Seattle in August

Old Apr 29th, 2021, 12:40 PM
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Seattle in August

Planning a trip to Seattle in August with my husband and 11 year old. We will be there for 3 days.
Here are some things we are thinking of doing, any suggestions on if we should skip any of this or are we missing something cool?

Argosy cruises - Harbor cruise
Space Needle
Pike Place Market
Gum wall
Underground Tour
Museum or Aquarium?
Restaurants-a nice Steak house, Mexican?
Also, what is the transportation like? Will we need to rent a car? We are staying at the West Seattle on 5th ave
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Old Apr 30th, 2021, 06:11 AM
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You have hit many of the highlights of visiting the downtown area. One thing that I would mention that we think is very special is the Chihuly Gardens next to the Space Needle in the Seattle Center, https://www.chihulygardenandglass.com/
The glass sculptures are really beautiful with that center and well worth visiting.

In terms of transportation, in general if you are staying downtown you will be okay with the bus and tram station. But you made the comment that you are "staying at the West Seattle on 5th ave". West Seattle is a not really close to downtown-it is a penisula jutting out across from downtown. But I don't think there is a 5th Avenue there. 5th Avenue is downtown. If you can clarify where you are staying, we can give you better information about transportation. If you are staying in West Seattle there is a water taxi that takes you between there and downtown.

Also you may want to consider a walk on ferry boat ride if the weather is nice-the view are spectacular on the water on a nice day and it is short hop to Bainbridge Island for example where you could shop and have lunch.

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Old Apr 30th, 2021, 07:24 AM
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Thanks for the tips Jpie!

I actually meant to write the Westin (not west) its at 5th and Stewart
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Old Apr 30th, 2021, 07:44 AM
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There is a famous troll under the north end of the bridge to the Fremont section. Near the world HQ of geocaching.
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Old Apr 30th, 2021, 07:47 AM
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is it like a homeless person or something
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Old Apr 30th, 2021, 08:11 AM
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Could you elaborate a little on where else (if anywhere) you're going to visit on this trip? If you're venturing out to any national parks, or other parts of the Northwest, it might make a difference in terms of our recommendations.

Obviously you'll need to be flexible in case some of the attractions you mention aren't yet available. The underground tour, for example (which I would pass on in any event) is closed due to Covid, although its website makes no mention of this. (Their Facebook page is full of very unhappy comments about it, however.)

A few random things...

- I would go for the Argosy Locks cruise - Tour of Ballard Locks - Salmon Bay - Seattle | Argosy Cruises - if available (might depend on your travel dates - when are you coming?) It's far more interesting than the basic harbor tour.

- A walk-on crossing of Puget Sound on the Bainbridge Island ferry is very scenic and enjoyable. You can visit the little town of Winslow on Bainbridge Island with a short walk from the ferry terminal.

- Alternatively, you could take the West Seattle Water Taxi over to Seacrest Park in West Seattle. This would give you terrific views of the downtown skyline, and at Seacrest Park you can rent bikes or kayaks, or just walk (around 2 miles) along the waterfront to Alki Beach, with its great views of the Olympic Mountains and passing ferries as well as our own wee copy of the Statue of Liberty. There's a free shuttle bus service that would take you back to the ferry dock. (Also on the dock is a terrific café, Marination Ma Kai, which has fun Hawaiian/Korean food and a fab outdoor patio.)





- Our aquarium is nice but there are better ones (IMO) on the west coast. However, a museum experience I would definitely include is the Museum of Flight, at Boeing Field just south of downtown. In my view this is the second best air and space museum in the country (after the Smithsonian) and it's a real treat for most kids and their parents. Highly recommended.

- Another terrific destination for all ages is Fishermen's Terminal, along the Lake Washington Ship Canal between the Queen Anne and Ballard districts. This is the home port for Seattle's - and much of Alaska's - commercial fishing fleet, and it's a joy to walk out the piers past the boats, or have a meal at one of a couple of great cafes or restaurants overlooking the piers.



If you're staying at the Westin, there are a number of rental car offices within a block or two (or right across the street) from the hotel, so if you want to get a car for a day to explore some of the wonderful country in easy reach of the city, you could just pick up a car there and drop it at the end of the day, saving $$$ in hotel parking fees.

But tell us more about your plans and maybe further suggestions can be made.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Apr 30th, 2021 at 08:16 AM.
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Old Apr 30th, 2021, 08:16 AM
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Thanks Gardyloo, honestly I just started planning, I have never been to Seattle and I don't know much about the city. That is why I am here!

We are just trying to make the most of our days, we are not hikers or bikers so we plan on just exploring the city and I love the idea of hopping on the Ferry's and boat tours.

All suggestions are helpful!
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Old Apr 30th, 2021, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ekhayes View Post
is it like a homeless person or something
No it is a sculpture about 19' tall. It has been seen in at least 1 movie. Google "Fremont Troll". Under the left "hand" of the troll is a junked VW bug.
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Old Apr 30th, 2021, 01:28 PM
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I lived in Seattle for 30 years. I have taken your list, deleted some are meh as in (seen one you've seen them all), and added others.

Argosy cruises - Harbor cruise (there are also (if open) tours of the San Juan Islands just a bit NW of Seattle that stop at shops but it's most of the day and when you have only 3 days . . . .
Space Needle (you pay to ride up it, plus the food was pricey, also, but nothing special to me 30 years ago.
YES! - Pike Place Market is a must see––they many little unique shops to see.
Underground Tour - I've not been but everyone who has been liked it. Nurses on second shift generally miss seeing things if Full Time.
BOEING TOURS in Everett, WA (approx. 40 min north off just off I-5) if they are still offering.
If not, you might like the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field just south Seattle, the Museum of History and Industry or the Art Museum.
RESTAURANTS - I would recommend Bubba Gumps (Italian in Seattle) but they should have great steaks, IVAR (sit in) Restaurant, but they also have take away, or if you want to try something different there is an Ethiopian Restaurant called Chef Cafe that looks promising (to me) because my first try of Ethiopian cuisine (in Sioux Falls, SD) was excellent,
but I have not tried this one. It's rated 4.6 out of 237 reveiws. I suggest you open Google maps, bring Seattle into view look at rating, them reviews of the top rated. Following is link that shows you things within the Seattle area itself besides the stores. I would try to find out as much about this (little) big city as much as you can before you arrive. Seattle will be smaller than expected, but people fall in love with it. I miss WA so much but if must move, you must. Go to planetware dot com and look at Seattle's most seen attractions by tourists. It's a great site but not allowed to put the whole url here.
Originally Posted by ekhayes View Post
Planning a trip to Seattle in August with my husband and 11 year old. We will be there for 3 days.
Here are some things we are thinking of doing, any suggestions on if we should skip any of this or are we missing something cool?

Argosy cruises - Harbor cruise
Space Needle
Pike Place Market
Gum wall
Underground Tour
Museum or Aquarium?
Restaurants-a nice Steak house, Mexican?
Also, what is the transportation like? Will we need to rent a car? We are staying at the West Seattle on 5th ave
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Old Apr 30th, 2021, 03:06 PM
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Because of the Covid pandemic the best advice I can possibly give you (as a long-time Seattle resident) is to wait another year. Things are simply nowhere near back to normal yet. We all wear masks pretty much 100%, there are still limits for restaurants, public events cancelled, etc. We're waiting on the Governor but sadly may actually regress back one level in Pandemic opening procedures.

For someone who has never been here before and is coming purely for pleasure on a vacation trip, I beg you to wait another year or two... if you want to see us anywhere near our best. . And I'm talking both urban/city things and all the state and national parks.

most sincerely, Suze, in Seattle.
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Old May 1st, 2021, 09:02 AM
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If you are staying at the Westin, then that is right downtown and about a 4-5 block walk to Pike Place Market. Also the Space Needle was recently renovated so it is probably better than 30 years ago, and as a first tine visitor I would definitely recommend it. They have a ticket that also combines it with a visit to the Chihuly Gardens right next to it. So that would be an easy way to spend the morning. Also if you are staying at the Westin you will be easy walking distance to the Monorail which will take you right there.

https://www.seattlemonorail.com/

As a current Seattle resident I do understand Suze suggesting delaying your trip. Downtown has been very boarded up and has kind of looked like a war zone this past year between covid and demonstrations. And really it is anybody's guess what it will look like in August, especially with Covid rates climbing again in Washington and Oregon. So I would definitely recommend keeping your plans flexible.

I like Gardyloo's suggestions for some of the "water visits" because they are a little bit out of the ordinary and you would see great views.

The best downtown steakhouses IMO are El Gaucho and the Metropolitan Grill. But be forewarned, both are pricey. I would opt for El Gaucho just because it is a more historic Seattle place. They have another restaurant on the water called Aqua by El Gaucho that has beautiful views: https://elgaucho.com/aquabyelgaucho/

For Mexican, I don't consider it the best cuisine choice in Seattle-not compared to places like Austin, LA and San Diego for example. There is a small place near where you are staying called El Fogon that I liked for lunch with a friend-small and not a huge menu but handy to the Westin: https://elgaucho.com/aquabyelgaucho/

The big thing to eat in Seattle IMO is Salmon and seafood like Dungeness crab and oysters.
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Old May 1st, 2021, 07:15 PM
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Yes the Metropolitan Grill for a steak house.

If you end up doing the Underground Tour or otherwise find yourself in Pioneer Square, Casco Antiguo is very good.
https://www.cascoantiguorestaurants.com/


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Old May 1st, 2021, 07:55 PM
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Perhaps I am unskilled at replying or using FODORS, but your (jpie) and suzes responses came to me, and not the original poster.

I agree with you jpie, that the seafood is the best, but ekhayes asked for the other. People born in the midwest will want to steer clear of seafood because what they get is rubbish and they think all seafood taste like the farmed, frozen, (how old is it) items that in their average restaurants. I sure miss the coast. The best salmon I had was
in Kirkland years ago...they made it with a sauce of soy, ginger, and brown sugar that was perfectly measured and blended so you taste a hint of each ingredient.

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Old May 1st, 2021, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by pjdxxxwa View Post
Perhaps I am unskilled at replying or using FODORS, but your (jpie) and suzes responses came to me, and not the original poster.
Welcome to Fodors pjdxxwa. suze's and jpies' posts are on the public thread, and weren't sent to you personally. If you are subscribed to a thread you are notified of any new activity but that doesn't mean the posts were necessarily addressed to you. Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong - you'll soon get used to the 'quirks' of the site.
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Old May 2nd, 2021, 04:58 AM
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There is a second location of Casco Antiguo in South Lake Union right across from the Amazon Spheres.

I would be sure to get tickets for the Argosy Harbor cruise now since that is the only cruise they are running this summer, so I anticipate that it will sell out during busy times.

Another fun thing to do that is not on your list is the Ballard Locks. The gardens are beautiful and are a perfect place to get take out and have a picnic lunch. Then go over to the locks and watch the boats come and go, and go see the salmon ladder. If you are there on a Saturday, the Ballard Farmer's Market is the best.
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Old May 2nd, 2021, 05:28 AM
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It doesn't sound to me like you need a car.

If you are doing mostly outdoor things and are fully vaxxed, I don't see any issue with a visit this year. Downtown was never that attractive and Seattle has always had tons of homeless, they were just less obvious with all of the daytime workers around. LA is the same. I personally would not spend any time downtown/ Pioneer Square, not that I would have in a normal year, either.

Museums or other things may close up again, or may require timed tickets. Or have shorter hours than normal. So just stay up to date.

There will be options for patio/outdoors dining, carryout, hotel room service, fast food.

You won't starve. Wearing a mask is hardly a reason not to leave your house.

Last edited by mlgb; May 2nd, 2021 at 05:33 AM.
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Old May 2nd, 2021, 09:19 AM
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mlgb - Since you have not been here recently, have no interest in coming, and no knowledge of the current situation, not sure why you are trying to encourage someone else to travel to Seattle at this time.

You can disagree with my observations but Seattle will look a LOT more appealing in another year than it does right now. We are on the mend from the pandemic, protesting, riots, civil unrest, and financial hard times since early 2020. Many businesses are still boarded up. Only beginning to reopen the city. It's looking hopeful and people are working hard to make it happen, but we are not. there. yet.

For people wanting to come visit like ekhayes, sure please do our economy could use the boost. Reminding about 100% masks, etc. because I know not all of the USA follows such strict guidelines.

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Old May 2nd, 2021, 12:16 PM
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Not a local, but I have done several trips to Seattle over the years, and these are my recommendations. I've split them up into indoor and outdoor categories because with Covid there's no guarantee that the indoor stuff will be open. Seattle has a decent public transportation system (I'd rate it a "B"), so if you're sticking to just the attractions near either Downtown or Seattle Center a car is not needed. If you're going further out, you might want to consider renting a car, even if just for 1 day, depending on how comfortable you are with long bus rides (most of Seattle is accessible within 50 minutes by bus)

Indoor
-Pike Place Market (Downtown)
-Seattle Museum of Art (Downtown - Kids might find this boring if they're not into art museums)
-Museum of Pop Culture (Seattle Center - Very kid-friendly)
-Museum of Flight (South End - A 40-45 minute bus ride from downtown - also very kid-friendly)

Outdoor
-Chihuly Garden & Glass (Seattle Center)
-Olympic Sculpture Park (a few blocks east of Seattle Center)
-Discovery Park & the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (Ballard - A 40-45 minute bus ride from downtown)
-Washington Park Arboretum (UW campus - either a 45 minute bus ride to get there directly, or 5 minutes by the LRT and a 20 minute walk through the UW campus from the LRT station)
-Snoqualmie Falls (outside the city, impossible to get to without a car)

I have only ever heard rave reviews for the Seattle Underground Tour, but unfortunately have never had a chance to do it myself. The Seattle Aquarium is fine, but there are better ones in the Pacific Northwest, so with only 3 days you could maybe skip it. Also the Space Needle looks cool from the outside, but I would maybe suggest skipping actually going to the top. It's expensive and the view imo was disappointing compared to other observation decks I've been to like the CN Tower.

3 Days is good amount of time for Seattle. It should be easy to find interesting things to do.

Last edited by SirhanTheStrong; May 2nd, 2021 at 01:16 PM.
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Old May 3rd, 2021, 12:30 PM
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Other observation options besides the Space Needle are Smith Tower and Sky View Observatory at Columbia Tower. Both are cool in different ways.

*Washington Park Arboretum (UW campus - either a 45 minute bus ride to get there directly, or 5 minutes by the LRT and a 20 minute walk through the UW campus from the LRT station)*

The Arboretum and the UW campus are two different places, so that one suggestion had me confused? Otherwise all great suggestions!


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Old May 3rd, 2021, 07:53 PM
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Coming to Seattle just to break-up the Covid monotony is a great idea provided you're not coming from across the continent.

With just three days to be here, you won't be impacted significantly enough by Covid changes to matter much.

Pike Place Market will be just about similar to normal, but with a fraction of the crowds.

As most of Seattle is about the setting, and the nearby nature, the gritty elements of the inner city won't matter a whole lot either, in three days.


IF flying into SeaTac, and staying at the Westin, I'd start without visions of renting a car, and then maybe get one for 24 hours (making a reservation well in advance, at least for less costs, and certainly to (imply) a car can be had at all. Strategize with regard to what time you pick-up the car... maybe noon or 1pm... so you can have a full evening, and then half of a day the next day, to make use of your vehicle. (take Link Light Rail for an easy trip from Sea Tac Airport to downtown Seattle, a short couple of blocks from your hotel)

But if you wish to go the entire time without a car, you can adjust to that as well. Pike Place Market... the ferry rides... the waterfront... the Space Needle... Kerry Park...


Geez, in 3 days they don't need to have every 5-star restaurant in town running at full capacity to make the ideal ambience for their visit. They could eat at Dick's Drive In (or while standing in the parking lot of same) most meals, and do fine.


Maybe the 11yo would like to go to a Mariners game.


BUT IF one showed up, and IF one went ahead and got the car for 24 hours... the first thought would be a drive to and around Mount Rainier (you can get to Paradise in 2.5 hours from downtown) It's the most prominent mountain in the lower 48 by a considerable margin, and makes even more sense if you happen to be from a state that doesn't have much more than mere hills.


The difference in a three-day trip to Seattle in August of 2021 and same in August of 2024 won't be enough to bother to put it off.


Maybe you'll be able to travel abroad by 2024, so to do Seattle now will at least put that impulse behind you.

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