When one of my good friends from high school recommended that my New Year's Resolution be to visit a friend each month, I took him up on the offer and visited him first in Seattle. I have never been to this city or the rest of Washington state, and pretty soon I was looking at flights and the best time to have a little weekend getaway. I must say, I am in desperate need to go back and explore even more!
I landed in Seattle early Saturday morning, and right off the bat my friend began giving me the grand tour of his city. We first stopped at a super cute vegan restaurant called Araya's Place and helped ourselves to the delicious buffet they had. Having been traveling for some time on an empty stomach, this was just what I needed to give me energy for the rest of the day. Plus, it gave us time to fully catch up on each other's lives since we had not seen each other for almost 8 years!
Being the sucker that I am for cute cafes, we stumbled upon one called Third Culture Coffee, which served different a wide variety of coffees that I actually have not tried. The aesthetic of the place was just perfect, well lit, friendly staff, and of course... delicious coffee! If you are ever in the Bellevue neighborhood, I highly recommend you stop by and try the Spanish Bombon.
A sweet exclusive experience I got was to see the Microsoft Campus. My friend works for the company and he showed me around the entire place... I was blown away by this place. I have not seen any work/office area like this, it truly feels like a campus. It has everything you can think of: cafeterias, hair dressers, eye clinics, basketball and baseball courts, and even tree houses! I think the tree houses are what impressed me the most. They actually use them for conferences, but you can always book them for the weekend and enjoy some boardgames with coworkers and friends.
Another company that has incredible office space opportunities is Amazon. We visited The Spheres in Seattle and just by looking at the structure I was obsessed! The spheres are essentially an alternate work space that people can book in advance and change up their surroundings while they work. Think of it as working inside the Amazons, that's what the Spheres are like - a place where humans and plants can thrive together.
Our next stop was the Pike Place Market - home of two VERY iconic places: The Gum Wall and... the first Starbucks! The market sits above the harbor and it has many great places to eat, so wherever you eat you are sure to get a great picture! Within the farmers market, you can find just about anything you want - from fresh fruit to home made goods, and it has many levels to it. We only walked the first level, but I will definitely explore more next time I visit.
Our final stop of the day was the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and... oh my God. This place gives you a whole new experience to coffee. They have just about every single way you can make and drink coffee. Plus, the roastery has its own pizza station, bar, library, and gift shop - the perfect experience if you ask me! After visiting Seattle's roastery I am sure to make a visit to the Starbucks Reserve that just opened in NYC!
Sunday was a more relaxed and short day. We had a delicious brunch at Eques and made our way to the Sky View Observatory that overlooks all of Seattle and even showcases Mt. Rainier, The Olympic Mountains, and The Cascade Mountains. I have seen mountains, but not like this. It was a breathtaking view, one that my iPhone camera could not do it justice. We stayed here for a decent amount of time just because the view was that beautiful. Our next stop was the Museum of Pop Culture and the Space Needle. The art and the architecture of the entire area is unbelievable, I could not stop looking around! There is something for everyone in this area. We ended our afternoon and evening by going to one of my friend's friend's place for taco time. There I met up with another of my friends from high school and made new friends that would come with us to our adventure the next day.
I have never snowboarded in my entire life, but I recently had been craving this experience and the perfect opportunity came along by visitng my friend! Unlike me, he is an experienced snowboarder and gave me some tips and equipment to help me get started... and to calm my nerves. We got up early in the morning, picked up our friends and made our way to Stevens Pass, a beautiful resort for skiing and snowboarding. Here, I took a beginner snowboarding lesson (HIGHLY RECOMMEND) where I learned all the basics of the sport. The instructor was super friendly and the other adults I was with were cool too - given that we all had something in common, sucking at snowboarding. By the end of the lesson, my fear was gone and I felt ready to take on some hills on my own. Fell down a lot, but I never gave up and kept on going back up the hill to keep practicing! I am now obsessed with snowboarding and will absolutely look for more opportunities to keep practicing the sport.
Thank you so much, Daniel, for an incredible experience. You were a magnificent host and tour guide and I could have not asked for a better friend to show me around a new city and a new sport!