Sunday, April 18, 2010

FUN Sightseeing Ideas for Locals and Guests - Don’t just visit Seattle – LIVE IT!

You have guests arriving from out-of-town and you plan to take them to the top of the Space Needle. Ok. That’s it. What else can you do with them? I mean, they have 5 days with you and they keep saying they want to really get to know Seattle. Gulp! Help! You feel responsible for the success or failure of their entire family vacation. What’s a host/hostess to do?

Luckily, you happen to live in one of the most guest-friendly cities in the universe. Not only does Seattle and surrounding areas have wonderful adventures to experience, but also they aren’t that far apart so, in most cases, gas mileage isn’t too much of a concern.

I’ll make it easy for you by listing the places we’ve had the most fun sightseeing with visitors and then you can put together your own list based upon your schedule and location. Obviously you’ll want to put together a daily tour by seeing sights close to each other on the same day. And whether you want to spend a lot of coin at the elegant Met (Metropolitan Grill) or save your money for other things by eating at one of the famous (infamous?) Dick’s Hamburgers, be sure to plan time for Seattle’s great variety of food. Personally, I like taking people to Dukes Chowder House on Lake Union in Seattle because you can order anything from chicken club sandwiches to smoked plank salmon, taste their award-winning clam chowder, and devour French fries that are always just right. Along with that you have a view of seaplanes taking off and landing and some pretty incredible yachts!

Fun things to do – in no particular order:

Seattle Underground City Tour – Did you know there’s a whole city under the city? The tour is more than amazing because you really see and learn a lot in a very relaxed and humorous atmosphere. Be sure to go with your guests because we should all know what lies beneath! Unforgettable. Did you even know it was there? or WHY?

Pike Place Market – We see it, we hear about it, we watch it in movies, but how many of you actually park and go inside? It’s totally an experience unto itself. Street musicians and magicians make it even more fun. Take videos of the flying fish, buy fresh fruits and veggies, hint to your guests that a huge bouquet of incredibly well priced flowers would look so pretty on your dining room table. Let them browse for souvenirs or taste the goodies at the bakery. Be prepared for crowded conditions and the smell of fresh fish. It’s worth the noise and people to see all the pleasures this iconic place has to offer.

Impress your friends with trivia:  Pike Place Market is the home of the very first Starbucks(Click to see locations near you.)

GameWorks – Leave it to Seattle (home of Microsoft) to come up with the first store front video game complex with restaurants and games galore, including bigger-than-life videos for kids from 5 to 105. GameWorks has refreshments and games for adults and children alike. They keep the games current and are always busy. Parents – bring earplugs! This place is noisy but a great rainy day activity located right in the middle of downtown Seattle. If the kids are old enough to be safe, let them stay and play while you go shopping nearby.

The Seattle Space Needle –  It may seem cliché to show people the Space Needle. I mean, haven’t they seen it in every movie, newsreel, and picture book of Seattle? But it truly is a magnificent experience to see it from the top. No one will ever forget the view, especially on a sunny day, and the ride up in a glass elevator is fun, too. Bring a camera!!! The top of the Needle restaurant (Sky City), usually needs reservations and is pricey but the gourmet food and 360 degree revolving view is worth it if you can fit it into your budget. Whether you eat there or not, our beloved Space Needle is well worth seeing from the tip-top. Even cloudy days can make for dramatic views. One more time: Bring a camera!!!
HOT FACT: The Space Needle structure might look fragile,
but scientists say it is one of the safest places to be in an earthquake because of the way it is designed.

Experience Music Project (EMP) –  The actual very long name is Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame but we affectionately call it the EMP, or “that place that looks like a pile of shiny metal.” Whatever you call it, it’s one of the most unique tributes to music that you will ever find. The word “experience” in the name is a true moniker because it is truly an experience and well worth the visit if you love pop music. Its founder, Paul Allen, is a huge Jimi Hendrix fan, one of our many local rock stars who changed the sound of music and who inspired Allen’s idea for the Project. There is a Science Fiction Museum on the same site and the building itself sits on the Seattle Center property along with the Space Needle and the Monorail. Visit all of Seattle Center and check out the many amazing events that take place there daily. (Then take a quick monorail ride to downtown for lunch.)

SEATTLE POP MUSIC FUN FACT: Seattle was the first city in the US to play a Beatles song on the radio.

Seattle Aquarium –  Most people know we eat a lot of fresh fish in Seattle, but we also love to look at them and learn about their natural habitats and the water's inhabitants. I think the Seattle Aquarium website says it all: “We invite you to visit our facility and stand within a circle of glowing jellyfish. Run your fingers along a sea anemone’s soft tentacles. Delight in the antics of the sea otters. Then come back for another visit — and an entirely different experience.“
Plan to walk the Wharf where the Aquarium is located, visit Pike’s Market and experience the wonder of the Seattle Aquarium all on the same day. You’ll find restaurants galore for those hungry moments, too. Nearby Carriage Rides are also a charming way to tour the city.

Museums – Museums – Museums –

Seattle Art Museum - Wing Luke Asian MuseumOlympic Sculpture Park  - Seattle Center Experience Music Project and Sci-Fi Museum
Frye Art MuseumGold Rush MuseumChildren’s Museum  - Museum of History and IndustryOdyssey Maritime Discovery Center; (206) 374-4000) and our wonderful and unique Museum of Flight.

Sports – Sports – Sports –

Seattle is one of the biggest sports loving towns in the USA and don’t tell anyone different unless you want to fight about it. Depending on the season, cheer at a Mariner’s Baseball game at Safeco Field , join the loudest fans in football as you see the Seahawks play at Quest Field, (now called CenturyLink) or watch our latest sports passion, The Seattle Sounders  playing an exciting game of professional soccer. Your guests will be impressed by standing room only crowds and incredibly enthusiastic fans.

Quick tip: Even if a sporting event is sold out, you can usually find tickets on Craigslist or even EBay.

West Seattle – Alki Beach

Take your friends to our beautiful little beach town no more than 15 minutes from downtown and have Spud’s Fish and Chips, or great coffee and/or bakery goods at the Alki Bakery.  Then sunbathe, ride bikes, roller blade or just meander down the beach front. Arguably the best view of the Seattle skyline is looking over the water to Seattle from Alki near Salty’s Restaurant, which by the way has the very best weekend brunch anywhere. It sounds expensive but when you consider all you get and the quality, it’s worth planning to spend extra. At Salty’s, you not only fill up on the brunch but you also feast on the remarkable panoramic view from the Space Needle to Safeco. Remember what I said about your camera?

Funny Fun for the Family - Ride the Ducks - A Tour to Remember

Great Coast Guard-certified Captains with a whale of a sense of humor will drive you all around Seattle giving a professional tour. Then the Duck "grows fins" and you all ride right into the water in this WWII amphibious vehicle. The rest of the tour is afloat in your duck boat. It's hard to describe but you'll be talking about it for years! Fun, funny, entertaining and informative. Who could ask for more?
Frequently Quacked Questions about The Ducks Ride.

Maybe you'd like a whole tour from the water. Our
Argosy Cruises are worth thinking about. Check them out here/
Having a family reunion? Everyone fits on this one.

A Day Trip Outside Seattle to North Bend and Snoqualmie Falls -

Your guests will love the fresh air and remarkable nature scenes that abound when you visit Snoqualmie Falls . The Falls are always beautiful. Whether there’s a lot of water or not, its magnificence is a site to behold. The Salish Lodge located right there on the grounds above the Falls, is a lovely place to visit. Then drive down the road about 5 minutes and hit the North Bend Outlet stores. Spend the day enjoying the Northwest at its best and find some great deals, too.

The Washington State Ferry System –There are several day trips you can take by driving aboard one of our fantastic Seattle ferries. Relax and enjoy the unique Northwest views of pristine waterways, soaring or nesting eagles, and elegant waterfront homes. Go to Bainbridge Island  and experience the fun of Poulsbo our Scandinavian Village, or take a little side road to see the wonder of Chief Seattle’s grave. The little white church where his grave is located, and the ancient gravestones surrounding it are truly unique and a rare slice of Northwest/Native American history.

Perhaps you want a longer trip? You can take the Washington State Ferry to one of our breathtakingly beautiful San Juan Islands and spend the night.  Need more San Juan Islands ideas? Click here.

Did you know? The Washington State Ferry System is the largest in the country and the third largest in the world, carrying over 25 million passengers annually. Seattle's Pier 52 is the busiest ferry terminal in the U.S.
Prefer a quick flight to one of the Islands? Click here/ A seaplane is always an adventure!

Special Tip:
PHOTO OPS – Check it out! Live Seattle Online’s 3 best skyline photo ops are truly worth your time. While touring our Emerald City, having a camera handy is ALWAYS a must. From Sunrise to Sunset, and even late at night, you will want to keep the many memorable sights of Seattle for your photo album or online memory book.

IF I HAVE MISSED YOUR FAVORITE SPOT OR ACTIVITY: Don't just grumble about it under your breath. Use the comment form below to educate us all and share your favorites. We want to know!
 Thank you.

Seattle's Music History is Incredible. Go here to learn about:
 "the Seattle Sound."
About the Author
Clearly Me Luise ™ is a published author living happily in the Seattle area with her husband and son. Her inspirational blog is very popular and her romantic poetry has been published online and in several romance magazines. Please visit her blog at and read her romantic poetry at


  1. Fun blog. I really like it. I'd add the Salmon House with view of the Needle.

  2. I really like this too. I'd add a trip to Emerald Downs.

  3. I sent this to my relatives in Europe. They love it. Thanks.

  4. I'm not sure if my comment posted. Anyway, I'll try again. I love this. Thank you.

  5. I'm Kasy's husband. We both appreciate the article with in-laws coming and all! Very enjoyable.

  6. This includes so much. I live here but I haven't been to half the places. I gotta start doing more.

  7. Twilight's Biggest FanJuly 9, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    I know Forks isn't very close to Seattle but it might be fun to mention it for us Twilight Fans. It isn't THAT far away.Very good article though. I like it.

  8. 2nd Biggest Twilight FanJuly 9, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    Forks would be cool but in the meantime, we like that cute guy in your video. :o)

  9. I agree he's cute! I love this site. I have friends coming in August so thank you for the ideas.

  10. We took your advice Twilight fans. Check out our blog post with a video of Forks and the Twilight Saga. Thanks for the suggestion.

  11. Helped my family plan! TY

  12. Awesome. Helped me figure out what to do! :)

  13. This is perfect!!! I just moved to Seattle and have family coming to town in three weeks.


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