Seattle is the city of tomorrow. The thousands of citizens who live there in peace and harmony thrive among the art, architecture and transportation of the future. Seattle is a city bent on progress. Every day its busy seaport throws open its arms to the people of the world in a gesture that says, “People of the world, embrace the future!” Someday we shall all travel on an elevated transportation system such as Seattle’s “Monorail.” It’s easy and fun for the whole family. Let’s go to Seattle!
There are several ways to travel to our northern neighbor. A plane ticket may cost upwards of $100 dollars round-trip depending on the time and the airline. The expense tends to be a bit much for the hour-long trip, especially as you pass above some exquisite scenery that is better experienced from the ground.
Amtrak offers fares as low as $60 round-trip for a single passenger on the three-hour run to Seattle. Perfect for couples and singles alike, the train offers wonderful views of Northwest scenery and no prohibition on bringing your own booze. To make things even easier, Amtrak has tickets available online.
Finding lodgings in Seattle is fairly easy as there are plenty of options in the downtown area, blocks away from the train depot. Two lodgings to look for are the Ace Hotel and the Executive Pacific Plaza Hotel. The Ace Hotel is an ultra-cool, modern art, hipster hostel, offering rooms of varying design and amenities. It is a wonderful place if you do not plan to sleep. In contrast, the Executive Pacific Plaza is a small hotel in the heart of the business district with small but incredibly affordable rooms. It is certainly not modern or hip, but it is located across the street from the public library, one of the most modern and hip architectural wonders of Seattle.
There are many “must see” attractions in Seattle, many of which can be accessed by purchasing daily passes like the Seattle City Pass or the Go Seattle Card. Both can be purchased at the ticket booth located at the base of the Space Needle and offer discounted unlimited admission to a variety of attractions over a period of days.
Both cards will get you into the Frank Gehry-designed Experience Music Project, a sprawling tribute to music in all its forms. Many people may say that the EMP is boring as hell, but these people are the cheapskates who opted not to rent the $3 electronic tour guides. These portable computers enhance the exhibits in extraordinary ways, allowing users to hear interviews, commentary and musical examples of the exhibits that they are looking at. Get the electronic tour guide and the EMP experience improves by 80 percent. Without it, you might as well be walking through Paul Allen’s garage.
Considering that Seattle is closer to the Pacific Ocean than Portland, it is a great destination for seafood. If you are not prone to food poisoning by shellfish, there is one place where the savagery of ripping into a crustacean can be experienced to its fullest. Located on Pier 56, the Crab Pot is a restaurant that borrows heavily from oceanic feeding frenzies. The dining experience consists of a bowl of fresh steamed and seasoned seafood literally dumped into the middle of your table covered on a layer of butcher paper. You are given a tiny fork, a wooden mallet, some drawn butter, lemons and a bib. The mad cracking, sucking, dipping, grabbing and tearing that follows would certainly cause most to blanch if it weren’t for the sheer heaven of the food, which is prepared to perfection.
As for entertainment, there are plenty of venues in Seattle that offer an amazing variety of music every night. A quick scan through the free weekly papers will guide you to what you want to see. Two venues of note are located on Second Avenue between Blanchard and Bell in an area known as Belltown. The Crocodile Cafe is a sprawling indie rock venue with a nice bar and fantastic sound. Down the block is Tula’s, a hidden locals jazz club where everyone knows each other and the sessions are sure to include special guests and a changing combination of musicians.
C’mon, let’s go to Seattle!