Alternatives to 6 of Seattle's Top Tourist Spots26 May 2016
Google the Top X Things to Do in Seattle and you’ll find that Kerry Park, the Space Needle, and Paseo will almost always make the list. But these aren’t exactly the hot spots where we tend to take visitors. Rather, Seattle locals (native or not) have plenty of alternatives that are often overshadowed by many of the famed attractions Seattle’s well known for. So, these are just a few alternatives to the top touristy things to do or see in the Emerald City. If you're up for branching out, have a look!
KERRY PARK || MARSHALL PARK
Yes, Kerry Park is worth much of the hype. The views are postcard worthy, really, and on a clear day it offers one of the best views of Mt. Rainier. But just down the street, literally two or three blocks, you’ll find a much less crowded alternative: Marshall Park. Being just a stone’s throw away, Marshall Park boasts a similar view without the busloads of tourists and row of selfie-takers.
SPACE NEEDLE || COLUMBIA CENTER
For a fraction of the cost, take a lift up to the top of Columbia Center (floor 73) on a clear Seattle day and you’ll witness a view that just might trump the Space Needle Observation Deck’s (and also includes the iconic landmark). Of course, you’ll need to consider that you won’t be given a well-rehearsed elevator pitch (literally), but maybe that’s not so bad?
PASEO || SALUMI or THE BEAR AND THE BEE
I have to be honest: even when the original owners were making the famed Caribbean sandwiches, I never understood the hype of Paseo. The sandwiches are OK, but nothing I would write home about. Salumi or The Bear and The Bee on the other hand, are two top-notch eateries in downtown Seattle with artisan sandwiches boasting incredible flavor. Having been founded by Mario Batali's father, the word about Salumi has certainly gotten out. The Bear and the Bee, however, remains a great little gem in the heart of Belltown. Keep an eye on the hours of both sandwich shops, they open late and close early.
DISCOVERY PARK || MYRTLE EDWARDS and CENTENNIAL PARK
There’s not a single park in Seattle that will disappoint you. I promise. Seattle loves its parks. There are parks in every neighborhood, and they’re all beautiful and well-kept. One that often makes tourists’ lists is Discovery Park, the largest park in Seattle’s city limits. It’s massive and offers plenty of trails to explore, as well as waterfront beaches.
But the parks I much prefer to Discovery are more accessible for visitors and run alongside Seattle’s downtown waterfront. Myrtle Edwards Park begins just north of the downtown ports and merges into Centennial Park, which can lead you even beyond Ballard’s Golden Gardens beach (another worthwhile place to visit). The bordering park encompass beautiful works of art from the Seattle Art Museum’s Sculpture Park and feature stunning mountain and waterfront views. Plus, with a tiny bait shop along the route, you can purchase some fishing gear and enjoy the day at the edge of the docks.
‘THE ORIGINAL’ STARBUCKS || STARBUCKS RESERVE ROASTERY
Often mistaken as the first Starbucks, the “original” Starbucks storefront in downtown Seattle is hugely popular among tourists. I hate to break it to them, but the “original” Starbucks isn’t actually the first. Rather, the first storefront was located at 2000 Western Ave in the early ‘70s, but the owners later set up shop across from the market, which is the shop tourists visit today. While there’s a Starbucks on just about every corner in the city, tourists flock to this one location.
If you’re simply interested in a unique Seattle Starbucks experience, take the hike up and away from Pike Place Market to Starbucks’ new roastery and tasting room in Capitol Hill. Surrounded by copper roasting machinery and a vintage vibe, you can order a flight of their reserve brews or a specialty coffee drink from the one-of-a-kind menu. But be forewarned, it’s a bit spendy.
RED MILL BURGERS || UNEEDA BURGER or 8 OZ. BURGER BAR
I’m not gonna lie, I like all of them. As in, all of the burgers—everywhere. Red Mill is kind of a Seattle staple with locations all over the city. And did I mention their token bacon stack? Literally a tower of bacon waiting to be devoured by way of deluxe bacon cheeseburgers. Also, the Mill sauce is delicious (and best with fries). Red Mill is a good bet for a quick, tasty burger and, of course, to cross it off the Seattle tourist bucket list. But Uneeda Burger and 8 oz. sure give this place a run for it's money.
Uneeda Burger says it all in the name. They are so. freaking. tasty. You honestly can't go wrong with any of the burgers on the menu, but my personal favorite is the BBQ Smash. (They also serve sammies, in case for some reason you hang out with people who don't eat burgers. Strange.) But the real reason this place made my list? They have fried cheese curds, people. Fried freaking cheese curds. And they're the closest to Wisconsin curds you're gonna find in this Pacific Northwest city.
Now, if you prefer a more substantial burger patty, consider 8 oz. Burger Bar. They make damn good burgers that are sure to satisfy. And with pretzel buns and a side of poutine... Who can say "no" to that?