I'm visiting Seattle with my friends for 5 days and we have a few walking tours/routes planned, but in the possibility that it rains, does anyone have any rainy day activities for a group of guys? We're open to anything -- attractions, or even pubs or anything where we can lounge with locals.
The Seattle Underground Tour is great, because, well, as it's called, it's Underground for the majority of the time, so it's easy to do in the rain. Plus, you get to go to Pioneer Square and there are pubs and great spots to check out there. It's hoaky, but fun, I always suggest the Ride the Ducks of Seattle for a great overall of the city, their guides are great and each bring their personality into the tour, and it can even be fun for a group of adults. Woodinville has great wine tasting rooms and gives you a good view of Washington wines. Of course, Pike Place Market is the typical stop in Seattle, most of it is covered, and well, it's usually the first place folks go. The Original Starbucks is cool if you're a coffee fan, you can see the original logo (before they zoomed into the mermaid's face).
But, most importantly, the rain in Seattle isn't typically like the rain elsewhere, it's more of a mist. So, locals won't have much of an issue going about their day, and you usually won't see many with umbrellas.
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California Ave SW, West Seattle (at Alaksa street, 2 to 4 blocks north or south along Cal ave) to have some of the best bars, pubs and restaurants in Seattle. Very good place to walk around in the rain or on a nice day. If it's nice, you need to head down the hill from there (to the North) to
Alki Beach Park.
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If you are an automobile fan, hop on a southbound 590 or 594 Sounder Express bus (every 30 min.) with $3.50 (exact change) on 2nd Ave in downtown Seattle. In less than an hour, jump off the bus at the Tacoma Dome Park & Ride stop. A five-minute walk to the parking lot of the Tacoma Dome brings you to the LeMay - America's Car Museum, 2702 East D. St. It's open from 10-5 daily (admission $14 / $12 students). The museum looks like the hood scoop of an old Mustang. A rotating collection of cars from Harold E. LeMay's personal collection are displayed along a wide ramp that winds through the four floors of the 165,000 sq.' museum. There are driving simulators and a slot-car track. A "60 Years of Corvette" exhibit runs through December 2013.
If you have a little more time for Tacoma, hop on the light rail (every 12-24 min.) for a FREE five-minute trip to the Museum District and the campus of UW Tacoma. The
Tacoma Art Museum, the
Washington State History Museum, and the
Museum of Glass are located within a block of each other. A combo pass is $25 / $20 students. Even if you don't visit the museums, take a walk (free) across the 500' Bridge of Glass to the Museum of Glass. 2,364 objects from Chihuly's Seaform and Persian series are placed on top of a fifty-by-twenty-foot plate-glass ceiling. At the eastern end of the bridge, an eighty-foot installation displaying 109 sculptures from three of Chihuly's series: Venetians, Ikebana, and Putti. More Chihuly installations are on display beneath the rotunda of nearby Union Station which is now a Federal Courthouse. If you feel like a beer, a meal, music or more Chihuly Venetian glass, climb the stairs of UWT to 1904 S. Jefferson and
The Swiss. The food is tasty and the selection of local beer is vast.
When you're ready to head back to Seattle, the 594 bus stop is located on Pacific near the UWT steps.
I know I've thrown a lot of choices your way. I think it's better to know about your options before you arrive than after you've left. Enjoy your visit.
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EMP, the Experience Music Project & Science Fiction Museum is located at the Seattle Center (the site of the 1962 Worlds Fair) in the shadow of the Space Needle. EMP was founded by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and a huge Jimi Hendrix fan. The building was designed by Frank Gehry and has been said to look like a giant guitar that melted in a fire. The museum has special exhibits, hands-on music-making activities, Jimi Hendrix and other music memorabilia - Nirvana, Heart, Pearl Jam, and many others. Current exhibits feature Hendrix, Nirvana, Icons of Science Fiction, Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic and Can't Look Away: The Lure of the Horror Film. A few yards from EMP, also in the shadow of the Needle is the Chihuly Garden and Glass. Adjoining the Chihuly Garden, the lacy, Gothic arches of the Pacific Science Center offers exhibits, hands-on activities and an IMAX theater. If you get hungry, the Armory Food Court offers many options and a place to get a beer, if you're thirsty. Just outside you could ride the Monorail, another remnant of the Worlds Fair for a one mile trip to Westlake Mall at 4th & Pine. From there one is only a few short blocks from both the Seattle Art Museum and Pike Place Market. The market costs you nothing unless you stop to shop or eat. One could pick up all you'd need for a picnic lunch or a meal on the run at any of the market stalls, at an Italian Deli, a fish market, one of the bakeries, and/or at a wine shop. There are any number of excellent places to eat in and around the market. One of my favorites in quiet post alley is Kells, an Irish restaurant and bar where one can get a great pint of Guinness, perhaps hear some music in the evening, and chat with the friendly staff. After a pint and a snack, one could head down the stairs beneath the Pike Place Clock and cross to the Pike Place Hillclimb which leads down to the waterfront. On your right as you descend the stairs is El Puerco Lloron, an inexpensive restaurant with authentic Mexican food. I've eaten there often. A friend is a fan of the martinis The Zig Zag Café, a few feet from El Puerco Lloron. Continue down the stairs to the waterfront. Ivar's Acres of Clams is long-time mainstay of the waterfront with inside dining and a street window where one can get fish and chips and even a cup of clam nectar. Some of the outside seating is covered and offers radiant heating. Nearby ever-voracious seagulls circle the fireboats and wait to snatch fries from the fingers of daring diners. A walk to your left (as you face Ivar's) will bring you to the ferry terminal where you could walk onto a Bainbridge Island ferry for a quick trip across Puget Sound. On a walk to the right, you'll pass Ye Olde Curiosity Shop at Pier 54. The store has had a presence on the waterfront since 1899. Amidst the curios and souvenirs, you might see a genuine mummy, shrunken heads, a display of fleas in dresses or the Lord's Prayer written on a grain of rice. Further along the waterfront at Pier 59 you'll find the Seattle Aquarium. Walk further west along the waterfront you'll approach the Olympic Sculpture Park, located at the edge of Elliot Bay and free to the public.
There might well be visitor passes for admission to some of the places I've mentioned. I don't know those details.
Oh yeah, I forgot about MOHAI, the Museum of History and Industry, 860 Terry Ave N, at the south end of Lake Union. This eclectic museum currently offers Maritime, Northwest, Houseboat and Celluloid Seattle exhibits. You might even run into BoBo, a stuffed gorilla, whose amorous misadventures with Fifi attracted much local attention at the Woodland Park Zoo in the '50s and '60s. Just east of MOHAI you'll find The Center for Wooden Boats. You could rent boats or kayaks and explore the shores of Lake Union and check out the myriad houseboats that hug the shoreline.
There's also grab a 5 or 355 (?) bus to the Woodland Park Zoo. The zoo offers open savannas, Australasian, tropical, raptor and northern habitats, among others. There are over 300 species, including up close and personal looks at otters, Brown Bears, wolves and endangered snow leopards.
I'm sure I've overwhelmed you with information. You can probably tell that I'm a Seattle native. (My father was a plumbing and heating superintendent during the construction of the Space Needle and walked on top of the restaurant at the base of the gas needle.)
Choose the options that interest you. Enjoy your visit.
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