Favorite Rides: Seattle, Washington
I’m pretty sure that folks who live in Seattle exaggerate about the rain just to keep the rest of us away. In reality, Seattle receives less precipitation than New York City, Atlanta, Boston and Baltimore, and doesn’t even rank in the Top Ten in the US. Seattle’s rainfall tends to be more misty and drizzly. It’s also seasonal — summers are mostly dry, winters are mostly wet, spring and fall are mostly grey.
A little bit of rain doesn’t keep a serious motorcyclist down. Seattle motorcyclists can keep their bikes on the road year-round, with very few freezing days and rare days of snow.
The best time of year to ride Seattle is the summertime, and the rewards can be spectacular. Within the city, a myriad of tourist destinations await, easily accessible by motorcycle. No visit to Seattle is complete without a stroll through Pike’s Place Market, one of the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers markets. Nearby, the Space Needle dominates Seattle’s skyline, a 1960’s icon erected for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, now celebrating its 50th anniversary. In the shadow of the Space Needle is one of my favorite interactive museums, the Experience Music Project Museum. It’s a totally cool museum devoted to contemporary music and popular culture, especially science fiction. Seattle Center gets completely taken over for a weekend in the late summer for Bumbershoot, a music arts and culture festival that’s been an annual favorite for 42 years. This year’s Bumbershoot happens from September 1 – 3.
It’s nearly impossible to get a bad cup of coffee in Seattle. The town that gave birth to Starbucks — the first Starbucks opened in the Pike’s Place Market in 1971 — boasts close to 10,000 coffee shops, which is an insane number, considering that the metro area has an estimated population of 3.5 million. That means that there’s a coffee shop for every 350 people in the Seattle area. The competition is fierce, and everybody has their favorites. The result is great coffee everywhere you go. I don’t know how Seattle remains so mellow with so much caffeine pumping through its veins, but it does.
As lovely as the city of Seattle is, the really great part about riding in Seattle is the access to surrounding natural beauty. Mount Rainier looms over the city from 54 miles to the southeast, and is a fantastic day trip destination for a motorcyclist. Rainier sits in the middle of a National Park, and is in fact a 14,000 foot tall active volcano. It is simply gorgeous, iconic and rewards exploration by motorcycle.
The city of Seattle is served by a network of ferries, which are operated by the Washington State Department of Transportation. A quick ferry ride can deliver you from urban Seattle to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton, and the best part is that motorcycles board the ferry first, and disembark first.
Best Western is very well represented in Seattle, and across the metropolitan area, with 20 locations within 50 miles of downtown. The BEST WESTERN PLUS Pioneer Square Hotel is right in the middle of everything, walking distance from Seattle Center and Safeco Field (home of the Seattle Mariners). The BEST WESTERN PREMIER Plaza Hotel & Conference Center is just 30 miles away in Puyallup, away from the hustle and bustle but still within striking distance of the action.
So, grab your travel mugs and head for Seattle. Don’t forget the rain gear, but don’t fear the rain.