“One short day in the Emerald City. One short day to have a lifetime of fun,” resounded in my head as we walked toward the Space Needle, for truly did we only have one day in Seattle before heading to meet our ship and sail towards Alaska. Totally playing the role of tourist, we headed to the iconic structure feeling like I was diving straight into a Jetsons cartoon.
If you haven’t met me, let me let you in a little secret; I’m a planner. I like knowing what is going to happen and when. That’s not to say that I don’t have a spontaneous bone in my body, but I prefer to have a plan. This holds true for vacations as well. While my family might disagree, I don’t feel like I plan out every.single.minute of our day, but I do like to have options. And by options, I mean researched, booked, and, most likely, paid for activities. Seattle was no different.
In our “one short day” we would take a ferry, play on the beach, visit the Pike Street market, walk around Pioneer Square, explore the Klondike Gold Rush Naitonal Historic Park, do a little shopping, and of course visit the famous Space Needle. Since I knew that the Space Needle would most likely be a stop everyone in our group would want to make, I made reservations (months before) for lunch at Sky City–pairing great food and a great view.
We arrived at the Space Needle taking the obligatory selfies with us and the Needle in the background while waiting for the rest of our party to arrive. Geoff’s parents arrived, and we waited for mine to arrive as well. And waited….and waited….
It turns out that the mile that separated our hotel from the Space Needle was the bird’s distance, not the people walking distance. So as my parents walked, they realized that there was much construction sending them up and down blocks that added on to the distance of the trip. Looking for a cab in Seattle is it’s own game. Unless you are lucky enough to catch one that someone just got out of, the empty ones are far and few between. We learned later in the day that the best way to catch a cab is to call one to your hotel and wait for it. So needless to say, my parents were out of luck on the cab front as they hurried to meet us for our two o’clock lunch reservation.
Geoff had checked us in at 1:45 and the receptionist said that our party had to be together before we could go up. And then she added the extra piece of information that if we weren’t there by two, our reservation would be lost. So I watched the minutes tick off on the clock willing my parents to walk into view, and they did at 2:05.
After brief hugs, we entered the gift shop and made our way towards the elevator that would take us to the restaurant. We acted like we weren’t now ten minutes late for our reservation as we handed over the card given to us. The elevator operator acted like it was no big deal that we were a little late, and ushered us and thirty other people into the elevator.
Quickly, 500 feet hovered between us and the ground, and we were led to our table for six. Finally the reunion could begin as we perused our menus. We spent many minutes catching up before looking over the menus and deciding on lunch.
I don’t really remember what everyone in our party ordered, but everyone seemed happy with their selection. I had a ravioli stuffed with asparagus and goat cheese, and enjoyed every single bite. As we chatted and ate and repeated, the restaurant made nearly two revolutions allowing us to see the city from every direction. Once again, the weather was cooperating with us and we could see all the way to Mt. Rainier, even though it was a little hazy.
One word of caution about the restaurant, the tables are very crowded. Once sitting it doesn’t feel so claustrophobic, but moving around is very difficult. I learned this best when, after an hour and a half of drinking water, I need to to use the restroom. So I climbed over my mom and dad to get to the aisle. Thinking that would be the most difficult part of my restroom adventure, I turned and head toward its direction. However, as I walked, my swinging arm hit the wine glass of the man sitting at the table behind me shattering the glass and sending wine all over the floor. I apologized profusely only to earn a death stare in return–I mean really, it’s not like I set out to spill your wine. I quickly stopped a server before making my escape from both embarrassment and the unhappy wine drinker.
Slinking back into my chair, we ordered a spectacular dessert–ice cream with a show. Three scoops of ice cream came out on a container of dry ice. The server poured warm water over the dry ice, and voila, our table was now covered in rolling fog. A+ for presentation.
My favorite part of the Sky City Restaurant was the post-it notes that people left on the windows. Handwritten notes asking, “Where are you from,” to games of tic-tac-toe and hangman dotted the windows. It was cute, but they were clearly removed when the table was emptied because we never saw the same note on our second rotation.
Leaving lunch behind, we climbed the few stairs the extra 20 feet to the observation deck above us. Here we fought the crowds that we didn’t have to in the restaurant. Our view was now obscured by a fence and hundreds of people where in the restaurant it was not. So even though Sky City was on the pricey side, especially for lunch, the crowdless view more than made up for it.
On the observation deck it was so crowded we easily lost each other. Each of us walked the circle looking out again at The Emerald City trying to snap pictures with the best view in the background. Before heading back down to solid ground, were able to pull ourselves together for a group photo and bid a fond farewell to the iconic tourist trap and continue our, “one short day in the Emerald City.”