Maybe it's the rain that forces people indoors, or maybe it's the love of nostaglic things, but Seattle can't get enough pinball. The city's obsession with the game extends into nearly every neighborhood and across all demographics.
"You get to meet all kinds of different people," said Charlie Martin, who owns the Seattle Pinball Museum with his wife, Cindy. "And one thing we've come to realize is you never know who is going to walk through that door. [We've had] Microsoft executives, the ex-mayor of Seattle had his Christmas staff party here—it's an interesting ride."
Want to get in on the fun? There are a number of places around town to play, from family-friendly spots to bars.
Seattle Pinball Museum
The crème de la crème of pinball in Seattle, this International District spot has more than 55 machines from the Martins' extensive collection. Play games from the 1960s through 2014, including the world's largest pinball machine that uses a pool cue ball! Admission is $13 for adults and $10 for kids 7-12 (children must be at least 7 to play) and gets you all the pinball games you want. Beer, vintage sodas and snacks are available for purchase.
Flip Flip Ding Ding
Head to Georgetown for this all-ages pinball spot, which is open daily. Try 26 pinball machines and around 15 arcade games while also snacking on premade sandwiches, salads, popcorn, chips, vintage sodas and beer. Like other spots on this list, there is a weekly tournament, this one a $5 entry fee on Thursdays starting at 8:30 pm.
Get to this beloved Belltown dive bar while there's still time: The building is slated for demolition, though as of yet, a date hasn't been set. A Coney Island-themed bar, Shorty's has a full bar and hot dogs in the front and a large collection of pinball machines in the back. There are also a few arcade games. On the first Sunday of each month beginning at 3 pm, join in for a single elimination pinball tournament.
This Fremont arcade is 21-and-older only. In addition to the numerous pinball machines, you'll also find vintage arcade machines. The spot has weekly round-robin tournaments as well as some special events throughout the year—check the website to see what's currently happening. Add-A-Ball is open daily starting at 4 pm. The spot can be tricky to find: Look for them underneath Piece of Mind, along the alley.
John John's Gameroom
The same folks from Add-A-Ball also have this Capitol Hill arcade. Find a similar mix of pinball machines and vintage arcade games. Weekly round-robin tournaments happen Tuesdays starting at 8 pm, with a $5 buy-in. Also a 21-plus spot, John John's has beer and other beverages available. Open daily starting at 5 pm.
Full Tilt Ice Cream and Pinball Arcade
Indulge in a sweet treat along with a little pinball action at one of the four all-ages Full Tilt locations around the city, including Ballard and the University District. Full Tilt makes their own ice cream with flavors ranging from salted caramel to horchata. They also make some of the creamiest vegan ice cream in the city in flavors including mint chocolate and toasted coconut. Selections of both ice cream flavors and pinball machines change on a regular basis. Oh, and did we mention they also serve beer?