My City’s Filthy: Seattle

The skyline from GasWorks Park in Lake Union

I haven’t written an in depth guide to Seattle since I left. So, I felt a necessary pull to give a “by the district” guide to the Emerald City and its many little microcosms. Here we go…
A forest of hipsters, anti-social tech crunchers or the legion of boom, it depends on what lens your looking through. Seattle is a watery hustle and bustle of SO. MUCH. right now, (que.. “SO HOT RIGHT NOW”). Which was more or less the reason why I [we] decided to brake away and hit the road.

Hot Tip: Travel in the summer. It’s gorgeous. If your going in the fall, like myself, you’ll soon find out why everything is lush and green. It will be WET, windy and cold. But, more so, a soggy romance of memories.Seattle is mobile, walkable and neighborhood exploration is usually a simple bus ride. In college I mooched on a lot of my friends who had cars so, if you want to get somewhere fast, call that Uber that’s lurking around the block.

 

1) DOWNTOWN

Seattle in the summer 

POINTS OF INTEREST:

The Gum Wall – A sticky alleyway that people love to leave their mark of colorful oral sorbitol, xylitol etc. Named the 2nd most unsanitary world attraction next to kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, Ireland.
Pike Place Market – A crowded bustle of local produce, flowers, fresh pasta, leather goods, FISH, nuts, kettle corn, comics, retro oddities, antiques and international news stands. Consume all of the things.
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)  – Always impressive exhibits from YSL’s designer lines, to Warhol’s screentests. Find out what’s currently at the SAM.
Seattle Symphony – I grew up a band geek and appreciate a dressup night at the symphony. One of my birthdays was spent with a night viewing Fantasia accompanied with the score playing live in the foreground.
Drink at: The Diller Room – Housed in the once original Diller Hotel building from old downtown. Their bartenders can be thrown any liquor and procure a magnificent drink to suit your taste. My favorite ‘tender is Jaime who will make, literally, a flaming mai tai.

Eat at: almost anywhere in the market. Almost every kind of cuisine can be found. Skip the hustle and bustle of Westlake and the downtown retail core.

2) BELLTOWN

One of many murals @ashwalla6

POINTS OF INTEREST:

Ride the Ducks – A raucous boat ride through the cities famous neighborhoods lead by a Jungle Cruise-esque skipper/tour guide. You even plunge into the Puget Sound.
Seattle Center – aka the Space Needle. You could ride to the top, but I’ve been on top of Columbia Tower (tallest building in Seattle). THAT VIEW. But, really, if you identify as a tourist, check out the Center.
Eats & Drinks
 
Ohana – Best sushi happy hour spot. Rolls on rolls with cheap Asian beer and sake. DJs rule the night.
Rabbit Hole – Dive bar, with skeeball, whiskey and grub. You could find Peter Cottontail’s gang here.
Bathtub Gin – A tiny 39 person speakeasy. Entrance through the alleys. Dress to impress.
The Upstairs – Housed in a century-old building, this place looks like your trendy-trust fund-friend’s apartment turned whiskey library.

3) PIONEER SQUARE

Deep thoughts at Central Saloon

POINTS OF INTEREST:

First Thursday Art Walk – Pioneer Square is host to Seattle’s largest art walk that winds around the entire neighborhood. Every gallery space is open with new artists on display ranging from visual, multi media, live art, performances, and best of all… free wine!
International District– Across the Union Station train tracks is a few blocks of Asian persuasion. Other than The Ave (University Way near University of Washington, which has the best Thai food..), Seattle’s International District, aka Chinatown, is home to the best Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean food, knick knacks and my favorite.. bubble tea!
Drink at: 
J&M Cafe (divey, oldest bar in Seattle)
Alstadt Bierhalle & Brathaus (German beer hall, feels like the Seven Dwarves watering hole)
E. Smith Mercantile (artisanal shop with rustic back bar)
Good Bar (another trendy, but minimalistic and homey bar)
Quality Athletics (best place to pre-game for ‘Hawks, Mariners, or Sounders games)
Triangle Pub (super divey bar calls historical Triangle building home)

4) CAPITOL HILL

More murals

Points of Interest:

Volunteer Park – This park is the best. It’s huge 48 acre terrain of greenery. Walks with your pets, there’s a stage for doing stand-up, sword fighting, or whatever the kids are doing these days. On a sunny day, it will be littered with picnic blankets and desperate tanners.

Twice Sold Tales – Greatest teeny tiny used book shop tucked away in the Broadway area of the hill. Full of obscure sections, maybe some communist manifestos, manga omnibuses, and best of all some cute kitties that roam the stacks.

The Egyptian – This single-screen theater is housed in a 1915 Masonic temple. It is best for sought out indie films, foreign, documentaries and many of Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) contenders.

Drinks & Eats:

Bimbo’s Cantina & Cha Cha – Lucha libre meets Day of the Dead Mexican fare. Downstairs (Cha Cha) is Jimmy Buffet meets the Red Light district. Get the pomegranate jalepeno margarita or Rainer.
Big Mario’s – Pizza slices as big as your head. Best ending spot.
Unicorn & Narwhal– A circus ring, full of taxidermy, glitter drinks, arcade games, a sex toy crane game and a Sunday drag brunch. Get the Unicorn jizz or stick to Rainer. Smart move.
Lost Lake Cafe & The Comet – Get Lost in a this great 24/7 PNW diner. The Red Room from Twin Peaks welcomes you when you need to take a piss. The Comet will be next door with foosball.
The Woods – Upstairs of Grim’s is a great dance floor if your searching for some nostalgic tunes.
Pony – Best gay bar. Choose your bathrooms wisely, it’s mens or glory hole.
Purr – Other best gay bar. This three story lounge is better for dancing, mingling and chicks love it.
Q Nightclub – HUGE dance floor, multiple bars, best DJ sets for EDM, trance, bleeps and bops.
Molly Moon’s Ice Cream – The sweetest entrepreneurial ran ice creamery! Try all of the flavors.
Oddfellow’s – Hipster brunch to a tee. More masonic imagry, herby cocktails, and local organic fare.

One last quick food hot tip: Snag yourself a $5 hot dog, with the works, aka STREET MEAT! Every corner is littered with the famous Seattle hot dog stands, where you can get a Polish dog, a Seattle dog (recommended) and even a veggie dog.

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