What are the best things to do in Seattle?

Seattle’s a great strolling town. I like getting to the Pike Place Market at about eight in the morning. It’s all still brick and cobblestones. Pick up a coffee and a pastry at Le Panier, which is a French coffeehouse. Just stroll the market on foot and watch it come alive. We don’t have too many places like this in this country. You see them in major European cities, but you don’t see too many in America.

Continue down to the waterfront and hop on a ferry to head over to the Bainbridge Island. It’s a 30-minute ferry ride. Walk around the main street over there, then get back on the boat and head to Seattle. You get great views of town, and you can sneak a bottle of wine up onto the upper deck in a paper bag. Don’t let ’em catch you. Then you should walk down to Seattle Center. If it’s a nice day, I would check out the Space Needle. Within the Space Needle grounds, the EMP Museum is a tribute to rock 'n' roll. There’s also the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, which opened in 2012 and is a permanent glass museum.

  • On July 29
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What’s happening this weekend in Seattle?

    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
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What is nightlife like in Seattle?

    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
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best boutique hotels in Seattle?

    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.
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  • On July 25, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best neighborhood restaurants in Seattle?

    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, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best places to hear live music in Seattle?

    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, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What is Seattle’s dining scene like?

    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, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best clothing boutiques in Seattle?

    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, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best museums in Seattle?

    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, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best kids activities in Seattle?

    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, 2013
    Megan Hill answered the question: Megan Hill

    What are the best hotels in Seattle?

    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.
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