We’re thinking of visiting Portland, Seattle, and/or places in between next month. Where should we go? What should we do?
Possibilities already on my radar:
Powell’s (==*rapturous sigh*==)
ETA: and Seattle’s University Bookstore, home of many fine author events
That’s funny. I came here today to thank you for recommending the Mercy Thompson story. I’m enjoying it so much that I did NOT take it w. me this afternoon so I could finish it tonight.
I don’t know how you’re going, but if I were driving, I’d plan a rest-stop in the Tri-cities area just for fun.
You could also stop by Bill Gates’s house, just for giggles. And, see my fabulous friend Fran.
hummm…. Seattle… I want to go back!
Seattle Zoo – it’s small, but very nice.
Check out http://www.citypass.com/ – If we had been in Seattle for longer, we would have gotten one. We got one for San Fransisco and it worked out.
Also – check out the mass transit stuff.
Wow, I’d forgotten the SF museum is up there. Thanks!
Julie — hehe!
Scott Janssens says
-Pike Place Market and environs (a must)
-Elliott Bay Book Company
-Salumi (Mario Batali’s father’s hand made salami store)
-Pioneer Square (some interesting shops, can be touristy)
-A walk down Broadway (many boutiques, the Capitol Hill neighborhood can be a bit pretentious in a gothy, punky, trendy way, but worth visiting)
-International District (Dim Sum is very popular on Sunday mornings)
-Wineries especially Chateau Ste Michele (In the ‘burbs, but it’s a short drive)
-SAFECO Field (if you’re partial to baseball, my favorite ballpark. Garlic fries a must if you go.)
-Mt. St. Helens and/or Mt. Ranier
-Steak: El Gaucho or Metropolitan Grill (latter is $$$$)
-Seafood: Flying Fish
-Sushi/Japanese: Ohana, or Wasabi Bistro (the latter a bit progressive, less traditional)
-American: Elysian Brewing
-Mediterranean: The Capitol Club
Just about any Thai, Japanese or Vietnamese place will be good.
For dessert, if you think you’d like it, I highly recommend El Diablo (a brownie/cake-ish treat laced with chili powder, it’s spicy but not overpowering) at Tango. I hear dinner is pretty good there, but I only ever went for dessert.
Expect long lines at the Space Needle. (I don’t think it’s worth it personally).
EMP is ok but pricey. When I was there four years ago it wasn’t a much of an experience as there wasn’t much, if anything, that was interactive. Perhaps it’s been improved. The SF museum opened a month after I moved from Seattle so I can’t speak for that. EMP often has shows/concerts in the evenings. I’ve heard good things about these events.
Wow, good list. Thanks!!
1st question: When will you be in town? May 17-18 is the U-District Street Fair, which i highly recommend; may 23-26 (Memorial Day weekend) is the (free!) Folklife Festival at Seattle Center (which i also highly recommend).
2nd, some comments on Scott’s list:
– Pioneer Square (Elliott Bay Bookstore is a must; Magic Mouse, games/toy store, is also fun)
– Space Needle (i agree it might not be worth it — really only bother to go up if it’s a nice day; and even then, you could always just do the free water tower in Volunteer Park up on Capitol Hill.
– Rainier/St. Helen’s (yeah, if you’re driving definitely try to catch one of the mountains if you have a day to spare — personally, i find St. Helen’s more interesting)
I do concur that EMP isn’t worth the cost, unless there’s a specific exhibit you’re interested in. Or if you’re a musician — my workstudy student when i worked at the arts college in town was a music major and he had an EMP membership. Me?, i’m not quite that into music.
3rd, some additions for Seattle:
– Tilth restaurant (in the Wallingford neighborhood) has gotten RAVE reviews. We’ve been saving it ourselves for my birthday in june, but i trust my boss when he says the food is excellent and worth the price.
– Theo chocolate (in the Fremont neighborhood) if you’re into chocolate. Tour is only $5, and the chocolate is EXCELLENT. I recommend the Madagascar 64% cocoa bar and the fig fennel (trust me, as weird as it sounds it really does work!) confection.
– The Fremont Troll (under the 99/Aurora Bridge). I’d make a more general recommendation for Fremont as an interesting neighborhood to stroll around in, it formerly being known as the hippie center of Seattle, but in recent years it’s been getting more and more yuppie-fied. Having Adobe and Google along the Ship Canal probably isn’t helping.
– Toyoda Sushi (way up in Lake City, which is practically out of Seattle) is our favorite sushi in the city.
– Agua Verda (in the U-District) is some really excellent Baja(-like) Mexican.
– The Underground Tour (Pioneer Square) is not everyone’s cup of tea (kinda kitschy), but i enjoyed seeing what is essentially the old city’s basement.
– Ride the Ducks. If we’re talking kitschy, it’s worth mentioning the Ducks tour. Definitely very, very silly, but i’ll admit that i kinda enjoyed riding around the city in an amphibious vehicle from WW2.
Sarah mentioned the CityPasses. If you want to do the zoo/aquarium/attractions route definitely get them. I did that when my family came for The Big Visit back in 2003, and it was a big hit because they guaranteed that we’d get off our butts and actually see things.
4th, some U-District stuff:
If you’re aiming for the UBookstore anyway, here are some more thoughts on the U-District (i’ll try to restrain myself a bit). Definitely do be aware of the Street Fair (noted above) if you’re in town that weekend, as it will completely mess up traffic/transit in the U-District.
– Campus is just out the back door and across 15th from the Bookstore and is worth a stroll (the original campus was laid out by the Olmstead brothers, perhaps more well-known for doing Central Park in Manhattan)
– The Ave is, in my heavily biased opinion, worth a stroll
– the best chai on The Ave is at Blue Dog (good breakfast fritattas, too)
– the best Thai on The Ave is Thai Tom (tho’ spicy! even Andy, who grew up in San Diego and loves him some spicy, hasn’t yet gone above 3 on their 5-star scale)
– the best Thai off The Ave is Araya (which is either vegan or vegetarian, i’m not sure, but super delicious)
– Magus Books is definitely worth a visit — it’s my favorite 2nd hand bookstore that isn’t Powell’s.
5th, some Portland notes:
I don’t know Portland nearly as well as i’d like, but if you get to Powell’s i recommend the following 2 things in the immediate vicinity of Powell’s.
– Reading Frenzy. A zine/independent press store essentially across the street from Powell’s.
– Henry’s 12th Street Tavern. Andy’s been pleased with their beer selection.
And yet, i feel like i’m missing something….