Cool stuff to see in Seattle
May 16, 2014 1:26 PM   Subscribe

What interesting/unusual things can we do for a weekend in Seattle? Looking for something outside of shopping and the typical tourist stuff.

Going to be in Seattle for a couple days with my friend and we were planning on doing some outdoorsy stuff, but realize it's dependant on the weather. What are some interesting indoors-type activities to do in the city? I have been there several times before, usually to go shopping/drink too much in Capitol Hill bars and am not really interested in doing more of that or typical tourist stuff like seeing the Space Needle/Pike Market-- more interested in seeing art, museums, local music, independent movie theatres, anything particularly weird/unusual/free. Are any of the art museums worth seeing? What about the Lake View cemetery? We'll be staying kinda out of the way but will have a car.
posted by noxperpetua to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (24 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
posted by bottlebrushtree at 1:29 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's very touristy, but the Seattle Underground Tour is really neat.
posted by xingcat at 1:29 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

This specific weekend includes the Seattle International Film Festival, one of the largest film festivals in the United States, with six venues. The Egyptian and Harvard Exit are particularly neat theatres.
posted by saeculorum at 1:29 PM on May 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

If you are from the east coast, go to a grocery store and check out the hilarious shape of the butter and the butter dishes.
posted by bensherman at 1:38 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

My friend used to live across from The Sit & Spin laundromat/eatery in Belltown. I spent a lot of time there during visits up there. It's a cool place to hang out for a bite, particularly if you have any garments that need cleaning. :)
posted by phreckles at 1:48 PM on May 16, 2014

I would check out the neighborhood 15min south of Seattle called Georgetown. It has great local bars, kind of dive bars but in a super relaxed kind of way. If I were to visit again I'd hang out in their bars in a heartbeat. Bus goes right there. They also have a monthly Art Attack.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:55 PM on May 16, 2014

Go to The Pinball Museum
Eat at Din Tai Fung
Rent some kayaks at Agua Verde
Travel 30 minutes South and visit the Rhododendron Species Garden.
posted by brookeb at 1:57 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you are from the east coast, go to a grocery store and check out the hilarious shape of the butter and the butter dishes.

Please expound!
posted by lalex at 1:59 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh and there's a Miro show up a the Seattle Art Museum downtown through May 26th and a newly opened show on Art Deco in Japan at the Seattle Art Museum in Volunteer Park.

And a Noguchi exhibit at the Frye art museum is open until May 25th.

Check out The Stranger for listings
posted by brookeb at 2:00 PM on May 16, 2014

Rent a kayak/canoe/rowboat from the Center for Wooden Boats and paddle around looking at all the houseboats on Lake Union.

Go to Volunteer Park, where you can visit the Seattle Asian Art Museum, wander through the thoroughly awesome Volunteer Park Conservatory, and climb up the Volunteer Park Water Tower.
posted by HotToddy at 2:01 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I hate to break it to you phreckles, but Sit & Spin is long gone (like almost everything cool in Belltown).

Seattle Public Library's downtown building is fantastic and worth poking around.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 2:02 PM on May 16, 2014

And finally The Folklife is Memorial Day weekend. It's free!
posted by brookeb at 2:04 PM on May 16, 2014

You're visiting in May or June? Bad weather is not likely to be an issue unless you are really picky.

Low or no-cost options for fun around Seattle:
  • Frye Museum
  • Burke Museum
  • Kubota Garden
  • Take a snack and a book and ride a commuter ferry to Bainbridge and back
  • Go over to West Seattle and walk along Alki Beach, enjoying views back towards the city skyline

posted by Nerd of the North at 2:23 PM on May 16, 2014

You can rent a kayak from Agua Verde and explore Lake Union. On a nice day, it's a sublime way to see a side of Seattle most don't get to see.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:30 PM on May 16, 2014

lalex: Please expound!

posted by Rash at 2:47 PM on May 16, 2014

Not free, but Puzzle Break is new and fun. For movies, try Central Cinema.
posted by wsquared at 3:06 PM on May 16, 2014

There are a number of great craft distilleries in Seattle these days, most of which offer tours and/or tastings (this was the best list I found). Also, Theo Chocolates is one of very few facilities in North America that make chocolate starting with beans rather than couverture, and they have factory tours & tastings for a pretty small fee.
posted by polymath at 3:12 PM on May 16, 2014

If you are overwhelmed by choices at SIFF, you can always see whatever is playing on the giant screen at Cinerama and enjoy some chocolate popcorn.

If you go to Georgetown, Hat 'n Boots is an excellent place for pictures.

If you end up in Ballard/Fremont, keep an eye out for the many henry murals. (They may be seen elsewhere but seem especially dense in those neighborhoods.)

If you do go to Theo, make reservations in advance--they can be busy on the weekends, especially Sundays due to the Fremont market.
posted by esoterrica at 4:10 PM on May 16, 2014

Here are a few ideas for you:

If you want to explore Lake Union but don't feel up to paddling, you can rent an Electric Boat or (as soon as they open for the season) a Hot Tub Boat.

Gas Works Park has an awesome view of the city, as does Kerry Park.

You can park nearby, cross the West Thomas Pedestrian Bridge, and head north or south once you get to the waterfront. Both walks are very enjoyable.

Visit the Ballard Locks and watch the commercial and pleasure boats go through.

Shop at Archie McPhee.

See the Fremont Troll.
posted by jeffbarr at 5:20 PM on May 16, 2014

You mentioned Lakeview Cemetery--it's right next door to Volunteer Park (of the aforementioned Seattle Asian Art museum and very cool Conservatory). The cemetery is smallish, quite nice, and filled with lots of notable old Seattlites.

Bruce Lee's and his son Brandon's graves are probably the most famous, and relatively easy to find--they're always piled with flowers and candles and things people leave.
posted by lovecrafty at 5:29 PM on May 16, 2014

The only museum I would recommend is Chihuly.
Some of the speakeasys are quite nice, I like Knee high Stocking Co a lot.
SIFF would be great. Depending on the weekend you may be able to catch some cool movies. I know Clark Gregg will be in attendance for his movie next week.
Gas Works Park is really nice
Sundance Theatre in U District has a lot of cool movies
Raygun Lounge - Place you can play boardgames and drink some beers
Escape the Room. This is a cool puzzle thing where you are locked in a room with some people and are trying to solve puzzles to get a key.

  • Serious Pie - Definitely some of the best Pizza I have eaten
  • Poppy - I don't really know how to describe the restaurant but it is great and is very PNW
  • Spinasse - Butter and sage pasta. Greatest thing ever
  • Cafe Besalu - Best croissant I have ever eaten and this includes the ones I ate in Paris
  • Crumble and Flake - Best macarons I have ever eaten. I think I liked them more than the ones I had in Paris
  • La Toscanella - Really nice italian cakes. I like the Tiramisu a lot
  • Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co - Lots of unique cupcakes. My favorite is Maple Bacon
  • Saleys - really nice crepes

posted by Pterofractal at 1:47 AM on May 17, 2014

- The Sound Garden at the NOAA Station in Sandpoint
- An homage to both Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendrix at their respective gravesites on Capitol Hill and in Renton.
- Stand under the Hammering Man at the SAM - if u dare! It has been known to fall over.
- Check out the Wing Luke Museum in Chinatown and find out about the WahMee massacre
posted by vonstadler at 5:56 AM on May 17, 2014

Go to Smarty Pants for atleast one meal
Around the corner is the Jules Mae which often has live music.
Go to Fantagraphics
Volunteer park and the water tower for the free alternative to the space needle.
SciFi museum at the EMP.
Ride the monorail because its awesome. Seriously, it is one of my favorite things to do because it is so surreally unnecessary, and $4.
Go to Elliot Bay Book Company
Picnic at Golden Garden's park for sunset.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:31 AM on May 17, 2014

Go to the Reddit Seattle page. Scroll down the sidebar. There are a couple of crowd-sourced faqs on things to do and food.
posted by valannc at 11:11 PM on May 17, 2014

« Older Explaining a Dress Code to 87 Holden Caufields   |   Gifts for liberal, active, outdoor peeps? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.