Seattle activities for non-vacationers???

Old Mar 13th, 2003, 11:27 PM
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Seattle activities for non-vacationers???

I am going to Seattle next Tuesday to stay with my sister's 15 year old daughter while she (my sister) is visiting relatives in other parts of the country (just back from being deployed in Afghanistan).

Her apartment is in Tacoma. I would like to take the daughter around a bit - as they are new to the city anyway and I don't think the daughter has ever been IN a big city.

So, I could take her to the space needle, but what else? I did a cursory look and nothing jumped out at me - and I'm running quite short on time (booked these arrangements today) and I'd like to show her a good time after school and/or on weekends.

Thanks in advance for any tips. I'm sure she'd thank you too!
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 04:13 AM
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I'm sure a local could give you more info but the main tourist must ses downtown are Fulton Street Market and the Pioneer Sq. area (formerly
Skid Row. A boat tour or round trip ferry ride might be another good activity. If happens to be a clear day you could take a day trip to Mt. Ranier.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 05:34 AM
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You might want to consider a ride on one of the "Ducks" - hydbrid WWII era vehicles which travel on both land and water. They provide a 90 minute tour of Seattle along with very entertaining narration. Though I've not been myself, I've heard lots of good things about these tours, and I suspect you will both enjoy it very much. (If the weather is too nasty you may want to pass on this)

See it here:

While at Seattle Center to visit the Space Needle, you may want to check out the EMP (Experience Music Project) - a world famous "Rock and Roll" oriented museum. At 15 she's probably just right for it. It's very pricey however so check into it abit first to see if it's really something she'd like to see (she's probably already heard of it). See it here:

The market mentioned in the post above is actually called the Pike Place Market and is a terrific place to spend some time poking around and shopping.

Just a couple of ideas. Lots to do in Seattle.

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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 07:02 AM
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Some relatives bought us rides on the duck ride when we moved here. It wasn't awful...but I would not recommend it to anyone. There is so much more to do here.

Since she is a teenager she may enjoy the EMP (music place) which is next to the needle so you could combine those activities. Also a stroll through the Pike Place Market. Since she has never been in a big city she may enjoy wandering some of the stores around Westlake Center...there is Nordstrom, The Bon, and The Gap that kids love. You could take the ferry up to Whidbey Island and drive up through all the small towns and then drive back down to Seattle via I-5...a loop so lots of different scenery. Deception Pass up there is gorgeous and you can walk along the water. Hope this gives you some ideas.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 07:18 AM
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Depending on her tastes, there are plenty of things to do -

In Tacoma, take her to the new Museum of Glass down on the Thea Foss Waterway, but call first to make sure someone will be working in the "hot shop" (where the glass furnaces and glass blowers work in a theater setting), otherwise it's an okay, not great museum experience. If they are working, though, it's a great show.

The Washington State Museum on Pacific Avenue is a fine facility, but if she's a typical 15 y.o. her tolerance of musuems will probably be minimal; however it's a good choice on a rainy afternoon. Or, rent a copy of "Ten Things I Hate About You" (aka The Taming of the Shrew), filmed in Tacoma especially at the fabulous Stadium High School in downtown Tacoma (maybe she's going there?)

North of Tacoma in Federal Way is the wonderful Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, one of the best pool/water sports complexes anywhere (built for the Goodwill Games) - if she's a swimmer you couldn't do better.

You can travel from Tacoma to Seattle via Vashon Island - little ferry from Tacoma to the south end of the island, lovely drive up the island to the north end, where the bigger ferry goes to West Seattle, about 15 min. from downtown.

In Seattle, the Pike Market and Space Needle are fine, as is the EMP. Don't neglect the Pacific Science Center, located next to the Space Needle - a great hands-on place with an IMAX theater.

Or take her shopping in the International District (hit Uwajimaya Village especially) or on Broadway or in the Fremont District to interact with a very urban, blue-haired in parts, everyone-in-black crowd. Planet Nordstrom global HQ is in downtown Seattle of course, as is the Pacific Place shopping center complex, or (gasp) take her over the lake to Bellevue Square, the Northwest's Answer to various LA "Gallerias" - fer sure.

This time of year, outdoor activities are hit and miss. It's an early spring, so if conditions permit take her to Point Defiance Park in Tacoma and its nice little zoo, or to the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, or to the wonderful Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle to see the formerly baby, now pre-teen elephant and lots of other beasties.

I doubt if either of you will be bored.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 07:45 AM
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Hi Quinty,
Something we did years ago that I will always remember - took the sea plane from Seattle to the San Juan Islands.

This was on Kenmore air. I checked the website ( and it looks like they do short morning trips of just Seattle, or you can do a day trip to the San Juans. Also looked like there are some internet specials.

It is a bit pricier ($50 or so), but the memory of taking off on water and seeing the city from the air is incredible!
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 01:48 PM
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When I lived in Tacoma one of the trips I would take visitors on is the drive up to Bremerton and take the ferry over to Seattle. It's a great view of the city (unless it's foggy). Then we would drive over to the Seattle Center and park, see the space needle, then take the monorail over to downtown. It let's you out in a shopping mall (name excapes me) and then you can walk down to Pike Place Market (watch them throw fish) and then down to the waterfront if you like a good walk. You could go to Pioneer square, which is pretty cool, taking in the Underground Tour, then wind your way back to the monorail area.

Then if you were really adventurous, you could take one of the floating bridges over to Bellevue and down to Tacoma. Not a shortcut and watch for traffic, but the floating bridges are pretty cool.

Most 15 yr old's like to shop?? This could be an all day adventure. In Tacoma I used to love driving around Point Defiance Park. The views are beautiful.

For a commune with nature and you have to watch the weather, a day trip up to Sunrise and Paradise on Mt. Rainer is very fun. It's an easy day trip and take a picnic lunch. Also a day trip down to Mt. St. Helene's would be fun.

Hope you have fun.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 08:50 PM
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She might have fun visiting the University of Washington campus--it's a beautiful campus and many of the trees are in bloom now and if it's a nice day (odds aren't great for this, but you might get lucky), you can see an awesome view of Mt. Rainer from "Red Square" (campus center). The big challenge here, though, will be parking, but there is a lot on the East side of campus and you can get directions at any of the entrances.
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Old Mar 15th, 2003, 08:21 AM
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Experience Music Project is soooo over-rated. It's great for musicians who wish they were rock stars or folks really into the history of Seattle music - otherwise, it really isn't much.
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Old Mar 15th, 2003, 04:45 PM
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Thank you so much everyone for your outstanding replies.

This list is going to be a real lifesaver! (especially in my preparation time-crunch)

I have only been to Seattle once, and had the flu so although I was out and about a little bit, I don't remember much at all.

Any more ideas are still welcome, and thanks again for the input!

Also - tips on the best times to go or avoid certain places on this list would be helpful. I'd rather avoid the super heavy traffic if possible since I'm not familiar with the area.
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Old Mar 16th, 2003, 12:03 PM
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Try not to be on the freeway anytime around rush hour. Traffic here is awful!
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Old Mar 17th, 2003, 06:17 AM
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A 15 year old might like GameWorks, which is a 3 story arcade with just about any type of video game you can imagine; located on 4th and Pike. Mount Rainier is really beautiful, but don't go there this early in the year since the snow probably hasn't melted; it's not as good of an experience as if you were to go during the Summer. Definatly go to the Pike Place Market and the Space Needle.
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