On the must-see list? The Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass. (©Des Runyan/Flickr, Creative Commons)
Fall brings cooler temperatures and wetter weather to the Seattle area. While weather can dictate activities this time of year, options for indoor events, activities, attractions and sites are still plentiful. Here is an autumn don't-miss list for the Emerald City.
Seattle is a city of innovation, art, wackiness and history, and some of the area's attractions highlight its personality. If you’ve never been to the Space Needle, consider a stop early in your visit. If it’s been a few years, consider going again. The view from the Observation Deck is rapidly changing, as evidenced by the number of construction cranes dotting the skyline, and the Space Needle has added features like the SkyPad — a wall of interactive video screens that outline the building's history — and plenty of photography. While at Seattle Center, stop in to Chihuly Garden and Glass. Located near the base of the Space Needle, this beautiful spot is home to a long-term exhibition from Dale Chihuly, local glass artist extraordinaire. Even on an overcast day, the glass house with its 1,400 Chihuly Persians installation is stunning.
A few miles away, where the city got its start, you’ll find the Underground Tour. A humorous look at Seattle’s history, the tour takes you beneath Seattle’s sidewalks to the original streets of the Emerald City. After the Great Fire of 1889, Seattle rebuilt atop itself, creating the underground. The 75-minute tours happen every hour on the hour, 10 am-6 pm.
For anyone 21 or older, the Underworld Tour takes you through the old red-light district in an adult-only look at Seattle’s history. These tours happen at 7 and 8 pm Thur.-Sat. and admission includes a cocktail. While in the neighborhood, visit the Smith Tower, Seattle’s first skyscraper and what was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. The 1914 building recently received a renovation, including the addition of a bar to the observation deck. A visit to the building includes historical exhibits and Temperance, a speakeasy-inspired bar and café. Grab a cocktail while taking in views of the city. On the ground floor, visit the new Smith Tower Provisions, a general store with a soda fountain, deli counter and a few gifts and souvenirs.
After a day full of attractions, refill empty tanks with dinner at one of the following spots—all good options for comforting, warm-you-up meals perfect for chilly evenings. In Ballard, head to Young American Ale House, a new spot from James Beard Award-winning chef Maria Hines. The gastropub serves up her take on American classics. Think burgers, chicken wings and tuna sliders, along with plenty of options for local beer and craft cocktails. Like all of Hines' restaurants, Young American Ale House is certified organic and has a menu filled with ingredients from local farmers. Downtown, the swank RN74 recently welcomed a new chef, Ben Godwin. His experience includes Michelin three-star spot The Fat Duck in England and Noma in Copenhagen. At this Seattle spot, find French-inspired dishes with a Northwest flare alongside an extensive wine list. At Bar Harbor Finestkind Provisions, a newcomer in South Lake Union, the menu is inspired by the Atlantic Northeast. Find lobster, Dungeness crab and Oregon Bay shrimp rolls, chowder and shareable plates that accompany a curated list of wine, beer and cocktails. For the ultimate foodie experience, sit at the Chef's Table at Scout, the restaurant at the new Thompson Hotel. The Pacific Northwest dishes come from Chef Josh Henderson, and at the Chef's Table, enjoy 15-17 courses showcasing the best of the season.
Fun and Games—Football and Beyond
Don't miss the football game while in town—there are some good options for sports bars, where you can grab a beer and some snacks while watching the NFL. Opt for the historic Triangle Pub in Pioneer Square (553 First Ave. S, 206.628.0474) for a bit of history with the football game. The building once housed a brothel on the upper level. Now, it's a spot for no-frills drinks and plenty of televisions showing the game. Or, for a more upscale experience, head to Quality Athletics. Close enough to CenturyLink Stadium to hear the Seahawks fans, this spot has lots of TVs as well as elevated sports fare, Northwest style. Don't miss the AstroTurf back bar.
Have a night out while in town at one of the city's unique spots for drinks and games. Play mini-golf while trying craft beer from around the state at Flatstick Pub in Pioneer Square. Book a tee-time online at the nine-hole course. Flatstick is 21-and-older only. If bocce is more your style, head to Rhein Haus in Capitol Hill. Test your skills at indoor bocce courts while enjoying brats and beer. The menu also features soups, salads, sliders and meaty entrees. For a kid-friendly spot, visit the Seattle Pinball Museum in the International District. The available games, ranging from the 1960s through today, are always changing and always fun. Craft beer and cider, as well as vintage sodas, is also available.
If picking up a few gifts (holiday or otherwise) while in Seattle is on the list, there is a ton of great shopping around town. Two favorite spots are next door to each other in the International District. Kobo, part store, part art gallery, has pottery and artwork for sale plus a great selection of home goods, accessories and gifts from around the world. Around the corner, Momo is a small shop that bursts with clothing, accessories and gifts. Both are worth a visit. If you find yourself in Belltown, don't miss Moorea Seal, a popular online boutique's brick-and-mortar location. There is a large selection of artisan-made jewelry, home goods, accessories, clothing and more. Everything in the store makes a great gift. Or head to Prism in Ballard. It carries funky, sylish gift items including jewelry, home goods and clothing. For more unique and lasting gift ideas, browse the goods at E. Smith Mercantile in Pioneer Square. There is clothing, jewelry, accessories and more for men and women—and a back bar for a drink after all this shopping. Finally, no visit to Seattle is complete without a trip to Pike Place Market. While it's a busy attraction full of great food, there is also a ton of shopping at this historic spot. In addition to the storefronts, the market has plenty of local artists, crafters and makers selling one-of-a-kind items. Take time to walk the corridors. You never know what you'll find.