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First Look: Seattle (and Outskirts)

Essential Tips for the First-time Traveller
First Look: Seattle (and Outskirts)

I recently had the chance to visit Seattle for the first time - amazing city! - and picked up valuable insights along the way that I thought I’d share for the benefit of others.


First — and I can’t emphasize this enough — try to plan your trip so that you don’t arrive a couple of hours before a once-in-a-decade weather event that deposits a foot of snow over the course of three days, leaving you snowed-in to the point where you have to put chains on your cars just to pick up groceries.

north of the Wall

Don’t get me wrong. The snow is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Especially when you’re from Southern California. There were times, driving through the surrounding mountains covered with fresh powder, when I had this distinct feeling of being north-of-the-Wall and one sharp turn away from glimpsing the army of the Night King marching below.

hidden in plain sight

The downside? The clouds were so low and thick that we were literally standing at the foot of Mount Rainier and not able to see it. Ultimately, I left Seattle without even seeing Mount Rainier once. Oh well — an excuse to go back.

(But check out that ☝️ stunning landscape.)

The sun was setting just as we were leaving the city after a full day of exploring its attractions. The sky was starting to look very dramatic. As is typical in these moments, I was whining to my wife about how I always miss these moments because I’m a dedicated family man who puts family above all else. Conditioned to this nonsense, my wife was nodding patiently while taking in the view. Just then she noticed photographers gathered at a nearby overpass. She quickly pulled up instructions and I managed to get there right at the tail-end of the sunset. That’s when I realized that we had stumbled upon one of the most popular photo spots in Seattle city, presenting a view of the city I had seen on countless photography sites.

View from the Famous Bridge

And that’s how I was able to capture the city of Seattle on an overcast day.

View from the Famous Bridge looking the other way

Another way to get some cool views of the city: the Space Needle.


Here’s the thing about Seattle: in many ways, the city is just the icing. It’s what it’s surrounded by, that’s the cake. And I got a very small taste, on a drive through the Cascade mountains. That’s good cake. I want more.

Skykomish River

OK — I jumped the gun there a little. Before you even hit the Cascades, these are the kind of views you encounter, about 20 minutes outside the city. Pretty spectacular.


A two-and-a-half hour drive through Cascades in the North East of the city deposits you into the town of Leavenworth. Here’s the thing about Leavenworth: it’s as if someone airlifted a Bavarian village from Europe and dropped it Stateside (if you lost consciousness and woke up in Leavenworth, there is zero chance that you’d ever guess you were in America, unless you saw the size of beverages people were carrying around with them.) Anyway, because I’m a dedicated family man, I wasn’t able to get much photography done. Inshallah, next time. Meanwhile, I’ll end with this image from the town’s waterfront, as inspiration for myself and others.

Bavarian America? Or American Bavaria? I don’t know, just check it out