Wednesday, December 28, 2011

{ Why I Love Downtown Seattle }

The weekend before Christmas, Mike and I spent the afternoon downtown. Last year we enjoyed our "downtown Christmas date" so much that we decided to make it a tradition. And we couldn't have asked for a more perfect December day: sunshine, blue skies, temps in the 40's, shops and streets bedecked in Christmas cheer.

We started down at the waterfront. After poking around Ye Olde Curiosity Shop and walking along the piers, we headed up to Pike Place Market.

West Seattle, seen from the pier

I have my own personal paparazzo!

I had never noticed these quirky light fixtures before. There are several of them as you approach the Market from the waterfront.

See the little sideways silver man?

And this...this is what I love about Pike Place Market: the happy riot of


I could wander through the produce stalls for hours. I would take hundreds of pictures, if I were alone. My memory card thanks Mike for keeping us moving at a decent pace!

It's like a symphony for the senses. I've been here dozens of times, and it never gets old.

Part of it is the colors--the endless combinations of brilliant hues. The fruits and vegetables I've only known from photos. Part of it is the pungent scents: earthy tubers, tart citrus, fresh seafood, sweet honey, specialty olive oils. Part of it is the almost unbelievable mix of people, the cacophony of nationalities, languages, and accents that throng here daily. Part of it is just the electricity you feel here: the air is vibrant, alive. There is so much beauty, so much newness, I feel like I need to inhale with my whole being, trying to absorb all I can through all my senses.

There were beautiful bouquets of decorative cabbage. If we weren't leaving for Idaho in a few days, I'd have asked for one.

And then...the cheese shop. We didn't buy any, but we spent quite a bit of time ogling the cases and discussing which cheeses we'd like to try.

I'm getting hungry...

It delights me that even the pigs were decorated for Christmas!

For lunch, we stopped at The Pink Door, a quaint restaurant where Mike took me for drinks on our six-month dating anniversary. It looks like a hole in the wall from its Post Alley entrance, but inside--oh goodness, it's perfect. Beautiful. Otherwordly and bewitching.

The front door, decorated in honor of The Pink Door's 30th anniversary

We had a lovely lunch next to the Christmas tree. In case you're wondering, that is a swing you see hanging from the rafters. The Pink Door has nightly entertainment, from cabaret and magic to burlesque and trapeze artists. Mike was not aware of that the first time we went, and we narrowly escaped second-row seats for a burlesque show!

Next we walked to the Sheraton. Every year, the Sheraton hosts a gingerbread "house" competition to benefit the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Local architectural firms and chefs collaborate to create amazing gingerbread "houses" to raise money for JDRF, and viewing them is free {donations encouraged ;-) }. This year's theme was train stations. Here are a few of my favorites:

Gare du Palais, Quebec, Canada

Flinders Street Station, Melbourne, Australia

Dunedin Railway Station, New Zealand

Island of Misfit Toys

The attention to detail, and the tiny-ness of those details, was such fun to see!

Then we made our way to Westlake Park and rode the carousel. Sorry, no photos--but I can assure you that Mike has the most amazing Miss America wave and plastic smile to go with it! He even made the attendants smile. I was laughing too hard to do anything but hold on to my steed for dear life!

And then, across the street, the Macy's star, all lit up!

Mike really wanted to take me on a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown Seattle. It was getting dark, Christmas lights were starting to twinkle everywhere we looked...and after waiting in line for a carriage for 30 minutes, we realized it would probably be at least another 30 before our turn came. I was starting to feel kind of nauseous, so we decided the carriage ride can wait for another day. {But it was super romantic and thoughtful of you to think of it, Babe!}

As we wended our way back toward the waterfront, I was stopped in my tracks by this stunning view. The Market at sunset. How have I lived here almost 11 years, and yet have never seen this before?

All the lights, the bundled-up shoppers, the crisp air--it was magical.
Just like the whole day. I can't speak for Mike, but as far as I'm concerned, our downtown Christmas date is becoming one of my favorite days of the year!


  1. it looks and sounds super this tradition of yours! and that new blog header is just gorgeous! hope you and yours had the happiest, merriest, best Christmas ever... xo

  2. What a beautiful day and great tradition! We visited downtown Seattle on our honeymoon and I must say it is one of my favourite cities. And oh, those gingerbread train stations are amazing! Must make The Pink Door a dinner stop next time we head to Seattle too :)

  3. You have such fun posts! I always enjoy reading your blogs!

  4. OOOoo, I am super green with envy right now! What a cool place you live! Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and here's to a wonderful New Year with a new little one for you to kiss and snuggle. So so happy for you! Hugs and love, T