Seattle for 36 hours
April 16, 2018 5:18 PM   Subscribe

I have a day and a half in Seattle (or the surrounding area) to kill during the week. What should I do, where should I stay?

I'm traveling to Seattle for work at the end of the month, and have a day and a half between when the conference ends, and when I'll be meeting up with a friend in Tacoma. I'm planning to book an AirBnB and explore, and I would love suggestions on what neighborhoods I should aim for and what to do.

Broadly, some things I like include: vegetarian food, bookstores, zines, interesting neighborhoods/architecture, weird/off-the-beaten path sights, and anything involving nature. Possibly a museum if it's something unique. I've been once before and seen some of the major sites (Pike's Place, etc), so mainly I'd like to just enjoy wandering about by foot or bike in a new city. One idea I had was taking the ferry over to Bainbridge Island. I could also go do a day hike somewhere, though I'm also planning to spend a day doing that with my friend.

I'm having a little trouble wrapping my head around logistics, as I'll have a carry on suitcase and backpack in tow. Is there anywhere convenient to store them while wandering if I do Bainbridge, or would that require a car? I'm thinking of renting a car anyway to get to Tacoma, so bonus points on advice if that is worthwhile, or if I should just take a bus or a Lyft (my friend will have a car once I'm there, though I need to get back to the airport after). Would definitely like to keep things pretty frugal. Thanks!
posted by veery to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Ask your AirBnB host if you can keep your bag at their place past checkout time -- I have seen hosts offer this up front, so it seems like a reasonable request. There are buses from Seattle to Tacoma, and from Tacoma to the airport, and they are fairly direct, though subject to the traffic conditions of I-5. If your friend can drop you off and pick you up at the transit center in Tacoma, this is the most frugal option.

When are you coming? The Bainbridge experience is much better in decent weather. Regardless, taking a car onto the ferry will cost you (both ways), so I recommend being a walk-on passenger.
posted by batter_my_heart at 6:09 PM on April 16, 2018

Seattle’s best bookstore is Elliot Bay Book Co, on Capitol Hill.

If you want cheap food that is a Seattle “thing” while here, you should go for pho or teriyaki. Your teriyaki will come with salad; nobody knows why.
posted by silby at 7:12 PM on April 16, 2018

I recently went to Seattle and had the best time at the Seattle Pinball Museum. $15 for all you can pinball, and the machines span the 1960s till now. The Museum of Pop Culture is also a real delight, particularly if you enjoy sci-fi and fantasy.
posted by thebots at 7:56 PM on April 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

The Museum of History and Industry is a fantastic museum and a great way to learn a little Seattle history.
posted by pdb at 8:41 PM on April 16, 2018

One caveat about pho - some places will actually have a vegetarian broth, others will just serve tofu and vegetables in the traditional beef broth. So, it's good to ask.

If you want a place to wander around, the International District and Little Saigon is filled to the brim with delectable restaurants and grocery stores from a myriad of Asian countries, and many of them serve vegetarian food. My current favorite is Tofully, which is a Korean joint; they even serve a fully vegetarian soondubu jjigae, or spicy soft tofu soup, which is delicious. Both neighborhoods are easily walkable, though there is a hill.

You can definitely kill an hour or three wandering around Uwajimaya, which is in the ID, right by the Light Rail station.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:00 PM on April 16, 2018

Google various 36-or-48 hours-in-Seattle articles like this one There are a number of them that come up.
posted by Elsie at 3:50 AM on April 17, 2018

In the Bowl is all vegetarian and wonderfully tasty. I would eat their Cloudy Soup everyday if I could.
posted by Constant Reader at 10:55 AM on April 17, 2018

Best answer: Do you like live music, theater, etc?

Check these calendars:

* Live Music Project -- classical and contemporary. Check out the listing of free concerts.
* The Stranger newspaper. Check for their list of recommended events.
* Art walks are a really fun way to explore a neighborhood. This list shows them all, but don't trust it. You need to make sure the walk is really happening in the neighborhood.
* Feet First Walks. These are well-organized and well-attended.
* Tree walks

Most venues are comfortable to attend alone. Here are venues/series where I feel comfortable attending alone:

* couth buzzard bookstore -- folk music, jazz, celtic, etc.
* Wayward music series at Good Shepherd Chapel. I cannot emphasize how special and beautiful is this performance space. It's easy to find the building, but hard to find the chapel inside the building. Leave extra time.
* Bushwick Book Club. This is unique to Seattle and Brooklyn. Interesting and fun.
* Fremont Abbey performances

If you have questions while visiting, the SeattleWA reddit community can be helpful and prompt with replies. But be prepared for lots of snark.

Also: Tacoma is a great place to visit. Beautiful parks, glass museum, and more.
posted by valannc at 11:15 AM on April 17, 2018

Best answer: My favorite little-known spot in Seattle is the Waterfall Garden Park in Pioneer Square. There's nothing to DO, but it's a great place to sit and have lunch and get a break from the crowded sidewalks for a minute. It's close enough to most convention locations that you could probably pop in during one of the conference days. Also, if you like odd local historical tidbits, it's located on the site of the original UPS center.

Also in Pioneer Square is the amazing Intrigue Chocolate. They have rotating series of special truffles, and they do free tastings. In March, their flavor of the month was Everything Bagel.

I would recommend renting a car to go to Tacoma, and to give yourself a chance to explore a little more of Seattle than just downtown and surrounding--while individual neighborhoods are very walkable, it's not always easy to get from one neighborhood to another without a car. The water tends to get in the way!

If you do have a car, here are some outside-downtown ideas:
I had a really delicious tofu poke bowl (which I didn't know was a thing!) at Fremont Bowl the last time I was in Seattle, if you're interested in checking out that neighborhood at all. It was next to a really cool bookstore that only sells cookbooks. Fremont also has the Troll, the statue of Lenin, Theo chocolate factory, Fremont Brewing Co, and lots of other cool arts-y stuff. The neighborhood website is pretty thorough.

If you're into zoos, Woodland Park Zoo is very neat. Also, I never leave Seattle without stopping in to Archie McPhee--you never know what you'll find! It has way more cool/weird stuff than what you see on the site, and quite a bit of army/medical/party surplus. On my last trip I bought a vintage parachute jacket hood that's the exact right color to attach to my favorite jacket.
posted by assenav at 2:48 PM on April 17, 2018

Response by poster: These were all great suggestions - thanks! I marked as best the ones I used for actual planning.

I lucked into amazing weather, so I spent most of my time outside. That included Bainbridge island one day, and then exploring the city using the bikeshare bikes, and I'd recommend both plans highly to anyone else looking at this thread in the future. Seattle has an amazing network of bike paths! I stayed in Capitol Hill, went up to the University District, took the Burke-Gilman trail through Fremont & Ballard (the troll & fish ladder were highlights), and then looped back down on the South Ship canal trail; found great food & drinks everywhere.
posted by veery at 6:17 AM on May 5, 2018

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