Around Seattle

We’re excited to be hosting the 2014 National Conference, and we’re very excited to have everyone in Seattle during sunny, pretty Seattle September!

For those arriving early or leaving later during Conference weekend, there’s a number of things to do around the Seattle area, whether it’s visiting Pike Place Market to watch the fish tossing, or Riding the Ducks for a quick two-hour tour of Seattle, there’s a lot to do!


The Top Eight Things To Do In Seattle

1. Pike Place Market – This historic, beloved downtown public market has been in business since 1907. It’s a year-round farmers market and a visual riot of vegetable, seafood, cheese and flower stalls along with handicrafts and tourist-friendly knickknacks. And, of course, the flying fish. Vendors at Pike Place Fish Market gleefully toss salmon to each other and crack jokes, always drawing a crowd at the fish stall by the market’s main entrance.

For less of a crowd, take the stairs to “Down Under,” a wood-floored maze of small shops beneath the main-level market. And mosey into the shops and stalls across the street from the main market, including what is touted as “the original” Starbucks (which actually moved here from down the street about five years after its 1971 opening, but retains its vintage look).

2. The Space Needle – This vertical icon of the city is so kitschy it’s become cool, and it gives a great view of the city from the top. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, it’s 605 feet tall and looks like a spaceship on stilts, towering over Seattle Center (, a cultural complex where you could easily spend hours at the Pacific Science Center, Chihuly glass display, The Armoury (food court), theatres or simply watching kids frolic in a giant outdoor fountain.

3. Downtown Waterfront – Soon the traffic-roaring Alaskan Way Viaduct, which cuts off downtown Seattle from its waterfront, will come tumbling down and be replaced by a tunnel. For now, there’s a broad sidewalk along the harborfront with shops, eateries (fish and chips is always a favorite) and wooden piers jutting out into the bay. Stop at the Seattle Aquarium to see what lives in (and beyond) the local waters (adult admission, $19.95). Ride the Seattle Great Wheel, a 175-foot tall Ferris wheel with enclosed gondola-type cabins, for a view from on high of the city, Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains to the west (adult ticket $13).

4. Seattle Art Museum – The perfect place for a rainy day — or any day — if you’d like to see everything from European masters’ paintings and ancient Asian artwork to Native American carvings and contemporary sculpture. The museum is in the heart of downtown; its gift store and restaurant offer unusual souvenirs and good food. Museum admission is $17 (adult), with free admission on the first Thursday of each month.

5. Olympic Sculpture Park – World-class sculpture. A walk with wonderful views of the city, harbor and mountains. And it’s free. How could you not visit the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park?

The outdoor sculpture garden spreads over 9 acres of a seaside bluff north of downtown, transformed from an industrial backwater into the home of artwork such as Alexander Calder’s “Eagle,” six tons of red-painted steel that looks like an abstract soaring bird. Paths wander amid sculpture; for a longer, lovely walk, stroll along the 1.2-mile waterfront path in adjoining Myrtle Edwards Park.

6. Visit Fremont – Stand at the center of the Center of the Universe (Guidepost to the Center of the Universe shown to the left is located at N 35th, Fremont Place N & Fremont Ave N).  Visit the Troll who turned to concrete just before snacking on a Fahrvergnugen.  Gaze upon our Soviet-era Rocket.  Shake a finger with Lenin (Vladimir, that is).  See what creative costumes have befallen the Waiting for the Interurban statue.

Every Sunday Fremont boasts the oldest outdoor street market, The Fremont Sunday Market: with quirky finds and delectable bits this is an event unto itself. On the First Friday of each month enjoy a creative stroll around the galleries and shops participating in Fremont’s monthly artwalk; every first Friday, rain or shine. Throughout the year, Fremont hosts Seattle’s most creative festivals including the Moisture Festival, HopScotch, Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade, Fremont Outdoor Movies with our annual Zombie Walk, Music in the Sculpture Garden, Family 4th at Gasworks Park, Northwest Lovefest, Fremont Oktoberfest and Lenin Lighting… and so many more block parties, pub crawls and boutique extravaganzas.

Witness outlandish sights – from painted cyclists to zombies and from chainsaw pumpkin carving to art cars. And it all happens amidst incredibly unique locally, based shops and delicious, distinctive eateries.

That’s Fremont.

7. The EMP Museum/Science Fiction Museum – The brainchild of Microsoft co-founder, Paul G. Allen, Experience Music Project (EMP) is dedicated to exploring creativity and innovation in American popular music, from rock ‘n’ roll, to jazz, soul, gospel, country, blues, hip-hop, punk and other genres. Visitors to the Frank O. Gehry-designed, 140,000-square-foot museum can view rare artifacts and memorabilia and experience the creative process by listening to musicians tell their own stories.

Co-located with the Experience Music Project, Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, this one-of-a-kind collection of artifacts and memorabilia include works by Isaac Asimov, Ursula Le Guin, H.G. Wells, George Lucas, Gene Rodenberry, James Cameron and Steven Spielberg and other luminaries of the genre.

8. The International District – Chinese immigrants originally landed in Seattle in the 1860s, finding work at the town’s saw mills, rail lines and on its fishing boats. Today, the International District spans some 44-blocks south of downtown Seattle, bound by Yesler Way and Dearborn Street on the north and south and Interstate-5 and Fourth Avenue on the east and west. Seattle’s Asian population has grown steadily to 14.4 percent (according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 Census), and today it’s the only neighborhood in the U.S. where Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Vietnamese and Southeast Asians coexist. Chinatown Discovery Tours offers guided walks through the district. The tours of the Chinatown-International District showcases Seattle’s busy Asian neighborhood on the southern fringe of downtown Seattle. Tours include A Touch of Chinatown, a 90-minute introduction to the neighborhood and a Taste of Chinatown private group tour which includes a six-course dim sum lunch. Don’t miss Uwajimaya, one of the largest Asian grocery and gift stores in the United States at Fifth & Weller.
Thanks to Seattle Times and VistiSeattle.Org for links!