Pacific Northwest

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I’ve wanted to visit Seattle for as long as I can remember. I’m sure most people with a big city obsession have Seattle on their list of must-sees. Nick and I also talk about the cities we could see ourselves living in and Seattle has always been on that list. But this post isn’t called “Seattle” because we also took a quick trip up to Vancouver while on the West Coast.

This trip was in October, during that perfect time of year when we’re used to traveling. Our Field Trip Week in architecture school was always the last week of September or first week of October, and in my opinion, it’s always a win-win time of year for the kind of traveling we enjoy. Plus, fall is the perfect time of year for wearing layers, which I love. (I’m not sure Nick can relate to that part.) The days were beautiful during this trip; full of sunshine and just warm-enough temperatures, with a perfect briskness to the air in the evening. On top of that, Vancouver’s ability to alternate sunshine and thick, rolling fog is phenomenal, eery, and totally gorgeous.

We trekked Seattle on foot, from downtown all the way up to Kerry Park for sweeping views of the city, with Mount Rainier in the distance. We saw some of the architectural greats, including OMA’s Seattle Public Library (our favorite), Yamasaki’s Rainier Bank Tower, and Frank Gehry’s EMP Museum (formerly known as the Experience Music Project, and entirely overrated). The Olympic Sculpture Park was vast, and quiet – I can’t help but imagine what it must be like during a crowded event. And of course Pike Place Market was a requirement in the itinerary.

We rented a car to make the quick drive to Canada for an overnight in Vancouver. The city first felt sleepy and then we realized it was just the vibe – calm and livable. Moments outside of the business district in the West End were quaint homes with small plots that made us envious. First we thought we’d do a crazy thing and walk all the way around Stanley Park, and then we became enamored by the views of the skyline and the Harbour and only made it a quarter of the way. We loved LMN Architecture’s Vancouver Convention Centre and the way it blended into the urban fabric of the city as well as the city’s harbour parks and waterfront.

Before we departed to head back to Seattle, we drove up the Sea to Sky Highway, just enough to tease us and leave a longing for more. We would have loved to make it up to Whistler, but we made it to Squamish and turned back; back to the States and back to the East Coast, watching the Pacific Northwest sunset in our rearview mirror.

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