Not For Tourists Guide to Seattle (2016)
The Burke-Gilman Trail (www.seattle.gov/transportation/BGT.htm) is the crown jewel of Seattle’s trail system. Starting from Lake Sammamish on the Eastside (with extensions to Issaquah), the trail runs 25 miles around the north of Lake Washington to the University of Washington. But beware! Even the official bike map warns about neglected stretches along the north Seattle section. From the UW, the BGT traces the ship canal and Lake Union through Wallingford and Fremont to the edge of Ballard, where it mysteriously disintegrates into a gravel-strewn truck route. Commuters from north Seattle can cross the Fremont Bridge onto Dexter, which has protected bike lanes all the way to Denny Way. It’s not difficult to cut across to Second Avenue, which features a two-way protected bike lane.
Elliott Bay Trail
Starting from Golden Gardens, a short trail leads you to the Ballard Locks. After walking across the locks, you can either follow the truck lane to the left or go straight uphill on the dead-end street to one hell of a suspension bridge. Take the bridge across some railroad tracks before turning onto a proper bike lane on Government Way/Gilman Avenue. The lane turns into a bike trail that cuts right through the rail yard, with some harrowing and extremely narrow sections, before blossoming into the Elliott Bay Trail. The trail empties into downtown, becoming a designated bike route that leads to the West Seattle Bridge. After the West Seattle Bridge, turn north for the Alki Trail or south toward the Duwamish Trail to South Park. From there, a spotty connection of side roads connects you to W Marginal Way S before smoothing out to the Green River Trail, which takes you all the way to Kent.
Lake Washington Loop
You can also use a combination of the Burke-Gilman to make a less frustrating trip circling Lake Washington. Depart the BGT at Montlake, cross the Montlake Bridge, and wind through the Arboretum (a nice ride, even with all the cars). From there, a route leads to Lake Washington Boulevard, one of Seattle’s more pleasant and peaceful rides that continues all the way to Renton. A series of other trails bring you up the east side of the lake. Neither of southeast Seattle’s main arteries, Rainier Avenue or Martin Luther King Way, are known for being bike-friendly.
Coming to/from the Eastside, the I-90 Trail makes for an interesting ride alongside eight lanes of traffic. Luckily, the trail has its own tunnel and connects to downtown.
Sports ✵ Boating / Sailing / Rowing / Kayaking
Face it. In a city where it’s fashionable to commute to work by kayak, Seattle’s traffic problems aren’t isolated to the Mercer mess; they spill over into the area’s multiple salt and fresh waterways. Everyone and their sister owns some sort of boat in Seattle, and many Seattleites have more boats than kids. After all, you need different kinds of boats for salmon fishing, river kayaking, sculling, cruising the San Juans, racing Vic-Maui, or rounding the buoys on a Wednesday night Duck Dodge. Plus, you gotta have a Zodiac or a dinghy to row into shore when your yacht is anchored out in Andrews Bay during Seafair. And of course it takes a little Boston Whaler to buzz over from Portage Bay on a summer night to have a beer and a bowl of steamed clams in a waterfront joint on Lake Union.
In Elliott Bay, Seattle’s main harbor, tugboats, barges, container ships, fishing vessels, ferries, sailboats, powerboats, and cruise ships as big as football fields all vie for the same waterway space. Floating homes with deepwater boat moorage on Lake Union are more highly coveted than a landlubber’s three-car garage, and if you have room to tie up your float plane, so much the better. Seattle’s boating scene can be as silly as it can be serious—more than one yacht club has a tavern as its clubhouse, but Seattle has produced world class rowers, some of the America Cup’s best crews, and Olympic-class kayakers.
Of course, there are rivalries between the “stinkpotters” and vessels powered by sails, oars, or paddles. Hydroplanes? Love ‘em or get out of town the first weekend of August, when the gas guzzling, engine whining hydros churn up Lake Washington at Seafair, Seattle’s answer to NASCAR, and the lake fills up with log booms of yachts, festooned with bikini-clad women and beer-guzzling men intent on partying hearty. All of this is in stark contrast to Lake Washington’s typical bucolic scene of rowers and scullers practicing for the next regatta. Many local universities, private schools, city parks, non-profit rowing clubs, and kayaking organizations teach water skills and advocate to preserve Seattle’s precious waterways for future generations.
Like the human body, Seattle is made up primarily of water. So find your boat of choice and get out there. You’ll have lots of company.
Small Boats Centers
The Center for Wooden Boats: 1010 Valley St, 206-382-2628, cwb.org
Green Lake Boat Rental: 7351 E Green Lake Dr N, 206-527-0171, www.greenlakeboatrentals.net
Moss Bay Row, Kayak, Sail & Paddle Board Center: 1001 Fairview Ave N, 206-682-2031, www.mossbay.net
Waterfront Activities Center: 3710 Montlake Blvd NE, Behind Husky Stadium at the University of Washington, 206-543-9433, www.washington.edu/ima/wac
Yacht and Cruising Clubs
Corinthian Yacht Club: 7755 Seaview Ave NW, 206-789-1919, www.cycseattle.org
Hidden Harbor Yacht Club: www.hhycseattle.com
Meydenbauer Yacht Club: 9927 Meydenbauer Wy SE, Bellevue, 425-454-8880, www.mbycwa.org
Puget Sound Yacht Club: 2321 North Northlake Wy, 206-634-3733, www.pugetsoundyc.org
Queen City Yacht Club: 2608 Boyer Ave E, 206-709-2000, www.queencity.org
Rainier Yacht Club: 9094 Seward Park Ave S 206-722-9576, www.rainieryachtclub.com
Seattle Yacht Club: 1807 E Hamlin St, 206-325-1000, www.seattleyachtclub.org
Sloop Tavern Yacht Club: 2830 NW Market St, www.styc.org
Tyee Yacht Club: 3229 Fairview Ave E, tyeeyachtclub.org
Washington Yacht Club: University of Washington Husky Union Building, 425-298-5670, www.washingtonyachtclub.org
Rowing Clubs and Centers
Lake Washington Rowing Club: 910 N Northlake Wy, 206-547-1583, lakewashingtonrowing.com
Green Lake Crew: 5900 W Greenlake Wy N, 206-684-4074, www.greenlakecrew.org
Green Lake Small Craft Center: 5900 W Greenlake Wy N 206-684-4074
Lake Union Crew: 2520 Westlake Ave N, 206-860-4199, lakeunioncrew.com
Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center: 3800 Lake Washington Blvd S, 206-386-1913, mbrsc.com
Pocock Rowing Center: 3320 Fuhrman Ave E, 206-328-0778, www.pocockfoundation.org
Kayaking Clubs and Centers
Kayak Academy: 11801 188th Ave SE, Issaquah, 206-527-1825, www.kayakacademy.com
Mountaineers Club: 206-521-6000, www.mountaineers.org
Northwest Outdoor Center: 2100 Westlake Ave N, 206-281-9694, www.nwoc.com
Seattle Canoe and Kayak Club: 5900 W Greenlake Wy N, 206-684-4074, www.seattlecanoekayak.club
University of Sea Kayaking: 425-741-0960, www.useakayak.org
Washington Water Trails Association: 206-545-9161, wwta.org
Sports ✵ Bowling / Golf
Bowling alleys have not quite gone the way of the drive-in theater yet, but sophisticated, urbane Seattle seems to have little use for them. Over the years bowling spots have declined in the heart of the city, leaving downtown-bound hipsters dry, but on Capitol Hill the Garage (Map 4) filled the gap in 2003 by adding fourteen swanky lanes for metrosexual pin pals. By contrast, Imperial Lanes (Map 40) is old-school bowling at its finest. The popular Underdog Sports League (www.underdogseattle.com) holds team competitions here while locals hang out at the no-frills bar. Aside from that, Seattle bowlers are forced to seek their sport in outlying townships and unfashionable parts of the city proper.
ACME Bowl houses the newest, shiniest lanes in the greater Seattle area, adjacent to the Southcenter Mall in Tukwila and decked out in a sleek faux-retro fashion. This is the bowling alley for people who are afraid to go to bowling alleys. It’s an open, well-lit place that serves gourmet pizzas and portobello mushroom sandwiches directly to your lane. Private bowling with cool blue neon lighting and projection screens is available, the perfect spot for bachelorette parties or an ironic evening out with co-workers.
For those after a more traditional bowling experience, South Seattle can satisfy. Skyway Park Bowl tore out their indoor miniature golf course to expand its casino, but retained its warmth and old-school appeal. Roxbury Lanes (Map 37) advertises “saloon and casino” in the same breath as “family-friendly” and that’s about the size of it—expect exuberant children on the lanes and enthusiastic drinkers in the bar.
West Seattle Bowl (Map 36) strikes a nice compromise between the sterility of ACME and the earthier tones of the older bowling alleys, with a Chinese restaurant on site, comfy booths on the lanes, and a video bowling game if you really are that lazy. And to the north, Lynnwood Bowl & Skate brings pins and wheels together for all-ages action, or check out Spin Alley in Shoreline, which opened in 1997 as a smoke-free bowling emporium (a fine sentiment rendered moot by Initiative 901, which banned smoking in public places statewide eight years later). For information on tournaments and other bowling-related news, check out the Greater Seattle USBC Association (www.seattlebowling.org).
Sports ✵ Tennis
Sports ✵ Hiking
The Northwest is famous for its mountainous terrain, so finding a trail to hike in these parts is not difficult. But if you don’t have a car, or don’t feel like venturing outside of King Country, there are plenty of urban hikes to keep your Nalgene bottle dust-free. In the Seattle area or outside it, the Washington Trails Association (www.wta.org) is a great resource to get you started.
The Burke-Gilman is the most popular urban trail. Parks like Carkeek, Lincoln, and Magnuson have trails along the waterfront as well as beautiful vistas that will make you forget you’re a stone’s throw from civilization. If it’s communing with nature you’re after, visit the Arboretum or the Schmitz Park Reserve. If you crave a real endorphin-kicker, you still need only drive a few minutes east to the switchbacks of Tiger Mountain. Since none of the parks are very expansive, it’s difficult to lose your way. But if you’re the type to get lost in your own museum, never fear. All of these parks have kiosks with trail maps.
If most of your friends consider lifting pint glasses exercise, you can meet other hiking enthusiasts by means of the Seattle Mountaineers (www.mountaineers.org). They offer regularly scheduled hikes as well as other outdoor activities.
950 NW Carkeek Park Rd, 6 miles, Easy, (Map 29-30)
Carkeek is most famous for the salmon preserve in Pipers Creek. In the late fall, you can follow the Piper’s Creek trail to catch a glimpse of the fish-filled waters. Year-round, North Bluff Trail provides fantastic views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. The Wetland Trail leads you down to the beach.
North Bend, 4 miles, Moderate-Difficult
Another great day hike just a short drive out of the city, Mt. Si, rewards your workout with amazing views of the Snoqualmie Valley and Puget Sound. Everyone in Seattle seems to know about this hike, which is reflected in the lack of parking spaces on a sunny Saturday. The trail gains 3,100 feet over the four miles and will really get the heart rate up. If you get a late start and are looking for a shorter walk, you’ll come to the first vista about one mile in. This also serves as a good place to turn around.
60th Place NE and Bothell Wy to 8th NW, 14 miles, Easy-Moderate, (Map 23-27, 34)
This multi-purpose trail covers over 14 miles from 11th Ave NW to Tracy Owen Station in Kenmore, then picks up again between the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and Golden Gardens Park. It allows bikers and joggers as well as hikers, so it can sometimes be a bit too crowded for a contemplative, woodsy walk. But it is the longest urban trail around, so no matter what neighborhood you live in, there is most likely an access point near you. Among the many entrances to the trail are Ballard, Fremont, Sand Point, and Matthews Beach Park. The trail also runs through the University of Washington campus. Planning is ongoing to complete the “missing link” through Ballard; stay tuned.
8011 Fauntleroy Wy SW, 5 miles, Easy-Moderate (Map 37)
If you’re after a mostly water vista for your hike, Lincoln Park is the place for you. The 100-foot high Bluff Loop trail provides a stunning view of Puget Sound. The South Beach trail borders Fauntleroy Cove. Those trails are fantastic in the warm weather, but the wind can make them unpleasant during the off-season. The North Beach Trail is slightly more shielded by trees, so it is ideal for a hike on those blustery winter days. In the summer, you can conclude your hike by taking a dip in the heated saltwater Colman Pool.
Schmitz Park Preserve
5551 SW Admiral Wy, 2 miles, Easy (Map 35)
One of the few urban areas to boast old-growth forest, the Schmitz Park Preserve is a great place to stroll in quiet contemplation amidst the majesty of nature. Despite its size—a mere 53 acres—it isn’t difficult to feel secluded as you stroll along the often-empty figure 8 trail that curves through the area. Be on the lookout for foxes, bats, and coyotes.
5900 Lake Washington Blvd, 3 miles, Easy (Map 40)
Like Schmitz Park, Seward Park possesses the splendor of old-growth forest: 250 acres of impressively ancient Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars. The perimeter path, popular with joggers and bikers, runs along the beach and presents views of the Seattle skyline, Lake Washington, Mercer Island, and Mount Rainier. The interior path, which breaks off into several shorter trails, runs through the thick of the forest. Despite being surrounded by urban sprawl, the area is often dead quiet, particularly in the winter.
3801 W Government Wy, 7 Miles, Easy-Moderate (Map 11)
The city’s largest public park was built on an old Army base. This urban oasis is a veritable checklist of habitats including forest, meadow, saltwater beach, and sand dunes. Aptly named, Discovery Park is a versatile dominion in which you can take a quick 30-minute jaunt or play “Blair Witch” and get lost in the wilderness. The grounds are rife with fruit during blackberry season, providing a delectable mid-hike snack. The main trail is the 3-mile Loop Trail, which meanders through many of the aforementioned habitats and past the abandoned army barracks. Several steep trails will take you down to the beach and to the West Point lighthouse, which was built in 1881. Off of West Point, you can sometimes spot sea lions, seals, orcas, or porpoises. While the water is never quite warm enough to swim in, people often sunbathe on the beaches during those scorching 75-degree summer days. Some of the less-modest park visitors have deemed the beach clothing-optional. The South Bluff Trail will lead you to spectacular views of Mount Rainier and the city skyline. For a short but interesting jaunt, the half-mile Wolf Tree nature trail brings you through the dwellings of coyotes, river otters, muskrats, and bobcats. Additionally, more than 270 species of birds dwell within the park.
Washington Park Arboretum
2300 Arboretum Dr E, 4 miles, Easy (Map 22)
Stroll through the 250 acres of one of the Northwest’s largest collections of plants and trees, with thousands upon thousands of species. The Arboretum Waterfront Trail starts at the parking lot and leads to Marsh and Foster Islands. In the warm seasons, this trail is ideal for bird watching. From Foster Island, you can hike to the north tip and enjoy a stunning view across Union Bay. Azalea Way is an easy-going 3/4-mile walk through the—you guessed it—azaleas. To get there from downtown Seattle, drive east on Madison Street to Lake Washington Boulevard and turn left into the Arboretum.
Sand Point Magnuson Park
7400 Sandpoint Wy NE, 4 miles, Easy (Map 27)
Magnuson Park is a 350-acre area located in the middle of a former Navy facility. Parts of it are paved and crowded, but you can also find secluded grass and wetland habitats to wander through. The trailhead to the Cross-Park Trail, located next to the playground, will take you through the grasslands. Promontory Point meanders through a restored wildlife habitat. You can find that trail at the south end of the park.
If the above-mentioned urban hikes aren’t extreme enough for your lifestyle, but you still don’t want to travel far from the city, Tiger Mountain affords the perfect temporary wilderness retreat. It’s also a good alternative for hardcore hikers who can’t get their cars over the snowy passes in the wintertime. The West Tiger 3 provides a 2,000-foot elevation stretched over five miles. Its switchback-heavy path will definitely make you feel worthy of your fleece. For a less-strenuous wander through the woods, try the Around The Lake Tradition Trail. The Tradition Plateau and Bus Trail are moderate hikes. Look for the skeleton of an abandoned Greyhound bus that gives the latter trail its name. To get there, take exit 20 off I-90 East and follow the signs.
Sports ✵ Husky Stadium
NFT Map: 26
Address: 3800 Montlake Blvd NE, Seattle, WA 98195
Husky Stadium, home to the University of Washington Huskies, is recognized as one of the nation’s most scenic football stadiums. From the upper deck on the stadium’s north side, fans have views of downtown Seattle, the Olympic Mountains, and Mt. Rainier (when it’s clear, that is). Built in 1920, the stadium seats just over 70,000 fans—more than 70 percent between the end zones—and ranks among the nation’s loudest venues. Game days have turned into ten-hour events, thanks to the pre - and post-game tailgating, which takes place in automobiles, RVs, and boats that dock in special moorings. A $280 million renovation, completed in 2012, updated the facility without sacrificing the stadium’s distinctive look and feel, preserving the unique Husky Stadium experience for future generations.
1991 saw the peak of Husky football glory with its second National Championship (the other was way back in 1960). In 2001 the Huskies won the Rose Bowl, and things were looking good for the future. Tickets were almost impossible to come by, and Husky pride was near an all time high. But in the coming years, former head coach Rick Neuheisel became embroiled in a seemingly harmless NCAA betting scandal that took down the athletic director and signaled a downward spiral in the team’s fortunes. Despite a few coaching changes, the Huskies have been floundering near the bottom of the conference ever since. A word of advice: Unless you are on foot, bike or Segway, get a copy of the Husky schedule and avoid the U-District at all costs during game times lest it quadruple your travel time.
How to Get Tickets
Individual game tickets can be purchased from the Huskies’ website, by calling 206-543-2200, or in person at the ticket office (3910 Montlake Blvd, Graves Building 101). The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am-5 pm.
How to Get There
From I-5 north or south, take the Highway 520 exit toward Bellevue-Kirkland, then exit on Montlake Boulevard. Turn left and cross the bridge. Husky Stadium is on the right. From Highway 405 north or south, take Highway 520 exit toward Seattle and cross the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge heading west. Exit on Montlake Boulevard. Turn left and cross the bridge. Husky Stadium is on the right.
Parking in adjoining neighborhoods is prohibited. Public parking lots on the east side of the UW campus generally fill 30-60 minutes before kick-off. Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. Remote Park & Ride lots across the region with special bus service is available; check website for details.
Metro routes 43, 44, 48, 65, 75, and 271 serve the stadium. In addition, special Husky bus service (routes 715 and 725) is available on game days. Sound Transit’s University of Washington light rail station is located right next to the stadium.
Sports ✵ Key Arena
NFT Map: 15
Address: 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109
Seattle Storm: storm.wnba.com or @seattlestorm
Rat City Rollergirls: ratcityrollergirls.com or @RCRG
Arena Website: www.keyarena.com or @KeyArenaSeattle
Located in Seattle Center under the Space Needle, KeyArena dates to 1962 when the facility was used as the Washington State Pavilion during the World’s Fair. After the Fair it was adapted for use as an arena, hosting major events like concerts by the Beatles in 1964 and Elvis Presley in 1970 (as well as Led Zeppelin, Kiss, and hometown pride Jimi Hendrix). In 1967 the SuperSonics began playing at KeyArena. In 1995 the arena received a $75-million renovation that left the exterior as is, while dropping the playing court 22 feet underground to provide 3,000 additional seats. A 15-year naming rights deal with a certain bank of the same name provided TV announcers endless pun opportunities such as “the Key to tonight’s game” and “the defense is really Keyed in right now.”
The Sonics won a championship in 1979 (Dennis Johnson! Jack Sikma!) and enjoyed much success in the 1990s (Gary Payton! Shawn Kemp!) before going on an extended dry spell lingering well into the new millennium. The team, as teams often do, looked to the city for public funds to update the “aging” facility, and when those negotiations foundered, the franchise was sold and moved to Oklahoma City in 2007, just when the team started to get really, really good (Kevin Durant!).
Since then the 17,000-seat stadium has been taken over by the ladies. The two-time world champion (2004 and 2010) Seattle Storm of the WNBA and the bad-ass babes of the Rat City Rollergirls (throw on your Sockit Wenches or Grave Danger team jersey and get ready for some hair pulling and spectacular wipeouts) both call KeyArena home. The Storm play from late May into September while the Rat City Roller Girls roller derby season runs February to October. It also hosts circuses, ice skating exhibitions, professional wrestling, NCAA basketball and any musical acts who don’t have the fan base for the much large CenturyLink Events Center.
How to Get Tickets
If you want to save on service charge fees, you can buy individual tickets in person at the Key Arena box office (Mon-Sat, 10 am-6 pm) located near the team shop at West Plaza off 1st Ave. You can also get tickets by calling 1-800-745-3000 or by buying them online via Ticketmaster.com. If you’re feeling brave, scalpers are known to wander the grounds of Seattle Center looking to unload tickets before a game.
How to Get There
From the north or south on I-5, take the Mercer Street exit and follow the signs to Seattle Center. Key Arena is on the northwest corner of the Seattle Center grounds, with street access along First Avenue North and cross streets Thomas and Republican. Public lot, meter, and street parking are available along First Avenue and Fifth Avenue North, Mercer Street, and throughout the lower Queen Anne neighborhood.
Fifteen Seattle Metro buses serve KeyArena from throughout the Puget Sound region. By Ferry, boats arrive hourly at Colman Dock on the waterfront. Key Arena is about 1 1/2 miles north of the ferry terminal, best reached by Seattle Metro buses. And yes, let it be known that the Monorail does run between Seattle Center and downtown.
Sports ✵ CenturyLink Field
NFT Map: 7
Address: 800 Occidental Ave S Seattle, WA 98134
CenturyLink Field Box Office: 206-381-7848
CenturyLink Field Lost & Found: 206-381-7544
Seattle Seahawks: www.seahawks.com or @Seahawks
Seattle Sounders: www.soundersfc.com or @SoundersFC
CenturyLink Field: www.centurylinkfield.com or @CenturyLink_Fld
After years of sweating inside the dark and dingy (but beloved) Kingdome, the Seattle Seahawks finally moved to a place where they could play football as it was meant to be played: outside in the elements. At the start of the 2002 season, Seattle’s favorite underdogs abandoned the Kingdome for the newfangled Seahawks Stadium, as it was then called. Thanks to corporate interest, the stadium was soon re-named, Qwest Field. In 2011, CenturyLink bought Qwest and changed the stadium’s name again. Suddenly, we were asked to start calling it, “CenturyLink Field.” Not ones to fall in line easily, Seattleites immediately dubbed it “the CLink.” And that’s how it shall be known until the next corporate merger.
With more than 67,000 seats and a sloping roof design that covers 70 percent of the seating area, the CLink is both comfortable and loud. Fans enjoy wide seats that, in the front rows, are only 40-50 feet from the playing field. If you’re up for it, grab a aluminum bleacher seat in the Hawk’s Nest on the north side of the field and bond with the die-hards. This joyful atmosphere has provided the Seahawks with one of the NFL’s top home field advantages, and helped the franchise become a perennial playoff contender. The CLink also hosts the other kind of football, Seattle’s well-adored MLS soccer team, the Sounders. But good luck getting a ticket. They sold 22,000 season tickets the first year. Attendance continues to soar, with nearly every game selling out. Between the Sounders and the Timbers, their insanely popular rivals to the south, footie seems to be the perfect sport for cloud-covered cities.
How to Get Tickets
Tickets sell out fast, so buy them early from the Seahawks website, by calling 888-635-4295, or in person at the CenturyLink box office when they go on sale. Tickets are required for children ages 2 and up. For Sounders games, get tickets thru Ticketmaster or at the stadium box office (weeks in advance if you actually want to get in).
How to Get There
From the north and south, exit I-5 at James Street, Fourth Avenue or Airport Way. From the east, exit I-90 where it ends at Fourth Avenue and turn right. Then turn right at Royal Brougham Way.
For Sunday afternoon games, street parking can be had for free if you get there at least three hours early to snag a space. It can be found in Pioneer Square, SoDo, and the International District. Three parking lots near the stadium open three hours prior to game time, however many of these spaces are sold in advance so be aware of limited status. Private lots are available on First and Fourth Avenues surrounding the stadium.
Seattle Metro buses swing through downtown close to the stadium, and more than a dozen regular routes stop within three blocks of the stadium. That said, keep in mind the traffic associated with large events, and plan accordingly. Both Sound Transit and Metro run special shuttle/express routes, as well. To skip surface streets, the light rail has two stops close to the stadium at, er, Stadium and International District/Chinatown. For Seahawks games, Sound Transit (www.soundtransit.org) runs special trains on Sundays from Tacoma and Everett to King Street Station when the Seahawks are playing (Amtrak Cascade service also is quite convenient). If traveling by ferry, boats arrive hourly at Colman Dock on the waterfront, just a 10-minute walk from the stadium. Walk east on Occidental Avenue and turn right.
Sports ✵ Safeco Field
NFT Map: 7
Address: 1250 First Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
Seattle Mariners: www.mariners.com or @Mariners
Mariners fans like to revel in the glory days of 1995, when the team played in the Kingdome and almost (yeah, almost) made it to the World Series. But baseball purists point to the opening of Safeco Field on July 16, 1999, as the real crowning achievement for the Mariners. Finally, Seattle fans had a real ballpark with real grass, real sky, and real natural light. Since then, Safeco Field has become the city’s summer cathedral, a gathering place for families, friends, couples, and singles to watch baseball, nosh on fancy baseball fare, and socialize in the ballpark’s many congregation areas—all of which offer unobstructed views of the field. And in case the rain clouds come rushing in, a mechanical roof can cover the ballpark in just 12 minutes to keep the faithful dry. More than 3 million people jammed into Safeco annually during the early 2000s, especially during the Mariners’ record-setting 116-win season in 2001. But thanks to the traitor trifecta (Ken Griffey, Jr., Randy Johnson, and Alex “Pay-Rod” Rodriguez) and clueless ownership, a million or so have been whittled from that attendance figure. The M’s were smart enough to sign Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 and fans flocked to right field to watch him work his magic until 2012 when he was taken away by those damn Yankees. The crowd is one of the most polite in baseball which makes for a fun-for-the-whole-family type of environment. If you like your games a little rowdier, head for the beer garden in center field. They have a bunch of micro brews on tap to ensure an eventful and entertaining evening, even if the Mariners’ bullpen gives up the lead in the eighth inning again. Accompany your overpriced beer (last call is at the first pitch of 8th inning) with a basket of their inexplicably delicious nachos. Damn, those things are tasty.
How to Get Tickets
Individual game tickets can be purchased from the Mariners website, in person at Mariners Team Stores at Safeco Field and downtown Seattle, or the Safeco Field Box Office, open on non-game days from 10 am-6 pm and on game days from 10 am until the end of the game. You can also try your luck with a variety of scalpers that troll Occidental Avenue before the games. Bargains can be had, but beware of scams. Tickets are required for children older than two.
How to Get There
Seattle is notorious for its freeway traffic, so travel with care and patience on the way to weeknight games. From the south, exit I-5 at Spokane Street and turn right on First Avenue. From the north, exit I-5 at James Street, and turn left on First Avenue. From the east, exit I-90 where it ends at Fourth Avenue and turn right. Then turn right at Royal Brougham Way. Street parking can be found in Pioneer Square, SoDo, and the International District. The Mariners operate a parking garage across Edgar Martinez Way. In addition, dozens of parking lots within ten blocks of Safeco Field provide game day parking for anywhere from $10 to $40, depending on convenience and location.
The light rail stops close to the stadium at the self-evidently titled Stadium stop. In addition, any bus that goes downtown will get you close, since Safeco is only a 10-minute walk from downtown. Ferryboats arrive hourly at Colman Dock on the waterfront, just a 10-15 minute walk from the ballpark—walk two blocks east to First Avenue and turn right.
Sports ✵ Swimming
Directions and hours for beaches, pools, and parks: www.seattle.gov
Since there are only 1-2 months out of the year when the water in Seattle becomes warm enough to swim in without the threat of hypothermia, there are not a great deal of favorable options for swimming. Even when it’s been hot for a while, the water rarely heats up enough to entice most people, particularly in the open water areas. Still, on any given sunny day, many Seattleites adorn their ashen bodies with bathing suits and take to the beaches and pools. Options may be slightly deficient, but they are numerous nonetheless.
The water in Lake Washington remains frigid year round, but that can feel pretty good on those rare stiflingly hot summer days. Of course, everyone in town has the same idea, so most of the beaches get crowded fast. Magnuson Park (Map 27) and Madison Park (Map 22) are by far the most popular, followed by Madrona (Map 6) and Mount Baker (Map 40) Parks. They are more for waders and sunbathers. Matthews Beach Park (Map 34), Seward Park (Map 40), and Prichard Island Beach (Map 41) tend to be less crowded and a bit more pleasant overall. All of the beach parks have rafts, diving boards, picnic areas, and lifeguards on duty. If you are looking for open water swimming, you can find it off the beaten path at Matthews and Seward. Matthews Beach is a welcome end to a hike along the Burke-Gilman Trail.
Golden Gardens (Map 33), which overlooks the Puget Sound, is by far the most beautiful swimming location. Unfortunately, the water is almost always unbearably cold, but the nice sandy beach is good for sunbathing, strolling, and BBQs.
The water in Green Lake is notoriously filthy (swimmer’s itch, anyone?), but that doesn’t appear to deter people on a hot day. There are two beaches on Green Lake, East Beach (Map 31) and West Beach (Map 30). They both have rafts, diving boards, and lifeguards.
If you want to swim in clean water that isn’t just warmed by the urine of children, Coleman and Mounger pools are another option. They both heat their water to 85 degrees. Coleman (Map 37) is an Olympic-sized pool which overlooks the beach and is filled with saltwater. It also boasts a giant tube slide. Mounger (Map 11) has a large pool with a corkscrew slide and a smaller pool for wading and children’s swimming lessons. Both of these outdoor pools are only open during the summer.
If you are dying for a dip in the off-season, you can always pay a visit to one of Seattle’s warm-water indoor pools which offer lap swimming and water aerobics. There are nominal admission fees.
Wading Pools & Water Features
If you just want to cool off your feet, there are numerous shallow wading pools in parks and playfields around the city. They are, of course, usually crawling with children. Wading pools are drained in the off-season.
For that invigorating, running-through-the-sprinklers sensation, check out the water features at Judkins Park (Map 9) and Pratt Park (Map 9). The International Fountain (Map 15) (the giant, water-spewing ball) in Seattle Center is usually full of tourists, but if you find yourself sweltering at the Bite, Folklife, or Bumbershoot, it can be welcome refreshment. It’s also great fun to play in the volcano fountain at Cal Anderson Park (Map 3).