Seattle Vacation
June 18, 2007 8:36 AM   Subscribe

What to do and see in Seattle?

We will be in Seattle mid-August for 2-3 days. Obviously a Google search will reveal some of the typical tourist things to do but I want to know what the favorites are of those who either live in the area or have visited before. One thing we always try to do is find local cuisine - eating at franchise restaurants while traveling is on our taboo list. We are in our early 50s (I've only been there for 6 weeks now). We like history, theater, walking tours, parks, and GOOD food. We're not much into drinking or bar type night life. Any suggestions?
posted by cainiarb to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (17 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I've always had really great meals at the Dahlia Lounge. The food has been fantastic, and the experience has always been very pleasant. There are certainly more adventurous and cutting edge restaurant choices in Seattle, but I think it's a good choice.

Sushi is also a good plan. I'm fond of Chiso, in the Fremont neighborhood.

Salumi for lunch is also quite nice (or it was when I was last there).

As for things to see, you should go to the Ballard locks. I don't know anyone who hasn't been charmed by them, no do I want to.
posted by Good Brain at 8:57 AM on June 18, 2007

Second the Locks, and Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill is a really nice spot (climb up the water tower!).
posted by pdb at 9:02 AM on June 18, 2007

I was there for a few days a couple years ago. The Pike Place Market was worth a couple hours of browsing, IMHO, in case you dismissed that as too touristy. There is a great cheese shop called Beecher's right near there as well. If you eat meat, there is a cool little place called Salumi a bit south of the central part of downtown, with amazing charcuterie and roast meat sandwiches and plates, but be forwarded it's small and often very crowded.

If you like poetry then Open Books, one of the few remaining poetry-only bookstores in the country, is up toward the university on N 45th St (was easy to get to off the highway if you have a car). Great poetry browsing.

Call me a nerd but I also enjoyed just taking the ferry across the sound and back.
posted by aught at 9:04 AM on June 18, 2007

The Seattle Public Library.

The kind of place that makes one wish they lived some place cool and civic-minded like Seattle.
posted by BaxterG4 at 9:19 AM on June 18, 2007

You have to see the famous troll under the bridge. The locals will be glad to direct you.
posted by misha at 10:10 AM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

We like history, theater, walking tours, parks, and GOOD food.

The Seattle Underground Tour is a tourist thing, but is also pretty fun and interesting. It might be worth your time to head up to Volunteer Park and check out the sculpture. Dahlia and Salumi are great recommendations -- if you are interested in sushi, I recommend Maneki or Mashiko for omakase. What kind of food are you most interested in?
posted by j.edwards at 10:41 AM on June 18, 2007

I can never think of an answer to this question when I have friends visiting, so I finally started keeping a list of my favorite thing to show out of towners.

Pike Place Market/eat brunch at the Athenian

Sci Fi Museum: not as much of a rip off as you'd think

Space Needle: duh, but the view is pretty cool, even for someone who lives here

Ferry Ride: take the Bremerton or Bainbridge ferry roundtrip for a cheap way to spend an afternoon and take in some views.

Alki: nice waterfront area with a beach, good for views on the rare sunny day

Sailing on Lake Union: check out the Center for Wooden Boats if you are interested in sailing.

Argosy Cruise: pricey, but you really get a different perspective on the city by navigating all of it's little waterways. On the Lake Washington tour, they cruise right up to Bill Gates' house. One time I saw his kids swimming in the water.

Archie Mcphee: a funny little junk store in Ballard that defies description.

Walk in Fremont

Walk in Ballard

Ballard Locks: You should be able to some salmon spawning this time of year.

Hike: this is what most Seattleites do on their days off in the summer. You can access some of the most spectacular alpine trails in the country within a couple hours' drive. Check out the 100 best hikes series of books. Everyone has their favorite. Mine is Spray Park in Mount Rainier National Park.

Volunteer Park

Gasworks park

Agua Verde: a little Taco place on the water down by the University. You can also rent kayaks here to paddle around Portage Bay and Lake Washington.

Library: brand new, ultra modern, fun free thing to do. Everyone who visits me here loves this.

Kurt Cobain Death House: worth a drive by if you're interested

The Copper Gate: a totally amazing Norwegian Bar in Ballard

Tamarind Tree: a totally amazing Vietnamese restaurant in the International District.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:50 AM on June 18, 2007

I almost forgot: The Fremont Sunday Ice Cream cruise is one of my favorite quirky things to do take out of towners to do.

Peacay's right that the green is awash in "What to do in Seattle" threads, but I thought this one was particularly good.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:25 AM on June 18, 2007

Seconding the Lake Washington Argosy cruise. Getting out on the water is a must, and it's fun to see Bill Gates' and Howard Schultz's mansions, plus the Sleepless in Seattle floating home.

If that's too pricey, a simple ferry ride is also very cool.

Ray's Boathouse in Ballard has a great waterfront deck and serves plenty of Seattle specialties. And it puts you in my neighborhood, Ballard, close to the Locks, Archie McPhee, and more.

It's a cliche I know, but the view from the Space Needle is AWESOME, even if you're a little freaked out by heights, as I am. Close your eyes going up in the see-through elevator and you may find the view from the top isn't as scary.
posted by GaelFC at 11:38 AM on June 18, 2007

Jeezuz Slarty! The first rule of Agua Verde is we do not talk about Agua Verde...
posted by black8 at 12:42 PM on June 18, 2007

For the insider's insider tips, my email is in my profile.
posted by y2karl at 12:51 PM on June 18, 2007

The Columbia Tower, downtown Seattle - $5 to get to the observation deck, undoubtedly the best view of the city and everything around it.
posted by iamck at 1:46 PM on June 18, 2007

Rent a car (or yours) and take a trip across for a day trip to the penninsula. Port Townsend and Port Angeles are really cool (but expensive to play in). Good hiking in the Olympia NF.

If you were ever a fan of Twin Peaks, take a trip to the filming sites. Everything is really small compared to the scale of the series. Weird.
posted by elendil71 at 2:25 PM on June 18, 2007

Jeezuz Slarty! The first rule of Agua Verde is we do not talk about Agua Verde...

It's a three minute walk from my office. And yet, none of you ever call me to have lunch.
posted by dw at 5:19 PM on June 18, 2007

I haven't been yet, but I've been told the newly renovated Seattle Art Museum is finally worth taking out-of-towners to.

The Market is so underrated. Locals sometimes write it off as a tourist trap, but few US cities have anything comparable. If you love food, it's heaven.

The food's not the greatest, but Ivar's Salmon House is where we take out-of-towners to dinner, for the ambience and the view of the Ship Canal. Yukon River salmon are fresh right now.

Finally, back to Agua Verde -- they rent kayaks by the hour, and you can explore the Ship Canal and the Arboretum wetlands.
posted by dw at 5:30 PM on June 18, 2007

If you include musical theater in your liking of theater, and you like Mel Brooks, "Young Frankenstein" the musical is having its pre-Broadway try-out here in August. Susan Stroman is directing, and confirmed cast includes Roger Bart (Tony winner for "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."), Megan Mullally ("Will and Grace"), Sutton Foster ("Thoroughly Modern Millie") and Shuler Hensley (Tony winner for "Oklahoma!"). And the Paramount Theatre itself is lovely.
posted by girlhacker at 11:08 PM on June 18, 2007

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