Being a Tourist in Seattle

on Jul 16, 2008 in Musings | 24 comments

Two events are fast approaching:

  1. APNQ Quiltfest on August 8, 9 & 10
  2. My parents are coming August 26

I received an e-mail from a friend asking for my advice about things to do in Seattle when she arrives for the show. Living on Bainbridge Island for 3 1/2 years should qualify me as a tour guide. I do OK on the Olympic Peninsula. Seattle on the other hand… Help!

I’m going to list the activities and destinations I’ve personally enjoyed in Seattle. I want you to add in your favorites so we have one big list of all the fun things to do as a tourist in Seattle.

  • The Space Needle. Let’s just get that one out of the way. It’s a very touristy type of thing to do. We did this with my sister and her family and it was really fun. The architecture and story behind the needle make for an interesting visit, the view from the top is spectacular.
  • Underground Tour in Pioneer Square. I did this with Leil’s 4th grade class as an end of year field trip. TOTALLY cool for kids and grown ups alike. The history and story filled tour of the original roadways and first-floor storefronts of old downtown Seattle will leave you enlightened and amazed (really).
  • Two bookstore destinations: Elliott Bay Book Company and Kinokuniyo.
  • Mariner’s Baseball at Safeco Field. No, you would not be going to see the Mariner’s win a game. You’d be going to enjoy the ambiance of a fantastic ballpark, eat Ivar’s fish and chips, and sip on microbrews on tap. Remember that the days are REALLY long in the summer here. There’s nothing like whiling away a temperate Seattle summer evening at the ballpark.
  • Olympic Sculpture Park. One of the newest additions to Seattle’s public art scene. Fabulous backdrop for photographs.
  • Seattle Art Museum (SAM). Features high quality touring exhibits. A small modern permanent collection is always a treat.
  • Pike Place Market. Summer welcomes a festive array of vendors and visitors to the market. Fresh, local produce bursts off the tables. If you’re so inclined to ship seafood back home the fish counter here is the place to do it. They’ll pack in dry ice and it can be checked as baggage. We took a salmon and fresh Oregon bay shrimp back to Missouri last year. I always enjoy walking the market and letting my senses enjoy the experience.

Any list by me wouldn’t be complete without talking about food. We are severely lacking a decent circuit so I’m really counting on you guys to fill in the blanks here.

  • Ivar’s. One of my favorite things about Seattle is Ivar’s fish and chips. We’ve eaten both in the restaurant the outside counter. Their main place is located next to the Bainbridge Island/Bremerton ferry terminal. If we’re early for a ferry we’ll walk over to the outside counter and take the food back to the ferry waiting area or the car. The restaurant is more expensive, of course, and I honestly can’t think of a reason to order anything off the menu other than the fish and chips (we’ve tried and are usually disappointed). Insiders tip: Ivar’s has a food counter in the Seattle airport’s food court area. We like to eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The new airport food area is beautiful to sit and enjoy a meal in so never worry you’ll have nothing to do if you get to the airport early. There’s also a nice mini-Border’s bookstore next to the food court.
  • Mr. D’s Greek Delicacies. We happened upon this place on our last visit to Pike Place Market. It’s located directly across the street from the market building. We ordered Gyros, each splitting one with the girls. You never quite know what a new Gyros place will offer so it’s best to be conservative. We’ll all be ordering our own next time! The lamb was perfect and the tzaziki sauce perfectly seasoned and thick (they display Greek God’s yogurt in their case and that’s exactly the consistency of the sauce, yum). The lemonade here was very refreshing and tasty.
  • Salumi. We were the lucky winners of a basket full of artisan cured meats from Salumi at the school auction. Wow! A true culinary delight of flavors. Owned by Mario Batali’s father, these meats are well known all over the Seattle area.

I’m going to take my camera downtown to snap some pictures of Bainbridge Island. I’ll do a separate post on this lovely little place.

Please add your own favorites to the comments!