There are so many great things to do in Seattle – we’ll list only a few of our favorite.
- EMP Museums
- Pacific Science Museum
- Space Needle
- Seattle Aquarium
- Aviation Museum or…
- Puget Sound Cruise
If you can hit three of these, it will pay for itself; more and you’re ahead of the game.
Here are the attractions we visited.
EMP Museum (Seattle Center): With what has to be a Frank Gehry design (think crumpled paper), this museum is actually two things in one – the Rock and Roll Museum, currently featuring Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix, and the Science Fiction Museum, with shows covering Horror (especially Alien and An American Werewolf in London), a classic sci fin exhibit, and an Avatar exhibit that showcases some of the amazing tech used to make the movie.
In one Avatar exhibit, you can act out a scene from the movie and actually “be” in the movie on the screen; another lets you use a hand-held virtual camera to frame your own shots from a scene in the film – it’s really cool stuff for tech geeks like us. There’s also a little “theater” here showing music videos, short sci-fi films, and much more – sit down and take in the show!
The Pacific Science Center (Seattle Center): San Francisco residents will recognize this museum – it’s the spiritual twin of the Exploratorium. Not so much a museum as an exploration of science, this museum is filled with hands-on exhibits that showcase how science works, starting with the acoustic disks in front that allow two people to talk with each other in normal voices from 50 feet apart.
There’s also a butterfly aviary – a tropical, enclosed space that’s included in your admission – where you’ll be surrounded by butterflies in many shapes and colors. But be careful you don’t take any of your friends out the door when you leave – you’ll be checked over carefully by a museum employee for any hitchhikers before walking out the door.
Chihuly Glass Garden (Seattle Center): Although we didn’t actually visit this one, you can see some of it from outside through the bushes – including a spectacularly tall yellow glass yucca plant – and if this is your sort of thing, you can upgrade your City Pass for just $14 (normally $19) to get in.
Planetarium (Seattle Center): Part of the Pacific Science Center. You get a choice of one of the shows here as part of your City Pass ticket – we chose the Lady Gaga laser light show, and it was just as awesome as the name suggests. They even played Born This Way, and none of the parents with kids batted an eye. What’s kind of cool about this particular planetarium is the open area in the center – if you want, you can lay down on the carpet and watch the show above and all around you. But don’t use your iphone here – Fabrizio got in trouble for checking his Grindr account during the show.
Seattle Aquarium (Downtown): This one’s in another part of town – in fact, it’s just below the Pike Place Market, so you can kill two seahawks with one stone. It’s a nice aquarium, filled with interactive exhibits – ever wanted to touch a starfish? See the seals and otters above and below the water? You can even descend below the sound and see some of the native sea-life.
Pike Place Market (Downtown): This is a hectic, bustling place, filled with all kinds of vendors, not just the pescivendoli (fish vendors), although (be warned) there is a strong fishy smell in certain parts of this covered market.
Our favorite find? The pasta vendor who sold both fruit-flavored and chocolate-flavored pasts (and who gave me a piece to try). Wander the stalls for an hour or so, and then retire to the Starbucks across the street – it’s the original, and still has the old brown sign with the, ahem, chesty mermaid.
Funny story – we proudly showed our friends, Marco and Fabry, the “original” Starbucks, and even took pictures, only to find out we were at the new Starbucks, and the original one was around the corner ad down the street. So look for the one with the brown signs before you start taking pictures!
Volunteer Park (Capitol Hill): Up on the north side of Capitol Hill, you’ll find the cruisey Volunteer Park, but for the less sexually adventurous (and those who like the daylight hours) there are other things to do here.
Westlake Park (CBD): This is a small, triangle-shaped park in the heart of downtown, next to the Westlake Shopping Center (where the monorail stops).
This is a great people-watching spot, and when we visited, it was filled with interesting things – a giant chessboard, where two guys with messenger bags jousted for the win; a bubble tea place (see the Seattle restaurants blog for more info), genderless statues posed on benches and standing around the park (which made for some great photos), and blue trees.
Yes, really – apparently a local artist painted them blue to bring attention to the problem of deforestation. Again, really cool for photos.
Olympic Sculpture Park (Downtown): Though we didn’t get to it this time, we have visited it before – it’s a park filled with oversized sculptures, and best of all, it’s free!
Drag Show at Julia’s (Capitol Hill): The Le Faux drag show at Julia’s restaurant on Broadway plays at 10 PM Friday nights – tickets cost $30 a person.