When someone comes to Seattle for the first time I often like to take them on the Alaskan Way Viaduct into downtown Seattle. In the span of a few miles you can see the harbor and Elliot Bay, the Smith Tower, the backside of the Pike Place Market, both sport stadiums, Starbucks headquarters, and the Space Needle. It is also just a neat drive to see yourself driving along high above Elliot Bay and the city one second and then driving into a tunnel underneath the city the next. It just shows how hilly the downtown area is.
If you stay SR 99 you soon pass Lake Union home to many famous houseboats, most notably the Sleepless in Seattle house. Right after crossing the Aurora bridge take the exit to the neighborhood of Fremont. There is a troll that lives under the Aurora bridge that you won't want to miss!
He is fun to climb on and stare in wonder at too. Under his giant claws he holds an actual VW Beetle, using the hub cap for his eye.
A few blocks away is another fun art installation, Waiting for the Interurban.
These people have been waiting for a bus for over thirty years. The people of Fremont enjoy dressing them up for different occasions. When we went the were dressed in bright t-shirts and handing out free soda!
If your tummy's are beginning to growl Fremont offers tons of great restaurants. We walked right across the street to Blue Moon Burgers and ate a delicious lunch. Blue Moon serves local grass fed beef, a big plus in my book.
Make sure to take a stroll along the Lake Washington Ship Canal on the Burke-Gilman Trail. Fremont also offers a walking tour guide highlighting other interesting sites to see in Fremont.
A short drive from the neighborhood of Fremont and you're in Ballard, another fun artisan neighborhood. Here you'll find the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. The locks help keep the fresh water of Lake Union and Lake Washington from mixing too much with the salt water from Puget Sound. They also allow boats to pass between the water level of the lakes and the Sound.
Make sure to cross the locks following the markers in the sidewalk to the fish ladder. Here you can view the 18th step in the ladder and watch as the salmon make their trek back from the salt water of the Sound to the fresh rivers of their birth.
If you didn't catch lunch in Fremont not to worry there are some great restaurants in Ballard too. People's Pub and Delancey are two of my favorites. There are some great shops in Ballard as well, Space Oddity Vintage Furniture, Secret Garden Books, and Bop Street Records to name a few.
We were done touring for the day and headed back to my house. Exploring the backyard, finding some last blackberries of the season, and playing at the nearby playground. It was a fun first day with my nephew!
Up next: Microsoft, Seattle Aquarium, and what to do when it rains!