On July 29, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:This weekend (August 2-4) Seattle is in the thick of Seafair, a several weeks-long celebration of summer that involves events around the city.
On Saturday and Sunday at Genessee Park, on Lake Washington, crowds will gather to watch hydroplane races, Patriots Jet Team air shows, and wakeboarding competitions. Or, they'll sit with a beer at the beer garden and enjoy the inevitably beautiful weather.
Every Saturday in August, the Museum of History and Industry is screening outdoor movies featuring Seattle or the Pacific Northwest as the film backdrop. The events take place at the museum's Lake Union park.
Since it's finally August, much of the snow on mountain trails has melted. Check the Washington Trails Association's website for information on what hikes are good to go this weekend.
On July 29, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:Seattle's nightlife ranges from thriving dance clubs to bars packed with patrons until closing time (which here is 2 a.m.).
The Capitol Hill neighborhood is the go-to spot for travelers looking to party hard. Hit the bars and clubs scattered throughout the Pine/Pike corridor, between Broadway and 15th streets. Start the evening with karaoke at the Rock Box, dance the night away at the gay club R Place, or sip specialty margaritas at The Saint. For live music, hit the Comet Tavern or Chop Suey.
For a cold, craft beer in a quieter space (though don't expect bars to be too quiet -- they're almost always full on weekends) head to the Noble Fir in the Ballard neighborhood, or the dimly lit Conor Bryne pub. If you're after a concert, try Sunset Tavern.
On July 29, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:Travelers to Seattle can sleep in style at one of the city's many boutique hotels. The Inn at the Market, just across the street from the famous Pike Place Market, offers city and water views and enjoy perks like the high-end Hypnos beds, custom Sferra linens, and in-room coffee service.
Just north of downtown, in the Belltown neighborhood, Hotel Ändra delights with minimalist Scandanavian design and in-room details like alpaca headboards and chenille comforters. Plus, you're just steps away from the slew of excellent restaurants and bars in Belltown.
Hotel Deca towers above the University District, and rooms boast panoramic views of the city and surrounding lakes and mountains. This boutique hotel, built in 1931, rocks its sleek, Art Deco interior. Permier suites have private, 1,000-square-foot decks with sweeping views.
On July 25, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:Self-sufficient neighborhood enclaves knit together to form Seattle. Each has a different personality, and with it, great restaurants that reflect that personality.
In hip, funky Fremont, my favorite eatery is Agrodolce. The sophisticated Sicilian fare is served in a casual atmosphere. The restaurnat's big windows look out onto a tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly street where you can people-watch as you slurp down handmade pastas.
Capitol Hill is home to lots of plaid-clad hipsters; flannel is also the waiter dress code at Skillet Diner. Scarf down some of Seattle's best hamburgers washed down with beer from Seattle microbreweries.
And in historic Ballard, surrounded by fishing boats and marine supply shops, slurp down a dozen raw at the Walrus and the Carpenter. The oyster bar has drawn national attention for its selection of Washington bivalves and tasty, rustic cuisine.
On July 24, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:I second Charyn's answer about the Showbox and the Neptune but would like to add Seattle's many outdoor venues, too.
I'm not one for being crammed in a cave when it's nice outside, so I gravitate towards outdoor concerts in summer. Among Seattle's biggest and best are the Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot.
These summer festivals draw big names and local musicians too -- in fact, these events are the best way to catch up on the local music scene in one fell swoop! Capitol Hill Block Party stretches for three days in late July and the concert stages are spread throughout several streets closed for the event. Bumbershoot takes place Labor Day weekend at the Seattle Center.
On July 23, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:Seattle's dining scene is diverse, but one thing is certain: the vast majority of restaurants, even on the pricier end of the scale, won't blink if you walk in with casual attire. We're a city of jeans wearers, that's for certain.
Seattle's restaurants range from Pacific Northwest/New American cuisine, where chefs are pushing the envelope of flavor to international cuisine, where favorites from around the world make up the menu. Many Seattle restaurants draw heavily on the bounty from regional farms, shellfish purveyors, fishers, and ranches. It's not hard to find grass-fed beef at a hamburger joint, for example. You'll also see lots of Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, even Ethiopian restaurants scattered throughout the city.
On July 22, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:Small, independent clothing boutiques abound in Seattle. Among my favorites are Fremont's Show Pony, a small boutique showcasing pieces from local designers like Prairie Underground and West Coasters like Laguna Beach-based B.B. Dakota and San Francisco designer Rebecca Beeson. The shop also sells some consignment items, plus intriguing perfumes and candles.
In quiet, leafy Madrona, boutique Juniper is the place to buy casual, ethically-sourced clothing. The clothing here is eco-friendly, and some lines give proceeds to various charities: Organic by John Patrick, The Podolls, and Good Society.
And if you're looking for stylish hiking duds, head to Ballard's Kavu, where Seattle-made clothing will keep you warm -- and cute -- when camping, skiing, boating, or just relaxing outdoors.
On July 18, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:Like you'd expect from a big city with a well-educated population, Seattle has several excellent museums.
The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) recently relocated to the newly-thriving South Lake Union neighborhood. MOHAI is dedicated to documenting Seattle's progress with a combination of artifacts and interactive exhibits educating visitors on key moments in the city's history.
Downtown, the Seattle Art Museum is one of the most recognizable spots in the city, thanks to the enormous kinetic sculpture, the Hammering Man. Inside, exhibits sprawl throughout the large building to cover works from a range of periods and movements.
The Experience Music Project's psychadelic design is meant to resemble a smashed guitar when looking down on it from the Space Needle. The EMP is dedicated in part to Seattle music icons like Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, plus interactive exhibits where visitors can make music videos and jam on instruments in private recording studios.
On July 16, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:Families visiting Seattle have plenty of options to keep the kids entertained. Head to the Seattle Center and check out the Pacific Science Center. Much of the center is geared towards children, but the hands-on exhibits (which include a fascinating naked mole rat colony and a butterfly house) are exciting for adults, too.
The Seattle Aquarium is another must-do for families with children. You immediately walk in to view a huge fish tank, and that alone can keep the kiddos transfixed for a good while. There's also a giant pacific octopus tank -- watch him creepily shift positions and change colors. And finally, head outside to see native otters and seals frolick in open-air exhibits.
If it's warm enough, bring the kids to Wild Waves theme park, where they can cool off and expend some energy on the various rides.
On July 16, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:Seattle's best hotels offer a chance to relax after a long day of hitting the streets. Three Seattle hotels have earned Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star ratings:
The Pan Pacific Seattle, on the north end of downtown, is within striking distance of higlights like the Space Needle, the hip bars and restaurants of Belltown, and up-and-coming neighborhood South Lake Union. The luxury hotel consists of 153 rooms, many with views of the city skyline and the lake. The hotel provides complimentary town car service, perfect for evening excursions or exploring downtown. Visitors can also take advantage of half- and full-day tours offered by the hotel.
Patrons of The Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seattle can be at Pike Place Market and the Seattle Art Museum in minutes. Rooms here open onto expansive views of Elliott Bay and Puget Sound, with its many islands, and the Olympic Mountains in the background. Amenities here include a rooftop pool and terrace (for more views!), 24-hour in-room dining service, and a luxurious spa. You may never leave!
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is also conveniently located in downtown Seattle, making it easy to explore the area and indulge in the city's many excellent restaurants. You might also choose to eat at The Georgian, the Fairmont's in-house restaurant, with its fantastic French-influenced Northwest cuisine. The hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it's retained its bygone charm.
On July 15, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:Seattle's public transportation tends to be pretty reliable; it's generally easy to get from one part of town to another, especially if you're headed to or from the airport, downtown, or the University District, as these areas have the most frequent service and are served by many routes.
King County Metro buses are the most common way to get around via public transportation, though we also have ferries, trains, and streetcars. It can be a little overwhelming! To use the bus, simply determine your route, stand at the stop, enter at the front, and pay when you enter. If you need help, bus drivers are friendly and are great resources for questions on where to get off or how to pay.
Seattle recently built a light rail that runs from the airport to downtown, with an extension to Capitol Hill currently being built. In the coming years, there are plans to further extend with additional lines to other parts of town, but for now, there's just one line. The light rail makes fewer stops than the buses do, and it's a traffic-free way to get around. Just remember to pay at a kiosk in the station before you enter.
On July 2, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:Seattle is stitched together from many unique neighborhoods, each with their own personality. So it's tough to pinpoint the "best" neighborhoods, because it really depends on what you're after. Here's a rundown of some of the most popular:
Fremont: Fremont rocks its "funky on purpose" vibe. Weird statues (including a massive troll under the Aurora Bridge and one of Lenin), bizarre architecture (a building that incorporates a missle into the facade), and a colorful cast of characters makes this 'hood interesting.
Capitol Hill: Cap Hill is a mix of students, hipsters, and increasingly, young families. It's widely considered the hippest neighborhood in the city, and the soaring rent prices attest. Once run-down, the neighborhood gentrified in the last decade or so, with shiny new condo buildings and more restaurants and bars than you could possibly patronize in a lifetime. There's a thriving party scene here, so this is a favorite 'hood for those seeking nightlife.
Ballard: Ballard was once a separate municipality before Seattle annexed it. The fishing village was colonized by Scandinavians, and the heart of Ballard still shows its Nordic roots a bit despite modern condos and gentrification. Find Ballard's history on Ballard Avenue, with its "old town" feel. High-end boutiques are mixed with some of the city's best restaurants and bars.
On June 25, 2013Megan Hill answered the question:The best antique shops in Seattle include the Fremont Vintage Mall, an large collective with furniture, clothing, housewares, and knicknacks galore. Finds here range from antique oil lamps to beautifully restored Schwinn bikes to avocado couches.
Another great spot is the overwhelmingly spacious Pacific Galleries. This place is like the Vatican Museum of antique shops -- you'll feel like you've walked for miles and seen so much, but where does it end? The warehouse-like space is also a collective, with each "room" operated by a different vendor. These carefully-curated spaces house treasures big and small: furniture, jewelry, and cool rustic finds like old shutters or tin buckets.