Seattle [Things to Do]

A few weeks ago, my sister Katie came out to Seattle to visit. She finally met our cats (and saw Koda again), saw our new place, and had some major nostalgia— she lived in Ellensburg, WA about 7 years ago while she completed her Masters.

On the day she flew in, we did a quick hike at Twin Falls and did some location scouting for my photography job at Snoqualmie Park Point. It was beautiful weather, and we really lucked out for the weekend!

Herkimer Coffee (South Lake Union)

After we started our day putting our names on the waiting list for the Sunday Public Sail, we killed some time with a stroll and caffeine at Herkimer Coffee. Katie had only a couple requests for her visit — Seattle coffee, rain, and a bookstore — she got all three by the end of her time with us.

My dad’s hometown is Herkimer, so we texted some photos to him which he enjoyed. This coffee joint in South Lake Union is a hip cozy shop, including a loft perfect for working and people watching.

Sunday Public Sail at the Center for Wooden Boats

After researching the internet, I stumbled across the Sunday Public Sail program at the Center for Wooden Boats.

My sister happens to LOVE sailing, it was Sunday, and the weather was perfect — so we decided to test our luck and sign up. We didn’t get to sign up/pick our boat, but we did get our names on the waiting list and got 3 spots!

We rode in Dora, a wooden battery operated boat, with our captain Dick as our tour guide.

He sailed us around Lake Union pointing out Gas Works Park, the floating homes (which have no engines), house boats (which are mobile), the Sleepless in Seattle house, icebreaker boats (boats that are sent to Alaska to break up ice), Alaskan fishing/research boats that are docked in Seattle, and he also explained that the waterway was an international airport (seaplanes land there frequently, which we saw).

The tour was free, and we chose to tip/donate to the Center for Wooden Boats. This was an excellent activity that I would recommend to locals and tourists!

Casco Antiguo (Pioneer Square)

After we sailed around, we were all ready for lunch. My sister is a vegetarian, which is important to consider when choosing food places. Something that pleases everyone? Hispanic food. We had planned on walking around Pioneer Square, so we chose a lunch spot near there. This hip bar/restaurant is located in a historic building. Their chips and guacamole were super yummy and satisfying. I got the tacos, Alambre style which were more filling than they looked.


As we were eating, we discussed our next stop and realized we wanted to catch the duck tour so we jumped in the car and rushed over to get the last few tickets on the tour for the day.

Ride the Ducks Tour (Lower Queen Anne)

I’d been wanting to check out the Ride the Ducks tour ever since I learned that I’d missed out 8 years ago, according to my parents.


The conversation back then went like this:

Parents: Do you want to go on the duck tour?
Me: Duck tour? Like real ducks? No.
Parents: Okay, see you later!
(After the tour)
Me: How were the ducks?
Parents: There were no ducks, it was a tour of the city… And it was fun!
Me: What?! I thought you were looking at ducks.

Anyways, flash forward to now— I am unashamed to be a tourist and the curiosity was killing me so we rode the ducks!

The tour was fun and a nice overview of the city landmarks. The unique part of the tour is that it’s a bus that turns into a boat! This is both slightly ferrying and cool. While on the water, we saw a floating hot tub which sounds like a fun time! The tour guide was funny, and they did a great job of keeping the tour interesting and not too cheesy.

This is the Sleepless in Seattle House:

I would suggest a visitor try the tour in the morning, and use the ideas they give you to plan the rest of the day.

Elliott Bay Book Company (Capitol Hill)

Going back to what Katie required during her visit, we headed to Elliott Bay Book Company. It’s a Seattle staple bookstore that moved to a new location (originally in Pioneer Square). We enjoyed browsing the aisles reading staff recommendations and finding cute nooks. They also had a coffee shop in the back of the store which was cute and very full!

I ended up finding a couple travel books that I liked, and bought one called The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World: Love, Loss, and Other Catastrophes— Through Italy, India, and Beyond by Torre Deroche.

As of writing this blog post, I am 80% done and I’ve flown through this novel finding it relatable and entertaining. Torre has a blog of her own called which I’d never heard of before, but now I’d like to read!

After an exciting Sunday, we returned to Issaquah for the evening tired and ready for dinner.

Ballard Locks (Ballard)

There were a few days that Katie was in town for that I couldn’t take off from work, so we took advantage of the extra daylight thanks to daylight savings and explored a little more after work hours. Monday was another perfect weather day, so we went to see the Ballard Locks. To be completely honest, I didn’t really know what that meant before we went but Katie said it was cool so we went.

The Ballard Locks is a tourist attraction and Seattle icon. It’s one of the busiest locks in the country. The locks are two locks that basically make an elevator for boats to go between the west end of Salmon Bay and Lake Washington Ship Canal,  since the bodies of water sit at different levels. Basically, the boat(s) enter the locks and two gates close.At that the point, the area where the boats are either raises the water level or lowers it to the appropriate level and then the other side of the gates open to let them continue. There is a large and small set of locks. Our tour guide from the CWB mentioned that during warm summer days, the locks are like a parking lot as the boats come and go frequently.

Watch our time-lapse to see it in action:

Katie and I had a great visit, and I am excited to see her again in May (even if it’s only for a couple days). Now, my next plan is to figure out how to get her to move out here! 🙂