In which, here are some things to do in Seattle while at AAPD

When it was first announced that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)’s conference would be in Seattle while I was here as a resident, I was a little disappointed – one of the highlights of residency is traveling somewhere during your graduation year. Going to Boston last year made up for it, but still. After having traveled all over the US in the past five months however, my tune has changed and I am very excited to have a conference where I can sleep in my own bed.

So, if you’re coming to our current city, here are some of my favorite things to do. I hope you enjoy your stay as much as we have!

Within walking distance of the Convention Center (West, up the hill)

  • This is the Capitol Hill neighborhood – the historic “LGBTQ neighborhood” now is filled with hipsters, fancy restaurants, art galleries and startups. A great infographic (made of course by an infographic specific startup in Capitol Hill) can be seen here.
View from Capitol Hill looking downtown

View from Capitol Hill looking downtown

  • Food
    • Sitka and Spruce: Classic Seattle farm-to-table dining with a menu changing nightly.  The space is just lovely – the restaurant is housed within Melrose Market (which has Taylor Shellfish if you like oysters, a distillery or two and some Seattle-y small shops: flower shop, butcher, cheese shop etc)
    • Mamnoon: Delicious Lebanese fusion that is still very “Seattle”
    • Oddfellows Cafe: Great dining space and food. Takes reservations. Check out the Elliot Bay Book Company next door
    • Barrio: One of my favorite fancy Mexican restaurants
    • La Spiga: Excellent Italian food
    • Dick’s Drive-In: Hometown hero Macklemore shot a video here and while the burgers are good, the fries aren’t awesome (acceptable if doused in tartar sauce). It’s a Seattle icon and cheap. Cash only.
    • Really anywhere along The Pike-Pine corridor or along Madison – it will be hopping on Thursday/Friday/Saturday nights
  • Sites
    • Broadway is a street with a young scene. A lot of easy to grab food and funky shops. Seattle Central College’s campus is here.
    • Cal Anderson Park – grab some Molly Moon’s ice cream and watch people play bike polo (it’s weirdly entertaining and some of the best in the world practice here).
    • Starbucks Roastery – their uber fancy Seattle coffee room. Better than the Original Starbucks in the Market (and less tourists vying to snap a photo of the mermaid with boobs), but still Starbucks. Other great coffees include Caffe Vita, Broadcast Coffee, and Top Pot (which also has amazing doughnuts)
    • Some of the best people-watching in the city, and very few of them will be tourists.
Bike polo near Cal Anderson Park

Bike polo near Cal Anderson Park

Within walking distance of the Convention Center (East, down the hill)

  • This is the City Center/Downtown/Pike Place Market area – the touristy area that you should at least check out so you can say you’ve “been to Seattle”:
Seattle skyline from the waterfront

Seattle skyline from the waterfront

  • Food
    •  Plenty of stalls to grab fresh fruit or veggies from in the Market
    • Of course you’ll find all your chain restaurants in the City Center: Cheesecake Factory, Capitol Grill, Ruth’s Chris, etc (but you didn’t come all this way to eat there, right?)
    • The Original Starbucks – it’ll be the one with a long line of tourists with cameras. It serves the same drinks as the others, but with a longer wait. You can get a specialty roast there that is only sold in that store, but otherwise, I’d just peek in and skip the line.
    • Etta’s – or really any of the Tom Douglas restaurants. Grab fresh seafood here instead of the higher priced restaurants in the Market proper (Matt’s, Cafe Campagne, etc) or the decent, but panders-to-tourists Pike Place Chowder.
      • Speaking of Tom Douglas, his other restaurants that are in walking distance: Lola (Mediterranean), Dahlia Lounge (new American), Serious Pie (pizza – delicious!), SeaBar (seafood/oysters), Palace Kitchen (comfort food, open late), Tanaka San (“unauthentic Asian street food” – his words, not mine), and most recenty Cantina Lena (Mexican).
    • A little further out, but delicious: Bar Sajor is a Mediterranean/almost north African inspired, lots of great spices, still with a Northwest twist
    • Rachel’s Ginger Beer – delicious and comes in a bunch of seasonal flavors. Also has a cute tasting room with great views of Elliot Bay and the ferries
    • Local 360 and Spur Gastropub – both farm-to-table places and delicious

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  • Sites
    • We are home to the original Nordstrom’s and the flagship store for REI (two stories of gear with an outdoor bike track) – both fun buildings to check out.
    • Once in the Market, stop by the Gum Wall: down Post Alley, gross, but a good picture
    • Watch them throw fish on the corner at Pike Place Fish Company
    • Wander down through the Market to the Seattle Waterfront. It’s under a lot of construction (we’re trying to replace the ugly double-decker Highway 99 that threatens to fall into Elliot Bay during an earthquake)
      • Seattle Aquarium ($22): Play in tide pools and see the great otter exhibit. Good feel of PNW wildlife.
      • Walk out on the piers for great views of the stadiums, Seattle harbor and Mount Rainier on a sunny day. If you look back and see Smith Tower (white, pointy building) – it was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi and someone lives in the top spire.
      • Seattle Wheel ($13): I’ve never been able to justify the price and go up in it, but fun to look at.
      • If you have time: a great hour to two hour trip is to walk onto a ferry and go over the Bainbridge Island. It’s $8 and gives you the opportunity to 1) ride on a Washington state ferry from the busiest ferry terminal in the US, 2) check out Bainbridge (there’s a great ice cream shop at the ferry terminal) and 3) have spectacular views of the city, the Sound, the Olympic mountains out on the peninsula and get some fresh air. One of my favorite things to do with out-of-towners.
      • Also can ride the water taxi out to Alki Beach if you’re short on time and see where the first settlers tried to brave out a stormy winter.
    • Also, just FYI: we’re currently protesting the Shell Oil rig on it’s way up drill near Alaska. You’ll see a bunch of people kayaking in the Harbor as “kayaktavists”  #sHellNo
Activists participate in the sHell No Flotilla part of the Paddle In Seattle protest.  Nearly a thousand people from country gathered May 16, 2015 in Seattle's Elliot Bay for a family-friendly festival and on-land rally to protest against Shell’s Arctic drilling plans.  Photo by Greenpeace

Activists participate in the sHell No Flotilla part of the Paddle In Seattle protest. Nearly a thousand people from country gathered May 16, 2015 in Seattle’s Elliot Bay for a family-friendly festival and on-land rally to protest against Shell’s Arctic drilling plans. Photo by Greenpeace

Will require either a taxi or an Uber ride, but worth it (organized by neighborhood)

All of these will be a $10-15 ride, but you can walk a lot or do other activities while you’re there and will show you a taste of how real Seattlites live.

Gas Works Park from the water

Gas Works Park from the water

  • Lake Union/U-District/Wallingford
    • You can rent a bike (maybe at REI?) and ride around it – great interurban lake.
    • Gas Works Park: at the north end, one of my favorite views of the city. Great for a picnic lunch. If you’re going that way, stop by Paseo’s in Fremont for one of my favorite sandwiches of all time (cash only, expect a line).
    • Rent a kayak at Agua Verde in the U-district (it’s really close to the dental school if you’d like to see that, but it’s old and kind of ugly, so would not recommend). You can paddle out to Lake Union (calmer) or Lake Washington (if you’re feeling brave) and enjoy tacos afterwards. Next to the University of Washington
    • Center for Wooden Boats and the MOHAI – great Seattle cultural areas in South Lake Union (where Amazon reigns)
    • Ivar’s Salmon House (a Seattle icon) or Westward (outdoor fireplace!) for delicious seafood and spectacular views of the city across Lake Union. Both take reservations.
    • We live in the Wallingford neighborhood which we love – let me know if you have an specific questions about food there (or see our Seattle Survey).
View of the city from Gas Works Park

View of the city from Gas Works Park

  • Queen Anne
    • This is near the Seattle Center where the Reception will be. Since that’s included in the AAPD I’m not going to go into detail about it, but it’s an easy walk to Westlake Center (a shopping area) and then you can take the monorail down to it. There are only terminal stops on the monorail despite the vote every few years to extend it throughout the city.
    • One of my favorite views of the city is at Kerry Park, up the hill and you can see Mount Rainier on a sunny day
My mom and I in front of the Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge in Fremont

My mom and I in front of the Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge in Fremont

  • Ballard/Fremont
    • Fremont has a reputation for being where all the old hippies in Seattle live and they are the self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe”. Funky shops and great food including Revel, The Whale Wins, Agrodolce, Joule and Roux.
    • Awesome tasting room and some of my favorite beer at the Fremont Brewery. Get the Interurban IPA, it tastes like summer.  
    • Also to see in Fremont: The Fremont Troll, the Lenin Statue and the Ballard Locks on your way out to Ballard
    • Ballard’s Market Street has a ton of great shops and restaurants including Bastille Cafe and Bar and the best oysters in the city at The Walrus and the Carpenter (does not take reservations, opens at 4pm).
    • Grab a Paseo sandwich (cash only) and eat a picnic lunch at Golden Gardens – a fantastic park overlooking the Sound and Olympic mountains. You can have bonfires on the beach here.
View of the Olympics across the Puget Sound

View of the Olympics across the Puget Sound

Links to some of the things I’ve done with visitors

Other “cultural” notes

Just some things to be aware of when visiting our fine city:

  • The fine for jaywalking ($56) is higher than the fine for smoking pot in public ($27) and they love to write tickets for the former, not the latter. You’ve been warned.
  • Our public transit isn’t great. The light rail won’t get you anywhere too exciting and the monorail only runs between Westlake Center and the Space Needle. Uber and Lyft are some of the easiest and cheapest ways to get around or a traditional taxi. Rides from the City Center to any of the places listed will run $10-15 (but check first to make sure there isn’t a rate hike due to demand).
  • Most places will have three bins in which to dispose of your trash: landfill, recycle and compost. Use the signs that are usually attached to help you navigate them or ask a friendly stranger – people won’t judge you for sending things to the landfill, but they will judge you for putting a recyclable in the compost bin. Also any compostable utensil (usually they’re brown and feel plastic-y) will melt in your very hot food – just don’t let it sit in there between bites and you’ll be okay.

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In which I go to the AAPD in Boston (Part II)

After a lobster-roll induced nap, the residents went to catch a game at Fenway. I knew we’d be back later in the week for the AAPD party, but there would not be a game that evening and while I’m no big fan of baseball, I am a big fan of drinking a beer outside in an iconic stadium.

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Sometimes you just have to Instagram..

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Kat, Bri and I

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They played (and sadly ended up losing to) the Toronto Blue Jays, which was appropriate because we had Janice as our token Canadian among a bunch of Americans. David, Jane, Jim, Kari, Janice, Christine and myself.

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We could not have gotten luckier with the weather. The only other game that week, the next night, was almost rained out!

We could not have gotten luckier with the weather. The only other game that week, the next night, was almost rained out!

The next day I wandered down to the Boston Public Library. It had free wifi while our hotel did not, but mostly I wanted to study in a pretty place.

The next day I wandered down to the Boston Public Library. It had free wifi while our hotel did not, but mostly I wanted to study in a pretty place. I was not disappointed

Its reading room reminded me of studying at Duke. I spent a few hours here listening to the most enjoyable biostatistics lecture of the year.

Its reading room reminded me of studying at Duke. I spent a few hours here listening to the most enjoyable biostatistics lecture of the year.

Since I had skipped a few MPH classes to make the trip, I needed to catch up to take the online quiz due during the conference. Fortunately Thursday was rather rainy and most other people were slowly making their way into the conference, so I didn't miss much.

Since I had skipped a few MPH classes to make the trip, I needed to catch up to take the online quiz due during the conference. Fortunately Thursday was rather rainy and most other people were slowly making their way into the conference, so I didn’t miss much.

The next day I was able to catch up with all the UNC kids who I graduated with and went into pedo. Most of them are finishing up: just Kevin and I are in three year programs, his at UNC. Rebecca is finishing up at Pittsburgh Children's, Taylor is finishing at Baylor and Chance is finishing at UF-Naples. Not pictured here because her flight was delay: Allie who is finishing at UAB and Logan who missed the conference for a cousin's wedding is finishing up at MUSC. So proud of them all!

The next day I was able to catch up with all the UNC kids who I graduated with and went into pedo. Most of them are finishing up: just Kevin and I are in three year programs, his at UNC. Rebecca is finishing up at Pittsburgh Children’s, Taylor is finishing at Baylor and Chance is finishing at UF-Naples. Not pictured here because her flight was delay: Allie who is finishing at UAB and Logan who missed the conference for a cousin’s wedding is finishing up at MUSC. So proud of them all!

UNC reunited

UNC reunited

Meeting up with Allie and Kevin

Meeting up with Allie and Kevin

Pediatric Dentistry is a small group - it was so fun to know so many people and keep running into them again and again - like here with Chance and Allie at the AAPD Reception at Fenway on Friday.

Pediatric Dentistry is a small group – it was so fun to know so many people and keep running into them again and again – like here with Chance and Allie at the AAPD Reception at Fenway on Friday.

One of my favorite professors/Master's committee member Johann Aps and I at the Fenway party. He is from Belgium, so I tried to explain baseball briefly to him, but I think it's better if we try to catch a Mariner's game at some point.

One of my favorite professors/Master’s committee member Johann Aps and I at the Fenway party. He is from Belgium, so I tried to explain baseball briefly to him, but I think it’s better if we try to catch a Mariner’s game at some point. At this time in the evening I was so happy I had brought a coat – it got chilly once the sun went down!

The next day was filled with poster presentations by the graduating residents. I'm so proud of these people!

The next day was filled with poster presentations by the graduating residents. I’m so proud of these people!

The conference nights ended (for us anyway) with the school-specific receptions. I am fortunate enough to be welcomed to both the UW and UNC parties. At the UNC one I was able to catch us with my wonderful mentor Dr. Martha Ann Keels and her associate Kerry Dove. Kerry, Tayler, Martha Ann and I make up one of my favorite groups of women: undergrad at Duke and UNC dental. Despite our rivaled pedigree, it's no secret who we cheer for: GTHC, GTH!

The conference nights ended (for us anyway) with the school-specific receptions. I am fortunate enough to be welcomed to both the UW and UNC parties. At the UNC one I was able to catch us with my wonderful mentor Dr. Martha Ann Keels and her associate Kerry Dove. Kerry, Tayler, Martha Ann and I make up one of my favorite groups of women: undergrad at Duke and UNC for dental. Despite our rivaled pedigree, it’s no secret who we cheer for: GTHC, GTH!

The next day I split from the rest of the group to swing by the Boston Commons once more on the way to the airport. When my little brother was serving in Afghanistan, one of the members of his group, LCpl Matthew Rodriguez was killed in action. He was from Boston and his family has done a lot of the area in Matthew’s name, including contributing to the Memorial Day flag tribute on the Commons.

I stopped by to pay my respects, both to him and all those who have given their lives. Standing, arms crossed, next to my bags packed for the plane, in the last of my clean clothes, I was thankful for my sunglasses to hide some of my sobbing. Cities pool a large number of mentally ill people who do weird things in public, so I hoped I blended in, or at least didn’t attack too much attention. So many flags, standing for so young men and women. Too many flags. The juxtaposition of all that loss with families playing in the sunshine on a that Sunday afternoon was all at once beautiful and crushingly unfair. With Graham safely home I was awash with fresh survivor’s guilt and overwhelmingly thankful at the same time. Memorial Day to me, had never meant so much.

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In which I go to the AAPD in Boston (Part I)

Whew! It has been a busy two months! Every time I feel like I sit down to write, I’ve either felt a) overwhelmed at the amount I need to catch up on or b) like there were much more important things I needed to do (like a data analysis projects for biostats). Now that a lot of traveling, finals, graduation and a major conference are finally wrapping up I feel like I can catch up and start to enjoy our 18-hour summer days.

First things first: I’m a horrible blog parent again. I missed the blog-oversary on May 21st.

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We’ve been viewed by 81 different countries – 9,660 views total! This is completely insane. Also, if you know one of the 56,370 people in Greenland, please send this blog to them.. it’s such a large blank space on the map.

To be fair the reason I didn’t write about it was that I was on a red-eye to Boston for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists’s annual meeting. It was my first large dental conference (besides the North Carolina and Washington state ones) and I had so much fun catching up with old friends from across the country. Dentistry itself is a small community, and pediatric dentistry is even smaller and I’m so privileged to be colleagues with all these wonderful people.

Since we braved the red-eye, it meant we had a whole day to explore Boston before everyone else descended. I hadn’t been in such a long time (road trip to Canada in 2005 with Jeff and a church choir tour sometime circa 1997), but I remembered enough to get my west coast friends around.

I miss a good set of public transportation (though DC remains my favorite). Seattle is building a light rail, but 2016 is too long to wait for it!

I miss a good set of public transportation (though DC remains my favorite). Seattle is building a light rail, but 2016 is too long to wait for it!

Obligatory Boston Public Gardens shot

Obligatory Boston Public Gardens shot

We did not ride the popular duck boats in the Garden, but they were fun to watch

We did not ride the popular duck boats in the Garden, but they were fun to watch

After several cups of coffee (when did I become so dependent on the stuff? Oh wait.. living in Seattle will do that to you, plus, the red-eye), Bri, Kat and I conquered the Freedom Trail:

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Sometimes it's a little hard to trace.. but you just have to spot a group of tourists looking down to find your way back.

Sometimes it’s a little hard to trace.. but you just have to spot a group of tourists looking down to find your way back.

Quincey Market is Boston's version of Pike Place.

Quincy Market is Boston’s version of Pike Place.

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Walking by the harbor on the North End.

Walking by the harbor on the North End.

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I swear the Atlantic smells different than the Pacific, though Bri and Kat said I was crazy. It smells richer, muddier, and more well-worn than the bright Pacific, but there is something so homey in its salty breeze.

I wish I had had more time for refreshing my Revolutionary War knowledge prior to the trip. I had to settle for watching AMC's new series TURN about George Washington's spies.

I wish I had had more time for refreshing my Revolutionary War knowledge prior to the trip. I had to settle for watching AMC’s new series TURN about George Washington’s spies.

The Old North Church - of One if by Land, Two if By Sea fame.

The Old North Church – of One if by Land, Two if By Sea fame.

Inside the church. I could actual remember the first couple of lines from Longfellow's poem, "Listen my children and you shall hear..."

Inside the church. I could actual remember the first couple of lines from Longfellow’s poem, “Listen my children and you shall hear…”

Always a Delta Gamma.. I can't resist a good anchor.

Always a Delta Gamma.. I can’t resist a good anchor.

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US Constitution - the oldest ship still commissioned. It was used in the War of 1812.

USS Constitution – the oldest commissioned navel vessel still afloat. It was used in the War of 1812.

My mom immediately guessed where I was when I sent her this. I think her love of Boston infected me as well.

My mom immediately guessed where I was when I sent her this. I think her love of Boston infected me as well.

Atop Bunker Hill

Atop Bunker Hill

After walking the entire Trail from the Back Bay neighborhood where we were staying, we decided to take the T back.

After walking the entire Trail from the Back Bay neighborhood where we were staying, we decided to take the T back.

Lobster rolls were in order for lunch - we were in Boston after all! And for all the delicious seafood out in Seattle, we don't have lobsters.

Lobster rolls were in order for lunch – we were in Boston after all! And for all the delicious seafood out in Seattle, we don’t have lobsters.

Eating a lobster roll in my lobster dress!

Eating a lobster roll in my lobster dress!

I found this at a clothing exchange a few weeks ago that some girls from the MPH school hosted, and I was so lucky it fit! It was the perfect  dress to play Boston tourist in.

I found this at a “Naked Lady” party a few weeks ago hosted by some girls from the MPH school, and I was so lucky it fit! It was the perfect dress to play Boston tourist in. These parties sound a lot dirtier than they are: it’s really just a bring your clothes that you’re tired of and exchange them for new ones event. They’ve promised to do another one before school starts and I can’t wait.