, a different source of inspiration, and offered a different adventure to its lodgers.

After some lunch we drove to Snoqualmie Falls, which was breathtaking in its own right. We hiked down and around every which way, wanting to see them from every angle. We hopped fences, climbed rocks, and stepped in puddles. My only regret was wearing leather boots.

The next morning was THE MORNING. The alarm went off at 8:15 and we were up before it finished its first round of uppity bells. We layered up, pulled on our football jerseys and shrugged our shoulders in the mirror. Maybe we’d freeze to death, maybe our team would get slaughtered, we were just happy to be there.

“I have a system,” Darryl had said the night before in regards to game days and the first stop was Pyramid Alehouse.

We arrived around 10:30 and took a seat at a table centered among many others, surrounded by TV’s playing the NFL morning games. Nachos were ordered, football was watched. Pizza was ordered, more football was watched. When we were full, we made our way to the stadium.

CenturyLink Stadium lived up to its hype in every way shape and form. The stadium was massive and beautiful, the fans were loud and passionate, and Russell Wilson was muscly and adorable.

For the first three quarters we played way better than all of us expected. It has been a rough season for the Giants, riddled with injuries, but the G-men came out fighting and made the Hawks fans groan at least a few times. In the end however, the Hawks finished strong and we got to hear the “SEAHAWKS FIRST DOWN” cheer one too many times.

On Monday morning, after a quick dance party and a cinnamon roll, we packed up our suitcases and headed for the Experience Music Project Museum (EMP). We took a walking tour of a Nirvana exhibit, where I learned enough to carry me through any bout of future trivia on the Aberdeen born band. We learned about Jimi Hendrix and how it was casual for him to receive fan letters asking for locks of his hair. We explored the Science Fiction Exhibit, where Natalee learned that she doesn’t have a good enough scream to be murdered in a horror film. (We still love you) And we popped in and out of a series of booths filled with musical instruments that were sure to jumpstart our careers as musicians. Example: I spent a few minutes jamming on an electric guitar and I wrote a song called “Guitar in a Booth.” Look for it on iTunes.

Our last stop was the brand new “We Are 12” exhibition that showcases the Seahawks. In the center of the room was a rectangular booth that was broken into two separate rooms by a sound canceling door. One person was meant to stand in the first room, where they would be given a football play they had to shout through the sound canceling door to the person in the noisy second room who was to decipher it, and choose the correct play on the screen. The idea was to recreate what visiting teams experience when trying to hear one another amongst the screaming fans of CenturyLink Stadium.  (FYI: We got the correct play and we probably scored a touchdown.)

We finished off our last day in Seattle with a quick lunch at Famous Dave’s which, YUM, and we headed to the airport smelling of cornbread and BBQ sauce—a new perfume I’m launching this winter.

Big thanks to the Beliel family for housing us and to Darryl for carting us around everywhere. Truly grateful for you bunch of champions.