This year, I knew that I wanted to do something special for my senior spring break, because I had never gone on a spring break vacation before. However, I also knew the usual destinations were out for me, since I don’t do so well with large crowds, and I much prefer vacations with sightseeing involved (nerd alert, I know). So, I saved up and bought a plane ticket to visit my friend who goes to college in Portland, Oregon. We also planned to spend two nights in Seattle, where I had never been, and a day at the coast so I could touch the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
For those of you who want to save up for a more affordable trip during college, I would highly recommend flying or taking a road trip to go see a friend who attends another school. Keep your eye on Kayak.com in the months leading up to break for cheap flights. Even if your friend hasn’t moved all the way across the country, you’ll still get to explore somewhere new–maybe even somewhere you had never considered visiting before! In my case, my major expenses were the plane ticket and the Airbnb in Seattle. It had a built-in place to crash in Portland, plus a kitchen.
Here is a highlight reel of some of my favorite moments throughout the week!
I spent my first day touring downtown Portland. This picture was taken after a walk by the waterfront, where tons of beautiful cherry blossom trees had begun to bloom. My favorite thing about my trip to the PNW was the combination of city life plus beautiful nature. Any direction I turned, even in the middle of downtown, I could probably spot a mountain or distant forest. And I cannot even explain how much better the air smelled.
Here are some food highlights: first, here’s a highly-educational food pyramid located outside of Sizzle Pie. Plus, there’s one of Portland’s many renowned food carts. I loved the wordplay on this sign, but I actually ate at a Hawaiian food cart! Mmm, pineapple fried rice…
The next day, we took a scenic three-hour drive to Seattle and spent the night in this airstream! (Thanks, Airbnb!) The inside was fully furnished and totally comfortable. This was a last-minute, impulsive find–I would highly recommend staying somewhere unique for a night, if you can. But before we hit the hay, we spent some time exploring The Elliott Bay Book Company, a famous bookstore in Seattle. I loved the gorgeous wood beams and inviting atmosphere, plus the availability of titles from independent presses and quirky gifts. You better believe I picked up some Jane Austen temporary tattoos.
The next day was jam-packed! We started off by exploring the famous Pike Place Market, stopping for some coffee and breakfast. The line at the oldest Starbucks was insane, so we wound up purchasing our coffee from an independent shop– and I’m sorry Starbucks, but this was such a happy accident, because that coffee was incredible! There’s a reason that Seattle is known for its coffee. Then, we accidentally stumbled upon the gum wall. The wall was scraped clean last November, so I was surprised to see the incredible (and slightly gross) collage of sticky colors covering this alley wall.
Next, we traveled to the top of the Space Needle. For those of you with a fear of heights, I feel your pain. To get to the top, visitors must ride in an elevator with huge windows for 41 seconds–and we could totally feel the wind pushing us side to side. But, I did it! At the top, the views were totally worth it. And as an added bonus, I saw a beautiful marriage proposal happen at the top!
Next, we decided to tour the University of Washington… with about a thousand other people, apparently! The campus’s beautiful cherry blossoms had just bloomed, and tons of visitors were taking family photographs, engagement and wedding pictures, and Easter portraits. Despite the amount of other tourists, we were still able to admire the old buildings, blooming trees, and mountains in the distance.
After a day of traveling back to Portland and spending some time resting, my last full day was spent at Cannon Beach, Oregon. Not a single one of the many photos I took do this beach justice. The largest rock in this picture is called Haystack Rock and it is 235 feet tall! And behind me, there were beautiful… you guessed it, mountains. As this was my first trip ever to the Pacific Ocean, I decided to ignore the fact that it was March and I was wearing a sweatshirt and two jackets, took off my shoes, and headed in up to my knees. I was so excited! We ate a seafood lunch at a place called Mo’s, where I enjoyed a cup of clam chowder and a shrimp salad sandwich overlooking the Pacific Ocean. All in all, I think this was my favorite day. I loved enjoying nature and some good food with friends, both new and old.