Seattle: An Emerald Gem
Seattle is a fun and easy-to-get-to getaway. Try playing tourist in Seattle!
Take the bus. ..of course. Take the Intercity Transit bus #603 from the Martin Way Park and Ride to the SR 512 Park and Ride, where you catch the Sound Transit express bus 594 to Seattle . See the Sound Transit website for more details www.soundtransit.org The Sound Transit bus takes you right downtown, along 4th Avenue. And it’s only $3.00 (between SR 512 and Seattle; add another $2.50 if you leave from Olympia/Lacey). You can’t park for 30 minutes in downtown Seattle for $3.00, or even $5.50!
Another alternative for public transportation is to take the Sounder commuter train. It runs between the Tacoma Dome station, and the Seattle Union Street Station. It runs only during peak commute times, but is much cheaper than Amtrak. Sound Transit operates this service. They run bus shuttles between the Lakewood Transit center and the Tacoma Dome station (see Sound Transit website).
Places to stay:
There are lots of hotel choices. I have friends that swear by Priceline.com (I’ve never used it), and say they have friends that have gotten a deluxe room at the Westin for under $100. I guess it’s worth trying! www.Expedia.com is a good source for ideas. Right now, Expedia says that the Fairmont (super elegant luxury) is going for $186, Sheraton for $156, and:
· Executive Hotel Pacific for $99. It’s on 4th and Spring, across the street from the Seattle Library. It’s an older boutique-type hotel. My sister and I stayed there about a year ago. It’s clean, and an unusually good price for the location.
· Inn at Harbor Steps is a bed and breakfast hotel on 1st Avenue, across the street from the Seattle Art Museum. Check out these specials: http://www.innatharborsteps.com/specials.htm including 2 nites for $225! Wow. The rooms look lovely. And they have an afternoon wine tasting. And this price includes a big breakfast! This is my choice for the next time my sister and I play tourist in Seattle!
Things to do:
You could stay weeks in Seattle, and not run out of fun things to do! Here are some of my favorites:
· Klondike National Historic Park – Excellent small National Park site, describing the Alaska Gold Rush connection to Seattle. It’s located at 2nd and Jackson, in the Pioneer Square area, close to the train station.
· Underground Seattle Tour. It’s really interesting for history seekers. I recommend it, if you haven’t done it before.
· Seattle Art Museum – their café is really great, as well as their gift shop. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesday. The café is open for lunch and dinner.
· Pike Place Market (1st Avenue and Pike Street), great fun to walk through and watch people watching people. Check out the Italian market, Delaurenti, (on the entrance of the market on Pike and 1st Avenue)
· Water Taxi to West Seattle – from Pier 52, take the water taxi to West Seattle. Walk along Alki Beach. Eat at the Cactus Restaurant. (This does NOT operate in the winter and early spring…only from May thru October)
· Monorail – FUN! Catch it on the top floor of the Westlake Mall (4th and Pike), taking you to the Seattle Center. The Science Center always has good displays. You could also go up the Space Needle and/or go to the Music Experience (Paul Allen’s thing). Lower Queen Anne district is on the northwest side of the Center…fun place to browse and try a new restaurant, such as Toulouse Petit on Mercer and Queen Anne Avenue.
· Want to have the BEST view of Seattle? Take the elevator to the TOP of the HIGHEST building in Seattle, the 76 story Columbia Center, located at 701 5th Avenue. It’s between Cherry and Columbia, and 4th and 5th Avenue. (The Specialty Café at the 4th Avenue entrance has really good/cheap food.) The observation deck is on the 73rd floor. It costs $5 for adults. Enter the lobby on the 5th Avenue side, take the elevator to the 40th floor, then to the 73rd floor. This is much cheaper than the Smith Tower or the Space Needle, and is much taller than either of the other observation viewpoints.
· Freemont and Theo’s Chocolate. Yum. It’s easy to get there… catch bus 26 or 28 from 3rd Avenue, between Pike and Pine. A bus comes every 15 minutes. Ride on the west side of Lake Union, over the Fremont Bridge. Get off on the first stop after the bridge, at Fremont and 34th. The shops in that area are fun. Walk west on 34th a few blocks to Theo’s Chocolate (3400 Phinney Avenue). www.theochocolate.com
You need to reserve a spot for their tour (which is $6.00 and very fun) OR you can just go to the factory and sample! The Burke-Gilman walking trail runs along the ship canal right by Theo’s, and is a good place to stroll. Check out the troll under the Aurora Bridge, on 36th Avenue. He’s eating a VW bug! Also, see Rapunzel letting down her golden hair from the west Freemont Bridge tower. Very quirky and fun part of town, huh?
Places to Eat:
Oh, my… where do I start? There are so many great places. Here are some ideas:
· Weekday lunch: Farestart, at 7th and Virginia. This is my favorite. It’s a training ground for low income adults. Very upscale, menu always changing, good prices. Yum. They also have a guest chef for dinner on Thursday, when a local chef prepares a 3 course dinner for $25. The guest chef brings all the food, and ALL proceeds goes to support Farestart. http://www.farestart.org/
· Any of the Tom Douglas restaurants: Dahlia Lounge, Lolas (across the street from each other, on 5th and Lenora). http://tomdouglas.com/ Also, his restaurant, Ettas, which is just north of the Pikes Place Market. Ettas is known for their breakfast. The others are great for either lunch or dinner.
· Flying Fish – in the Belltown neighborhood – 1st and Bell http://flyingfishrestaurant.com/
Fish with an Asian flair. Their thai crab cakes are the best!
· The Metropolitan Grill is supposed to be the BEST steak house in town. I’ve never eaten there, but the reviews are good. www.themetropolitangrill.com
820 2nd Avenue, between Marion and Columbia.
I could keep on writing ideas… but, be sure to look for brochures at your hotel. Ask the hotel folks for restaurant ideas. Also, go online http://www.visitseattle.org/visitors/explore/ for more ideas.