One of the last well-planned trips I went on was to Washington, DC. I had a list of options for promising food places categorized by type and activities to check out in between meals. My friends and I didn’t have to spend much time Googling or Yelping to figure out where to eat or what to do. I didn’t have it all planned out to pigeonhole us into a rigid schedule, but I did have plenty of research done.

Not so with Seattle.

It must have been a busy few weeks leading up to this trip because I never got a sufficient block of time to look up places to eat and things to do in Seattle. If you know me, you know this made me nervous. I like adventure, but even my adventures are very, very well thought out. There was no choice but to take the spontaneous way in Seattle and, as it turns out, everything would be fine. And fun.

We knew of at least one place to go and so we started with one of the most popular tourist destinations in Seattle: Pike Place Market.

In this cool but ultra-crowded place, I learned that “excuse me” might not be a thing in this part of country but fish-throwing is. I love a one-stop-shop where I can buy a bunch of crap I do and don’t need and that’s exactly what Pike Place Market is good for. We were able to get breakfast, coffee, and a few souvenirs in the same place. If it weren’t for having to lug it back on the plane ride home, I would’ve indulged my new lavender obsession and bought All Things Lavender’s entire stock.

We didn’t know what to do next but sightseeing on the water sounded like a good idea, so we booked a Harbor Cruise. It was nice to have the historic buildings explained. It was also surprisingly cold (what is this…breeze?).

Checking out a few bookstores was a given. “A few” as in three: Left Bank Books Collective, BMLF Literary Saloon, and Elliott Bay Book Company. They were all great and I bought something at each (sticking to a rule I set of only five books!), but Elliott Bay is what my dreams are made of. It was so huge and amazing that none of the photos I took did it justice.

Oh, and food. Let’s document the food. My only regret about Seattle is not eating more seafood but one place we ate (Duke’s Seafood & Chowder) had an amazing view to serve with its fresh seafood.

We got our share of views—at Duke’s (left photo), The Nest (right photo featuring my wine), and a few other places.

We saw the Space Needle, Pioneer Square, Smith Tower, and other random touristy spots that I can’t even remember now. Smith Tower’s “tour” wasn’t worth the admission fee but it was still another nice view of the city.

My latest obsession with statement earrings kicked into high gear during this trip and we ended up doing a bit of shopping at a few random places. But the highlight was spending my hard-earned cash at Moorea Seal in person for the first time instead of online like I’ve been doing for years. The shop was even cuter than I expected.

Speaking of cute, let’s get back to food. Copal, one of the best places we ate, also happened to have beautiful interior.

And last but not least (of the things I have photos of), my favorite part of the trip and another unplanned find—Alki Beach. Having coffee, eating breakfast, and then renting bikes at Alki Beach was one of the simplest things we did and somehow still the best part in my memory.

Almost everyone we met, from Lyft drivers to random locals, felt sorry for us that we were in Seattle at the same time as an unusual case of wildfire smoke. In many of the photos I took, I was told that the background should have and normally would have been a clear view of the city’s skyline.

Surely no one is reading all of this text and this post just serves to help me remember this trip. I have a terrible memory and wanted to start keeping a record (besides Instagram) of places I go.

I’m hoping for less smoke, better air quality, and more seafood next time, Seattle.