Killing time between SEATAC and Climate Change Arena
September 12, 2023 3:29 PM   Subscribe

So, I'm off on a weird trip early next month, into SEA early on a Sunday morning, attending a concert in the evening, and then flying back out of SEA the first flight the next morning. I'll be taking the light rail up to Seattle and am wondering, are there any stops along the way I should explore? I have a full day to kill before the show, and will get a day pass for the train so I can get off and on as much as I want. This would be only for the daytime on a Sunday. I could kill an hour or two or more at a few stops heading north, so recommendations for anything are welcome.
posted by hippybear to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Get breakfast at Geraldine's Counter in Columbia City. Downtown CC is a few blocks east of the light rail stop.
posted by Sublimity at 3:56 PM on September 12, 2023 [2 favorites]

Visit the International District/Chinatown. The big Uwajimaya is a huge japanese grocery store and has a branch of the stationary/bookstore Kinokuniya (if anime/cutesy/stationary is your thing).

I second Geraldine's Counter but prepare for a long wait.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 5:25 PM on September 12, 2023 [3 favorites]

Dim Sum in the International District also cannot be beat. I really like both Jade Garden and Honey Court.
posted by spinifex23 at 7:04 PM on September 12, 2023 [1 favorite]

If you haven't been to Pike Place Market before, it's kind of fun to walk through.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:52 PM on September 12, 2023 [1 favorite]

In this situation, I would go one extra light rail stop to Capitol Hill, cross the street from the station, descend a staircase into a dubious-looking basement restaurant named Annapurna, and order the vindaloo because it is divine. But maybe this just means I’m craving vindaloo.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:31 PM on September 12, 2023 [1 favorite]

Spice Bridge in Tukwila.
posted by matildaben at 10:43 PM on September 12, 2023

Response by poster: Maybe I should clarify and say I'm maybe looking for things to see or do that aren't all food related.
posted by hippybear at 4:07 AM on September 13, 2023

Pike Place Market, Olympic Sculpture Park, the Waterfront (just take the stairs from Pike Place Market), visit the very cheesy Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe, or The Seattle Art Museum. All of this is within walking distance of the University Street light rail station.

Or the EMP-Museum of Pop Culture at the Seattle Center, Pacific Science Center and Space Needle. Get off at Westlake Station, transfer and take our world famous Monorail (separate travel fee) to the Seattle Center/Climate Pledge Arena.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 5:54 AM on September 13, 2023

Response by poster: I'm already very familiar with Seattle. My question is about taking the light rail from SEA to Seattle and maybe getting off at stops along that way.

I'm sorry if I was unclear in my question. I thought I stated pretty clearly I'm looking to spend my travel time toward Seattle exploring stops along the train route.
posted by hippybear at 5:58 AM on September 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

I can't find it, but Vancouver reporter Justin McElroy (@j_mcelroy) recently rated every skytrain station. Sounds like it would be an interesting half-day to disembark at every station between the airport and westlake (or whatever is near the arena), take a few photos in the area, and do the same thing. Bonus points if you have a blog or account to write it up somewhere.
posted by morspin at 12:03 PM on September 13, 2023

Response by poster: Sounds like it would be an interesting half-day to disembark at every station between the airport and westlake (or whatever is near the arena), take a few photos in the area, and do the same thing.

And asking people who might know for pointers about what might be at each stop might be a thing I could do?
posted by hippybear at 3:02 PM on September 13, 2023

ok... there's an interesting historic boeing worker's union hall about a mile west of the Rainier Beach station. But I don't know if it's open to the public on the day you're passing through, and according to google maps it's a 5-plus-mile walk from the station because you have to deal with the freeway and walk around King county airport.

I don't know any of the stations south of Pioneer Square, but I suspect most of them are like that, geared to the park-and-ride trade.

On the more helpful side, no one here has mentioned the main public library yet, opened about 20 years ago and worth it for the architecture. A short walk from the University St station. I think it's the 3rd floor that's inspired by the human birth canal.
posted by morspin at 5:53 PM on September 13, 2023

Depending on the weather, could be fun to take the West Seattle Water Taxi. It's a short walk from Pioneer Square station. Kinda pricey (it's in the regional ORCA system but your day pass won't cover it) but you get a great view of the skyline. Also next door is our brand new terminal for the big ferries.

Could walk to Alki Beach instead of getting right back on the return trip (or alternatively take the Bainbridge ferry) but both of those become more like a half day.
posted by davidest at 5:59 PM on September 13, 2023

Best answer: I get what you're going for, but it's challenging. Some of these stations aren't exactly tourist destinations. E.g., Tukwila Int'l Blvd station is a wasteland of parking lots, strip malls, and medium density apartment complexes.

Here are a few suggestions that may be more useful.

Rainier Beach - Kubota Garden is an awesome Japanese garden, but it's a 25 minute walk. You can take a bus but it may not be any faster.

Sodo - Lander Street Vintage is a large antique mall, if you like that sort of thing.

Int'l District - Wing Luke Museum. Uwajimaya and its bookstore.

Pioneer Square - Klondike Gold Rush Museum, and of course Pioneer Square itself.

University - Seattle Art Museum

Westlake - Pike Place Market, then take the monorail to the Seattle Center.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:06 PM on September 13, 2023

Response by poster: Okay, so to follow up with this, thank you for the recommendation for Kubota Garden. I wish I'd been there on a sunny day but even without bright sunshine the layers and colors were wonderful. I will note: the map shows there's a foot/bike path that goes to the garden. But the map doesn't show that this footpath goes up and over a rather impressive hill and then dumps you at a locked gate on the wrong corner of the garden. So if any of you ever do go there, take the streets and not the footpath.

Also, I had no idea that Othello was the real Asian district. Wow! I wish I could visit all the restaurants I saw walking around there.

I guess the real story is, there isn't all that much going on close to the light rail, really. A bit of a shame, but it was a fun way to spend a day where I had nothing better to do.

Also, buying a day pass for the light rail feels like a super power. I think everyone else thought I was riding without paying, but I had the ticket in my wallet.
posted by hippybear at 8:57 AM on October 9, 2023

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