Okey dokey, seeing as I'm a born and bred Seattlite and I've only posted things about New York really so far, I feel it's only fair to get some home town lovin' on the interweb. I'm a vegan so I think I'll start with a couple of my favorite places to eat in the city. First and foremost, the Sunlight Cafe. By far, the BEST vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the city I think. And, as luck would have it, right near my house. Sweet. Not only that, but a new raw/vegan cafe just opened up around the corner called Thrive. As a good vegan I went and tried it out, and I'll be damned if that wasn't some of the greatest raw food I've ever had. I highly suggest the Warm Grain Bowls, they are out of this world. Another favorite is the Portage Bay Cafe, where they have lots of organic, vegetarian and vegan options. And of course, one must not forget my old stomping ground that is Bagel Oasis. I worked there for almost 2 years and seeing as bagels are inherently vegan (except egg bagels of course, but no worries, they don't make them) I think that Bagel O. is a perfect place to have lunch.
Well, on to things other than food. Here I will just give a good list of places everyone should see in Sea-Town. Numero Uno, the Pike Place Market. Sounds duh right? The wonderful thing about the Pike Place is that it's not your average tourist trap. The locals shop there for their produce and stuff too. What should you definitely see at the market? Rachel the Pig, Left Bank Books, Daily Dozen Doughnuts, Golden Age Collectibles and of course, the absolutely fabulous fishmongers. Yes, the guys who throw the fish. And they really do. They love playing pranks on the tourists, once they even stuck me and my sister into the ice freezer and told us to shovel ice. They left us in there for almost ten minutes. I think they forgot about us somewhat.
Next, while you're down there, go and have a gander at the Seattle Aquarium. Granted, there's no Shamu or anything, but we have a darn nice new aquarium (they just renovated!). Another part of downtown that you should see (because you can do all of this in one day, seriously) is Westlake Mall. Actually, the mall itself isn't that exciting, but just across the street we have a waterfall. Just, go there and you'll see. A waterfall, downtown. But only go if the weather is nice.
So making our way north, my next favorite place would be Broadway. On Broadway, the first thing you should find would be the Tango. Or the Foxtrot. We have dance steps built into the pavement, created by This Guy and they are incredibly fun to try and master, especially while tourists walk by and wonder what the hell you are doing. That might be where people get the ideas that Seattlites are a bit crazy. Travelling farther north, we pass through Fremont, considered by many scientists to be the actual Center of the Universe. In Fremont, we not only have a Troll under the bridge (made famous by the movie 10 Things I Hate About You) and a spaceship, but, also one of the probably few statues of Lenin left standing in the world. Yes Lenin. Maybe that's why people think we're weird.
A bit more north (we keep going north because Seattle rolls isthmus-style, there are only so many directions to go), we end up in Green Lake, which I am partial towards because I grew up there. And like its name, we have a lake, called Green Lake. Sometimes it does turn green, and when that happens they close the lake for swimming. But most of the time the lake is surrounded by joggers, walkers and the like because it's got a perfect size for daily exercise, being about 3 miles around, and we're proud of it because it is so well shaped for activities, yet it is completely glacier-formed. Woot. One thing that you should definitely try and do when visiting the lake, is to rent a paddle boat. You can paddle it all around the lake and when the weather is really nice (like July or August) you can swim in the middle of the lake, although they will tell you not to do this, but if you are a strong swimmer then you're fine. And you should be wearing a life vest anyway fool.
Lastly, we head a little west (I know right?) and find the diamond in the rough that is Ballard. A largely Scandinavian community, there are some of the greatest places to eat, see shows and hang out in Ballard. Two of my favorites: the Ballard locks and Slave to the Needle. The locks are exactly like the Panama Canal, a set of locks that allow boats to go from Puget Sound into all the freshwater lakes. And during the right time of year it's always great to check out the salmon ladder that they installed so the salmon have no trouble traversing the locks either. Slave to the Needle is the world-reknowned tattoo parlor, owned by Aaron Bell. I love it there, it's the only place in Seattle that I will ever get a tattoo at in the future. I've gotten piercings there, they are fabulous. And their name has a double meaning, since we also have the Space Needle in Seattle. Oh yeah, don't go to the Space Needle. It's the biggest tourist trap on the planet besides Times Square. Instead, go to Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill, it has a better view anyway.
Here's the thing about Seattle; everyone always thinks that the only things that come out of the city are coffee and Microsoft. Oh and suicidal Grunge bands. So, in reality, Seattle is made up of tons of little places where you can always find interesting people and new experiences. Each little neighborhood has its own little quirks and special features. I know I left out many, many things but half the fun of Seattle is just hopping on a bus and seeing where you end up. I can only spoil so much of it for you. It's a hella good time.
Add to your playlist:
Sandi Thom "I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker"
Gotan Project "Santa Maria"
David Bowie "Rebel Rebel"