David S. Cargo's Seattle Favorites
Important Things to Know
Seattle is a city blessed with a beautiful location and lots of local
charm. There are some things to keep in mind when planning to travel
For more information on Seattle, call the Seattle-King County Convention
and Visitors Bureau at (206) 461-5840. AAA also has an a appropriate
and informative guide book.
- Timing your trip with the proper season is important. From a
tourist's standpoint Seattle has two seasons, wet and dry. The
wet season is from September through April. The dry season is
from May through August.
- Water is very important to Seattle, past, present, and future.
Water constrains Seattle geograhically, with Puget Sound to the
west, and Lake Washington to the east. A canal between the two
divides the city, so that trips north to south require knowing
where the bridges are. This squeeze on the city leads to the next
- Traffic in Seattle is as bad as they say it is. If you haven't
heard, rush hour seems to start as early as 3pm. I believe I read
in an old issue of National Geographic that Seattle has
as many commuters as Manhattan, but only three ways for people to
get in instead of 12. (You can check traffic there yourself using
this link: WSDOT
- Seattle Metro Traffic Flow.)
- There are many things to do in Seattle. Depending on your
interests, there may be more things to do than time to do them.
Given that Seattle is near Microsoft's headquarters, it would be
surprising if there weren't lots of on-line about Seattle.
- Local Info
- Seattle (Washington) Links
- Native Seattle : Secrets
& Favorites of Western Washington
- There are even more things to do outside of Seattle. If
you want to visit the Olympic Rain Forest, Mount Rainier,
Beautiful British Columbia, the San Juan Islands, or eastern
Washington, you will have a beautiful trip, but you will have less
time for urban adventures.
I only lived in Seattle itself for about five years. (I've lived in
Minnesota for over 22 years.) I still get back every year or two, and
it's like being a tourist. So, I have included below my list of
favorite places and things to do.
This is the place that I recommend starting if your time is limited.
This area has changed quite a bit since I left, but there's still a lot
to recommend it.
- At the north end, you can part near Pier 69 and watch the water
- Near here is The Old Spaghetti Factory, which I consider to a
great place to eat.
- You can catch the trolley (imported from Perth, Australia) here.
I think it runs on old freight rail lines, allowing public
transport without taking up any of the automobile traffic lanes.
- There once were shops in some of the northern piers, but I haven't
been there lately. Pier One used to have a store there.
- Pier 59 is the Seattle Aquarium,
which has one of the IMAX
theaters in town. One of the exhibits has the visitors in a
looking up and around at the fish.
- I don't remember which pier it is, but the
Washington State Ferry
Terminal is down here somewhere. You can take a round-trip ride
to Bremerton or Bainbridge Island for a reasonable price.
- One of the cross streets by the piers leads up hill to the Pike
Place Market, six levels of variety, including very fresh produce,
handicrafts, vintage clothing, teas and spices, and much more.
- Not far from the south end of the waterfront are some other places
- Pioneer Square is a National Historical District. Seattle
had two conflicting plans for street designs, one parallel
and perpendicular to the coast, and one with north-south and
east-west streets. They collided at Pioneer Square (which
is a triangle).
- The International District would be known as Chinatown in
other places, but that's not the only ethnic group
represents. Keep your eyes open for the telephone booths.
- The AMTRAK station is near here, in case you were travelling
Seattle Science and Industry
If you like to see interesting science and industry, there are several
interesting ones in Seattle that I like. (There are certainly others I
have not mentioned.)
- The Seattle Aquarium (mentioned above) is great fun. There's a
petting zoo there, too.
- The Seattle Museum of Flight is south of Boeing Field. If you
drove into Seattle from SeaTac, you might have seen signs for it.
The building is much different from the other airplane museums
I've seen (in San Diego, Oshkosh, and Washington, DC). Imagine
airplanes hanging from the ceiling in the bedroom of a teen-aged
airplane buff; now imagine them hanging from the ceiling of a
real building. I particularly like the M-12 and its
- The Seattle Center, and the Pacific Science Center are places I
have visited ever since it was the site of the 1962 World's Fair.
I have not been there lately, but the exhibits at the Pacific
Science Center change, maintaining their freshness.
The Burke Museum of Natural History (and another link
here), located on the campus of the
University of Washington, also has a variety of exhibits. I don't
get there often, but the last time I was there they had an exhibit
based around the work for Gary Larson, author of The Far
- Also associated with the University of Washington is its
Arboretum. This is located south of the University campus and the
ship canal, near the shore of Lake Washington. You can drive
through it, but of course you should get out and walk, too. It
has a formal Japanese Tea Garden.
- West of campus, on the north side of the ship canal, is
Gas Works Park.
The remains of the Seattle gas works is still there. Be
sure to climb the hill and see (and use) the
It's not visible except at the top, because you stand on it to
cast the shadow to mark the time.
Odd Places in Seattle
Some of my favorite places in Seattle are of an odd and quirky nature.
- There's a troll
under the Aurora bridge on the north side of the
ship canal. You have to look for it in the shadows. It's not too
far norteast and up hill from the Fremont Bridge.
- Right by the Fremont Bridge is the bus stop with the
people waiting for the bus. There are other sights of
interest in the Fremont
- Archie McPhee's is a novelty
store (which is kind of like saying
that St. Peter's in Rome is a church). They have a catalog, and
do mail order. If you ever need 4-inch, or glow-in-the-dark
cockroaches, or fighting nun dolls, or a gross of plastic ants,
this is the place to go.
David S. Cargo's (Escargot's) Home Page
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Last modified: Tue Jul 15 21:30:30 CDT 1997