Lost Girl’s Guide to Seattle

Extras — By on June 21, 2012 at 11:09 pm
By Becky A. Johnson
Special to Lost Girls

From grunge music to Microsoft, coffee to Boeing, Seattle is home to an eclectic mix of cultural, culinary and corporate pursuits.  With an abundance of evergreen trees dotting the landscape, Seattle earns its title as The Emerald City, and glimpses of Mount Saint Helens and Mount Rainier may be seen on the rare sunny day. As the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is perhaps best explored by its neighborhoods – such as Downtown, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Fremont, University District and West Seattle.

Experience

In the shadows of the iconic Space Needle is the EMP Museum (aka Experience Music Project).  Permanent and temporary interactive exhibits showcase Seattle music legends such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins and Jimi Hendrix, and map out hundreds of lesser known bands with Seattle origins. The $20 admission ($18 if purchased online in advance) includes admission to the Science Fiction Museum and Science Fiction Hall of Fame, located within the same building as the EMP Museum.

Seattle is a haven for public parks and green spaces. A 2.8 mile trail around Green Lake Park in North Seattle is great for walking, jogging, cycling and rollerblading, and canoe, paddle boat and row boat rentals are also possible. Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill is one of the best spots to photograph the city and be sure to check out the troll that lives under the Aurora Bridge in Fremont. Alki Beach Park in West Seattle is a popular destination for barbecues and beach volleyball. Also in West Seattle Schmitz Preserve Park is a 53-acre old-growth forest park with walking trails, and offers a far less crowded reprieve from the city.

From January to July watch the all-female Rat City Rollergirls flat track roller derby league compete in monthly double headers at the Key Arena. Tickets start at $14 to see the Derby Liberation Front, Grave Danger, Sockit Wenches and Throttle Rockets in action.

Savor

Located in downtown Seattle and several blocks from the waterfront Pike Place Market is at the center of the Seattle foodie scene. Sample smoked salmon in the famous “flying” fish market or purchase fresh produce and other delicacies. In the blocks surrounding the market, one can visit the original Starbucks, grub on the “world’s best” mac & cheese at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, or nosh on award-winning chowder at Pike Place Chowder. Savor Seattle offers popular walking tours of Pike Place and its surroundings, paired with samples of gourmet treats.

Theo Chocolate in the Fremont neighborhood is the first organic, fair-trade bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the United States. Factory tours are held daily between the hours of 10:30 – 4:30 and their Chipotle Spiced Sipping Chocolate is divine. Many of their chocolate products are suitable for vegans.

Locöl Barley & Vine in West Seattle features a seasonally-changing menu of small bites, sandwiches, unique entrees, delectable desserts, Washington state wines and beers. Daily happy hours are from 3 pm – 6pm and 10 pm – 2 am, and live music is featured on Sunday and Monday evenings.

No trip to Seattle would be complete without sampling a cup of locally-roasted coffee. El Diablo Coffee Company in Queen Anne is Seattle’s only Latin American-inspired coffee house and is great for lovers of strongly brewed coffee. Their menu features Cuban-inspired savory foods, pastries and sinfully-good desserts. This coffeehouse is worth a visit for its artwork alone.

Nightlife

Club Noc Noc in downtown Seattle has nightly dance parties, including an 80s-themed party every Tuesday evening. For those who like to party really late into the night, the nightclub is open until 10 am on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Crocodile at 2nd and Blanchard Streets is perhaps the best venue for live music within the city limits. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and Yoko Ono have all played here and live music is featured here almost nightly. On an “off day” there is still karaoke fun to be had.

The Hideout is a laid-back bar and lounge in the Capitol Hill – Central District neighborhood featuring creative cocktail concoctions and a less-commonly found selection of beers and wines. But what makes this place truly unique is its collection of about 70 paintings that don the walls, many of which are for sale.

Shop

With locations in West Seattle and Queen Anne Easy Street Records sells both new and used music, DVDs and books. A small café is adjacent to its West Seattle location, which serves breakfast and lunch only.

Queen Anne Books is an independent, neighborhood bookstore adjacent to El Diablo Coffee Company. This bookstore specializes in new titles and has an impressive number of book clubs.

Red Light Vintage & Costume is Seattle’s largest vintage clothing store. Stores are located in the University District and Capitol Hill neighborhoods.

Where to Stay

Just down the street from Pike Place Market the Green Tortoise Hostel has dormitory accommodation from $29 per night, with free WiFi, free full breakfast and free dinner three times a week included in the price. The hostel also organizes excursions for patrons such as downtown walking tours, pub crawls, guided cycling tours and their “Famous Dead Guy Tour,” which stops at a host of graves of notable Seattleites.

The American Hotel in the Chinatown neighborhood is a member of the Hostelling International network. Dormitory accommodation begins at $26 a night for HI members, and includes free WiFi and breakfast. Given the hostel’s location in the International District, residents can pick up groceries at nearby Asian grocery stores to prepare in the hostel’s 24-hour kitchen or eat out relatively inexpensively at nearby bakeries or noodle shops.

Another option for budget-conscious travelers looking for private bathrooms is the Inn at Queen Anne, with nightly rates starting around $100. Extended stay discounts are also available at weekly and monthly rates.

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