Fish fly at Seattle’s Pike Place Market as the tourists squeeze together between flower and seafood vendors. Freedom is making it to the sidewalk. There is more to Seattle than rain, ferries, and Ivar’s Acres of Claims.
Since you’ve visited Seattle a dozen times or less, your ho-hum reaction is…been there, done it. Wrong. Seattle is packed with a variety of unique entertainment. You’ve only scratched the surface.
Go Underground: Bill Speidel’s Underground Tours
Today’s downtown Seattle rests above the remains of the 1889 fire that consumed 25 blocks of businesses and homes. A woodworking apprentice neglected a pot of glue on the stove. The glue spilled onto wood shavings and the rest is history. While ashes smoldered, city engineers mandated that the rebuilding of Seattle would only be stone and masonry brick. Eight foot stone walls were constructed on an expanded thoroughfare and filled on either side with dirt. The reconstruction would take years and the merchants could not wait for the “raising of Seattle”. So, they re-built their businesses keeping in mind that their second floor would one day be their new entrance. The underground passages were abandoned with the completion of the new streets.
Lou Graham, Seattle’s famous madame, helped finance the city’s re-building and at her death, contributed more money to Seattle’s education system than any other donation other than the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She bank-rolled the Seattle renaissance. There were 25,000 men and 4,000 women living in Seattle. Prostitution was a thriving business.
The underground path is covered with a wooden path with lighting along the walls. When the lights are extinguished, the overhead glass grates provide an eerie ambiance. If you want to explore the possibility of ghosts trapped in the underground, sign-up for the Underground Paranormal Tour.
Seattle was the jumping off place for the Klondike Gold Rush. Scams proliferated. A Gopher powered gold extraction machine was peddled to naive adventurers headed north. Dog teams comprised of stolen household pets were sold as seasoned teams.
- Tour hours and cost:
Climb inside the enclosed gondolas and rise to 175 ft. for breath taking views of Elliott Bay and downtown Seattle. Completed in 2012, visitors ride circumvent the wheel four time. The pods are heated and air-conditioned for your comfort. Depending on the size of the crowd, you might ride with a max of eight/pod or fewer.
- Location: Pier 57 – Miners Landing, 1301 Alaskan Way
- Ticket Prices: Youth(3-11) $9 Adult $14 Seniors (65+) $12
Hours of Operation:
- Monday-Thursday: 11am-10pm, Friday: 11am-12am, Saturday: 10am-12am, Sunday: 10am-10pm. Last ride loads 5 minutes before closing time.
If you are a veteran Seattle visitor, skip the Space Needle and head next door to MoPop. First, do a walk around to enjoy the architecture of Frank O. Gehry who designed the flowing structure of 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel shingles.
Inside, events change weekly. You might walk onto the set of Captain Kirk’s Enterprise or attend a POP Conference. There is something for everyone.
- Location: 325 5th Avenue N at Seattle Center
- Ticket Prices:
Into Seattle’s Burbs:
Owners Ann Magyar and Justin Cline have discovered nirvana: ice cream coupled with a row of perfectly maintained pinball machines. A change machine dispenses quarters for as long as your dollars hold out. Take a break with a cone of delicious sweet cream. Two dollars will get you four pin balls. Four dollars will get you a cone of Salted Caramel cream. Vegan creams are also available.
The idea has been so popular that Full-tilt has expanded to White Center, University District, and Columbia City. This location is at 5453 Leary Ave NW.
Marlowe and Jodavid Harris are the brainchild of the OBAMA Museum. Their collection fills the walls of three rooms of Cafe Racer on 5828 Roosevelt Way NE.
Besides copious amounts of bad art, Cafe Racer has artery clogging food, Wonder Wiener. A polish sausage, bacon, green chilies, onions, cream cheese and mayotard. Top that off with Tater Tots. Wow! Call 911.
This troll will make you smile. Nestled under the Fremont Bridge lounges this 13,000 lb troll. Four artists, Steve Badanas, Will Martin, Donna Walter and Ross Whitehead, created him out of concrete, wire and steel rebar. He was the winning entry in the 1990 Fremont Art Council’s competition to revitalize the area under the Fremont Bridge. People are encouraged to climb on the troll who holds a VW in his right hand and has a hubcap as an eye. Cars line the streets which is probably not the result the people living there wanted. There are no fees or hours.
When History House Museum closed their doors, they left behind a piece of the Berlin Wall. Cafe Turko moved into the building and just left the remnant where it stood…just off the sidewalk in front of the cafe. The 6′x12′ piece of concrete stands guard at the corner as people walk passed unaware of the significance of this monolith.
- Location: 900 N 34th St
Regardless of time of year you visit Seattle, she is always celebrating a festival of something. The people are friendly, the traffic is terrible only surpassed by the constant drizzle. The joke goes… When is summer in Seattle? Ans: It’s the second weekend in July, unless it rains. Yet, a visit to Seattle is always fun because the high level of creativity translates into unique things to do.
About the Author:
In 2010, Annie Coburn created Fab Placez. In 2014, she changed the name of her website to FAB Senior Travel to better define her target audience, mature travelers. She publishes travel articles from other writers, as well as her own, in order to provide diversity of locations to match the breadth of FAB’s subscribers interests.
Website: http:// www.fabseniortravel.com