Visiting Seattle
April 21, 2005 8:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm visiting Seattle in May. I'm taking suggestions, ideas of things I SHOULD do and see while there. Yes, you can suggest the typical tourist stuff. In fact, please do. But I'm basically looking for all the fun stuff I can do in 5 days.
posted by bamassippi to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (27 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've been to Seattle twice. On the first trip, I explored the city some and then went up to the Olympic peninsula (not all the way through the Makah reservation). Port Washington is nice.

The second time, I spent time checking out UW. I walked from the south end of the city (the dense part, I mean) to the north in about six hours. That was actually fun. A friend and I just stopped and went in to places we wanted to see. Also I ate at Pike's Market. I think everyone does that. But I'm a city wanderer. That was how I enjoyed Beijing, New York, London, etc. best - by just walking until I saw something.
posted by Slothrop at 8:13 AM on April 21, 2005

The underground tour of Seattle is kind of a cross between corny and interesting. You get a bit of history, and the area where they have it (the above ground part) is very charming and picturesque.

I didn't think the space needle was all that, and the meal was over-priced, but you get some nice views if you're into that.

Pikes Place Market is worth a trip.
posted by willnot at 8:17 AM on April 21, 2005

I don't recall the name, but there's a beautiful park just outside the city where kids go kite flying. The view is Seattle proper, with tons of sea-planes taking off and landing. There was an old factory on the site before it was reclaimed for public space. Other Satellites will know what I'm talking about.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:18 AM on April 21, 2005

Civil_Disobedient is referring to Gasworks Park. A great spot, during the day and night.
posted by xmutex at 8:31 AM on April 21, 2005

I think the park civil_disobedient means is Gas Works Park.
You should think about spending a night on the San Juan Islands.
posted by vega5960 at 8:33 AM on April 21, 2005

Here is a question that I posted on this subject a while ago. The park that Civil_D is speaking of is the water works park and the views of downtown are wonderful. The EMP is fun.
posted by trbrts at 8:33 AM on April 21, 2005

You really ought to check out Archie McPhee. Just look for the frilled lizard head!
posted by Vervain at 8:37 AM on April 21, 2005

Sailing time is here. We got lakes and sounds! Nothing quite as lovely as viewing the city at night from Elliot Bay. If you don't want to sail, just take the ferry over to Bremerton then come right back.
posted by Hildago at 8:48 AM on April 21, 2005

Definitely don't miss the Pike Place Market. It's one of those unique things that give Seattle its character.

If the weather's nice, consider going to Agua Verde: you can rent a kayak, spend a couple hours paddling around in Portage Bay, the Arboretum, Union Bay. There's a lot to see, kayaks are dead simple to manage under those conditions, and you can have a good Mexican dinner when you come back.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:49 AM on April 21, 2005

I was only there for a day, but Pike Place Market was awesome. Another vote for a few hours spent there.
posted by schustafa at 8:53 AM on April 21, 2005

Best answer: If you like baseball, then go to a game at Safeco Field. The Museum of Flight is pretty good. I work in downtown Seattle and walk to Pike Place Market quite often and I would add my vote for that. Take a ride on the ferry to Bainbridge for lunch. There are other routes but Bainbridge is more interesting (and I commute on one of the other routes every day). We saw a pod of orca last week, actually.
posted by KrustyKlingon at 9:00 AM on April 21, 2005

Seconding the Underground Seattle tour. Very cool to see sections of Old Seattle beneath the city streets.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:05 AM on April 21, 2005

Best answer: I like to take guests to the arboretum, the Chittenden Locks (watch the boats, see salmon in the fish ladder), Kubota Garden, Elliott Bay Bookstore, dinner at Etta's or Dahlia Lounge, Center for Wooden Boats, Museum of Flight, sushi at the bar at Chiso in Fremont, and I second the idea of a walk-on ride on one of the ferries.
posted by lobakgo at 9:11 AM on April 21, 2005

Besides the usual tourist blasts (Pike Place Market, the Piers on the waterfront, the Space Needle/EMP, the Ferries), I can honestly recommend a lunch/kayak experience. The restaurant is Agua Verde, in the U District, and downstairs, after lunch, you can rent a kayak for a reasonable price, and float or drift your way over to the arboretum, which makes for a romantic or otherwise beautiful journey.

Take a drive out to Snoqualmie Falls (1/2 hr. trip out of the city), and hike to the bottom. It can be crowded up top.

I second Vervain's recommendation: get thee to Archie McPhee's in Ballard (10 minute drive north of downtown).

Also, if you're the type, spend some bucks at REI, long an institution in the city (the new building rocks).
posted by ValveAnnex at 9:14 AM on April 21, 2005

Go to Greenlake. You can rent a bike or rollerblades for a spin on the 3 mile path around the lake, or you can rent a little boat for a paddle on the lake. You'll be here when our weather is at its best. Another vote for Archie McPhee and REI. If you're into indie music, check out our fine independent music stores such as Sonic Boom (a few blocks from McPhee) or Easy Street. I think the Pike Place Market is a bit overrated (too many tourists), but the Space Needle is kind of a hoot.
posted by matildaben at 9:28 AM on April 21, 2005

Take the Victoria Clipper to, um, Victoria.
posted by Staggering Jack at 9:47 AM on April 21, 2005

Eat at Ivars!

I believe there's one by the acquarium, which you should also check out. Next door to the acquarium there's also a sort of "ye olde curiosity shoppe" that's interesting, and of course it's all on the waterfront, and if my memory of growing up serves there's even a cute trolley you can grab from there.

I second the kayak sentiment. Seattle is a water city, so get out on it! There are cool ferry tours of Lake Washington that I did with my mom, they point out all kinds of interesting "you'll only hear it here" facts, plus you get to peak at Bill Gates' house.

The rain forest on the peninusla is gorgeous - I think it's the only temperate rain forest in the US. Also, this would involve taking a ferry (see above for water = good assertion).
posted by lorrer at 9:48 AM on April 21, 2005

As a side note, why does everyone like to denigrate tourists, except when they themselves are touring?
posted by xmutex at 9:53 AM on April 21, 2005

xmutex - aside from the fact that their touristyness reminds those of us not touristing that we are, in fact, working?

I think there's a certain amount of defensiveness in most people at feeling even slightly like zoo animals. You think this is cute and funny? This is my life, pal, and you're in my way! Forgetting, of course, that we do the same thing to at least some extent. After all, if stuff wasn't at least a little different and interesting to gawk at we would have just stayed home...
posted by phearlez at 10:05 AM on April 21, 2005

If you are in Seattle in the latter part of May, the Seattle International Film Festival is always worth checking out.

If you are doing anything in Pioneer Square - like the Underground Tour or Elliott Bay Books - and aren't opposed to eating cured meat, lunch at Salumi is a good idea.

Nobody's mentioned the new Central Library, but it's worth seeing.

The streetcar/trolley lorrer mentioned runs from the International District, to Pioneer Square, and along the waterfront. It stops at most of the tourist spots in the downtown area. The water taxi to West Seattle runs during the spring/summer, too.
posted by milkrate at 10:09 AM on April 21, 2005

Best answer: I second the Chittendon Locks - everyone I've taken there has had a sort of "huh?" look when I suggest it, but I have to drag them away after we're there awhile.

The San Juans are nice, but nearly as nice and not as pricey is Whidbey Island - especially the town of Langley. You can take a ferry to Whidbey, then drive off the north end of it via the Deception Pass bridge. Be sure to park before the bridge and walk out - the whirlpools are amazing, especially at the turn of the tide. Also often overlooked is Deception Pass State Park great for picnics on a nice day.

Port Townsend is another hugely favorite spot - you might even want to spend the night there. A former timber town, it is filled with restored Victorian homes, has a spectacular setting on the bluffs and water, and is home to Fort Worden/Centrum center (Jazz, Classical Music, and Fiddle festivals every year), and a truly great Center for Wooden Boats (as well as sail lofts, and genuine boat sheds).

Also, consider a visit to our wowie-zowie futuristic brand-new Central Library. Designed by Rem Koolhas, I hated it on paper, and love it now that it's built.

For Native culture, consider a visit to Tillicum Village on Blake Island for the native dance and planked salmon dinner. As a bonus, you'll get a mini-harbor tour on the way to the island. It's spendy, but the TicketTicket booth at Pike Market often has day-of tickets for half-price.

Oh, and btw - it's "Pike Place Market" not Pike's Market, or Pike's Place. Locals appreciate folks who learn the correct names of stuff (but we're way tolerant of those who don't).
Have fun! May is reasonably dry and sunny - but do come prepared for rain. I love my adopted (20 years now) home!!
posted by dbmcd at 10:27 AM on April 21, 2005

If an absolutely enormous Japanese / Asian grocery and gift store sounds good to you, check out Uwajimaya in the International District. Next door is large, fun Japanese and Chinese bookstore. Get a bubble tea on the way home.

Lowell's in Pike Place Market is a nice, reasonable place to have breakfast overlooking the water.
posted by Morrigan at 10:37 AM on April 21, 2005

The Fremont neighborhood is home to three iconic Seattle statues: The Troll, Waiting for the Interurban, and Lenin. I second Chiso. It's a great sushi restaurant (way better than the overrated Blue C), but if sushi doesn't rock your boat, there are a number of other restaurants to choose from. You can walk along the Burke-Gilman trail to Gas Works Park. And if you come on a Sunday, you can combine all these activities with a visit to the Fremont Sunday Market.

Whatever you choose to do, definitely see the Troll.
posted by luneray at 11:16 AM on April 21, 2005

Oh yes, check out Uwajimaya! One of the things I love about growing up in Seattle is all of the asian (and Russian) influence on the area. Example: I've had massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropracty (after a car accident), and was a patient of Dr. Bastyr, creator of the renowned naturopathy school. I grew up Buddhist (Soka Gakkai International) and caught on to the whole Kombucha mushroom thing waaay earlier than most in the US via that network (not to mention Bubble Tea), and have eaten asian foods my entire life. It's part of who I am, not a novelty, and I love that!

So for the on topic version: Catch some asian-flavored culture while you're in Seattle (even if via Uajimaya, which is a fantastic local chain). There's a lot to be had and it's a vital part of the landscape.
posted by lorrer at 12:01 PM on April 21, 2005

An addendum to luneray's comment about Fremont: it's a great microcosm of Seattle because it has equal parts vintage, crusty Pacific Northwest artsy almost-hippydom and the gradual takeover and remake and almost-obliteration of culture that corporate dollars bring. It's almost kinda amusing/sad/good/funny, depending on your outlook
posted by xmutex at 12:38 PM on April 21, 2005

On your way out of town, stop at 13 Coins for breakfast. It is right next to SeaTac and has an awesome breakfast. I highly reccomend the smoked salmon eggs benedict. mmmmm mmm.
posted by trbrts at 1:03 PM on April 21, 2005

Response by poster: AHHH, too much information.

I'm kidding.

You guys (and gals) are a great help. Thank you.
posted by bamassippi at 8:57 AM on April 22, 2005

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