By Alex McCoy, Contributing Writer, Owner of Fit Travel Life
My husband and I had no idea what to expect when we packed up our car and headed toward the Pacific Northwest last spring,. We kept hearing incredible things about Washington and knew Seattle was a hub for food, culture, and hiking. Neither of us had traveled to the area before so we went in with open minds and high expectations.
After living in Seattle for three months I can confidently say that I love the state of Washington and I am thankful for the experience of living in Seattle, but I could not live there full time. The city is very crowded and daily commutes are much longer than I prefer. However I do look back on that time fondly and I recommend taking an assignment there if you ever get the chance. Here are a few reasons I really enjoyed my travel nurse assignment in Seattle.
All of the neighborhoods are walkable.
If you live in Seattle proper, you will find that every neighborhood has its own personality and perks. We lived in Ballard but spent time in Fremont, Queen Anne, Capital Hill and the University District. In each location we would simply park our car for the day and walk wherever we needed to go.
Some weekends we didn’t use our car at all because we could walk to everything we needed—the gym, grocery store, restaurants and parks were all more than close enough.
I don’t think there is a bad bite of food in the city.
The only chain restaurant we visited while we were in Seattle was Starbucks—and I don’t think that technically counts as a chain when you are in Seattle. Every single homegrown restaurant we visited was delicious.
We tried sushi, fresh seafood, Italian, Cuban, Chinese, Korean and a plethora of coffee shops while we were there and loved everything we tried. There is even a place called Pie Bar that specializes in any kind of pie you can imagine and has adult beverages to match. Despite paying $20 for a piece of pie and a drink, we went back multiple times. It was that good.
Hands down our favorite place to eat while we were there was a little place called Un Bien known for their Cuban food, specifically their roasted pork. As a Kansas City native I am pretty picky when it comes to grilled or roasted meats (because barbecue) and this was some of the best pulled pork I have ever had. We had several people name this restaurant as “the one” place we had to eat while in Seattle and it did not disappoint.
The touristy stuff is actually really cool.
We decided to purchase a City Pass while we were there to hit all of the major attractions at a discounted price. This got us into the Space Needle, the Chiluhy Glass Garden, the Seattle Aquarium, the Woodland Park Zoo, and a harbor boat cruise. I definitely would not have visited the glass garden without the pass and the glass sculptures were absolutely incredible. The Space Needle alone is around $50 and we paid $90 for the booklet so I’d say we got more than our money’s worth by going that route.
All of these attractions were really interesting and not cheesy at all. We also visited Pike’s Place Market, the Starbucks Reserve, Taza Chocolate, a Seattle Mariner’s game and a Seattle Sounders game and loved each activity. While Pike’s Place and the Starbucks Reserve can definitely be busy, they didn’t feel overly touristy and I’m glad we were in Seattle long enough to see each of them.
You only have to drive an hour outside the city for completely different scenery.
While the city of Seattle can keep you busy for weeks, getting out of the city is something you have to do while living there. We drove out to Snoqualmie, the Olympic Peninsula, Woodinville and a few other hiking trails while we were in the area. All of these places were beautiful and felt like a breath of fresh air after we started to get a little claustrophobic in the city.
Our favorite location to visit by far was the Olympic Peninsula. Not only do you have an excuse to ride the ferry across the sound, but from the moment you hit Bainbridge (the town where the ferry docks) you know just how quaint and adorable the whole peninsula is going to be.
We had mountains on one side and ocean on the other while driving along the northern coast. We saw the bluest lakes we have ever seen, and the people are incredibly friendly. My husband and I both agreed we would have spent more time up on the Olympic Peninsula if we had had the chance.
Even if the city isn’t your thing, I highly recommend an assignment in Washington.
Whether you are into the great outdoors or the bustle of a city, Washington has something to offer anyone. The sight of Rainier peeking through the clouds, the smell of the ocean as you sip your morning coffee, and the plethora of international food options makes it a must-see for just about anyone.
Alex McCoy currently works as a pediatric travel nurse. She has a passion for health and fitness, which led her to start Fit Travel Life in 2016. She travels with her husband, their cat, Autumn and their dog, Summer. She enjoys hiking, lifting weights, and trying the best local coffee and wine.
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