Seattle, Washington – probably one of my favorite cities to visit in the United States. Yes, it rains often here but while I was visiting, the weather was perfect. The sun was out yet it wasn’t scorching hot. The food here is amazing and the fruits are always fresh. It’s a large city yet there’s still tons of greenery around so you experience the nature side of area too. Transportation around town is easy with the Link train and a lot of things are within walking distance around downtown. I’ve been on a travel hiatus recently due to moving and a new job but now I’m back on the road again to cover all 50 states and more.
- When flying into Seattle, you’ll be landing at SeaTac airport. Upon arrival you’re actually closer to the city of Tacoma. Seattle itself (at least downtown) is about 12 miles away.
- The easiest and cheapest way to get into downtown is by the Link train that runs directly from SeaTac to Westlake Station. The cost of a ticket at the time of this post is $3.00 or $6.00 for an all day pass.
- You’ll notice that once you enter and leave the train/station no one checks for your ticket. I would always by the ticket though because they tend to do random checks. You don’t want to be caught without one trying to catch a free ride. That’s just embarrassing!
- If you’re traveling during the summer be prepared for overcast in the morning and sunshine during the day. It could get warm so a light jacket is good enough.
- If you’re traveling during autumn or winter be prepared for crazy storms. I was here in January a few years back and the rain was ridiculous!
- Most of your points of interest are near the various Link stations. However, if you’re thinking about hiking or heading further north you’ll need a car or some sort of other transportation.
- Lots of homeless people! The number of homeless people living in Seattle surprised me. Unlike other major cities, the homeless here seem much calmer and will leave you alone. Just thought I’d bring this up since this was surprising to see.
Places to Visit as a Tourist
- Pike Place Market
- Space Needle
- Chihuly Garden and Glass
- EMP Museum
- Columbia Center Observation Deck
- Seattle Underground Tour
- Seattle Great Wheel
- Seattle Aquarium
- Gum Wall
- Safeco Field
- Olympic Sculpture Park
- Bruce and Brandon Lee’s Grave
Carb load! Whether you like it or not you’re gonna be eating a lot of baked goods because they smell amazing as you’re walking around!
- Pirosky Pirosky – Famous Russian bakery that always has a long line. The one at Pike Place Market is always busy but on weekdays you can also go to the other location at the Columbia Center.
- Pike Place Chowder – Get in line before they open because if you want to taste this awarding winning clam chowder then it’s going to take a while!
- Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – You can watch them make their cheese from the window. Lots of people come here so lines can get long too.
- Pie Bar – Small narrow bar that sells drinks and of course pie! Lots of good pies to choose from. Both savory and sweet.
- Pinball Bars – Many of these are around Seattle.
- The Pink Door – Classy restaurant that is just behind a pink door.
- Biscuit Bitch – Come here for breakfast, brunch, or just a nice biscuit and gravy.
- Dick’s Drive-In – Famous burger place that the locals all enjoy.
- Rachel’s Ginger Beer – Located at the beginning of Post Alley. Sells a variety of beer but everyone goes for the mules.
- Revel – Fusion Asian restaurant known for their bowls.
- List – Gnoochi is their specialty there. Go during Happy Hour to save 50% on food.
- Umi Sake House – Fresh sushi and other Japanese dishes. Can be a long wait for dinner but well worth it. Get their Chirashi.
- Tip for “Mat Surfing” is to always call or contact the school ahead of time to see if you are even allowed to take a drop-in class or come by for an open mat session.
On this trip I visit James “300” Foster’s Academy located at 8256 S 192nd St, Kent, WA 98032. The academy is a couple miles south of Seattle and is really easy to find.
Upon entering you’ll need to sign a waiver at the front office. Unfortunately, Professor Foster wasn’t there since he has a fight later that week he had to get prep for. As you enter further into the building, you’ll see a display of trophies and medals. There are several changing rooms and an area for you to store your shoes/bags as well as two bathrooms with a shower for use after class.
The actual mat area is huge and there is also a side room with mats where you can warm up before class in case there is another class in session. You’ll notice a couple Shoyoroll banners and logos around since Professor is a sponsored athlete.
The class I took that evening was conducted by Scott Reis, a really well rounded and talented black belt. There were a large number of students for this particular class, ranging from white all the way to brown. Prior to class, I met another visitor from Hawaii that was also visiting the Foster BJJ Academy. You’ll never know whom you’ll end up running into when traveling. Now I got a connection for a future trip to Hawaii!
As class started, we all lined up and started with the usual jog/cardio workout. To be honest I was nervous about the warm-up since I’ve been on vacation mode and eating everything in sight haha! We then partnered up to do some judo techniques as part of the warm-up. These judo techniques included “O-goshi” and “Seoi Nage”. After that we slowed it down by doing some leg stretches and then proceeded to techniques.
The focus of the class was half-guard. The fist technique was a half-guard technique that put you into side control. The second technique was a little fancier since it included a roll from the same position (I still need to try this one sometime). Lastly, the final technique shown was a half-guard to back-take. Pretty useful stuff that I’ll be adding to my toolbox of techniques.
As class ended, we all lined up and took a large group picture. I headed to shower since I was drenched in sweat. After cooling down, I hung out for a bit to chat with some of the students. Really great experience and made lots of new friends that day.
Thanks to everyone I trained with that day and many thanks to Scott for class and Professor Foster for having me at his academy. Hopefully I’ll meet him in person sometime in the near future! Also, good chatting with Casey, Gene, Elmar, Adam (I’ll visit Hawaii soon!), and Jeff (Thanks for the ride!).
Seattle has always been one of my favorite cities to visit. There’s something about the culture and weather that I enjoy. The food is good and getting around is rather easy. My first time here about two years ago, I wasn’t able to train so I decided to comeback this time to get some mat time in. Glad I did since I met some amazing people and made lots of new friends. I’ll definitely be back sometime again.
Seattle, Washington – July 2017
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