From the sky
The plane you arrived in may have skirted Mount Rainier, but driving from SeaTac Airport to the Emerald City you'll have turned your back to that giant ice cream cone. But there are plenty of opportunities in town to turn around and try for a face to face.
Now don't get all excited, there are those who have visited Seattle many a time, and still have to see "Tahoma" or "The Mountain" as the Native Americans called Mount Rainier. Even on a clear day you can't be assured of the view. So, know yourself lucky when that photo opportunity occurs and take a picture, right away.
The lay-out and planning of the University of Washington Campus is such that you may find that Photo Op the moment you put foot onto the Central Plaza (Red Square)in front of Suzello Library. Direct your gaze south at the Drumheller Fountain, et voilà! Well, maybe. I wish you good luck. By the way, a virtual tour may be worth your while, click on the link next on "Begin tour" in the upper left hand corner, and you are on your way.
Oh, yes, and spring is THE time to see the cherry blossoms on campus!
The lively neighborhood just north of downtown is called Queen Anne. Locals speak of Upper Queen Anne and Lower Queen Anne. Upper naturally refers to the top of the hill, and Lower, you got it, to the foot. An avenue appropriately called Queen Anne Ave. leads from the bottom on the south side across the top to the northern side, and Ship Canal, the waterway which separates Queen Anne from Ballard. But we won't go there now. Half way up the southern slope of Queen Anne Hill you'll find a street called Highland, and Kerry Park Viewpoint. On a good day (which, again may not be a clear day) you'll see Mount Rainier behind the skyline of downtown.
I've missed many a photo op because I was driving. That's right, both hands on the steering column please?!
But I kid you not, the best views of Mount Rainier may be had while driving along, minding your own business. For instance, you've been to Golden Gardens, and you're returning to your hotel downtown. You're driving south from NW 85th on 15th Ave. NW. All of a sudden you see Mount Rainier in all his splendor in the SW. Wow! What do you do? Go around the block, try again? Or just file it under Photo Ops and for future reference?
Another thrilling moment may occur as you're heading to your home away from home after a visit to Greenlake, Woodland Park Zoo, or later in the season the Woodland Park Rose Garden. There you are, on Aurora, also known as #99 (click on the link and come along for the ride) and there he is, glorious, and amazingly large and frightening near by. Before you can ask yourself: What happened, has the Mountain started on a walk-about? He'll be back to the usual proportions, or rather, lost to your view. Enjoy looking out over Union Lake and please, mind the traffic, everybody always seems to speed up when crossing the Aurora Bridge.
If by any chance you're heading for Columbia City or Borracchini's Bakery on Rainier Avenue, you know you're going in the right direction as long as you see the Mountain at the end of your path. That is, if he's allowing you the view.
Again, good luck, and remember, Photo Ops may also be stored in your mind.
Previously published at hotelsbycity 3/23/2007