Last Saturday, some friends and I decided to go down to the Seattle Waterfront with a goal in mind to pay a visit to the Seattle Aquarium.
Of course, visiting the waterfront never ends up being a one-stop trip. There is just so much to experience and enjoy that even the most goal-oriented person will find his or herself paying a dollar to a street vendor to take a picture with a Chihuahua named Poncho.
This is the true story of four friends, who chose to go to the waterfront, to find out what happens when people stop being polite…and start having fun!
We started our day in Seattle struggling to find a parking spot in the Public Market Parking Garage, just below Pike Place Market.
We didn’t choose this option on this particular day, but I would recommend taking the Link light rail instead of driving into downtown Seattle. You can catch the Link right down the street from the Seattle Southside Visitor Center in SeaTac at the SeaTac station, take a leisurely ride down to University Street and walk only about a quarter of a mile to the waterfront. It’s a very convenient and affordable way to get from SeaTac to downtown Seattle.
Back to our journey, we made our way from the parking garage toward the aquarium when one member of our motley crew began complaining of hunger pains. This member happened to be my lovely girlfriend, so the problem needed a solution immediately.
We decided on a Seattle classic in Ivar’s Original Acres of Clams. With great views of the Puget Sound and gourmet seafood, one can never go wrong with Ivar’s. Heading to the restaurant, we stopped at a few of the quirky shops that the waterfront has to offer and took a few pictures along the way (this is where the aforementioned Chihuahua came into play).
I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the Seattle Waterfront. The smell of the salt water coming in mixed with the aroma of coffee and the sounds of street musicians. It’s the true Seattle experience!
When we got to Ivar’s we were immediately seated at a table in the bar, and made our lunch orders. Now, normally I would play it safe and get fish and chips, but I decided to mix it up and order a salmon BLT. I couldn’t have been happier with my choice.
I am not exaggerating when I say that it was one of the best things I have ever eaten. Ivar Haglund, you’ve done it again, you salty dog!
The rest of the group ordered some baked oysters with a Caesar salad and the fried northwest platter that included Alaska true cod, surf clam strips, and jumbo prawns. It was a splendid seafood feast that was a bit ironic considering that our primary destination was the aquarium.
With our stomachs full, we were finally prepared for our final destination. The walk only took about five minutes from Ivar’s to the aquarium, which gave our stomachs about five minutes to settle.
When we got inside, we were pretty quick to find the Puget Sound tide pools where you can actually touch the sea stars, urchins, and sea cucumbers.
How nice of those sea stars to let us get so close and personal!
After the tide pools, we saw all kinds of exotic fish and I even had a brief staring contest with a Giant Pacific Octopus. The habitats for these creatures are extraordinary and the viewing areas are pretty impressive too. We took our time in the massive underwater dome that holds 400,000 gallons of water and hundreds of fish native to the Puget Sound.
I’d like to give a tip of my hat to the Seattle Aquarium staff as they were helpful and well-informed about the different species we encountered on our trip.
We were having a great time at the aquarium when we came across the true show-stealers. The acrobats of the sea (also known as sea otters) were having a blast. They were doing barrel rolls, cracking shells, and doing figure eights in the water. We had a lot of fun watching them have a lot of fun, and it was the perfect way to end our day on the waterfront.
If you’d like to recreate our day on the waterfront, put it at the top of your list for the summer because many shops and restaurants including Ivar’s will close in October for nine months for the planned construction of the new seawall.
If you can’t make it before October, fear not, because the Seattle Aquarium, along with the Argosy Cruises and the Great Wheel will remain open during construction. If you’d like to experience five of Seattle’s best attractions including the Seattle Aquarium and the Argosy Cruises at a discounted price, you should pick up a CityPass.
So go ahead and get down to the waterfront for a day of fun! Pick me up a salmon BLT while you’re there, please.