Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Best of Seattle: Fun Things and Places

--Boehm's Candies in Issaquah--genuine Alpine chocolates! The appeal for me is mostly the aroma of the shop. If heaven doesn't smell like that, I don't want to go.

--Compline at St Mark's Cathedral, on Capitol Hill--a little-known but popular (is that possible?) Sunday night tradition. It's a short chant (some in English, some in Latin) in the boxy but echoey St Mark's, held from 9.30 to 10pm. People of all ages come and sit in pews or lie on the floor, absorbing the magic of the human voice. It's a gorgeous experience and I highly recommend it.

--Before or after Compline, or any night of the week, Capitol Hill is a great place to go. It's always bustling and has great people watching. It's the most New York of Seattle neighborhoods. Dilletante's has excellent drinks and desserts, and the Broadway Grill has delectable dinners and cocktails. There's dancing at several clubs, no matter your orientation. You can find independent bookstores and all kinds of Asian cuisine. There are several large 24-hour grocery stores if you need them too.

--Ride the Duck tours--yes, it's cheesy and obnoxious. But it's still fun. The best part is driving into Lake Union and motoring around the water in an amphibious vehicle, looking at the skyline and the houseboats. They drive past the houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle, which is big and beautiful and costs several million dollars.

--Kerry Park on Queen Anne--no one I know has ever even heard of it, which is a tiny tragedy. I first saw mention of it on this blog, and then we heard about it on the free tour talk at the top of the Space Needle. It's so easy to get to, and it's an incredible view. You go up Queen Anne hill, and turn left on Highland. You'll see the little park on the left, and you turn, and you see the entire city of Seattle below you, with Mt Rainier behind to the right. Sunny or rainy, cloudy or clear, day or night, it's breathtaking.

--Snoqualmie Falls in Snoqualmie, in the Cascade foothills--Very popular, and very pretty. Waterfalls are always crowd-pleasers. Right now, because of the summer dry season, the falls are about half that width, but I have seen them that big, after big rains. It's impressive no matter what. You can 'hike' down a steep one-mile trail to get to the lower observation deck, and then you can clamber over the railing and pick your way over lots of big rocks to get down to the river and in mist-range. Definitely a must-do. If you ever liked playing that game where the floor is lava and you have to hop from one big thing to another, you will love this 'beach.'

--Scott's Dairy Freeze in North Bend has the best milkshakes around! Right at the foot of Mt. Si, down the street from Twin Peaks Cafe, and around a corner from an outlet mall. North Bend is a few miles up the road from Snoqualmie Falls. If you continue east on I-90, you soon hit Snoqualmie Pass and the actual Cascade mountains. Gorgeous in any season!

--Small Fryes in Fall City, which down the road in the other direction from Snoqualmie Falls--the best fries around! Hot and fresh; big enough that they put them in a brown paper lunch bag; salted and slightly seasoned. Yum! They also have good milkshakes and burgers.

--Carnation is a small dairy town (Carnation milk, anyone? Actually, now it's owned by Nestle) near Fall City. That's where I lived for a few years and had an idyllic American childhood experience. If you like to dunk in ice-cold mountain water, or float downriver on an inner tube, Carnation's Tolt and Snoqualmie Rivers are for you. If you're around in the winter, there's a good tree farm with a shop selling ornaments and spiced cider. Yum.

--In town, for the best burgers, fries shakes and ice cream cones that are also ridiculously cheap and authentically local, you must stop by Dick's Drive-In. There are five of them scattered around Seattle. Local legend that stands up to the lore. You must go.

--Jet City Improv--Ten bucks to see an hour and a half of Whose-Line type improv! It's in a small historic theatre in the U-District, which is a fun place to be anyway. Always funny, plus easy to get to.


Nancy said...

I didn't make it to Dick's Burgers, though it was recommended. I, however, did go to Zak's in Ballard and those burgers were damn good. That's coming from a person that generally does not like to eat hambugers! Also, some things I would add to the list:
1. Jak's in Issaquah. Great steak!
2. Julia's in Issaquah. I highly recommend the tuna melt!
3. Tropea in Redmond. Excellent wine list and awesome pasta. I've been there twice already in the week I've been here, since it is a favorite of our hosts. I'll be in Capitol Hill tomorrow and Thursday night. Maybe I'll check out that church thing!

Jen said...

Hey - thanks for the link about Kerry Park! Isn't it awesome? Say, how did you find me? This is the first time I've ever seen your blog, and I'm always curious how people get to me. Were you just in Seattle? Wasn't the weather sublime? Love it.

Nancy said...

hey, i went to dick's in capital hill yesterday! there was a crazy homeless guy yelling at these two other guys who picked on him. the fries were eh and the burger was pretty good but damn, those prices? the best thing!

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head for the Snoqualmie Valley. How about the water tower in Volunteer Park. It is an ofter over looked spot in Seattle.

Another great thing to try is the Snoquamlie Falls Forest Theater in Fall City.