As Seattle natives we have long embraced the grey with fleece jackets, steaming cups of coffee, and the occasional flannel. We buck Mother Nature’s call to the indoors. We pride ourselves on braving the rain filled skies sans umbrella. What can we say, we’re a tough breed.
Yet, everyone needs an occasional break. If you find yourself looking outside and thinking, “Not today,” these 11 Seattle spots are an indoor blast of a good time.
Go Under the Sea
Don’t worry. This trip doesn’t require a wet suit. Located on Pier 59, the Seattle Aquarium offers a look beneath the water’s surface. Its exhibits include an undersea dome where you’ll get a 360-degree view from the perspective of a Puget Sound fish. You’ll also have the chance to see otters and seals, daily feedings, shore birds, and more!
Test Your Putting Skills
Not all golf courses are created equal. For example, not all golf courses offer 24-rotating taps of Washington-brewed beer and cider. Located just a stones throw from the Kirkland waterfront, Flatstick Pub is fun for those of all ages and skill levels.
Stand at the Top of the City
See Seattle from a whole new perspective at the Sky View Observatory. Located on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center, this unique tourist destination offers a 360-degree panoramic view that includes Mt. Rainier, the Cascades, Elliot Bay, and the Space Needle. As an added bonus, their sky café is catered by Ravishing Radish, a local catering company that features Pacific Northwest products.
Immerse Yourself in a Story
At the Elliot Bay Book Company, the lofted ceilings are adorned by rough wood beams and speckled with large skylights. Towering shelves of books are accompanied by tall ladders and helpful staff. This is the kind of place you could lose yourself for a few hours (or days depending on the book) and not even care. If you need some sustenance, the café in the back has long been serving Seattle’s book lovers.
Take an Indoor Garden Stroll
Since 1903, Volunteer Park has been the center of Seattle’s park system. Spanning nearly 50 acres on top of Capitol Hill, its sprawling green fields are frequently home to picnicking families, lounging 20-somethings, and strolling couples. The Volunteer Park Conservatory, a five-section atrium, is a magnificent indoor structure. It’s 3,426 glass panes create a warm environment flooded with natural light. It’s home to a variety of cacti, ferns, and palms. It even houses a few carnivorous plants such as Venus Fly Traps, Sundews, and Pitcher Plants.
Sip a One-of-a-Kind Cup
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room could be better labeled the Willy Wonka coffee shop. Housed in an old auto dealership, its features in-house roasting, bar-side brewing, and coffee experts galore. Comfy chairs and communal tables are tucked among industrial equipment and Pacific Northwest design. Seattle’s infamous restaurateur, Tom Douglas, even opened a third Serious Pie inside the massive footprint. Like its sister locations, it features wood fired pizzas with seasonal toppings.
The outdoor/indoor seating at Poquitos can’t seem to make up its mind. We don’t care one bit. With its nearly translucent ceiling, large windows, and radiant heated benches, you can practically be outside while staying warm and dry. Fire pits are ringed by tabletops. String lights are suspended from rafters. Bartenders shake margaritas infused with jalapeno. And, the kitchen cooks meat low and slow until its tender enough to melt in your mouth. Grab a stool. Order a cocktail. Dig into an Ahogada Torta – a drowned Mexican pork sandwich that arrives packed with pork carnitas, avocado, and chipotle mayo. You’re welcome.
Flex Your Climbing Muscles
Since REI’s flagship store opened in 1996, its Rock Climbing Pinnacle has been an iconic feature of the Seattle landscape. At the top climbers can enjoy a peek-a-boo view of the Seattle skyline, surrounding mountaintops, and Kenmore Air. Guided single climbs are available Friday through Sunday. They include gear and an REI outdoor school staff belayer.
Shuffle Like a Pro
In today’s tech-centered world, there’s something refreshing about a spot that puts people on the front burner. Located in South Lake Union, tech takes a back seat at the Brave Horse Tavern. Here urban chic collides with beer hall. Their 26-tap setup features a rotating selection of local brews. The kitchen throws down pretzels that have been rumored to make grown men groan. Combine that with shuffleboard – a game that only requires one hand to play – and you have the kind of laidback party of which stories are made. Just be gentle with your shuffle. The pucks can move quite quickly.
Witness The Chocolate Process
Fremont’s home many of Seattle’s quirkiest destinations including the Troll, Waiting for the Interurban, the Center of the Universe, and a statue of Lenin. It’s also home to Theo Chocolate. Housed in a former Redhook Brewery, this bean to bar chocolate factory produces organic, fair trade chocolate. During their hour-long tour you’ll receive samples, learn how the cocoa fruit is transformed into a delicious treat, and see the behind the scenes process. Word to the Wise: Tours sell out quickly. Book yours ahead of time on their website.
Walk Beneath the City
Today, much of Seattle rests upon the city’s former self. In the early days, the city was built at sea level. This caused some serious headaches when the tide came in. So in the 1890s when a massive fire wiped out most of the city’s infrastructure, rebuilding up was a no brainer. While much of the underground is no longer accessible, small sections still remain. You can get a peek at what once was on an Underground Tour.