Seattle’s become an iconic destination for tourists around the world and in only a short period of time. Since the World’s Fair in 1962, Seattle has become a major west coast hub for fishing, shipping, and international travel. In 2014 alone, tourism brought in over $6 billion to the local economy with more than 20 million people staying overnight in the Emerald City during the calendar year. But after the initial visit to the crown jewel of the Pacific Northwest, there’s not much incentive to spend another afternoon (and hundreds of dollars) for an elevator ride to the Space Needle’s observation platform. So the next time you find yourself drawn to the beauty of summertime in Seattle, consider the following lesser-known activities and destinations that don’t appear in any concierge’s guide.
Sure, Seattle is known for its fishing and seafood – what port city isn’t? But few tourists actually consider the fact that they could experience the thrill of catching salmon from gorgeous Elliot Bay and the surrounding waters.
Specializing in light tackle and saltwater fly fishing, A Spot Tail Salmon Guide and Captain Keith Robbins has nearly 30 years of experience guiding fishermen in the Puget Sound region and each chartered visit is just a short drive back to downtown Seattle – the perfect guy’s alternative to a day of shopping at Westlake Center.
The sightseeing opportunities alone make the cost of a trip worthwhile. With a view of the surrounding mountain ranges, Mt. Rainier, and spectacular sunrises and sunsets, there are plenty of chances to see Pacific Northwest wildlife in their natural habitat. It’s not uncommon to spot bald eagles, sea lions, otters, and a variety of native whale species from the comfort of the fishing boat.
If you find yourself in Seattle on a Friday evening (and especially during the first weekend of the month), there’s no better destination than the center of the universe: Fremont!
Seattle’s funkiest neighborhood is also among its liveliest. Every month, the Fremont Art Walk takes place along Fremont Avenue and joins local artists with business owners to provide an outlet and platform for rising talent and established artists alike. It’s a great way to spend a relaxing evening while experiencing local art and community members, but don’t forget to find a bite to eat while you’re in the neighborhood!
A remarkable urban retreat in a historic building, The Tin Lizzie Lounge is an excellent respite from a long day at Seattle Center, the EMP, or Pacific Science Center. Stiff cocktails, small plates, and bountiful full course meals are all on the menu, but the creativity of the bartenders and the lounge’s enduring aesthetic keep loyal patrons coming back.
The Tin Lizzie Lounge is connected to the gorgeous and recently remodeled Marqueen Hotel, which remains one of the oldest hotels still in operation. Perfect for weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, or a romantic weekend getaway, there’s plenty of reasons to check out Queen Anne’s favorite hotel and bar during your next visit to Seattle.
Seattle is known for its expansive, breathtaking views of cityscapes, natural mountain ranges, and bodies of water as far as the eye can see – but few tourists realize they’re not getting the full experience. Exhilarating and surprisingly affordable, a group flight with Seattle Heli Tours will provide the perfect keepsake to cap off your visit to the Emerald City.
Soaring perspectives of Seattle’s skyline, up-close-and-personal with the crashing Snoqualmie Falls, and a unique view of the summit of Mount Si will leave you and your group with memories that will last forever. Oh, and plenty of opportunities for spectacular Instagram shots, too.
Of all the innovations in technology and business that have from Seattle, perhaps one of the most impactful and progressive endeavors by the community is that of the recreational cannabis initiative. While controversial and still (technically) illegal under federal law, the experience of walking into a licensed and insured store with the ability to purchase cannabis on the up-and-up is a strange and wonderful glimpse into the unique qualities of life in Seattle.
Kush Tourism aims to broaden that experience for Washington residents and tourists alike. With two different guided tours of a cannabis grow operation, production, and distribution, it’s a great opportunity to see how endeavoring entrepreneurs in this exploding industry are working to legitimize their business and share information with the general public.
What are some of your favorite lesser-known activities in Seattle?