Seattle tourism recommendations please.
April 21, 2008 5:18 PM   Subscribe

Seattle tourism recommendations please. I'm going to spend a weekend in Seattle soon and would like to hear some tourist options both typical and off-the-beaten-path. Thanks.
posted by damn dirty ape to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (15 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Head up to Everett (about 25 miles north) to the Boeing plant, take the tour, and see airplanes being made.

Here's their web site.
posted by johnvaljohn at 5:46 PM on April 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

I wasn't all that impressed with the Boeing tour, but we must have been there on a boring day because everyone else I know who's ever done it has loved it. (Or, maybe I was bored because my dad worked there when I was a kid. Who knows.)

The Underground Tour, though, is way fun and interesting.

You should also take at least one ferry ride.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:49 PM on April 21, 2008

The Fremont and Ballard markets, both open Sunday, can be fun especially when the weather is nice. Kayaking on Lake Union (they rent kayaks under Agua Verde on Boat St. in the U District) is great on a nice day too.
posted by enaira at 5:50 PM on April 21, 2008

Museum of Flight, Concorde, JFK Air Force One. Massive airplane geek out.

Food - Serious Pie downtown 316 Virginia St. pizza to die for
posted by Freedomboy at 5:57 PM on April 21, 2008

What dates will you be traveling? There are a number of street beer festivals going on (and I happen to be volunteering at most of them) -- it's a great way to get a feel for the city.
posted by halogen at 6:14 PM on April 21, 2008

So scattershot, but try some of these:
I love the people who run Victrola Coffee; they're true connoisseurs.

Spend an afternoon in charming Madison Valley. Eat at Crush.

A nice backgrounder on Pike Place Market. You can't reasonably do anything touristy in Seattle without going there. (They throw the fish! You may have heard that they throw fish there. It's true.)

For public art, can't go wrong with Olympic Sculpture Park.

It seems dorky to go to the library when you're on vacation. But I know who reads this site.

And have a drink at McLeod Residence. These two friends both changed their last name to McLeod and opened a bar-slash-private club-slash-art gallery. I've only read about them, but I'm going to go there when I visit Seattle at the end of this month.
posted by purpleclover at 6:26 PM on April 21, 2008

God, the Seattle library. Yes.
posted by thejoshu at 6:32 PM on April 21, 2008

This question comes up so often, I keep a list on my PDA (in fact I think I may have posted here before:

Things to show out of towners in Seattle:

Pike Place Market and brunch at The Athenian

Sci Fi Museum. Not as big a waste of money as you might think.

Space Needle. Way over priced and do *not* eat at the restaurant, but the view is pretty good on a nice day.

Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island and back.

Alki. Take a walk along the beach there if the weather's nice.

Take in the view on Queen Anne hill at Kerry Park.

Sailing on Lake Union at the Center for Wooden Boats.

Take an Argosy Cruise. The Lake Washington one takes you right up to Bill Gates house.

Check out Archie Mcphee in Ballard. It's a novelty store that sells rubber chickens and stuff, but so very much more.

Walk in Ballard, down Ballard Avenue. Great shops and restaurants.

Ballard Locks where you can see the salmon spawning this time of year.

Hike. If you are in Seattle in summer, you really need to get out and hike. Within 1 hour, you can be in an alpine wonderland. Most trails are not snow free until July.

Ray's Boathouse/Golden Gardens. Have dinner and drinks while the sun sets over Puget Sound.

Gasworks park. A old gas refinery that has been reclaimed and turned into a park with great views of the city, right on Lake Union. On a nice weekend day, there will be hundreds of people out flying kites, playing frisbee, etc.

Agua Verde. This little taco place is really popular. It's right next to the UW and on the water. They rent of kayaks so you can paddle around the houseboats there at Portage Bay.

I think the downtown library is amazing and worth a trip.

Check out the Kurt Cobain death house. It's been pretty much torn down and rebuilt so it looks nothing like the news photos, but there's a park right next door with a bench that has all kinds of memorial graffiti and sometimes with candles burning.

Along I90 across Snoqualmie Pass (45 minutes from Seattle) there is an old rail to trail road called the Iron Horse trail for bikers and hikers. At the pass, the trail goes through a tunnel that is something like 2 miles long. And totally straight. And unlit. You bike towards a tiny point of light, way way off in the distance, otherwise you can't see anything or anyone else until you are right up next to them. Pretty cool.

My favorite bar, no tourists will know about it: The Copper Gate in Ballard. My favorite restaurant: Tamarind Tree in the international district.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:40 PM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]

If you don't live near water, make sure to spend some time along the coastline. A beach that you could drive to is Golden Gardens Park (you'd want to bring a map if you go there, though, since it's not like it's right off the highway). Or, you could just watch the Bainbridge and Bremerton ferries come into downtown Seattle.

Pike Place Market is a major tourist destination and is worth visiting unless it's really, really crowded - I think there's a lull about an hour after the produce stands open up... maybe 10 am is a good time. The fish guys are arrogant and hilarious - they do throw fish, but also watch the giant monkfish on a string... they are always ready to surprise people with that one. If you go back for happy hour, Maximilien's has good specials in their lounge starting at 5pm and a super view of the water (ferry, sunset, etc.) if you grab a seat right at 5pm. The entrance is just to the right past Market Spice by the butcher's. Also, Ivar's down by the piers has a good salmon chowder, which is cheap during happy hour.

Capital Hill might be ideal for Seattle people-watching if you make it up the hill: Cha Cha or Linda's for drinks, and bauhaus for coffee. A little bit out of the way is Top Pot doughnuts, which is really popular and delicious. If you end up near there, the surrounding neighborhood has some of Seattle's most upscale and historic homes. Lots of big trees.

One thing about kayaking on Lake Union - it might be spring everywhere else, but that lake is cold right now! Don't go to far, too, because the water gets really choppy. If you do go, the fish tacos at Agua Verde aren't bad. Also, for off-the-beaten-path in that area, the University of Washington's japanese garden is nice. If you like native Pacific Northwest art/anthropology, the Burke Museum is one of the most respected in the U.S.

I'd also second the Underground tour, although many locals have never ever been. It might be the only thing to see near Pioneer Square (don't stick around for the nightlife, please).

You can take the bus for free most areas of downtown along first ave, fourth ave, etc - it just costs a little more than a dollar if you take a bus up the hill. Check the maps you see on kiosks along the street.

And lastly, don't forget a raincoat!
posted by belau at 6:48 PM on April 21, 2008

woodinville, wa has several wineries and red hook brewery.
posted by ncc1701d at 7:23 PM on April 21, 2008

The Fremont troll.
posted by Joleta at 7:38 PM on April 21, 2008

Pike Place Market may sound cheesy but really, it's not. The shops there are unique and fun and the view from an eatery whose name I can't remember is wonderful (breakfast or brunch).

I *loved* this large asian supermarket. Go shopping, eat lunch there and get a bubble tea on your way home. There's a Japanese bookstore around the corner.

Hit the antique stores in Fremont for fun souvenirs. Check out the Lenin statue while you are there and have a tasty vegetarian meal.
posted by Morrigan at 7:50 PM on April 21, 2008

I just want to secont (third?) the library - be sure to make your way to the very top. The Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company is kind of fun to visit as well. Have a great trip.
posted by Staggering Jack at 8:02 PM on April 21, 2008

Participate in a tea ceremony at the Seattle Art Museum or Seattle Japanese Garden with Urasenke Seattle.
posted by sculpin at 9:11 PM on April 21, 2008

Off the beaten path? Try Georgetown (Six minutes south of downtown-- easy access from I-5)


(There's actually a good map to G-town here:

FOOD: Hangar Cafe (Sunday breakfast!), Georgetown Liquor Company (Vegetarian excellence-- and I EAT MEAT!), Smarty Pants

Lots of upcoming events in the summer-- art walks, garden walks, outdoor movies, musicfest, old-skool carnival... etc.
posted by iam2bz2p at 1:58 PM on April 22, 2008

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