Seattle – the Center

Our first full day on vacation was actually spent outside the city limits, so it was only right that we spent our last in the glory of super-Seattle tourist traps. It was, as you’ll see, not a bad thing — and not exactly cookie-cutter, either.

We started our day by brunching at highly touted Creole restaurant, Toulouse Petit. I was expecting mind-blowing deliciousness, given that this place regularly tops lists of “must-try” restaurants in Seattle. Indeed, the food was delectable — but I’ll also add that the Bay Area gives it some stiff competition in the Southern cooking arena. Regardless, Toulouse Petit’s art nouveau-influenced decor is something truly special.

We started with crawfish beignets, which were good. It must be said, however, that they’ve got nothing on the stuffed version from Brenda’s French Soul Food in San Francisco.

We also had shrimp and grits and fried chicken gumbo. Both were solid — the former was delectably creamy and punchy, and the latter contained perfectly tender morsels of meat. Big ups to our server, too, who kindly accommodated our last-minute menu change.

We had a bit of time to kill (and more than a few calories to burn), so Jay and I took a bit of a break by checking out Trading Musicians, a store near the University of Washington. After a bit of downtime, we returned downtown.

Our first stop was the Olympic Sculpture Park. This gorgeous outdoor space, maintained by the Seattle Art Museum, makes impressive art installations available to the public. Jay and I had fun walking around and exploring them all (even climbing on a permitted few!).

Please note that, fearing rain, I wore my Hunter rainboots during the majority of the trip. Big mistake (not the least of which was that it never really rained). Those flimsy rubber soles did a number on my feet. Thankfully, I had Jay to restore feeling to my extremities via quick midday massage.

Then, we trekked back to Seattle Center for the main event: visiting the Chihuly Garden & Glass museum and seeing Space Needle. You get a bit of a discount if you purchase tickets to both — and a few more dollars off if you schedule your admissions for early or late in the day. We purchased our tickets for admission starting at 6 pm, which worked perfectly; the summer sun still afforded us plenty of time to enjoy both establishments.

The Chihuly Garden and Glass museum was lovely, in large part because of the way the space thoughtfully showcased each blown-glass masterpiece.

You may be familiar with Dale Chihuly’s blown-glass ceiling, on display at The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas. A similar piece was installed at the museum — except this one gives you a much closer look and envelops you in beautiful jewel-toned light.

The artist was also inspired by his time studying among the Navajo, represented in this beautiful display of textiles:

The museum, unlike many others, is not photography-averse, and even had professional photographers available to capture complimentary photos of patrons with the artwork. Hi!

After a good hour spent admiring sculptures, we strolled on over to the Space Needle for beautiful 360-degree views of the city. The pictures are pretty self-explanatory: this landmark is popular with tourists for a reason.

Seattle during sunset — what a peach.

Toulouse Petit
601 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98119
(206) 432-9069
toulousepetit.com

Trading Musician
908 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 522-6707
www.tradingmusician.com/

Chihuly Glass & Garden
305 Harrison St
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 753-4940

Space Needle
400 Broad St
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 905-2100

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