Seattle really does have everything. Unlike other places I’ve visited, From my move there in 2003 to now, it was and remains a popular spot for tourists. People come to Seattle in droves snapping pictures and taking in local foods and coffee. And even though I lived for years on First Avenue and saw tourists more often than I saw pigeons, I never really got tired of them. Because I get it. Seattle is awesome to visit.
My image of the city is definitely shaped by where I was in my life when I lived there. I moved in 2003, and my son was born in 2005. My daughter followed in 2008. We moved back east in 2010. So for a significant time in Seattle, I was a young, stay at home father. More importantly, I was the father of a temperamental and easily upset boy. So my time was spent walking. I have walked hundreds of miles of Seattle, from lake to sound, from suburb to city center. My feet know Seattle so well I think I could still strap on a baby carrier and walk blindfolded from Belltown to Kenmore without peeking even once.
The best thing about walking in Seattle is that despite the drizzle and the chill, it’s a very comfortable city. It isn’t the easy going place it was back in the nineties, but despite the increase in traffic and population it’s still remarkably cozy. I could walk over hills and bridges to First Hill and feel like I’d snuck into a small town perched over a city. I could take the kids with me to shop for records in Ballard and not feel as though cars were barreling down on us every second. One thing I hate about every place I’ve lived in America since is the neverending car culture bombardment. You can walk- but it isn’t easy or comfortable in most places in America. Everyone jokes about walking in L.A. but really… it’s ubiquitous. It’s walking in the States.
A return to Seattle for me would necessarily include a walk. I think my favorite winter trek would be from Belltown up through Queen Anne, through Fremont and ending at the lovely Carkeek Park. This would take ages, but it’d allow for time to stop at El Diablo Coffee for some Cubanos, a trek across a few bridges, and a view of the gorgeous mountains on either side of Seattle. And since the kids are big enough that I don’t have to carry them, I could even manage the walk in less than three hours. Assuming I could drag myself away from the cubanos.