Sleepless in Seattle this weekend, what to do?

This weekend I’ll be staying in Seattle about 4 blocks from the Space Needle. According to the map, quite a few things are within easy walking/public transport distance. What to do? Is the Space Needle worth waiting for? Being a holiday weekend, I have a feeling the lines’ll be long. I may go to the Chihuly garden and glass museum. Pike’s Place isn’t so far away. I have vague memories of it from many years ago as being a bit more touristy than I’d like.

Dopers usually have great ideas for travel. I ask the experts here for suggestions for what to do and where to eat. I’m not a fan of seafood or beer so Ivars and breweries are out.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

You’re in Lower Queen Anne, then? I know the area fairly well. There really shouldn’t be any wait to go up the Space Needle, so feel free to pop by whenever you have time. MOPOP (formerly EMP) is right next door and is well worth a visit as well.

Mecca Café is a great place for late-night grub, and Dick’s is perfect for a quick snack.

If you venture down to the International District, I’d recommend Samurai Noodle and/or Boiling Point.

I’m not a fan of the space needle, and it is even less attractive if the weather isn’t “realtively” clear. I DO highly recommend Chihuly Garden and Glass blowing, which is at the base of the space needle. I’m not sure but believe you can get into their café for free.

I have not been but always hear good stuff about the Underground Tour.

While I’ve lived on the east side for 8 years, I’m not very well versed on seattle. Apologies.

Thanks for your suggestions. I hadn’t heard of The Underground Tour. Since the weather’s looking rainy, it’ll be a good activity.

While the space needle is iconic, I would recommend going to the Starbucks in the 40th Story of the Columbia tower. It is more in the midst of downtown and the ferries coming and going.

As far as the 3 don’t miss things to do in Seattle:

  1. Pike Place market - but don’t spend too long.
    a. Walk along the piers below (the aquarium is good and I personally would do the aquarium before the space needle)
    b. You can keep walking north along the bike pathway and after 4 miles you get to the Chittenden locks. But they are not very exciting with salmon running done and only working boats going through.

  2. The Central Library - it was awesome when it was first new. It is showing some wear now.

  3. The old water tower in Volunteer Park. Stroll through capital hill to get here and see some of the grandest old houses in Seattle. And the park is just a cool place.
    a. The Volunteer Park Conservency greenhouse is a fun little 15-30 minute add-on too.

And if you are around on Sunday night, there is a truly Seattle concert at 8:45pm in Gas WOrks park:

MoPOP>Chihuly>Art Museum for most people.

Museum of FLight and the Future of FLight are top-notch if you are into that sort of thing.
I highly encourage you to pack your bike helmet and ride around on the Limebikes. Uber is always an option too, but not quite as Seattle as a rainy bike ride.

You can buy Space Needle tickets for a pre-determined time so you don’t have to wait in line. If you like Christmas decorations, you can go to Westlake Center via the Monorail from Seattle Center. You also won’t be too far from MOHAI, the Museum of History and Industry.

A not-insignificant part of the underground tour is outdoors. So, you may get rained on. It’s Seattle at Christmas. There’s rain.

I completely disagree with Disheaval’s museum rankings. (For me, that’s exactly backwards. And I don’t even like Chihuly).

Also, it’s Pike Place (no “s,” no apostrophe. It’s the name of the street the market is on. It does not belong to Pike.)

Respectfully disagree. Avoid like The Clap. A smelly, lousy tourist trap. Nothing of value there, in my opinion.

I’d do the Underground tour if I ever went back.

The Archie McPhee store is a short bus ride/walk from the Space Needle area if you’re into that kind of thing. Good place to pick up some stocking stuffers!

I’d to the north shore tour: University District, Gasworks Park, The Fremont Troll and the statue of Lenin 4 blocks west of the Troll.

I got my reasons. :slight_smile:

I agree with this assessment of Pike Place. It’s wall-to-wall tourists and not worth the effort. It’s too bad because it really used to be funky and cool.

Thanks all for the suggestions. You’ve given me quite a few interesting choices.

Please let us know what you did when you return! Enjoy your trip to our corner of the country. :slight_smile:

I certainly will!

What did I do? I ate a meal at Dick’s, went to the Chihuly Exhibit, rode the monorail to Westlake Center to see the Christmas Lights, took the train from there to the International District, did not go to Pike Place, ate a pizza at a local bar and restaurant near the Space Needle, drove to Archie McPhee, attempted to see The Troll, got frustrated and gave up trying to get to Volunteer Park, and picked up a burger and fries from Burgermaster on the way back to the hotel. (I didn’t do all these on the same day. I left out the sleeping and boring stuff in between.)

Overall I have to rate Seattle a “meh” as a tourist town. It’s another big American city with no character or soul. Even the Chihuly Exhibit was bested by the glass museum in Tacoma. Tacoma!

One big frustration as a guest of the Emerald City is not enough signage. I couldn’t find The Troll. I found the bridge. Which side of the bridge is it under? Where to park? Even more basic, while I was passing through the Westlake train station someone asked me which exit to take to get to Pike Place. No sign anywhere for one of the most famous tourist destinations in Seattle. When I got back to the hotel I found Pike Place was a 4 block walk from that stop. Massive fail from the local department of tourism.

PS: Whoever suggested Dick’s Drive In: you should be slapped. It was t.e.r.r.i.b.l.e. The burger wasn’t good, the fries were shoestring sliced soggy grease sponges, and the milkshake didn’t have enough flavor to cover the vanilla ice cream. Having to pay for thimbles-ful of ketchup? Next time someone asks, send 'em to Burgermaster. The burger was great. Not compared to Dick’s, great compared to any burger. The fries were good too.

Ha, thanks for coming back and dissin’ my adopted town. :slight_smile:

Hmmm, fair point on the glass museum in Tacoma, but IIRC it has a lot of Chihuly pieces in int.

Take it up with Bill Gates. He loves both Burger Master and Dick’s. (I can walk to the Bellevue Burgermeister, which is prolly where Bill goes most of the time, in about 5 minutes, but who the hell walks to a drive in burger joint? It is probably 10 minutes from Billg’s house and inbetween the MSFT campus for him so the burgermeister force is calling him strongly on many days of the week). I secretly believe with zero evidence the Bill Gates greater wealth management organization makes sure that both burger chains (they have a half dozen places each I think) stay in business just to make sure Billg can go when the fancy strikes him.

Given your post, you certainly woudda thunk the original starbucks was a complete waste. You’re welcome for my recommendation not to visit.

You’re right, the original Starbucks would have been a complete waste. About 20 years ago I went to Pike Place and saw the Starbucks sign with the nipples. I was suitably traumatized. [/sarcasm] Thank you for your non-recommendation.

Maybe the Dick’s out in Bellevue is better than the one in town. Just don’t recommend the one in town to visitors to Seattle you want to impress. Bleah.