Tell a Seattle virgin cool things to do while going to Bumbershoot.
September 3, 2009 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Whattodoin[insert city]filter: What are the absolutely must do/see things in Seattle while visiting for Bumbershoot?

So here's the deal. I've never been to Seattle. I'm going to Bumbershoot this weekend. My SO is performing in the festival, and while I'll be spending a lot of time at Bumbershoot, I'm also hoping to have some free time to myself to explore a little, go see something cool, eat/drink somewhere awesome, etc. I will have a car and I'm staying in a house that's apparently not far from the festival. I've seen this thread, which is really helpful, but given this specific situation, etc. So my questions are:

1) What are important things I should know about Bumbershoot?
2) What things should I do/see that will be manageable (i.e. time-wise, and not too far from the festival)?
3) Good vegan/vegan-friendly eating establishments?
4) Quirky bars with good, local beer/wine not readily available in pdx?
posted by Lutoslawski to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Lucky for you the best vegetarian place in town is right across the street: Bamboo Garden is chinese-style fake meat dishes like you've never seen before. Just exit the Seattle Center Grounds to the north (by the Opera House and cross Mercer Street. On the next block, behind the parking garage, you'll find this gem of a restaurant.

Also nearby is Solo bar, a sweet little hang with nice cocktails and a fantastic bartender.
posted by Aquaman at 12:28 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Why not drive out to Snoqualmie Falls/Fall City/North Bend and check out the sites where Twin Peaks was filmed? I just did this about 2 weeks ago; it was a blast! It's only about a 30 minute drive outside the city.

Even if you hate Twin Peaks, Snoqualmie Falls is pretty beautiful.
posted by King Bee at 12:46 PM on September 3, 2009

Best answer: Re: 1) It's probably worth pointing out there's a whole day's worth of fun stuff to do at Bumbershoot aside from the great music (I went to some great readings, saw funny comedians, a couple pretty good art exhibits, and ate some yummy fair food the year I went thinking I was mainly there to see the headliner band).

Besides that, we had a car and drove to Snoqualmie Falls, which was cool, though I lost a damn lens cap there; went -- drove -- to the fish ladders (Ballard Locks) and watched salmon swim upstream past the windows; if you have any sci-fi fan in you, the museum at the base of the Space Needle is kitchy fun; check out the Pike Market down by the water; and if you like poetry there's a cool all-poetry bookstore, Open Books, up near the university.
posted by aught at 1:05 PM on September 3, 2009

Wow, I was just about to post a Bumbershoot question myself. If you don't mind me focusing that part of your question a little: how early should I show up to get mainstage evening passes? How early should I show up to get into popular afternoon shows (such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs)?
posted by grouse at 1:15 PM on September 3, 2009

Best answer: I will say that pdx has Seattle beat hands-down as far as beer goes (I'm a Seattle native that's lived in pdx for about 7 years), so in my opinion you won't find anything there that bests what's here. That said, Georgetown Brewing makes good beer that's pretty readily available.

I don't know how much non-Bumbershoot time you'll have, but the whole area where Georgetown Brewing is is pretty cool, too - there's a couple other good bars, good pizza, and a general funky vibe that's not artificially funky yet.

What should you know about Bumbershoot? You should know that it's crowded (uncomfortably so, for my taste) all day, particularly if the weather's good - so, Grouse, I'd plan on getting there at or shortly after opening to get mainstage evening passes, and count on at least an hour's wait to get into a show like the YYY's.

There will be lines for EVERYTHING. Walking all the way across the Center grounds takes 10 minutes normally, and during Bumbershoot it can take 30-45. Be prepared. Wear comfortable shoes, don't carry a lot of crap with you that you won't want to hold for 10 hours, and bring lots of patience.
posted by pdb at 1:32 PM on September 3, 2009

Actually, since Bumbershoot has jacked the day prices way up, it is not crowded at all, and there is very rarely any trouble getting in to any venues.

For those who haven't been in, say, four years or more, it's no longer a crowded sweaty freakshow, but more of a cool, relaxed, well-attended music & arts festival again. Too bad it takes $50 tickets to make it so, but hey.
posted by Aquaman at 1:55 PM on September 3, 2009

Aquaman - that's really good to know. I might reconsider my decision to never go again. Of course, the first year I went it was $9 a day, so the concept of $50 a day just kinda makes me wince. But then I'm old and cranky.
posted by pdb at 3:06 PM on September 3, 2009

Response by poster: I got comps, otherwise I wouldn't be going.

This is all really great advice. I hate crowds generally, so any more thoughts on things I can do to get away from Bumbershoot are still very welcome! Thank you everyone.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:12 PM on September 3, 2009

It will be overcast/drizzly all weekend so I think that may impact turnout as well.

Vegan food: If you venture out to Georgetown, I cannot recommend Georgetown Liquor Company highly enough! Yum! Also just a short bus ride from Seattle Center (take the 8 up the hill) are Hillside Quickies which makes super filling vegan comfort food (recommendation: taco burger) and Healeo, which is makes super healthy smoothies and vegan soft serve. Oh, and I'll totally second Bamboo Garden in Lower Queen Anne. Good stuff if you like faux meat.
posted by girlstyle at 7:48 PM on September 3, 2009

Response by poster: Aquaman - that's really good to know. I might reconsider my decision to never go again. Of course, the first year I went it was $9 a day, so the concept of $50 a day just kinda makes me wince. But then I'm old and cranky.

If anyone is still reading this thread - I do not recommend going to Bumbershoot. Ever. No, really. It's very crowded - but not with cool boho artsy people - it's crowded with over-privileged hipster high school kids running about in groups freaking out about horrible electronica bands. The acts are mostly mainstream, targeted to this demographic. The food is crap. The marketplace is also crap - unless you're in the market for a recycled hipster sweatshirt for $110. The beer sucks and is expensive. Even the literary and theatre events aren't all that great.

I did like some of the visual art, however. But it certainly isn't worth $50 a day.

Thanks everyone - and Bamboo Garden was delicious.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:46 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I thought it was great, but then again I care more about hearing music I like than the the hipness credentials of the other attendees. And I got my tickets for $25/day earlier this summer. I disagree with most of that comment, in fact. I would say it was not crowded for a festival of that nature—I was able to get into every show I tried, and almost always up near the front, with great ease. The main stage acts were quite mainstream, but if you didn't like them there were half a dozen other great choices available instead.

One point of agreement is that there are many teenagers around. If that bothers you, then you should stay home. Personally, I was glad to see so many young people having a good time, even if they, y'know, aren't worthy and all.
posted by grouse at 4:50 PM on September 8, 2009

Wow - sorry to hear you had a bad time. I went in '04 and had a lot of fun, but then The Pixies were included in my experience.
posted by aught at 9:04 AM on September 9, 2009

Response by poster: Alright alright. I was probably a little harsh about the whole thing. Michael Franti was actually a great show. And I liked the PS 122 performance. What can I say? Big festivals with lots of people just aren't my thing (that and I was the driver all weekend for a group of theatre people...)
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:53 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

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