In response to my previous article about what NOT to do in Portland, I was strongly advised to do a follow up for one about Seattle. Well, don’t get your kickers all twisted, here ya go.
- Don’t assume it rains all the time. In fact, there are many U.S. cities that get more precipitation year over year than Seattle. (I’m looking at you, Atlanta.) And yes, Portland usually gets more rain than Seattle. Over the past few years, the peak summer months of July and August have been unusually sunny and HOT in this area. Thanks, global warming! (Insert intense sarcasm here).
- And when it DOES rain…DON”T use an umbrella. you’ll just look like a tourist. (Well, you ARE one, but no one needs to know that!) Don that waterproof hoodie jacket, and blend in, baby! Pro tip: Portlanders don’t use umbrellas either. Why bother? It’s too cumbersome.
- For a great view of the city, don’t go to the top of the Space Needle, go instead to the Sky View Observatory in Seattle’s tallest building, the Columbia Center, downtown. It is the west coast’s 3rd tallest building (the other two are in downtown Los Angeles). The views at the top of the Columbia Center are better, especially on a clear day, and admission is less expensive than the Space Needle ($15 vs. $22 as of this writing.)
- Don’t assume Seattlites are either grungy hipsters or ultra-Microsoft-y techies. Seattle residents are as diverse as they come. The tech industry is big here, but so is the science industry, which attracts much talent from all over the world, especially Asia.
- Pass by the original Starbucks while at Pike Place market, just for the novelty of it, but don’t bother going inside. There’s nothing in there that’s not at any other Starbucks; it’s always crowded and the coffee is overpriced.
- Don’t assume Seattle is like Portland (the Goddess of public transportation). Even though Seattle’s population is much larger, their public transit system is sorely lacking. Unless you have tons of time (and patience) to navigate the bus system, rent a car and expect to get into a traffic jam (or two, or three…)
- Don’t miss the gum wall, in Post Alley, under Pike Place Market. Not for the easily squeamish, but this is a must see! Covered in used chewing gum, the wall is deemed one of the germiest tourist attractions in the world. In late November 2015, work began to remove the gum (inches thick in places) and thoroughly clean the area. Over a ton of gum was removed, and it took about 130 hours total. But lo and behold, shortly after the clean-up, people began to leave their chewy deposits once again.
- Don’t forget the beer! With over 300 breweries in the greater Seattle area, the choices for beer lovers are mind-boggling. And nearby Yakima Valley grows most of the hops in the U.S., making for the freshest local beer. Not into beer? Seattle has a healthy craft cider scene, as well! Gluten-free never tasted so good!
- Don’t miss taking the Seattle Underground Tour. Seriously, I’ve been on this thing 5 times with various friends and family, and it NEVER gets old. Very knowledgeable and extremely funny tour guides will take you on a wonderful dark and musty journey through Seattle’s rocky upbringing.
- And for you foodies…do not assume it’s all about the fish. Yes, Seattle has some of the finest seafood restaurants in the world. But try to branch out a bit and savor the other great meat and veggie masterpieces from some of the world’s premiere chefs. Harvest Beat, Metropolitan Grill and Café Juanita come to mind.
So that’s my Top 10 Seattle no-no’s. Do YOU have anything to add to this list? I am ALWAYS up for comments and suggestions!