Christmas in Seattle

Photo Dec 21, 4 08 08 PM __

During my annual December visit home for the holidays this month I was lucky enough to have a friend invite me out for a day of “fun, excitement, and intrigue.” Not knowing exactly what that looked like, I was happy to learn that we were heading for downtown Seattle – it had been years since I’d been there.

Years ago I worked downtown … Boeing had leased a building there and for a couple of years we really had a good thing going. Only 3 blocks from the Market, we were also right in the middle of everything: I remember great used-book stores, fabulous bakeries, the Bon Marche (which is now Macys), Nordstrom and Frederick & Nelson (which is no longer there), lots of good restaurants, and plenty of engineers who drank their lunches and didn’t get much done in the afternoons. I turned 21 in downtown Seattle. For a quiet kid from what was then labeled a “cow town,” it was quite an eye-opener.

Photo Dec 21, 3 10 10 PM (Large)

Since my friend works there, she knew her way around – including where to park. We did a little window-shopping, and passed the Fifth Avenue Theater (where my mom and I saw Katharine Hepburn years ago). This month “A Christmas Story” was playing. Eventually we made our way to the Fairmont Olympic Hotel (which would have been the Four Seasons when I worked downtown) for lunch.

Photo Dec 21, 3 11 49 PM (Large)

Photo Dec 21, 2 22 54 PM (Large)

She wanted to eat in the Georgian Restaurant, and we made our way through the huge lobby and past the 3500 lb noble fir tree decorated with ornaments the size of light fixtures. The restaurant was European-grand: Italianate architecture, immense crystal-swagged chandeliers, super-high ceilings, columned walls, marble sideboards, and buttercream paint on the walls. The waiters (much to my single friend’s delight) all had accents and were attentive without being overbearing. When we asked one of them for some history of the room, he told us the hotel was built in 1924 and where were we from? It was a little embarrassing to name two just-south-of-Seattle towns. When he practically scolded us for not knowing more about this hotel I said that I had been in New Hampshire for years, as if this were some kind of excuse. He seemed to go along with this, or at least pretended to.

Photo Dec 21, 3 44 16 PM (Large)

After lunch we wandered down to the Pike Place Market. This public market has been around since 1907. Originally farmers brought their produce to the city by horse-drawn wagon and by ferry from the nearby islands (one of which I used to live on). Over time arcades were built by a developer who prospered during the Klondike Gold Rush. After World War II the Market fell on hard times and by the 1960s the buildings were slated for demolition; it was saved when a historic district was approved and the market was preserved. Today it was in full swing and decorated for Christmas, and packed with people.

Photo Dec 21, 3 47 26 PM (Large)

Photo Dec 21, 3 48 37 PM (Large)

The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering through Westlake Center, past the Macy’s windows decorated with vast model train landscapes, through alleys lined with little shops, and watching the sun set on Puget Sound.

Photo Dec 21, 4 10 27 PM__ (Large)

Photo Dec 21, 7 15 28 PM (Large)

Shop window

Shop window

Next year's lunch spot!

Next year’s lunch spot!

Today was so much fun we thought we should make this an annual Christmas tradition. I’m all for that – and next time, dear friend, lunch is on me. 🙂





9 responses to “Christmas in Seattle

  1. WOW ! Beautiful fun time. Happy for you !

  2. Very nice neon on the first image.

  3. Seattle is such a fun, vibrant city and your pictures capture its spirit. I hope it didn’t rain on you for your whole visit. 🙂

  4. Have been to Seattle numerous times to visit family, and we love to go to Pike’s Market and walk around. Flowers – have never seen so many flowers as they have in the summer. Sounds like a great visit. 🙂

  5. You captured the beauty of Seattle without one picture of the Space Needle! I’m glad you had such a wonderful time with your friend. Seattle really is an amazing city…just a lot of people. Wonderful pictures, as always.

  6. All my favorite places! Of course, I have lived here all my life, so I could be a bit partial 😉 Your photos captured the Christmas essence and spirit very well. Hope you enjoyed your visit. Looking forward to seeing some pictures of winter in New Hampshire!!

  7. A lovely blog as ever and for me a great reminder of many, many visits there from 1974 on working with but not for Boeing. Always great place with such great scenery, food, and folk. Thanks for the memory jogger!

  8. I am looking forward to seeing Seattle and the PNW some day. I am happy you had such a nice getaway. Always nice to spend time with family and friends. : )

  9. I can smell the seafood from the Market pictures. Thanks for posting my favorite eating establishment, the Georgian Room. Hubby and I have eaten there many a time after seeing a show at the 5th Avenue Theater. Blue skies in December, in Seattle? How did you get so lucky? Love it.

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