Summer Fun in Seattle?
June 11, 2014 5:07 PM   Subscribe

I'll be living in Seattle for the summer. I'm looking for suggestions of things to do and places to go, both tourist-y and everyday, as well as general resources for someone new to the city. More about me and my interests inside

About me: mid-20s, into food (both restaurants and cooking) and used bookstores. I like the arts (theater, music, art). I'm a casual runner and like hiking (in a casual sense). I'm pretty open to new things as well. I'm not really a partier or into loud bars.

I'll be living on UW's campus and working downtown. I'm there mid-June to early September. I'll have a public transportation pass but no car.

I've never been to Seattle before, so I'm interested to know what tourist-y stuff is worth doing, but also suggestions for more everyday activities (festivals/street fairs? outdoor concerts? good restaurants?) as well as event listings/resources for finding out what's going on in the city. Thanks!
posted by matildatakesovertheworld to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (11 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
The Fremont Solstice festival might interest you. Fremont is pretty much smack dab next to UW campus.

If you're on campus, you could rent a kayak from Agua Verde to go paddling around Lake Union — nice way to explore a side of Seattle most don't see.

Lots of good restaurants around Seattle. Canlis. Ray's. Rover's is closed, but its owner has opened up a new restaurant called Luc.

Pick up a free Seattle Weekly or Stranger on Wednesdays for listings of the week's events.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:15 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thierry's new restaurant is Loulay, he had Luc for a while.
posted by Joe Chip at 5:28 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

-Kayak on Lake Union
-Canoe from UW through the Arboretum
-Fremont Solstice Parade is indeed a uniquely Seattle experience
-Lake Union's Wooden Boat Festival is quite nice
-Explore Seattle's breweries - many have nice outdoor seating
-First Thursday art walks through Pioneer Square would be a nice intro to the city's art scene
-Check out the free Concerts at the Mural
-Check out some of the outdoor movies
-Even better, Central Cinema is a really lovely independent cinema that serves food & drinks
-Rent an Electric Boat if you can get a group together - do it for 2 hours at sunset (it's expensive with a small group, but with 10 people it's just $20/person and it's a magical experience)
-Shakespeare in the park
-Foodie events like Burning Beast (if you can get a ticket) or local farm dinners

Tourism Worth Doing

-Olympic Sculpture Park
-Ferry ride to Bainbridge Island
-Pike Place Market
-Neighborhood farmer's markets
-Explore these neighborhoods: Capitol Hill, Ballard, Georgetown, Madison Park, etc.

There are so many great restaurants in Seattle, it's hard to begin to list them all. If you give us a food genre, price point you like, or some other specifics I could give you a detailed list.
posted by leitmotif at 6:23 PM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

If I only had time and money for one meal in Seattle, it would be at Altura. Save up every penny and make a reservation to sit at the chef's counter.
posted by joan_holloway at 6:34 PM on June 11, 2014

Summer is a wonderful time to be in Seattle! It tends to be warm and sunny (almost no rain) but not too hot or humid.

I'm going to be lazy and link to a comment where I laid out all of the places I would take people when they visited me in Seattle.

If you can rent a car/zipcar, or get a friend to take you, definitely try to get out of the city at least once or twice. The Olympic Peninsula is amazing, with snow-capped mountains, alpine meadows, rainforest, and amazing, craggy beaches. In the other direction, you have the Cascades, which are also really beautiful.

There are a lot of great places to eat near the UW campus. University Way, or "The Ave," is lined with cheap student places, many of which are actually pretty good: Thai Tom's is the go-to for authentic Thai street food, but Garam Masala and all of the pho shops are good too.
posted by lunasol at 6:46 PM on June 11, 2014

western washington is home to two excellent state fairs: the evergreen state fair in late august and the washington state fair (formerly known as the puyallup fair) in early september. both are outside of seattle a ways, but there are trains/shuttles. either one is well worth the trip.
posted by bruceo at 7:02 PM on June 11, 2014

Some awesome food places in the U-District:

Thaiger Room (Thai)
Araya's Place (Vegetarian Thai + Bakery) (All You Can Eat Buffet for lunch - $10)
Pizza Pi (Vegan Pizza)

Some awesome food places in other areas:

Silence Heart Nest (Vegetarian breakfasty place) (Fremont area)
Paseos (Cuban) (Fremont area)
Pecado Bueno (Bro/Hipster Mexican?) (Fremont area)
Long Provincial (Asian Fusion) (Downtown - Belltown area)
Petra Mediterranean (Downtown - Belltown area)
Planet Java Diner (American breakfast/burger food) (Downtown - Pioneer Square area)
Maneki Sushi (Japanese) (Downtown - International District area)
Tamarind Tree (Asian Fusion) (Downtown - International District area)
Oasis (Bubble Tea/Cafe Food) (Downtown - International District area)
Gossip (Bubble Tea) (Downtown - International District area)
Uwajimaya Food Court (Mostly Asian cusuine) (Downtown - International District) - Really. It's legit and cheap.
Cafe Flora (American breakfast/brunch food) (Downtown - Madison area)
Patio Thai (Thai) (Downtown - Cap Hill area)
Taco Chukis (Mexican) (Downtown - Cap Hill area)
The Saint (Mexican) (Downtown - Cap Hill area)
Kimchi Bistro (Korean) (Downtown - Cap Hill area)
Portage Bay (American Breakfast/Brunch Food) (Downtown - South Lake Union + Ballard area)

Some awesome things to do:

Fremont Sunday Market (Fremont area)
Add A Ball (Retro Barcade) (Fremont area) - It's even in a basement.
Gasworks Park (Fremont area)
Ross Park (Fremont area)
Discovery Park & West Point Lighthouse (Northwest Queen Anne? area)
Space Needle (Downtown) - Don't pay to go in/up. Save your $.
Olympic Sculpture Park (Downtown - Belltown area)
Pike Place Market (Downtown) - There's a couple cool bookstores here.
Columbia Tower 40th floor Starbucks (Downtown) - Much cheaper than the needle.
Seattle Art Museum (Downtown)
International District/Chinatown (Downtown - South) - I live here. It's pretty rad.
Washington Park Arboretum (Downtown - Madison area)
Volunteer Park (Downtown - Cap Hill area)
Cal Anderson Park (Downtown - Cap Hill area)
Volunteer Park (Downtown - Cap Hill area)
Twice Sold Tales (Book store) (Downtown - Cap Hill area) - Has cats. Kinda smells...
Rock Box (Karaoke) (Downtown - Cap Hill area) - Private rooms.
The Burke Gilman (Trail) - This spans through Fremont and UW. Great long, urban hike/walk.
Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry - Enjoy the ride over the water. Have lunch in Bainbridge. :)
Gameworks (Modern Barcade) (Downtown) - I'm bias. They have DDR.
Benaroya Hall (Performing Arts, Concerts, ect.) (Downtown) - Pixar in Concert, SCMS Summer Festival.
Highway 99 Blues Club (Blues/Jazz/Soul & Cajun Food) (Downtown) - Free live music happy hour.

And definitely nab one of the free Strangers when you're here. It'll be the best way to find specific events at the time.
posted by stubbehtail at 7:20 PM on June 11, 2014

Obviously, the previously-mentioned free weekly (The Stranger) is online too, with a blog, called Slog, so you can get a jumpstart on what's happening.

Summer festivals are popular and CROWDED so plan your transit and consider your tolerance level of crowds and waits. We get a lot of tourists downtown (and everywhere) in the summer. Taxis are a looooong wait here. Seattle is roughly hourglass shaped with the waist at downtown, which causes big traffic bottlenecks at times. Look at the WSDOT page to get a heads up on summer construction and bridge closures, which are frequent enough to be notable. Google maps has been pretty reliable about bus routes here IMO. The actual bus page is oookay, better than it used to be.

People here have given you really great summery things to do, but you may have heard or know that there's no AC here in many residences and some businesses. It's not a huge deal...except for like two weeks in July or August (unless it rains all summer like it did in '11...). Sometimes it hits 90-100. I seek out air conditioned Chinese restaurants, art museums, and movie theatres at that time. My gut is telling me it's going to be a nice summer. My tomatoes are really high already.

Cool (literally) places:
Asian Art Museum
Frye Art Museum (free!! donations accepted)
Henry Art Museum and Burke Museum on campus
Suzzallo Library at UW <3

Also there is a cute coffee shop in the basement of the art building called Parnassus. Speaking of coffee, if you want to do an Iconic Cliched Seattle thing, you can do a coffee crawl. Or take the Seattle Underground tour if you like history.

One last thing--if you fall in love with Seattle, and people often do in August, come back and try to stay for a week in November or February, and see if you are still in love once you are in the permadrizzle. :)
posted by Lardmitten at 7:49 PM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Used bookstores you say? Consider going down to Portland and the Powell's locations for a day or two. Amtrak has train service.
posted by girlhacker at 10:46 PM on June 11, 2014

Or take the Bolt Bus up to Vancouver BC or down to Portland for a weekend.
posted by hydra77 at 10:26 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

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