Virgin Atlantic Recommends: Seattle
When the world is your oyster, it can be hard to narrow down which wonderful place to visit next. Virgin Red members can use points to travel to some of the fabulous destinations Virgin Atlantic serves – all that’s left to decide is where you’re going to go. And if anyone knows a thing or two about the best places to visit, it’s the Virgin Atlantic cabin crew.
Seattle is the home of Starbucks, Frasier Crane and grunge music, but there’s much more to the largest city in Washington State than many realise. The Emerald City has its nickname thanks to the lush forest that surrounds it, but visitors also love the beautiful beaches, delicious food and culture that makes Seattle the jewel of the Pacific Northwest.
Bradley became part of the Virgin Atlantic family in 2014 working at Head Office before moving to Heathrow Airport to become a Turnaround Officer, while Amber fulfilled her lifelong ambition to be cabin crew in 2017 after studying aviation operations in college. This is where the pair met and it was love at first flight – and their joint love of Seattle makes it one of their favourite places to visit. See what they have to say about the city...
Seattle was our first holiday together and touching down in the Emerald City, home of the coffee creators and plane makers, we instantly fell in love with it.
Located in the heart of downtown, Pike Place Market is a must. Filled with Seattle’s local artists and producers, we love to explore the market and take in the smells of local coffee, fresh fruit and vegetables as well as browse the local art. Our favourite store is owned by a local clay artist named Aaron, and we always pick up a beautifully hand-crafted orca each trip as a special memento.
The market is also home to some of our must eats on any trip, whether it’s a quick layover or a holiday. Breakfast at the Crumpet Shop is the perfect start to any day followed by donuts from Daily Dozen for lunch. Jack’s Fish Spot in the market is our favourite place for fish and chips. Locally caught cod and salmon, grilled or fried served with hand cut chips and homemade tartar sauce has made it our go-to market spot since our first trip.
Have you even mentioned Seattle if it’s not immediately followed by a conversation about the rain? It’s not all gloom and doom as Seattle blossoms beautifully in the spring – visit Washington State University for the best blossoms. Summer really hots up and it’s the perfect time to relax on Lake Union watching the seaplanes take off with beautiful clear views of the Olympic mountains in front and Mount Rainer behind throughout the city.
Seattle’s iconic ferry system with Washington State Ferries is something to experience and we’d recommend taking the ferry across Elliot Bay and over to Bainbridge Island. Take the top deck, feel the sea breeze and keep your eyes peeled for orcas and other local marine life on the way.
Once you’re on the island, you’ll find boutiques with locally made gifts, as well as coastal walks and coffee shops. It’s also a stunning location to let your taste buds loose with wine tasting at local vineyards across the island.
If you’re the adventurous type, you won’t be short of stunning locations to hike. Mount Rainer National Park is only a short drive out of the city where you can hike the volcano that towers over Seattle.
If you take a hike along the coastline of the Puget Sound through Discovery Park you should keep your eyes peeled for orcas from the resident and transient pods travelling through. Following the trail with sea breeze you’ll end up at a beautiful little light house – this is where we got engaged, on the beach overlooking the Puget Sound.
Just across from Discovery Park you’ll find Ballard Locks, where you’ll see the September Salmon Run passing through from salt water into the freshwater Lake Union – you can navigate it thanks to the bascule railroad bridge appropriately named Salmon Bay Bridge.
Head out of town to Leavenworth in the Cascade Mountains, a Bavarian-style village with alpine-style buildings you’ll think you’ve travelled all the way to Germany. As winter rolls around, Leavenworth turns into a majestic winter wonderland with a Christmas lighting ceremony that’s sure to put you in the yuletide spirit.
Heading up the coast to the city of Everett, you’ll find Paine Field, the home of Boeing and the Future of flight museum. This is a must-do for any plane spotters or aviation geeks. Keep an out for unique aircraft colours and liveries, with some still in their primer green and other vibrant liveries ready to be delivered to airlines from around the world. You might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a test flight, with an observation deck on the roof of the museum. Virgin Atlantic’s previous Boeing 747’s and some of its 787-9 Dreamliners quite literally got their wings here and took their first flight in Everett.
Seattle and the Pacific Northwest truly feels like home for us, it embodies everything we have become to cherish. We love the intimate feel the city offers and how interconnected it is with nature, home to our favourite animals bears and orcas. We even sneaked a little piece of Seattle into our daughter's name, with the spelling Elsea for her own unique touch of Pacific Northwest magic. We can’t wait to plan our next visit, the first time back as parents to make new memories and must-dos together.
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