Monday, June 24, 2013

10 Things to do in Seattle during the Summer

Courtesy royalcaribbean.com
Welcome to the beautiful Northwest! Where the only thing I can pretty much guarantee is that you never quite to know what to expect!  Take that stereotype about it always raining... well as I write this it currently is raining, but that is not always the case.  And regardless of the weather here are 10 ridiculously fun things you can do in Seattle (or the greater Seattle area).  So whether you live in Seattle or you have decided to put some vacation days to use, enjoy this summer, rain or shine :)

1. Visit Pike Place Market.  This is a great activity if it's raining because most of the market is covered!  Located in downtown Seattle on 1st and Pike Street (hence the name...) the market is home to Rachel the Pig and the famous fish throwers.  The market is full of fresh produce and flowers, all grown local.  There are  also other attractions such as market tours, unique shops and of course, the gum wall (make sure you bring gum to add your part to the wall!).  Pike Place Market is also a great place to revisit because you never quite know what you're going to find! With changing vendors and fresh produce daily, it's always a new experience.  For more information about the market visit it's website (http://pikeplacemarket.org/).
2. Ride the Light Rail.  You can get on/off anywhere from SeaTac to the Westlake Center, but my personal favorite is to ride from Tukwila into Seattle. That way you have free parking, and you get to enjoy a lovely ride into Seattle. Here's a guide to riding the light rail (http://seattletimes.com/flatpages/local/lightrailinteractive.html) and here's more Sound Transit info about the light rail (http://www.soundtransit.org/Schedules/Central-Link-light-rail).  Don't forget to check out the public art along the track.... which leads us into our next activity!
Fremont Troll
3. Take a self-guided Art Tour. Seattle is full of different art and often it's over looked.  Take some time to wander around the city to view different hidden gems.  Check out the Seattle's guide to walking tours or just create your own.  If you don't want to walk, drive around too.  Some places may be easier to see the art if you're not in a car (such as Benaroya Hall) but you'll still be able to enjoy a great view of Seattle's unique artistic community. Walking tours guide (http://www.seattle.gov/arts/publicart/walking_tours.asp).
4. Explore the Seattle Waterfront.  Personally, I like to do this when I visit Pike Place because it's just a short walk down from the market.  With lots of different little shops, restaurants and other things to do, the waterfront is an awesome day activity.  You can start at the Olympic Scupture Park (or just tour that on your art walk...) and work your way down the waterfront or just explore it in pieces.  Some of my favorite places to visit are the Aquarium, Pirates Plunder, Simply Seattle and Ye Olde Curiosity Shop.  The arcade and the giant wheel are also a must see.  For more information check out the waterfront website (http://www.seattlewaterfront.org/).
Alki Tidepools
5. Alki Beach is a fabulous place to visit rain or shine.  While the actual beach part may be best when it's sunny out, visiting tidepools is better done with overcast skies.  The area is home to several different restaurants and shops.  It is also very biker friendly, especially for families.  During low tides, if you visit the beach you will be able to check out different animals and ask questions to various beach naturalists.  And if you're interested in a day trip, you can take the Water Taxi across the sound into the Seattle Waterfront.  Alki information (http://www.seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=445).  Water Taxi information (http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/WaterTaxi.aspx).  Information about low tides (http://www.seattleaquarium.org/beach-naturalist).
Courtesy: do-seattle.com
6. Hang out at the Seattle Center.  There is pretty much everything here that you can imagine you there is no way that you would become bored.  Popular things to do are the Pacific Science Center, the EMP and the Space Needle.  Also check out the new Chiluly Garden and Glass.  Throughout the Summer the Seattle Center also hosts different activities so be sure to look at their calendar so you know what you'll be getting yourself into.  Have young kids? The Seattle Center is a great place to bring them too, due to the Seattle Children's Museum as well as the International Fountain.  Check out the Seattle Center website for more information (http://www.seattlecenter.com/).
7. Feeling a little claustophobic?  Drive out into the Snoqualmie Valley.  Located about 30 minutes outside of the city, the valley provides a great place to experience nature.  Take a day trip to visit Snoqualmie Falls, Historic Snoqualmie and North Bend.  There is always plenty to do and see, be it checking out the Northwest Railway Museum, stopping at the Snoqualmie Falls Candy Factoria or tasting famous cherry pie at Twede's Cafe.  Hikes in the area also vary, so there is sure to be one that fits your need/ability.  For more info on the falls, check out their website (http://www.snoqualmiefalls.com/) and for information on the valley check out this website (http://www.snovalley.org/).
Gas Works Park
8. Here's something you've probably never heard of... why don't you try Park Jumping?  Yes... I'll admit that I made it up, but it honestly is a lot of fun.  Geared more towards locals, or long term visitors, park jumping is a great way to learn about all the parks in the area.  Basically your goal is to discover cool and awesome new parks you haven't been to before.  All you really need to do is find a park, look up what's around it and what kind of park it is and then focus any activities around it.  For example, find a park with a farmer's market and buy a picnic lunch or look up a park with biking trails and take your bike.  I think you get the picture.  Some days hit up one new park, others you can try and get to two or three, but take it your own pace.  Need help getting started?  Check out this list of Seattle Parks (www.seattle.gov/parks/listall.asp).

9. Bored and need something to do?  Try Biking Around.  There are lots of great biking trails in the area.  You can bike the Mercer Island-Seattle Bridge, the Snoqualmie Valley Trail or the John Wayne Trail.  Lots of parks in the area are very accomodating to bikes.  Check out this King County trail map for more information (http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/Roads/Bicycling.aspx).  And if you're going to do the Snoqualmie Tunnel on the Iron Horse/John Wayne Trail make sure you bring good headlamps/flashlights, it gets really dark (though it is fun).
10. Become a Foodie. While it may seem weird to think about, Seattle has some great food.  You just have to know where to look.  So spend some time exploring those smaller unknown places to find some new favorites.  Need help getting started?  Some of my favorite Seattle restaurants include Spuds (on Alki), Slims's Last Chance (okay... so since it's a bar, I've never been in, but their Chili Verde is amazing), Twede's Cafe (North Bend- incredible Thai burger) and Beecher's Handmade Cheese (Pike Place- Oprah gave away their mac n' cheese one year).  While you're at it, look for Where Ya At Matt- it's a food truck based on New Orlean's food.  Go ahead... find your favorites, and then let me know so I can try them!

And if you want to try and find good deals on different activities check out www.citypass.com/seattle (not an endorsement or anything... I just throught it was pretty cool.)  That way you'll be able to experience more, but at a great deal.  Don't let the rain stop you this summer, so go on! Enjoy Seattle!

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