Now that we’ve officially moved to The Emerald City, people are going to be visiting from far and wide. As with any visitors that arrive at SEA-TAC, there’s a list of “staples” where to take people on their inaugural trip out. Here’s what we have so far:
- The Space Needle – Something that can be seen from every shot that’s taken of the Seattle skyline. Seeing as we’ve already done it, we’ll wait for you in the gift shop downstairs. BTW, if you upgrade to the “2 Visits in 24 Hours pass”, you can make that second trip yourself, the gift shop is not THAT interesting. If you decide to grab a bite to eat, bring us along! Always wanted to know what a $37 sandwich would taste like.
- Monorail – Who would have thought that having a monorail with Point A and Point B as the entire journey would be a good idea. Seattle did. You know you’re not a tourist when you take the monorail to actually commute from Seattle Center to Westlake Center. Yes, you could walk it, but when it rains, the monorail is a nice dry option. Also, sit up front if there’s no kids crying that you took their spot.
- Experience Music Project & Science Fiction Museum – Some call it an eyesore, others think it’s a cathedral to past musicians that were able to transform 8 notes or the same 3 chords into works of art. It’s one of those things that you need to do when you come to Seattle to say that you’ve done it. Now, it’s no Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (thanks Cleveland!), however, it’s still pretty neat to walk through just to see it from the inside. Skip the iPod tour, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but the interface can be a little confusing at times and it doesn’t tell you much more than you can read on the little placards in the exhibits.
- Westlake Center et al. – The heart of shopping in Seattle. Complete with bubble tea, Starbucks (not the original) and if you’re lucky…the occasional protest (sometimes it’s against the Macy’s across the street, sometimes it’s about Gaza, you never know).
- Pike Place Market – This is where the original Starbucks is (see #4). You’ll recognize it by the insanely long line and music coming from across the street. Pike Place Market is also home of Pike Place Fish Market, the very place where they throw the fish. Again, look for the huge crowd with only the locals buying fish. Rachel The Pig is nearby too. Good luck snapping a pic…it’s very popular with parents plopping their kids on top of her and coaxing them with candy to smile. One of the nice things about The Market is the fresh flowers in the summertime. You’ll be able to find flowers in colors not normally found in nature. There’s also a bunch of local merchants peddling their wares and most of the food vendors offer free samples. Also of note…the place with the little donuts (long line and sugar in the air) and a couple of stalls down is the hot dog joint with fresh-dipped corn dogs.
- The Ducks – Something that every major city has, well maybe not the ones that are landlocked (sorry Branson, Missouri). Haven’t done these yet, but it’s on the list, because they are the ugliest things on the road and there are some good pic snapping opportunities.
- The Taphouse Grill – I can’t think of what’s more impressive…the halibut sandwich (ask for it without cheese) or the 140 beers on tap. I’ll go with the fish on this one. Not that I have anything against a selection of beers that requires its own menu, it’s just that the fish was REALLY good.
- Easy Street Records – They have a couple of locations in the Seattle area. You never know who you could bump into when shopping at Easy Street. Some of the CDs are as low as 99 cents. Trust me, they’re crap. Go there either if you want to pick something up or just to browse. In case you were wondering, there are other people than Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden that came out of Seattle.
- Fred Meyer – Has to be one of the neatest stores that we’ve visited so far. Where else can you pick up a bag of frozen peas, a Seattle Sounders FC hoodie, and a chrysanthemum?
- Mt. Rainier – It’s a 3 hour drive from Seattle. Buy a postcard or take a picture.
- REI – The flagship store is located just off of I-5…and it is a wonder to behold. You can go in there and not know what half the stuff does, but there’s something about it that makes you think that you can traverse their climbing wall. Hell, Franklin D. Roosevelt would be inspired to go snow shoeing after a trip to REI!
- Seattle Public Library – You don’t need to be a card-carrying member walk through the doors. But stand outside it for a minute or two to take it in. OK, enough standing outside, go inside and take a look. First thing you’ll notice entering on the 4th Ave side is the book return. Watch the 4:30 minute video in the corner. Fascinating. It really is. Take the escalators to the other floors and just walk around. Be sure to stop at the shop on the 3rd floor, there’s a bunch of neat things if you’re looking for something to take back home that isn’t a salmon on dry ice.
- Qwest Field – If you’re lucky enough to be here when a game is on, try and grab some tickets. Especially in the summertime when the weather is nice and it’s a night game…can’t beat it. Tickets are cheap, concessions not so much, but it’s a great night out.
- Dick’s (on Capitol Hill) – It’s bad luck to have 13 items on a list, so here’s a freebie. Dick’s is an institution. The burgers are cheap (couple bucks each), shakes are good, and the fries are cut fresh. That being said, make sure there’s a bathroom nearby as your meal will run through you faster than a Japanese Bullet Train.
- Uwajimaya – Known to locals as Uwajimaya, this Asian market is huge. If you’re looking for a Red Bull, freeze-dried squid, and a Beard Papa cream puff…this is the place you want to be!
Seattle is filled with stuff to do…from walking the piers, to walking downtown, to walking to the Science Center (are you getting my drift). You don’t need to rent a car here, besides if you stay longer than a week, you’ll need to get a second mortgage for the parking. There’s lots of great restaurants, haven’t encountered any bad ones yet but I have my suspicions. I’m sure that I’m forgetting things like Pioneer Square, the Utilikilt store, and The Underground Tour. I’ll leave that for the next list.