- Where the Locals Go
To mark the release of our March issue (now on newsstands), we’re celebrating cities over the next few weeks, and we’ve asked our readers to share what they love most about their towns. We’ve been overwhelmed by your responses, and don’t worry, we’re going to try to get to them all!
Still haven’t submitted? Here’s your chance. We’ve put together a list of fill-in-the-blank questions that should help get you started and we’d love it if you would copy and paste the list into an email, fill in your answers (as many as you like) and send your responses to IntelligentTravel@ngs.org. Declare your love for that special city in your heart!
Today’s featured city-lover is Pam Mandel, of Seattle, Washington. Pam is the author of the witty Nerd’s Eye View blog, and when she’s not riffing on the Seattle weather, she’s dreaming of Hawaii over at WorldHum.
Seattle is My City
The first place I take a visitor from out of town is Alki Beach to see the view of the skyline from the waterfront.
When I crave milkshakes I always go to Luna Park in West Seattle.
To escape the midwinter blues, I head to Pike Place Market. The buzz of activity, the bright colors, and the chatter of the market reminds me why I fell for Seattle in the first place.
If I want to see the salmon run I go to the Ballard Fish Ladder.
For complete quiet, I can hide away at the Arboretum. Bonus: In fall, the trees are spectacular!
If you come to my city, get your picture taken with Noguchi’s Black Hole Sun in Volunteer Park.
If you have to order one thing off the menu from Bakery Nouveau it has to be the almond croissant.
Archie McPhee’s is my one-stop shop for great kitschy plastic stuff you didn’t know you needed.
Locals know to skip Starbucks and check out Cherry Street Coffee House instead.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to the International District for Chinese food. Or Vietnamese. Or Cambodian. Or…
For a huge splurge I go to the Dahlia Lounge. Chef Tom Douglas is a Seattle celeb and with good reason.
Photo ops in my city include the views of Mt. Rainier and the skyline
and the best vantage points are from the north end of the market where the totem poles stand or from up the Space Needle on a clear day.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be spending December through February somewhere sunny.
The most random thing about my city is the huge statue of Lenin in the People’s Republic of Fremont, a neighborhood north of the Ship Canal.
In my city, an active day outdoors involves biking the Burke Gilman Trail. It’s also fun to rent a kayak or a canoe and see the city from the water.
My city’s best museum is the new(ish) outdoor sculpture garden.
My favorite jogging/walking /rollerblading route is along the waterfront promenade in West Seattle.
For a night of dancing, go to the Pike/Pine corridor and keep trying the clubs until you find the place that’s got the vibe you’re looking for. For live music, check out The Tractor Tavern in Ballard.
is the spot for late-night pizza – though it’s worth noting that what passes for late night in Seattle is pretty early in other cities.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read Seattlest or Metblogging Seattle, two on the job blogs about all things Seattle. In fact, they’ll give you way better answers to the previous nightlife questions than I can.
My recommendations are so 2004.
You can tell a lot about my city by taking the bus in the free ride zone downtown.
You get to share the ride with meth clinic patients, ad agency hipsters, fishermen, Native Americans, students… you want a microcosm of Seattle diversity? Try any bus between Pioneer Square and the market.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they’re still talking kind of slow after all that coffee. Other possible clues? Not shutting up about some software project and /or being dressed almost comically appropriate for the weather.
In the spring you should buzz up to La Conner to see the tulips when they’re in bloom. The color is mind-blowing.
In the summer you should take the water taxi from downtown to Alki Beach and back.
In the fall you should spend as much time outdoors as humanly possible. Fall in Seattle is a thing of absolute perfection and much too transitory. Breathe it in, it’s not going to last.
In the winter you should get the hell out of town. It’s dark here.
A hidden gem in my city is Schmitz Preserve Park. It’s a patch of old growth forest in the middle of a rather suburban Seattle neighborhood.
For a great breakfast joint try Coastal Kitchen on Capitol Hill. The salmon scram never disappoints. Expect to wait on the weekends, it’s packed.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Don’t miss the music and arts festival, Bumbershoot, in September.
Just outside my city, you can visit spectacular nature.
Go east any number of gorgeous peak or alpine lakes in the Cascade Range. A few hours in the opposite direction, there are trees so big they’ll make you dizzy.
The best way to see my city is with Pam from Nerd’s Eye View! Okay, more seriously? On foot and via public transit. You don’t need a car downtown and our bus service is pretty good.
If my city were a pet it would be passive aggressive. I’m thinking a cat. It loves you. It hates you. It loves you. It doesn’t know you exist. Like that.
If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in Hawi on the Big Island in Hawaii.
The best book about my city is Snow Falling on Cedars. Okay, it’s not set in the city proper, but wow, does it catch the spirit of this place. Broken for You is set in Seattle proper and captures my old neighborhood, where much of the story takes place.
When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is Where Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie.
If you have kids, you won’t want to miss the Pacific Science Center.
Worldwide fame for hurling fish across crowds of tourists could only happen in my city.
My city should be featured on your cover and website because Seattle is always changing. Whatever you thought you knew about Seattle is already wrong; it’s time to see it again.
Thanks to Pam for her fantastic picks! Share your own by getting our fill-in-the-blank list and emailing it to IntelligentTravel@ngs.org!
Photos: Pam Mandel