Be Free and Play

It was New Year’s Day, around 8:30am, and Mr. H and I were on the road to Seattle—tired and perhaps a little hungover.

Which is why we brought in 2015 with a 1995 throwback. For the first half of the journey we sang “Boom Boom Boom” by the Outhere Brothers.


It was the first time either of us had gone on a New Year’s Day adventure, because the other years were usually spent chilling around the house. You know…nursing a hangover.

Was this a better way to bring in a new year? You betcha!

The last time we were in Seattle it was summer—bright, sunny, blue skies, shorts, flip-flops—and pretty damn perfect. I also had WAY more hair.

(In case you missed Elegant Attitudes in Seattle.)

Seattle ferris wheel

This time it was all about grey skies and the kind of biting cold that slices right through your clothes. Chilled to the bone, it’s rare when you don’t have a steaming cup of coffee warming up your sorry ass hands.

Luckily, the coffee in the Pacific Northwest is marvelous. So, it’s not all bad.

I have noticed that Seattle is much like Portland in one interesting way. Somehow these cities become more beautiful when it’s dreary out.

A trip to Pike Place Market took an unexpected turn when I decided it was time to do something I hadn’t done since I was a kid.

Ride a freaking ferris wheel.

seattle ferris wheel

I see some of you rolling your eyes right now. The Seattle ferris wheel on the pier is very touristy.

And, it’s also not cheap. I shed a little tear when I realized the admission was the price of a nice lunch.

It wasn’t the picturesque day from last summer. In fact, it started to snow a bit.

But it seemed too perfect to pass up, so I did it.

Taking the cheesy picture right after you hand over your ticket. Freezing your ass off in line but still embarrassingly excited. Stepping into the enclosed cabin and having a mild heart attack when you realize the thing rocks.


seattle shipyards

seattle space needle

seattle from ferris wheel

Sometimes I fall into the role of travel snob.

I like to experience the world like a local whenever possible. I stay in apartments, avoid paying admissions for things, and wander on my own accord.

But sometimes you have to do the silly stuff too, because the experience is simply good.

As we get older, we move away from the innocence and abandon of being a kid. We need reminders to help us forget the bills and responsibilities, so we can be free and play.

britt on the ferris wheel

How about you guys…any tourist traps that surprised you by being awesome?


36 thoughts on “Be Free and Play

  1. There’s an iceskating rink in London just outside where I went to university. It was always full of tourists, but when I left the library at the end of the day it was often quiet so almost everyday for two weeks I rented skates and skated (and repeatedly fell!). There went all my “going out” money (student budgets are tough…) but what fun!

    Love the ferris wheel photos 🙂

  2. I was in Seattle twice in November. Cold, gray, rainy pretty much every day except for one (it was sunny the day of my aunt’s memorial service–I thought that was pretty special). But I still loved it. It’s a great city–easy to walk to things, so many good restaurants. My brother lives an hour away, but when we go visit him, we always spend a few days in Seattle first. 🙂

    1. That is very special to have the sun come out on that day. I’m definitely becoming a fan of Seattle. It’s similar to Portland while also being a good change of pace. There’s so much to explore! 🙂

  3. Great way to start the year Britt, by indulging your fun side. I love places in the cold of winter – it’s so much nicer when you’re back in the warm. I think there’s nothing wrong with being a tourist in your own town – we so often forget the great things on our doorstep.

    1. Agreed! I love places in winter too. Pike Place Market was still pretty busy, but it was nothing like summer when it was tough to even move.

      Being a tourist is a lovely way to see things we wouldn’t otherwise, for sure!

  4. I feel the same way about ferris wheels. It’s overpriced and embarrassingly touristy but once you get up there and look at the view, all of that kind of becomes unimportant. I went on the Harry Potter studio tour when I was still in London and thoroughly enjoyed it, even though getting there was a pain and it was expensive. Seeing all the props and sets was such a great way to make HP “real” for everyone and it’s something I won’t forget.

  5. I’ve been to Seattle–pre-ferris wheel and often did the Pike’s Market visit the dam at Lake Washington to see the salmon climbing the locks and had a blast. Of course I told everyone I was tourist watching. It’s a great place rain or shine.

  6. Just got back from Yosemite. Does that count as a tourist trap? I’d been there before, but not in over ten years. Left me speechless. I think the climbers hanging off El Capitan with their headlamps twinkling in the dark in below freezing temps iced my cake. And there was soooo much more. But then, you can’t beat a ferris wheel in a city with such an amazing waterline.

    1. I love Yosemite! Haven’t been to Yosemite in ages, but I’m hoping to swing by there with Mr. H this year. I usually let touristy nature places slide for some reason. I suppose because so many locals and other active people are there to enjoy it all the time too.

      A city ferris wheel is tough to beat!

  7. Nice scarf Britt. One of my other favourite blogging buddies Naomi lives in Seattle and my ancient mother has a sister there! Like you I steer well clear of tourist traps though anything with an interesting history – free or otherwise – can command my attention for hours.

    1. Thanks! It’s one of my chunkiest winter scarves that I never thought I would get to wear here, but it was a lifesaver on the water.

      Yes, I know Naomi. She’s awesome.

      Definitely not as many historical offerings here in the States, but any time I travel internationally you know I’m all over it. 🙂

  8. I love ferris wheels and skylifts. I’m all for cheesy tourist stuff. It’s usually there for a reason — people enjoy it. I think what makes it less cheesy and rote is what you bring to the experience.

    1. Yay…I know you are! And, that’s what makes you so awesome. Every time I read your posts I know I’m going on a fun adventure.

      I agree that it is what you bring. The right mindset makes all the difference.

  9. That must have been a lot of fun when it started to snow on the Ferris wheel! Yes, the cheesier the better. Whale watches around here are surprisingly fun even though they’re super crowded (and because of that I haven’t been on one in too long). Here’s to playing more in the new year!

    1. There were only a few flakes, but it was still neat. Except for the mountain tops, I haven’t seen snow since I moved here!

      I’ve never gone whale watching before. I’ve always wanted to. There are some spots off the Washington coast I’ll have to check out. Yay for play! 🙂

  10. We tend to avoid the tourist traps, but if you want to count overcrowded events, then the Cherry Blossom festival is a good time to avoid the Mall in DC. We had to brave it last year, though, because that’s when my mom came out on a bus tour. Seeing Mom trumped avoiding big crowds of tourists. 🙂

    1. Totally, hanging out with family and friends makes tourist traps more bearable. The Cherry Blossom Festival sounds neat. I usually make exceptions for nature-related activities. 🙂

  11. It’s fun to be a tourist sometimes, I agree. I enjoy guided bus tours, as a starting point. I did a few such tours when I first came back to live in Christchurch. They helped me to get to know my old city again.

  12. I’m not a big touristy trap person, because I don’t like crowds. But, I will go see stuff at least once because more often than not, the tourist traps are pretty darn fun. If you can handle the small mortgage you have to shell out. I’ll never turn down Disney World, but there’s a big personal connection there that’s hard to explain to anyone. And, I will always check out a haunted house, bar, boat, you name it. If a ghost is rumored to be there, I’m all over it! As for Ferris Wheels – too scary! Haha, on the heels of saying I’ll visit anything haunted. Ironic, I know.

    1. I feel the same way, Kate! There’s usually a reason why so many people are drawn to an activity time and time again. Trying it once can’t hurt.

      Disney World…you’re the best. My weakness is typically anything with an amazing view. Going to the top of the Empire State Building was a pain in the rear, but it was worth it once we made it to the top because there was a blizzard the day before. The city was gorgeous.

      Ferris wheels are scary? I can’t do the haunted stuff, because I go into survivor mode and want to beat the crap out of anyone that sneaks up on me. 🙂

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