The Gum Wall is exactly as it sounds - a wall plastered from height to width with colorful globs of gum. As disgusting as this visual attraction may seem in theory (and it indeed is from a hygienic perspective) the collections of chewy goo that droop on a warm sunny day have formed to create a rainbow toned waterfall that could easily be mistaken for an eclectic exhibit piece at the Seattle Museum of Art.
Often missed by visitors but located conveniently down the left turning alley near the main entrance of Pike Place Market, the Gum Wall offers one of the best photographic opportunities in Seattle. It has become an Instagram sensation and will continue to draw onlookers with each new piece added to the mix. Especially eccentric artists (half the population of the Pacific Northwest?) have converged upon the red brick bookended alley to contribute miniature walled gum sculptures but the appeal truly lies in the simplicity of the impromptu attraction. In the same vein that the city posted signs along the Seattle Aquarium harbor that deems the trash that files in from the marina and Puget Sound to be an "exhibit" in itself the city has been able to put a twist on yet another pollution "problem". Well done. Grab your camera and a stick of gum the next time you're in Seattle and leave your own chewed mark on this unique piece of americana at its best.
You can get into a sticky situation walking down Seattle's Post Alley late at night
Alki Beach is often referred to in a cliche'd manner as a quintessential "beach escape" from the big city. While it may be unfair to consider a city such as Seattle, with its expansive waterfront and Pacific Northwest demeanor, as a metropolis of any sorts it does come with the dreary side effects that accompany concrete high rises. Thus, Alki Beach is indeed an escape, and an unexpected one at that considering that it's only a 15 minute drive from downtown Seattle.
The beach itself is a mix of sand, stones, and seaweed. The saltwater surface fronting the sand is deep blue, dotted by kelp bulbs and seal heads which pop up to inspect the strange creatures that lay about on neon towels and skip stones in their relative direction. Swimmable in the summer but shivering from autumn to spring, most water born activities at Alki occur on the surface instead of under. Boating, sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and stand-up-paddle boarding dominate the ocean activities at Alki on a sunny day and all equipment can be rented along its shores or across the road. Those that prefer to stay dry want for nothing as Alki is more than a beach, it's a beach town through and through. Beach bars, cafes, coffee shops, fish & chip peddlers, ice cream joints, pizza parlors, and restaurants are all found in one long row along Alki Avenue, broken up only by the odd boutique retailer and residential intersection.
If the waterfront at Pike Place simply isn't enough for those visiting Seattle who have saltwater pumping through their veins then an escape to Alki is exactly that.
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