Saturday, August 20, 2016

Under The Needle - Seattle Center

 If you are going to venture to see the view at the top of the Space Needle, don't neglect the bounty of experiences available to you throughout the Seattle Center.  

 Beyond being home to the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center and EMP, the Seattle Center has a personality all it's own. 

Originally built for the 1962 World's Fair, the Seattle Center serves locals and visitors alike as a major green space downtown as well as hosting annual events such as Bumbershoot, the Folklife Festival, Bite of Seattle and Pridefest. 

The best place to begin is the Armory.  The Armory building was built in 1939 for the 146th Field Artillery unit. It was reconfigured for the World's Fair and became the Food Circus, the first vertical mall.  It's name has changed to the Center House and currently The Armory.  Inside the armory you will find over a dozen restaurants providing a wide variety of food and snacks.  

Located near the restaurants a piece of the Berlin Wall is on display.  

The Armory is also home to the Seattle Children's Museum. Covering 22,000 square feet in the lower level of the Armory, the Children's Museum provides wide assortment of hands-on activities ideal for kids ages 10 months to 10 years old. 

Outside of the Armory, the Next 50 Plaza is home to an incredible play structure that is suitable for kids of all ages.  The structure rises two stories above the ground with a rope webbing surrounding the lower section and two giants slides.  

Check out the interactive art as well!

Down the way from the Next 50 Plaza is the International Fountain. With over 20 spouts, the fountain puts on an amazing show, synchronizing water and music, that makes it a great place to visit year-round, but it is an ideal oasis in the hot summer months. Built for the World's Fair, the International Fountain is a true landmark within the Seattle Center.  When you visit, run the gauntlet by running down and touching the fountain in the pause between displays.  The possibility of the fountain starting up again makes it more fun than it should be. 

The Key Arena sits to the West of the International Fountain.  Also built for World's Fair, the Key Arena is the current host to the Seattle Storm, the Rat City Roller Girls and the Seattle University men's basketball team as well as hosting a variety of concerts and events throughout the year. 

To the northeast of Key Arena lies the Vera Project. The Vera Project is an all-ages music and arts venue.  Established in 2001, the Vera Project moved to the Seattle Center in 2007.  The space includes an incredible music venue, art gallery and screen printing studio along with offering various classes. 

Circling back to the Space Needle, Sonic Bloom reaches to the sky. Installed in 2013, Sonic Bloom is a solar-powered art installation that incorporates sight and sound to provide an interactive experience.

Just remember,  if you're heading to the Space Needle take some time to explore the Seattle Center too...It's just as spectacular. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Race To The Top – Space Needle Alternatives

If you talk about Seattle landmarks there is one pointy feature that people think of first.  As a striking contrast to the city skyline and providing unique views of the area, the Space Needle is as synonymous with Seattle as salmon. Thousands of people are drawn to the flying saucer shaped viewing deck every year.  But what if I told you there are a couple of amazing alternatives to the Space Needle that will give you much different views with a less expensive ticket cost to boot!

View of the first viewpoint from the second
The first observation deck is also the oldest.  The Smith Tower, once the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, has been providing amazing views of the ever changing Seattle Skyline for over 100 years.  Walking through the front doors of the Smith Tower takes you back decades with elaborate woodworking and marble.

 To get to the observation deck you will be whisked up the original, manually-operated, brass and copper elevators.  The Chinese Room is the landing point for the observation deck. 

  From this 35th floor perch you have a unique view of downtown Seattle including a peek-a-boo view of the Space Needle.  

The outdoor walk almost runs completely around the perimeter, giving incredible views of the area.  The Smith Tower has been under renovation since 2014, but will be reopening August 25th, 2016. The new renovations brought two options for getting to the observation deck: An interactive tour that shows the history of the area starting in the roaring 20's and a "Straight Up" option that takes you directly to the observation deck.  The Straight Up option is about half the price of the tour. So if you are looking to save some money (and don't mind being your own history professor) it is a great option to get directly to the views.

The second viewpoint is the tallest.  Standing on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Tower, the Skyview Observatory gives unobstructed, 360° views of the entire Puget Sound region. 

The modern elevator banks whisk you up to the observation room in two stages, giving you a chance to grab a beverage and snack at the Starbucks between elevators.  Once you arrive at the top, the area is open with spectacular views at every turn.

Hamilton Viewpoint Park also gives you the chance for a Puget Sound Trifecta: Space Needle, Ferry and Seaplane
The third alternative doesn’t sit high in the sky, but gives an incredible view of the entire skyline all at once.  Hamilton Viewpoint Park in West Seattle is an excellent alternative to the traditional top of the city view.  The panoramic skyline reveals the city from the Space Needle to the stadiums.  It’s well worth the drive, especially from the twilight and well into the night.

The fourth location gives you an spectacular view of the cityscape featuring the Space Needle front and center. Kerry Park, located near the top of the Queen Anne neighborhood, has amazing views of the city, Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier.

Early evening and night are the most crowed and parking can be tricky so walk, ride a bike or park a few blocks away to avoid the crowd.

Cost Per Location -
(2016 Prices)
Space Needle  -
Adult -  $22
Senior  65+ $19.00
Child 5-12 $14.00
Columbia Tower
Adults: $14.75
Children Ages 6-12: $9.00
Children Ages 5 & under: FREE
Students & Military with ID: $9.00
Seniors 55+: $9.00
Smith Tower –  
Guided Tour-
Adults: $19.14
Seniors (60+): $17.00
Children (5-12): $14.00
Children (4 & under): FREE
Straight Up Ticket- $10.00
Hamilton Viewpoint Park and Kerry Park - FREE!

Monday, July 4, 2016

To Boldly Go - Star Trek @ EMP

To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.  For Star Trek's 50th anniversary the EMP has opened the Exploring New Worlds exhibit. From the entry, the exhibit draws you in with the iconic opening of the original series along the stairs.

 The exhibit collects together props and displays from the entire Star Trek franchise from the original series all the way through prequel series Enterprise. The exhibit is full of fan favorites including Gorn,


and, of course, Tribbles.

 The exhibit also features a transporter room that puts you in the middle of the action, a KHHAAANNN booth that allows you to recreate the classic scene from Star Trek II and a Borg Alcove that you can pose in.  So, whether you are a die hard Trekkie or new to the Star Trek universe, there is something for all people ready to explore new worlds. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sub Astra - Movies Under The Stars

There is something amazing about watching a movie outdoors.  The sounds and sights are amplified by the openness of the venue.  Add in a crowd that is unfettered by the limitations of the theater and you have a spectacle that is unlikely to be recreated at your local Cinerama.  Luckily in the Seattle area there are several locations where you can watch a film with the sky above you.  The Fremont Outdoor Cinema is the longest running of the bunch with Seattle Parks and Recreation (at both Westlake and Occidental Parks), Magnuson ParkMarymoor Park and  the Seattle Center all hosting their own movies within the last few years. With this many venues, there are movies playing 3 to 4 nights a week. As an added bonus, many of the showings encourage dressing up and several showings have movie trivia or other activities before the show starts.  Make sure to follow the link to see pre-ticket sales option and the rules and regulations of each site. Some of the locations have food trucks, beer gardens and other food and drink options. So gather up your low beach chairs, pack yourself some snacks and spread out a blanket under the stars....

Wednesday, July 6: Back to the Future – Marymoor Park
Thur. July 7: Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Magnuson Park
Wednesday, July 13: Jurassic World – Marymoor Park
Thur. July 14: Labyrinth- Magnuson Park
Friday July 15th:  Movies in the Park: Inside Out - Westlake Park
Saturday July 16th: DEADPOOL | 21+ - Fremont Studios
Wednesday, July 20: Inside Out – Marymoor Park
Thur. July 21: Star Wars: The Force Awakens- Magnuson Park
Friday July 22nd: Movies in the Park: The Goonies - Westlake Park
Saturday July 23rd: Pretty Woman 21+ - South Lake Union Discovery Center
Wednesday, July 27: Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Marymoor Park
Thur. July 28: The Incredibles- Magnuson Park
Saturday July 30th: Mad Max: Fury Road 21+ - South Lake Union Discovery Center
Saturday July 30th: The Princess Bride Quote-Along - Seattle Center Movies at the Mural
Wednesday, August 3: Aladdin – Marymoor Park
Thursday, August 4: Guardians of the Galaxy– Magnuson Park
Friday, August 5th: Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same - Cal Anderson Park
Saturday, August 6th: Grand Budapest Hotel 21+ - South Lake Union Discovery Center
Saturday, August 6th: Mad Max: Fury Road - Seattle Center Movies at the Mural
Wednesday, August 10: Singin' in the Rain – Marymoor Park
Thur. August, 11: Zootopia - Magnuson Park
Friday, August 12th: Spaceballs - Cal Anderson Park
Saturday, August 13th: Galaxy Quest - Seattle Center Movies at the Mural
Wednesday, August 17: Zootopia – Marymoor Park
Thur. August 18: The Sandlot– Magnuson Park
Friday, August 19th: Dudefest V - The Big Lebowski - South Lake Union Discovery Center
Friday, August 19th:  Barbarella - Cal Anderson Park
Saturday, August 20th: West Side Story - Seattle Center Movies at the Mural
Wednesday, August 24: The Princess Bride – Marymoor Park
Thur. August 25: The Goonies– Magnuson Park
Friday, August 26th: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Cal Anderson Park
Friday, Aug 26th:  Movies in the Park: Labyrinth - Occidental Square
Saturday, August 27th: Life of Pi - Seattle Center Movies at the Mural
Friday, Sep 2nd:  Movies in the Park: Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Occidental Square

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Bit Of The Mountains In The City - Waterfall Garden Park

Hidden in the heart of the city is a park that allows you to take a break in the mountains...if only for a brief moment.  The Waterfall Garden Park was created at the location where UPS had it's first headquarters.  Now the park (technically a pocket park) is lined with tables and chairs for those who use it as an escape on their lunch breaks.  One of the best parts about the park is that, even with it's proximity to the busy streets around it, it still has an aura of tranquility around it.  

Monday, May 30, 2016

Oodles of Noodles - Samurai Noodle

Looking for an inexpensive, incredibly tasty meal?  Look no further than Samurai Noodle which serves up large bowls packed full of a variety of mouthwatering ingredients and a selection of broths to fit any palette.   Start with an appetizer or two such as the Shrimp Shumai,

or the Vegan Gyoza

Just don't over do it, as the main event is  huge and well worth savoring each bite.   The ramen is packed with handmade noodles, a good variety of veggies and various proteins ranging from pork and chicken to tofu depending on your tastes.  Even though you may leave full, you'll be counting the days until you head back. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Come Sail Away - Model Boat Sailing @ South Lake Union Park

Have you wanted to feel the wind in your hair and the sun in your face while commanding your own ship?  Every Saturday and Sunday from May to November, The Center for Wooden Boats rents out model boats for at the model boat pond.  Sailing the boats is as easy as pointing it into the wind and giving it a little push. The hard part is running around to other side after each voyage to sail it back. Pairing sailing with a visit to the MOHAI and a picnic makes for an amazing day out! Boat rentals are a $5 per hour suggested donation and the rentals are open from 11a.m. - 2p.m.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

MUSIC! MOSTERS! ROBOTS! - Experience Music Project/ SciFi Museum

Since the 1950's Science Fiction and Rock-N-Roll have gone hand-in-hand.  From the 1950's portrayal of the Greaser and Rock-a-billy stereotypes to the amazing sci-fi soundtracks of the 70's and 80's(Queen's soundtrack for Flash Gordon comes to mind) the two pop culture branches have been firmly entwined.  Which is why the EMP/ Science Fiction Museum is such an amazing place.  One half of the museum is dedicated to music with a special focus on the musical history of the Northwest (including great exhibits on Jimi Hendrix and the Grunge Era).  There are also oportunities for hands on exploration in the Sound Lab which features a variety of instruments and private recording room to experiment with.  The Science Fiction Museum contains a large collection of sci-fi memorabilia ranging from early pulp novels to current film and television.  Supplementing the permanent exhibits are rotating exhibits at both the EMP and Science Fiction Museum.  Past exhibits have included The Muppets, AC/DC, The Beatles and Alien Encounters.  Admission to one museum gets you into both.