I’ve been back a little over a week now, and I’m still taken with Seattle. Despite the rough start getting there, I enjoyed a great weekend away exploring a new town, trying new restaurants and seeing a few new films.
A guest of the Seattle International Film Festival, I was lucky enough to be put up in a room right downtown, and before long I had my bearings about me and made my way to Pike Place Market. If that’s not your first stop when you get to Seattle, I’m pretty sure you’re doing it wrong.
I wandered the market for a bit – discovered the first Starbucks (though I didn’t go in – the line went out the door!), and walked toward the water to see freighter ships and cruise ships docked. On a tip from a friend, I found a great happy hour across from the Gum Wall, but not before snapping a photo for a trio of girl friends posing in front of said wall. Because, OK.
Saturday I made it to a couple movies – including The Fault in Our Stars – and got a taste both for the films selected for the festival and the theaters they screen in. The festival is spread out around the city, and that first day I caught one at the Egyptian (that the organization is renovating and re-opening) and SIFF Cinema Uptown, a theater the festival runs year-round. Each screening was respectably full, and an abundance of volunteers ushered you from door to seat; it does my heart good to see community film orgs thriving the way SIFF clearly is.
I ate well the entire weekend, from pizza at a spot on Post Alley to sushi and dessert on Second Ave. Best of all, the coffee! There’s a reason Starbucks was birthed and bloomed in the Pacific Northwest – they love them some good coffee! Across the street from one of the theaters, I discovered Roy St. Coffee & Tea, this sprawling cafe with plush couches next to reclaimed wood tables, great coffee and a great vibe, all at the edge of the Capitol Hill neighborhood where I may or may not have done a little thrifting between films.
I got around mainly on foot – nothing was too far for a long walk in the uncharacteristically nice weather. When I needed to get somewhere a bit faster than my feet would take me, I snagged an Uber or jumped on the monorail that connects downtown and the Seattle Center (home of the Space Needle). In between films and food, I did get in a couple walks around the Needle, made my way to the top of the architecturally-exceptional Seattle Public Library and Olympic Sculpture Park – plenty of sights to see around the city for a first-time tourist.
Once upon a time, I told myself my dream job was one where part of my role was to travel to other film festivals, to be a part of that scene – and to be doing it professionally. This trip might not’ve been work, per se – I wasn’t scouting films to pick-up or anything – but getting four days on the other side of the country to explore the sights on-screen and off ain’t a bad gig at all.