What should I see/do in Seattle?
January 19, 2009 12:18 PM   Subscribe

I am currently visiting Seattle, WA. I will be here until the 01/26/09. I would like some suggestions for things to do while I am here.

I am currently visiting Seattle, WA. I will be here until the 01/26/09. I would like some suggestions for things to do while I am here. I have plenty of time during the weekdays and am proficient at using public transportation and walking, I don't have a car or bike here. There are some obvious things that make it onto the tourist brochures, but I figured asking here might yield some more interesting additions to my itinerary. Fire away.
posted by Vague_Blur to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (16 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I'm fond of Argosy cruises - they're actually surprisingly interesting. As a bonus, they're cheaper in the winter. Try the Harbor Cruise as a start and the Locks Cruise as a second course. For dessert, definitely take a tour of Theo Chocolate, one of the few remaining independent chocolate manufacturers in the United States. Their tours tend to sell out, so get reservations. You'll get lots of chocolate. I think the Seattle Underground tour is a bit inconsistent, but I've enjoyed it each time I've taken an out-of-state visitor.
posted by saeculorum at 12:29 PM on January 19, 2009

Eat a donut at Top Pot and catch a show at the Cinerama.
posted by xmutex at 12:32 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

If I had the good fortune to be in Seattle tonight, I'd go to the Sunset Tavern's monthly Kung Fu Grindhouse. Three B-movies, no cover, cash bar, and you can bring your own food & shout funny things at the screen. Tonight:

...our favorite Italian Star Wars knockoff Starcrash at 7pm, followed by British gore film Dog Soldiers at 8:30, and finally our first Japanese martial arts epic The Executioner.
posted by Superfrankenstein at 12:37 PM on January 19, 2009

Seattle also has some very nice public parks. Some of my favorites that are quite accessible by public transportation are Alki Beach (vaguely near my favorite Thai restaurant in the city), Carkeek Park, Seward Park, and Gasworks Park. Consider walking any portion of the Burke-Gilman trail around the University of Washington for some great views of the campus and Lake Washington. Speaking of the University of Washington, their arboretum is very impressive.
posted by saeculorum at 12:37 PM on January 19, 2009



Watch a silent movie!


take a ferry!


Visit the Center for Wooden Boats!

Visit the Museum of Flight!

Catch some non-commercial film screenings!


See some art!


... And if you can, get out of the city to a mountain or two. Weather might not permit, really, though.
posted by mwhybark at 12:42 PM on January 19, 2009

Minor variations on this question have been asked several times; you might find useful suggestions looking through those threads (or these), or by giving us some hint of what sort of things you like to do so we're not just throwing ideas out at random.
posted by ook at 12:43 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seattle is a city of neighbourhoods, so you're going to want to check those neighbourhoods out - I'd aprticularly recommend Ballard and Capitol Hill. If you do spend much time hanging around downtown 9I wouldn't) then I would check out Pioneer Square and Belltown - the market is pretty much unavoidable as well.

on the public parks side the locks in Ballard are worth checking out - sadly it's the wrong time of year for the salmon run though.

You could always try setting up an extrem short notice MeFi meetup!
posted by Artw at 12:45 PM on January 19, 2009

Seconding everything here; especially ook's question— what kind of stuff do you like?— and saeculorum's mention of the Seattle Underground Tour, which is on all the tourist brochures but is IMHO fairly fun.
posted by hattifattener at 12:50 PM on January 19, 2009

Cap Hill is the hipster hang out, Belltown/Queen Anne is the sort of upscale place (restaurants, bars), Pioneer Square is crackhead central plus art galleries. The Tashiro Kaplan building has a lot of young galleries.

My favorite - the aquarium (because it is connected to the sound) and watching a sunset over the sound at Discovery Park (it's north). There's also the ferry ride over to Bianbridge Island, and I hear the island's cute (I just rode the ferry). Yeah yeah, tourist thing and all but still fun.

If you hit the PP Market (and you should), get some mac and cheese over at Beecher's and sample some truffle spread at the truffle shop there.

As for events / entertainment that is going on, check The Stranger - it's pretty thorough.
posted by HolyWood at 12:53 PM on January 19, 2009

Sandwich at Salumi.
posted by Mid at 1:01 PM on January 19, 2009

I have to second the Underground Tour. It's entertaining, but you also learn about the history of Seattle and its development. It's quite interesting. While you're in Pioneer Square I recommend visiting Elliott Bay Books and getting some lunch at Grand Central Bakery.

If it's your first time in Seattle, you really should go up in the Space Needle. Yes, it's overpriced and touristy, but if you catch it on a clear day there are some spectacular views.
posted by Fleebnork at 2:11 PM on January 19, 2009

Seattle's International District is incredible, and this weekend is Chinese New Year, so everything is ramping up to that event - great time to visit.
posted by batmonkey at 3:01 PM on January 19, 2009

You could check out Archie McPhee's during the day, then go to Dimitriou's Jazz Alley at night. Highly recommend Dimitriou's. Never been to Archie's - though it's on the list.
posted by tristero at 3:55 PM on January 19, 2009

Go to the library! It's truly awesome and free, and it might just change the way you think about books/reading/literacy/information/print/media ...
posted by janet lynn at 8:03 PM on January 19, 2009

As a current Seattleite, here is what I would recommend (in no particular order):

- Take a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island (shorter) or Bremerton (longer). It's cheaper than Argosy and is a far more authentic Seattle experience.

- Walk along the Seattle waterfront. There's quite a few touristy-type stores but there's also some decent food (Original Ivars is here, and the indoor restaurant has a killer happy-hour each weekday afternoon) and cool places to walk around and look out at the sound. You'll also find the aquarium here.

- Ride the elevator to the top of the Columbia Tower to the observation area. It's the tallest building in Seattle (tallest building in the Pacific Northwest, actually) and it offers an amazing view of the city. It costs a few bucks, but offers (IMO) a better view and is less expensive than the Space Needle. Everyone goes to the Space Needle. Be different!

- Seconding the recommendations for checking out the Seattle Public Library (Central branch, downtown on 4th Ave), Pike Place Market, the International District (Uwajimya is fun), and the Hiram M. Chittenden (Ballard) Locks. All great places!

- Kerry Park on Queen Anne. A perfect spot to get that "postcard" shot of the Seattle skyline with Mt. Rainier in the background (assuming it's out!).

- Seattle Center on Queen Anne. Catch the monorail here to go downtown. Or walk through the Center House and meander through the adjacent outdoor carnival/ride area. The Pacific Science Center is also in this area and is a pretty neat hands-on science museum. Also, the Experience Music Project / Science Fiction Museum is at Seattle Center. It's up to whether you want to pay admission to go in, but the building itself is pretty incredible (Frank Gehry was the architect). Of course, you also have the aforementioned Space Needle here too.

- If you're into sports, both Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners) and Qwest Field (Seattle Seahawks / Seattle Sounders FC) offer daily tours.

- Grab a burger, fries, and a shake at Dicks Drive-In. It's a Seattle institution and has several locations (closest to downtown is on Queen Anne).

- Go visit the Fremont Troll in the Fremont neighborhood. It's a young urban neighborhood with some fun shops and restaurants.

- The Olympic Sculpture Park near the waterfront is a cool place to walk around and check out some world-class outdoor sculpture. This is part of the Seattle Art Museum. It's free!

- Ride a 54/55 or 21/22 bus from downtown to West Seattle and Alki Beach. Check out "The Junction" (intersection of California Ave and Alaska St) - interesting shops and restaurants. You can then bus down to Alki Beach where you can get a great view of the Seattle skyline and walk along the water.

Seattle has a lot to offer. Familiarize yourself with the bus system and you can get anywhere - if you're game, you can always cross Lake Washington (via SR-520 or I-90) and visit the Eastside (Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, etc.)

Hope this has been helpful. Have a fun trip!
posted by karizma at 8:55 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thank everyone for their suggestions. So far I have taken an Argosy Cruise, visited pikes market, the International district, the Art Museum, the Seattle Aquarium, an Asian Market and plan to do some other things.

I also took advantage of the accessability of the niche shopping that is hard to come by at home. I bought a tonebar to play my lap-steel with, a pair of nice combat boots, and a couple of compression bags for my sleeping bags.
posted by Vague_Blur at 12:06 PM on January 22, 2009

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