To give you a few good ideas while visiting Seattle, here are some recommendations made by the Seattle Times:
The Olmsted brothers, of Brookline, Mass., (their dad did New York City's Central Park) designed, influenced or recommended more than 60 existing Seattle parks and more than a dozen boulevards.
For general information on all parks (and the ones listed below), call 206-684-4075 or see the city's parks Web site at www.cityofseattle.net/parks/.
- Gasworks Park, 2101 N. Northlake Way, sits on the north shore of Lake Union with a commanding view of downtown Seattle. It's the site of a former, well, gasworks.
- Golden Gardens Park: 8498 Seaview Place N.W., is on Puget Sound just west of Ballard. Nearly unbeatable for its expanse of beach and sunset view. Highly used, no matter the weather.
- Discovery Park: 3801 W. Government Way, at the west tip of the city's Magnolia neighborhood. A huge former military base (Fort Lawton) with two miles of protected tidal beaches, it adjoins the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center.
- Seward Park: 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S., south of downtown on Lake Washington. It's a mini peninsula, with old-growth trees and a waterfront walking trail.
- Washington Park Arboretum: 2300 Arboretum Drive E., east of downtown. More than 200 acres of plantings, trees and paths, including a Japanese garden.
- Kubota Garden: 9817 55th Ave. S., south of downtown. A peaceful retreat created over decades by Seattle resident Fujitaro Kubota and later acquired by the city.
- Warren G. Magnuson Park: 6500 Sand Point Way N.E., on Lake Washington, northeast of downtown. A former naval air station (Sand Point), the park is home to everything from waterfront paths to the city's yearly used-book sale.
- Volunteer Park: 1247 15th Ave. E., on Capitol Hill, east of downtown. It offers the Seattle Asian Art Museum, city views and a tropical conservatory.
Frankly, views are everywhere. It just depends on what you'd like to look at.
- Space Needle, Seattle Center, 206-905-2100 or www.spaceneedle.com. You can see everything from there.
- Kerry Park: 211 W. Highland Drive, on Queen Anne Hill. A tiny city park with lovely views of downtown, Elliott Bay and Mount Rainier.
- Smith Tower observation deck: 506 Second Ave., 206-622-4004 or www.smithtower.com.When completed in 1914, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Go for the old-fashioned elevators and the view from the 35th floor and the Chinese Room, decorated with Asian textiles.
- Columbia Tower observation deck: 701 Fifth Ave., 206-386-5151. Seattle's tallest building — drink in the views from the 73rd floor.
On the water
Get out on the water aboard one of the Washington State Ferries that sail from downtown's Pier 50 (call 800-843-3779 or see www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/). Or hop aboard one of Argosy Cruises' boats for tours of the downtown waterfront or Lake Washington (800-642-7816 or www.argosycruises.com). Or join a Ride the Ducks tour for a land and water journey in a World War 11 amphibian craft (206-441-3825 or www.ridetheducksofseattle.com).
If you want to do it yourself and rent a kayak or other small craft, try:
- Alki Kayak Tours: 1660 Harbor Ave. S.W., in West Seattle, 206-953-0237 or www.kayakalki.com.They also rent skates and bikes for tooling around West Seattle.
- Agua Verde Café and Paddle Club: 1303 N.E. Boat St., on Portage Bay between Lakes Union and Washington, 206-545-8570 or www.aguaverde.com.
- University of Washington's Waterfront Activities Center on the water near the UW's Husky Stadium, 206-543-9433 or www.depts.washington.edu/ima/IMA_wac.php.
- The Center for Wooden Boats is close to downtown at the south end of Lake Union, 1010 Valley St., 206-382- 2628 or www.cwb.org.
In this city, you can find almost any cuisine of the world. Seattle Times restaurant critic Nancy Leson gives great information and reviews on restaurants: Get her rundown at www.seattletimes.com/food.
In the meantime, here are some favorites recommended by other Times staff:
- Bimbo's Bitchin Burrito Kitchen, 506 E. Pine St., 206-329-9978.
- Cafe Besalu, 5909 24th Ave. N.W., 206-789-1463.
- Chinook's at Salmon Bay, 1900 W. Nickerson, 206-283-4665.
- Copacabana Café, 1520-˝ Pike Place, 206-622-6359.
- Dahlia Lounge, 2001 Fourth Ave., 206-682-4142.
- Dandelion Café, 5809 24th Ave N.W., 206-706-8088.
- El Puerco Lloron, 1501 Western Ave., 206-624-0541.
- The Harvest Vine, 2701 E. Madison St., 206-320-9771.
- Ivar's Acres of Clams, 1001 Alaskan Way, 206-624-6852 (Call for other locations).
- Kingfish Café, 602 19th Ave. E., 206-320-8757.
- La Carta de Oaxaca, 5431 Ballard Ave N.W., 206-782-8722.
- Malay Satay Hut, 212 12th Ave. S., 206-324-4091.
- Matt's in the Market, 94 Pike St., 206-467-7909.
- Nana's Soup House, 3418 N.E. 55th, 206-523-9053.
- Queen City Grill, 2201 First Ave., 206-443-0975.
- Palisade Waterfront Restaurant, 2601 W. Marina Place, 206-285-1000.
- Panama Hotel Tea and Coffee, 605-˝ S. Main St., 206-223-9242.
- Ray's Boathouse Restaurant and Café, 6049 Seaview Ave. N.W., 206-789-3770.
- Serafina, 2043 Eastlake Ave. E., 206-323-0807.
- Seven Stars Pepper, 1207 Jackson St., 206-568-6446.
- Saito's Japanese Café & Bar, 2122 Second Ave., 206-728-1333.
- Spud Fish & Chips, 2666 Alki Ave. S.W., 206-938-0606.
The Times' club guy, Tom Scanlon, puts it this way in his music-place recommendations:
- Indie rock clubs: Crocodile Cafe (Belltown), Chop Suey (Capitol Hill), Neumos (Capitol Hill). For up-and-coming local bands: High Dive (Fremont), Sunset Tavern (Ballard), Funhouse (across from Seattle Center)
- The scenes: First Avenue, Belltown, Fremont.
- Notable dives: Blue Moon (University District), Cha Cha Lounge (Capitol Hill), Lava Lounge (Belltown).
- Dance clubs: Neighbours (Capitol Hill), Last Supper Club (Pioneer Square), Venom (Belltown).
- Blues spots: Highway 99 (downtown), New Orleans (Pioneer Square).
- Alt country/Americana get-away: Tractor Tavern (Ballard).
- The Triple Door: 216 Union St., 206-838-4333. Main stage live and Musicquarium Lounge. Underneath the Wild Ginger Restaurant, fusion food and music.
- Dimitriou's Jazz Alley: 2033 Sixth Ave., 206-441-9729. Live jazz all the time, a city original.
Check www.seattletimes.com/entertainment or pick up a copy of The Times' Ticket section — published every Friday — for more details on clubs and current shows.
One of our many gadabouts (Times reporter Kim Peterson) lists one of her favorite early-evening bar strolls, this one in Belltown.
"Head to Lava Lounge at 2226 Second Ave., to start things off with a stiff drink. Stare curiously at the stuffed cat on display. Then go to Shorty's at 2222 Second Ave., for cheap booze and a hot dog (and pinball). Then head to The Apartment Bistro at 2226 First Ave., for their cheap happy-hour martinis. The house-made melon-infused vodka will knock your socks off. ... The last stop is just off the 2200 block. It's the See Sound Lounge at 115 Blanchard St. It's the best place to finish up because the happy hour goes until 8 p.m."
Want a good beer? Among the local brewers:
- Pike Brewing Co.: 1415 First Ave., 206-622-6044.
- Pyramid Ale House: 91 S. Royal Brougham Way, 206-682-3377.
- Hales Ales: 4301 Leary Way N.W., 206-782-0737.
- Maritime Pacific Brewing Co.: 1514 N.W. Leary Way, 206-782-6181.
Choose among art, aviation and more. (the city's largest, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Olympic Sculpture Garden are under reconstruction/construction and won't open for a while). A sampling:
- Wing Luke Asian Museum: 407 Seventh Ave. S., in the Chinatown/International District, 206-623-5124 or www.wingluke.org. Named in honor of Wing Luke, elected to the Seattle City Council in 1962; showcases the history of immigrants from Asia and Pacific islands.
- Museum of Flight: 9404 E. Marginal Way S., south of downtown, 206-764-5720 or www.museumofflight.org. One of the world's largest museums devoted to aviation history. The six-story Great Gallery will send you into a tailspin.
- Museum of History and Industry: 2700 24th Ave. E., south of the University of Washington, 206-324-1126 or www.seattlehistory.org. Learn all about Seattle and its history.
- The Frye Art Museum: 704 Terry Ave., on Capitol Hill, 206-622-9250 or www.fryeart.org. Free public art museum — go for the architecture as well.
- The Henry Art Gallery: 15th Ave N.E. and N.E. 41st St., at the University of Washington, 206-543-2280 or www.henryart.org. Innovative modern art.
- Experience Music Project: 325 Fifth Ave., at the Seattle Center, 206-770-2700 or www.emplive.org. Interactive music museum designed by Frank Gehry. One of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's many passions. The Science Fiction Museum shares the curvaceous building.
We are a well-read community. There are bookstores everywhere, from the small and strange to the big and chained.
- The Elliott Bay Book Co.: 101 S. Main St., in Pioneer Square, 206-624-6600 or www.elliottbaybook.com. An independent, family-owned bookstore, founded in 1973. One of the city's treasures.
- Open Books: A Poem Emporium, 2414 N. 45th St., 206-633-0811 or www.openpoetrybooks.com. Devoted to poetry and poetry-related titles.
- Twice Sold Tales: 905 E. John St., 206-324-2421 on Capitol Hill (Call for other locations). Used books galore.
- University Book Store: 4326 University Way N.E., in the University District, 206-634-3400 (call for other locations). More than 100 years old, the store claims to sell more books and supplies than any counterpart across the country.
More things to do
Catch a Mariners game, 206-346-4000, or the Underground Tour of historic Seattle buildings, 206-682-4646.
City buses are run by Metro Transit — and you can ride for free in the daytime in the downtown core. Phone 206-553-3000 or see www.transit.metrokc.gov.
Unfortunately, you can't ride the vintage monorail between downtown and the Seattle Center since it's under repair (and is supposed to start operating again some time this summer): 206-905-2620 or www.seattlemonorail.com.
The vintage streetcars that serve the downtown waterfront also aren't running due to area construction, but Metro has provided a look-alike bus, Route 99, that runs along the downtown waterfront to Pioneer Square and the International District.
Where to go for info
The best thing is to start by visiting the Citywide Concierge Center at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in downtown Seattle. You'll find tickets, tours, reservations, transportation, advice and tips. Open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from May 22 (closed weekends before then). Call 206-461-5840 or get information at www.seeseattle.org/ccc/