Lots of people are in town for 24 hours for Groundwork. You have cars, some of you don't have cars. If I only had 24 hrs in Seattle, here's how I'd recommend you make the most of it.
If you have a hotel, get into town and leave your bags there. If you're flying out early and not staying at a hotel, check your bags at the airport and take the Metro airport bus into downtown Seattle.
Get off at Westlake Center. Walk over four blocks towards the water and there's Pike Place Market. See the fish being thrown. Maybe Artis the Spoonman will be out. Get a cinnamon roll. Enjoy the view of West Seattle and Elliot Bay from Victor Steinbruck Park at the end of the Market. Get some lunch down there; there are several dozen restaurants. If you're really broke, go to First Avenue across from the Showbox and see if the burrito window is open.
Or, don't eat at the market. You can walk up to Second Avenue and turn left. You will pass the Moore Theater and eventually you will hit the Crocodile Cafe... which unfortunately does NOT serve lunch on Mondays. But, further down that block is the Noodle Ranch or Mama's Mexican Kitchen, or walk over to Fourth Avenue, turn left, and the Sit N Spin is in the middle of the block, and you can grab a bite there.
No matter what route you take, when you're done, keep walking in the direction you were heading in. Head for the Space Needle. You really cannot get lost. Gawk at the EMP. (If you want to do the EMP, that's a whole day in and of itself. You need at least five hours. More on this below.)
You can do the trip in reverse - start at Seattle Center and walk to the Market, and then take the monorail from Westlake Center back to Seattle Center. It takes 2 1/2 minutes.
If you have any interest in seeing the EMP, which is understandable - that's all you'll be able to do. It's going to take you five hours easily and you still won't see it all, and you're going to need a break afterwards to sit and rest. So if that's your burning desire, then get rid of your baggage and head straight for Seattle Center.
If you don't want to wander far away from Seattle Center, your recommended eating options (beyond the Center House food court) are:
Zeek's Pizza, 419 Denny Way (At Cedar and Denny)
Taqueria Jalisco, 122 1st Ave.
Racha Noodle, 537 1st Ave. N. (Corner of 1st and Mercer - Mercer is the street that is the northernmost border of Seattle Center)
Peso's Taco Lounge, 605 Queen Anne Ave N [dinner only, they open at 4:30]
If you must, there's a McDonalds up at 1st and Mercer, but I'd rather send you to the infamous Seattle institution, Dick's, which is on Queen Anne Ave. N., one block away from Key. There is other fast food in the Center House on the Seattle Center grounds. It's edible, and it's convenient, but really, you can walk a block and get some real food, can't you?
Note: ALL of these places get MAJORLY crowded the closer you get to showtime. If you want dinner before the show, get there at 5pm.
However, if I see anyone in a Pearl Jam shirt at the Starbucks there, I will personally kick your ass. You are one block away from two of the best coffee places in Seattle. Take a walk. Get some local color and some REAL coffee:
Uptown Espresso, 525 Queen Anne Avenue N.
Cafe Ladro, 600 Queen Anne Avenue N.
Walk up 1st Ave. N. to Denny, then take a left over to QA Ave, turn left or right. You can't go wrong with either. This is real Seattle coffee.
"I don't really wanna leave Seattle Center, but I do want to see something of Seattle"
One. take the monorail to Westlake Center and walk over to Pike Place Market and then reverse the trip back. You can do this in a little over an hour.
Two. Kerry Park. This is a walk, but it's not far, and it's one of the best views of Seattle. And you may recognize the sculpture up there, which does have PJ historical relevance. (We'd rather surprise you.) To get up to Kerry Park, walk up 1st Ave. N. to Mercer and turn left. Walk one block to Queen Anne Ave. N. and turn right. Walk UP the hill about six blocks and turn left onto W. Highland Drive. Walk until you hit the park. This is one of the best views in Seattle, almost as good as the Space Needle, and one helluva lot cheaper.
In 2000, people kept coming up to me and asking me where the cool street was. They wanted one place to go where there were cool shops and record stores and things like that. There is not one place in Seattle that is like this. It totally depends what you're looking for. I refuse to send people to the Udist or even Capitol Hill because, in my opinion, neither area is very pleasant any more. If you asked me, I'd send you to Fremont or Ballard to get a feeling for "Seattle". So don't write & ask me where the cool street is because we don't have just one. If you disagree, I suggest you invest in a Seattle guidebook and make your own decisions. Talk to other locals.
Record stores in Seattle [also search on Citysearch for record stores]
This article is highly opinionated. I'm not a professional travel writer. But I do know and love Seattle, and any person who knows and loves Seattle will probably tell you something else. But since you're asking me, this is what I think. I hope it helps.
Copyright © 2004 Five Horizons