48 hours in Redmond
October 20, 2017 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to be spending a week or so in Redmond, WA for work in early December. Mostly I'll be working but I'll have about 2 days when I get there to do as I will. I've never been to the Seattle area before. What should I do, and what should I know about visiting?

I probably won't have a car, and I'm staying roughly on the border between Redmond and Bellevue. I'm not massively keen on Uber; I'd prefer getting around by public transport, but can do taxis if need be. I'm perfectly happy doing deeply touristy things, especially as I'm likely to be massively jet lagged; any must-visit food joints or fun museums (science/engineering/modern art/design) also welcome.

Also, is there anything I should just generally know about being there, particularly at that time of year? I'm British, so I'm quite prepared for cold, grey and wet...
posted by parm to Travel & Transportation around Washington (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Redmond has a growing Indian food scene, and this is one of my favorite places: Chaat House.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:55 PM on October 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Re: transportation - it's not great on the east side; you may want to download Onebusaway for real time arrival info. There is Lyft.

I would eat at Dough Zone; be sure to order the Jian buns.

If one of your free days happens to be 12/1, go to downtown Seattle for Figgy Pudding, an annual caroling fest fundraiser. You may have to get off the 545 at Stewart and Yale and walk the rest because it closes several streets and exacerbates our puzzling inability to commute in the rainy dark.

There's a living computer museum in SoDo and Terra Cotta soldiers may still be at Pacific Science Center; I also recommend the underground tour to everyone.

For max tourist, take the 13 or 2 up Queen Anne to go to Kerry Park, the one with the iconic skyline view. There's a South African cafe serving rooibos drinks nearby, Cederberg Tea House.
posted by batter_my_heart at 1:13 PM on October 20, 2017

Marymore park is lovely if you need a break but not an attraction. Once you're over the lake into Seattle it's walkable. Pike place market is great. The Bainbridge ferry is not long with great views of the water and city if a clear day. If it at all fits the direction you're going the monorail is cool 1960's futurism. I loved the Museum of Flight but it'll be a long bus ride and it's in an industrial area so not much else. The Frye and SAM are serviceable small city museums but I'd check if the current exhibits grab you, the base exhibits are fine.
posted by sammyo at 2:22 PM on October 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

You could check out Mox Boarding House, a really cool board games shop and eatery in Bellevue.
posted by wsquared at 2:25 PM on October 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

(sorry, I should have written "December 1st" instead of 12/1)
posted by batter_my_heart at 3:07 PM on October 20, 2017

Transit is another app that I find useful in the Seattle area, it allows you to combine transit modes inside the app for route suggestions, i.e. biking+walking+bus in one suggested route. If you decide to head into Seattle, the 545 is an express route running from Redmond back through Bellevue that can drop you off downtown in reach of many things by foot.

I've made Seattle-centric recommendations a couple of times in the past, comments that might offer something worth checking out. (Those two answers largely overlap.)

There isn't a terrible lot to see and do in Redmond and Bellevue as they are both largely newer areas. Plenty of good restaurants in the area, at least though.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:37 AM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ooh, I somehow missed the British part you mentioned. Used to cold, gra(e)y and wet? You'll fit right in and almost certainly have the clothes. Seattle's weather tracks astonishingly, almost eerily close to London's year round, if that helps you calibrate. The major difference I've found is it doesn't rain as hard here in Seattle, so a couple of layers topped with something rain-resistant, and you're ready to go. We tend to get lots of misty all-day rain events, which is the real reason Seattleites never use umbrellas, not some misplaced sense of machismo or masochism. (But don't spread that around, we have an image to uphold.)

Having said that, it's weather, so no promises.

Fair warning, all these are Seattle-centric: The original Starbucks is in Pike Place Market if that's your cup of tea, as it were, and places you in the heart of downtown, within reach by foot of lots of stuff. The Museum of Pop Culture is a monorail ride away from the market downtown. batter_my_heart mentioned the Underground Tour, and I second that if you like quirky history. It's the closest thing in the PNW to the odd, strange histories and tours you'd find in an old European city, and encompasses the Klondike gold rush, whorehouses run by "seamstresses," speakeasies, and other oddities. It's also located in Pioneer Square, the oldest neighborhood in Seattle. Sadly, the very road that the phrase 'skid row' allegedly derives from is right there, and still accurate. Seattle's long had a large population of people sleeping rough, and it's only gotten worse the past few years with Amazon expanding, so don't be surprised to see it. We're (barely) working on it, and not doing nearly enough.

If you're an outdoorsy type of person, the famous REI co-op is headquartered here, and might allow you to leverage the exchange rate for gear. sammyo mentioned the Museum of Flight's awkward location, which is true, but on the other hand…Seattle's light rail system from downtown could drop you off really close too. Holy cow but they've got some good stuff. If you're a cinephile, the Cinerama downtown is another gem. If all of this is overwhelming, you can't really go wrong on a day off while visiting by simply heading into downtown. You'll have access to shopping, sights, museums, the waterfront, ferries, and restaurants. While not a particularly large city, there's plenty enough to explore on foot that'll keep you occupied for a day simply by wandering around.

And though it wasn't in the remit of your original question, I want to recommend keeping a trip out to the coast in mind for any future visits—especially wet and rainy ones—as you'd get to put the Hoh on your itinerary. Experiencing the firs and forests of the coastal Pacific northwest can be a nearly religious experience. If any of your co-workers offer to show you the mountains or any hiking while you're here, throw Seattle under the bus and GO. No matter what you decide to do out here, welcome! All my UK friends have absolutely loved it out here, so I figure there's a chance you may too.

Oh dear, please forgive my wall of text. I tend to do this worse and worse each time someone asks about Seattle. I do rather adore this city.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 4:23 PM on October 21, 2017

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