Seattle: Slowly, Quietly

Story by Conor Kelly

You’re visiting Seattle soon. You’ve heard great things, so you’re heading out west, just like the settlers did. Most tourists visit during Seattle’s 80-degree summers, which start in mid-July and last until the end of September. You missed that. You’ll probably still have fun though, because Seattle is very trendy now—just give the locals a little time to get used to that idea.

You may have been drawn by the reputation of Seattle’s beer. What you’ve heard is true: Seattle, in my painstakingly researched opinion, has the best in the country. Georgetown Brewing Company’s Manny’s Pale Ale and Mac & Jack’s African Amber are the two best beers I’ve ever touched to my lips, and available almost everywhere in the Seattle area. Seattle’s other breweries  aren’t far behind either, with worthy offerings like Elysian Brewing Company’s Mens Room Red, Fremont’s Summer Ale, and Pyramid’s Hefeweizen. If you’re the stiff-drinking type, you might have heard about the whiskey distilleries—Woodinville Whiskey’s bourbon is worth a try.

You may be a (bandwagon) Seattle sports fan, visiting for a game. The Seahawks are defending their Super Bowl trophy in front of sellout crowds at CenturyLink Field, the now-successful Mariners draw fans to Safeco Field with one of the best views in the country, and the Sounders and Storm are two of the most successful franchises in the MLS and WNBA, respectively.

Or, it may be your hankering for seafood that brought you out. At Pike Place Market, Anthony’s, or Ponti, you can find fresh crab, lobster, scallops, oysters, and the local favorite, smoked salmon. You’ll find fresh seafood on the menus of delicious sushi restaurants throughout the city, including my favorite, Musashi’s in the Wallingford neighborhood, where you can eat like a king for $20 in a dining room so small you feel awkwardly giant. Or you may have heard that you could get a great burger and shake at Dick’s Drive-In for $5 (5 Seattle locations, cash only) or try a world-changing slice at Ballard Pizza Company (happy hour: 4-6 and 10-11 PM, Sun-Thurs., $2 slices/$5 with a beer).

Beware, however, of the Seattle Freeze, the sentiment that it’s difficult to make friends in this great city. Seattleites prefer to stay inside and read, as an average of 201 days out of the year are cloudy. They are an overthinking, Vitamin D-deficient, somber bunch that choose to live in a place that gets a light drizzle of rain seemingly everyday between October and May. It is young and hip now, but at its core it is still a quiet little city built into the forest. Seattleites young and old like their trees. They like their dogs, and they like their Sunday mornings with coffee and the newspaper.

So take it easy on them, reader. You may feel inclined to honk at them when they don’t realize the stoplight has changed. You might want to quickly walk around them when they stop on the street to admire an evergreen tree or shrub. Forgive them, fellow traveler—they’re just thinking. Probably about the summer.

This story appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Baedeker.



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