Arts & Entertainment - Not For Tourists Guide to Seattle (2016)

Not For Tourists Guide to Seattle (2016)

Arts & Entertainment ✵ Theaters

A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) (Map 3) provides some of Seattle’s best drama, with two stages to host new plays from nationally recognized playwrights as well as the occasional revival. The Intiman Theatre won a Tony Award in 2006. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep them in the black as they were forced to cancel their 2011 season. Subsequently, the institution has been reconceived as a yearly summer festival and its space has been taken over by Cornish College and renamed The Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center (Map 15). Another big player in Seattle performance arts is On the Boards (Map 15), a risk-taking organization that specializes in artist development, particularly through their Open Studio program and 12 Minute Max series, which offer brief glimpses of new and in-progress works from up-and-coming performers and writers.

Seattle’s live theater scene is also robust enough to support a slew of small stages where aficionados can catch the latest experimental performances, new works from local playwrights, or revivals of much-loved classics. Theater Schmeater (Map 4), Bathhouse Theatre (Map 31), Eclectic Theater Company (Map 3), and others toil tirelessly in often cramped conditions and stumble as often as they soar, but that’s how great theater is made. Check out for the latest theatrical happenings in the Emerald City.


Arts & Entertainment ✵ Art Galleries


The city’s art gallery epicenter has revolved around the architecturally traditional and not-so-funky Pioneer Square for many years. Perhaps it is the history of the place, the old cobblestones, and faded brick facades that make the neighborhood a natural backdrop for art. But lately the scene has been shifting to new neighborhoods, and Seattle’s art scene is now spread out across the city. Make sure to get out and explore beyond Pioneer Square.

Although many neighborhood business associations offer monthly art walks, you’ll have vastly differing experiences depending on which locale you choose. Head to Pioneer Square for more traditional art, such as abstract and still life paintings in oils and acrylics, paired with cheap wine and respectful crowds. In the summer months, Occidental Square is abuzz with tents of artists and crafts vendors selling unique jewelry, photography, and smaller works in the street until dark. Wander to Belltown for kitschy, lowbrow art at the nationally esteemed Roq la Rue (Map 7). Ballard has a great art walk the second Saturday of each month. For an alternative to the refined gallery set, check out the personal studios at the Tashiro-Kaplan Building (115 Prefontaine Pl S) during public events.

The Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack showcases the talents of the neighborhood’s funky artist community. Most of the art walk takes place along Airport Way South and hits up thirty different galleries, cafes, and shops.

Glass Art

Thanks to the international fame and regional influence of local glass artist/corporation Dale Chihuly, Seattle goes wild for anything fragile and hand-blown. Along with area galleries like William Traver (Map 3) and Foster/White (Map 3, 7) that carry the famed Chihuly pieces, there are numerous galleries specializing in glass art from less-famous names, such as Avalon Glassworks (Map 36) or the Seattle Glassblowing Studio (Map 1). Smaller local boutiques carry knockoffs that only the trained eye might be able to distinguish from so-called “fine art” pieces (or so we assume), proving the popularity of glass art among Seattle’s hoi polloi as well as dot-com millionaires and other arbiters of taste.

Off the Beaten Path

The non-profit Jack Straw Productions, founded in 1962, supports local audio arts first and foremost, providing recording studio assistance and performance space for its members. However, with the organization’s New Media Gallery (Map 26), the Straw extends the art of noise through combination with various disciplines, creating installations that are as visually arresting as they sound. Locally based alternative comics press Fantagraphics recently opened a flagship store as well at Georgetown Records (Map 39), not only to hawk its wares, but also to host showings of original artwork from renowned cartoonists.

Map 1 ✵ Belltown



AT.31 Gallery

109 W Denny Wy


McLoed Residence

2209 2nd Ave


Roq La Rue Gallery

2312 2nd Ave


Seattle Glassblowing Studio

2227 5th Ave


Suyama Space

2324 2nd Ave


Map 2 ✵ South Lake Union

Art Not Terminal Gallery

2045 Westlake Ave


Patricia Cameron Fine Art

234 Dexter Ave N


Winston Wachter Fine Art

203 Dexter Ave N


Woodside/Braseth Gallery

2101 9th Ave


Map 3 ✵ Downtown

Benham Gallery

1216 1st Ave


Carolyn Staley Fine Japanese Prints

2001 Western Ave


Facere Jewelry Art Gallery

1420 5th Ave


Friesen Gallery

1210 2nd Ave


Gallery Mack

2100 Western Ave


Jeffrey Moose Gallery

1333 5th Ave


Kim Drew Studio and Gallery

1311 Post Aly


The Legacy Ltd

1003 1st Ave


Lisa Harris Gallery

1922 Pike Pl


Milagros Mexican Folk Art

1530 Post Aly


Patricia Rovzar Gallery

118 Central Wy


Phoenix Rising Gallery

2030 Western Ave


Vetri International Glass

1404 1st Ave


William Traver Gallery

110 Union St


Map 4 ✵ First Hill / Pike / Pine

Bluebottle Art Gallery

415 E Pine St


Martin-Zambito Fine Art

721 E Pike St


Photographic Center Northwest

900 12th Ave


Warren Knapp Gallery

1530 Melrose Ave


Map 7 ✵ Pioneer Square / SoDo

Artforte Gallery

320 1st Ave S


Azuma Gallery

530 1st Ave S


Davidson Contemporary

313 Occidental Ave S


Flury & Company Gallery

322 1st Ave S


Foster/White Gallery

220 3rd Ave S


G Gibson Gallery

300 S Washington St


Gallery 110

110 S Washington St


Gallery 4 Culture

101 Prefontaine Pl S


Glasshouse Studio

311 Occidental Ave S


Greg Kucera Gallery

212 3rd Ave S


Grover/Thurston Gallery

309 Occidental Ave S


Howard House Contemporary Art

604 2nd Ave


James Harris Gallery



Kagedo Japanese Art

520 1st Ave S


Kibo Galerie

323 Occidental Ave S


La Familia Gallery

117 Prefontaine Pl S


Linda Hodges Gallery

316 1st Ave S


NorthWest Fine Woodworking

101 S Jackson St


Pacini Lubel Gallery

207 2nd Ave S


Platform Gallery

114 3rd Ave S


Punch Gallery

119 Prefontaine Pl S


Soil Art Gallery

112 3rd Ave S


Stonington Gallery

119 S Jackson St


The Underground Gallery

214 1st Ave S, B-12


Map 8 ✵ International District

Lawrimore Project

831 Airport Wy S


Map 12 ✵ Queen Anne (North)

Fountainhead Gallery

625 W McGraw St


Map 15 ✵ Lower Queen Anne / Seattle Center

Pottery Northwest

226 1st Ave N


Judith Kindler

570 Mercer St


Map 18 ✵ Capitol Hill (East) / Madison Valley

Lewis/Wara Gallery

1121 15th Ave E


Miner Gallery

346 15th Ave E


Map 24 ✵ Fremont

Black Box Gallery

4911 Aurora Ave N


Edge of Glass Gallery

513 N 36 St


TimesInfinity Gallery

122 NW 36th St


Map 26 ✵ U District

Henry Art Gallery

4100 15th Ave NE


Jack Straw / New Media Gallery

4261 Roosevelt Wy NE


Kirsten Gallery

5320 Roosevelt Wy NE


Map 28 ✵ Ballard (West)

Sev Shoon Arts Center

2862 NW Market St


Map 30 ✵ Greenwood / Phinney Ridge

Francine Seders Gallery

6701 Greenwood Ave N


Map 34 ✵ Northeast Seattle

Snow Goose Associates

8806 Roosevelt Wy NE


Map 36 ✵ North Delridge

Avalon Glassworks

2914 SW Avalon Way


Map 39 ✵ SoDo / Beacon Hill / Georgetown

Georgetown Records / Fantagraphics

1201 S Vale St


Mix Lounge

6006 12th Ave S


Western Bridge

3412 4th Ave S


Map 40 ✵ Columbia City / Mount Baker / Seward Park

Columbia City Gallery

4864 Rainier Ave S


Map 43 ✵ Bellevue (Southwest)

East Shore Gallery

12700 SE 32nd St


Map 45 ✵ Bellevue (West) / Medina

Elements Gallery

10500 NE 8th St


Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery

127 Lake St S


Ming’s Asian Gallery

10217 Main St


Map 48 ✵ Kirkland

Howard/Mandville Gallery

120 Park Lane


Arts & Entertainment ✵ Bookstores

With literary events cropping up all over Seattle—not just in libraries and bookstores, but in coffee houses, bars, art museums, and rock music venues—it’s hardly a shock that each year we rank as highly as we do in CCSU’s yearly America’s Most Literate Cities study. We love our libraries, devour our newspapers (even online papers!), and keep our bookstores in business. Independent bookstores here, as everywhere, struggle to compete with the big conglomerates. But despite housing headquarters, bookstores in Seattle have maintained a strong presence and a loyal customer base.

Literary Treasures

The Elliott Bay Book Company (Map 4) on Capitol Hill is the favorite son of Puget Sound literati. Established in 1973, the store long ago carved its niche as a cultural gathering place with frequent readings by big-name authors and book groups. It can be argued, however, that the only advantage Elliott Bay really has over the competition (besides all that exposed brick) is killer PR. Ask Seattleites to name the best local bookstore, and you’ll rarely hear the same answer twice. Here are some contenders: Magus Books (Map 26) in the U-District has a grandpa’s attic feel. Ravenna Third Place Books (Map 32) offers excellent variety, as does Twice Sold Tales (Map 4), which has several resident cats. Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers (Map 7) is ideal for more high-brow browsing, if you will, offering many antiquarian and out-of-print titles as well as prints.

Books by the Mile

If your true desire is to surround yourself with an immense acreage of reading material (no shame in that), University Bookstore (Map 26) has an impressive collection of books including substantial technology, health science, and periodical sections (not to mention an art supply store). Half Price Books (Map 26, 49) is a regional chain with locations around Puget Sound and an ever-changing stock of used books, plus deals on CDs, DVDs, and magazines. To satiate your inner Comic Book Guy, check out their disorganized comics bin which is peppered with treasures cast off by boneheads who didn’t know what they had.


Open Books: A Poem Emporium (Map 25) bravely limits its stock to poetry—one of only two such bookstores in the US. Cinema Books (Map 26) is devoted solely to the silver screen. Collectors of art and architecture books should see Peter Miller Books (Map 3) downtown. Seattle Mystery Bookshop (Map 3) is a paradise for readers of whodunits, thrillers, and true crime, but look to Edge of the Circle Books (Map 4) for your pagan and occult literature. Left Bank Books Collective (Map 3) is the place for all you lefty-commie-pinkos who still care about the world. May our numbers increase.

For travelers, Wide World Books & Maps (Map 25) has all manner of portable goodies in addition to an excellent selection of guidebooks and travel writing. Metsker Maps of Seattle (Map 3) in Pike Place Market also carries a variety of travel and recreational guidebooks, as well as carrying our favorite retail item—maps. Birders and botanists will love Flora & Fauna Books (Map 12) in Magnolia near Discovery Park. And for young minds, try Secret Garden Bookshop (Map 23) and Alphabet Soup (Map 24).

Arts & Entertainment ✵ Coffee

One of the truer stereotypes about Seattle is our intense love for the brown stuff—and no, we don’t mean heroin (although that cruel mistress has certainly claimed plenty of our own). We owe much of Seatown’s coffee omnipresence to that little-mermaid-that-could. Starbucks mass-produced our obsession to the whole of the First World. But it doesn’t take much effort to find something better. All over the city, independent coffee shops compete for the expendable income of our resident caffeine junkies. Many places even seem justified in charging $4+ for their artwork in mug. Some NFT neighborhood favorites: Joe Bar (Map 17) has been a Capitol Hill staple since 1997. That’s like 100 years in Seattle restaurant time. Vivace (Map 2, 17) uses their old-world coffee knowledge to make a perfecto cappuccino. Fuel (Map 18, 21, 25) is one of the more welcoming spots for long-term table residents. (Seattle etiquette dictates that you must order something for every hour that you occupy your seat). Verite Coffee (Map 4, 6, 23, 35) diabolically teamed up with Cupcake Royale to ensure you put on that winter weight. Caffe Vita (Map 4, 7, 15, 24, 30, 40) boasts 10 original blends including one co-created with Theo Chocolate. Seattle Coffee Works (Map 3) has an express bar for normal coffee consumption and a slow bar, which is more like an inclusive club for coffee nerds.

Hipster Country

If you like your coffee with a side of scene, try Bauhaus (Map 4) which is probably better known for its people watching than for the coffee it sells. At the Portland-based Stumptown (Map 4), our frenemies from the south do a great job showing us up with their singular roasts and it feels as though Carrie and Fred could walk in any minute. Victrola (Map 4, 18, 39) is for the more high-end hipsters, Analog Coffee (Map 17) for the mustachioed pseudo-luddite and Zeitgeist Kunst & Kaffee (Map 7) for the revolution-through-philosophy-degree types.

Entertain Me

Sometimes you don’t just want to sit quietly on your laptop. For live music, Cafe Racer (Map 31), Forza (Map 31) and Sureshot (Map 26) have got you covered. Exercise the pop culture lobe of your brain with trivia nights at Neptune Coffee (Map 30).

Take a Load Off, Annie

Say you’re on rugrat duty but you also need to get some work done or catch up with your long-lost friend. These places have decked-out play areas that will keep your offspring distracted while you enjoy some adult conversation and sneak that extra cookie. Mosaic (Map 25) has the mother of play areas with a clubhouse, slide and a blocked off corner for accident-prone crawlers. Twirl’s (Map 13) play area is also pretty sick and features a giant treehouse and an epic train table. The play corners at Tougo (Map 5), Cloud City (Map 34), Green Bean Coffeehouse (Map 30), and Ballard Coffee Works (Map 23) pale in comparison, but still get the job done.

Two for Tea

Preferring tea to coffee won’t get you voted out of the Emerald City. Overachievers that we are, we have to do it TO THE MAX. At Panama Hotel Tea & Coffeehouse (Map 8), they serve their large international selection of loose-leaf teas with an hourglass timer so you know exactly how long to steep. At Pearl’s Tea & Coffee (Map 35), you can get all the usual bubble tea flavors plus house-created flavors like Taro and Avocado. Roy Street Coffee & Tea (Map 17) treats their tea like their coffee, using flowery language to describe their flavors which, fortunately, live up to their own hype.

Flavor Country

If you’re tired of the same-old-same-old, you should head to the Moore Coffee Shop (Map 3) for their Nutella Latte, which is exactly as delicious as it sounds and comes with some of the best foam art around. El Diablo’s (Map 13) Cubano espresso is a must try as is their Mexican Hot Chocolate. Kitanda’s (Map 48, 49) Brazilian Latte is one of the better reasons to visit Kirkland or Redmond.

With such an embarrassment of riches in the coffee department, we hope you’ll forgive us a little discernment. We’re not trying to be dicks. But when you’re born with a silver coffee stir in your mouth, it’s hard to abide whatever it is that passes for joe at Dunkin’ Donuts. You’ll be one of us soon enough (gobble gobble).

Arts & Entertainment ✵ Benaroya Hall


General Information

NFT Map: 3

Address: 200 University St, Seattle WA 98101

Website: or @benaroyahall

Phone: 206-215-4800

Tickets: 206-215-4747


Rising up out of an entire city block in the heart of downtown, Benaroya Hall, home to the Seattle Symphony, opened in September 1998. The $118.1 million venue matches elegant architecture with state-of-the-art acoustics. (Taking full advantage of the astounding acoustics, local rock juggernaut Pearl Jam recorded Live at Benaroya Hall here in 2003.) In addition to the symphony, other performances and lectures take place throughout the year. There are also two smaller halls: the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium (capacity 2,500) and the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall (capacity 540).

Great glass flows of light and color fashioned by the renowned Dale Chihuly are featured in the lobby, which also houses a small cafe and a surprisingly good gift shop. Be forewarned when choosing your seat location—the front row seats in the upper tiers give the sensation that absolutely nothing is between you and the performance, including any protection from plunging over the edge. Nearby parking is plentiful, but if you arrive late, you can sip a glass of wine while you whisper to your fellow latecomers about the increasingly horrible Seattle traffic and watch the concert on a large screen television in the lobby until being seated at an appropriate break.

If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of Benaroya Hall, free public tours are held on a handful of dates during the year. In addition, free recital-demonstrations of the Symphony’s 4,490-pipe Watjen Concert Organ are held on a few days each year. Check website for details on both.

How to Get Tickets

Avoid ticket fees and buy your tickets directly from the Benaroya Box Office at the corner of Third Avenue and Union. The ticket office is open 10 am to 6 pm weekdays, Saturday 1 pm to 6 pm, and before performances. Ticket buyers can park for free in the Benaroya Hall parking lot for 15 minutes.

How to Get There


Benaroya Hall occupies the block between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, and Union and University Streets. The main public entrances are on 3rd Avenue.

Southbound I-5: Take the Union Street exit (#165B) and proceed five blocks to 2nd Avenue. Turn left onto 2nd Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left, with the garage entrance on 2nd Avenue just south of Union Street.

Northbound I-5: Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto 4th Avenue. Continue two blocks and turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks and turn left onto 2nd Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left, with the garage entrance on 2nd Avenue just south of Union Street.

When parking your best bet is the 430-car garage located beneath Benaroya Hall. The entrance is off of 2nd Avenue. If it is full, there is metered street parking and more garages nearby.

Public Transportation

Numerous bus routes serve Benaroya Hall, including RapidRide lines C, D, and E. The University Street Link light rail station is just a block from Benaroya Hall.

Arts & Entertainment ✵ McCaw Hall


General Information

NFT Map: 15

Address: 321 Mercer St, Seattle WA 98109

Website: or @McCawHall

Phone: 206-733-9725

Seattle Opera: or @SeattleOpera

Pacific Northwest Ballet: or @PNBallet


Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center, the state-of-the-art performance hall our reliance on cell phones helped finance. The facility opened in 2003 as the third venue on this spot. The first, the Civic Auditorium, was completed in 1928 and began hosting symphony concerts in the 1930s. The second iteration was built for the World’s Fair and was in business from 1962 until 2001, when work began on McCaw Hall.

McCaw Hall houses a 2,900-seat auditorium, a 400-seat Lecture Hall, a cafe, a five-story serpentine glass Grand Lobby, and a 17,800-square-foot public plaza (the Kreielsheimer Promenade) that serves as an entry into McCaw Hall and the Seattle Center Campus. True to the eco-sensibilities of Seattle, McCaw Hall was built with green technology, featuring the use of recycled materials and energy-efficient theatrical lighting. Seattle opera - and ballet-goers keep up the green theme—Dansko clogs are more common than Jimmy Choos, polar fleece wins out over cashmere.

Besides being the home of the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Opera, McCaw Hall hosts various conventions, receptions, and even weddings if you have a pretty penny and need over-the-top accommodations. Even if you aren’t an opera or ballet buff, it’s worth a stroll through the promenade to experience just what money can buy, but if you want to be blown away by lavish productions in the extreme, splurge on the ballet and an opera and dress up—at least once. You might fall in love.

Free public tours are given on the third Tuesday of each month, schedule permitting. See the McCaw Hall website for details.

How to Get Tickets

Tickets for Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Opera are sold through Ticketmaster or the individual companies. Tickets are also available at the the McCaw Hall box office and the KeyArena west plaza box office located just off of 1st Avenue North. Regular box office hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm. Both ticket offices sell tickets without the extortionate fees.

How to Get There


From I-5: Take the Mercer Street exit. At the first light, turn right. At the next light turn left on to Valley Street. Follow Valley Street as it turns into Broad Street, turn right immediately after the underpass. Take a right on 5th Avenue. Turn left on Roy Street, and then turn left onto 2nd Avenue. Turn left onto Mercer Street. McCaw Hall is directly on your right at 321 Mercer Street (Mercer & 3rd Ave N). If you think these directions sound confusing—you’ve understood them perfectly, it can be tricky to navigate around the perimeter of the Seattle Center. If you get lost, just head toward the Space Needle—McCaw Hall is located just north of the Space Needle on the grounds of the Seattle Center.

If parking, your best bet is the parking garage located across Mercer Street from McCaw Hall. A skybridge connects the garage to the Hall. Or you can park in one of the several open-air lots surrounding the Seattle Center. Street parking is scarce and at night, Queen Anne neighborhood streets are reserved for residents with zone passes.

Public Transportation

Metro Transit bus routes provide service close to McCaw Hall, which is located on the north edge of Seattle Center. Many frequent routes run north via 1st Ave N and south via Queen Anne Ave N. Routes 3 and 4 travel on 5th Ave N. Then of course there’s the Monorail, which will forever putter back and forth between Seattle center and Westlake Center, just waiting for you to finally look its way.

Arts & Entertainment ✵ Moore Theatre


General Information

NFT Map: 3

Address: 1932 Second Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Website: or @stgpresents

Phone: 206-682-1414


Seattle’s oldest continuously operating theater opened in 1907 in the boom years following the Klondike Gold Rush. The culmination of effort and vision by developer James A. Moore, a Canadian who arrived in Seattle in the 1880s, its deceptively shoddy exterior and tacky marquee belie the grandeur and opulence within its walls, embellished with chandeliers, frescoes, mosaics, and marble. Its foyer was once noted for being the largest of any theater in the country. The Moore was on the vaudeville circuit in the 1920s, was the original home of the Seattle Symphony, and hosted the first annual Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) in 1976. The majestic hall retains its striking elegance while continuing to be a relevant venue for music and other performances. Over the years, some of the most celebrated and talented actors, musicians, and entertainers have played the Moore—from Ethel Barrymore, Vaslav Najinsky, the Marx Brothers, and Harry Houdini, to Sonic Youth, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. The non-profit Seattle Theatre Group operates the venue, along with the Paramount and the Neptune Theatres, and hosts free tours on the second Saturday of each month.

How to Get Tickets

Advance ticket sales are handled via the ticket kiosk at the corner of 2nd and Virginia (open 24 hours, seven days a week) or the Paramount Theatre box office at 9th Avenue & Pine Street (open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm). Tickets are also available online, and include the associated convenience charges. Day-of sales and will-call tickets are handled at the Moore Theatre box office, which opens 90 minutes before the start of the show.

How to Get There


From I-5 North, take the Seneca Street exit; from I-5 South take the Stewart Street exit. Turn right onto First Avenue and head north to Virginia Street. Turn right onto Virginia Street and go one block to Second Avenue. Cross your fingers and hope to find parking. From I-90 take the Madison Street exit. Turn left onto Madison, turn right onto Sixth Avenue, and head north to Stewart Street. Turn left onto Stewart Street, go down to First Avenue, turn right on First. Go north one block to Virginia Street, turn right onto Virginia, and go one block to Second Avenue.

The Moore Theatre is located downtown at the corner of Second Avenue and Virginia Street, four blocks from Pike Place Market. Parking is available in nearby pay lots and metered parking along the street, but is nearly impossible to find on a Friday or Saturday night. If you really must park, do your best to find street parking northeast of Fourth Avenue.

Public Transportation

Numerous bus routes serve Moore Theatre, including RapidRide lines C, D, and E. The Westlake Link light rail station is located just a few blocks from the venue.

Arts & Entertainment ✵ Paramount Theatre


General Information

NFT Map: 3

Address: 911 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101

Website: @stgpresents

Phone: 206-682-1414


In the 1920s, Paramount Pictures built a movie house in nearly every major city, and Seattle was no exception. To make up for the fact that the land they bought was less than prime, Paramount Pictures built the grandest movie house Seattle had ever seen. Modeled after the Palace of Versailles, it boasted a four-tiered lobby, a player piano, grand chandeliers, and original paintings in gilded frames. Those paintings have since been stolen, but nothing could steal the Paramount’s dignity. Even after the Depression when people couldn’t afford luxuries like movies, The Paramount employed ushers, including famous Seattle native Bruce Lee. In the early days, The Paramount hosted movies and vaudeville, then just first run movies, then second run movies and eventually, it was barely scraping by. It wasn’t until 1971 when the Clise Corporation came along and recognized its potential as a live performance hall that things started to pick up again. After changing hands a few more times and undergoing some serious renovations, the Paramount stands again as a Seattle jewel. It even has a fully automated convertible floor system that can turn the theater into a ballroom—the first in the country to do so. The non-profit Seattle Theatre Group operates the venue, along with the Moore and the Neptune Theatres, and hosts free tours on the first Saturday of each month.

How to Get Tickets

Advance ticket sales are available at the Paramount Theatre box office at 9th Avenue & Pine Street (open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm). Tickets are also available 24 hours a day via the ticket kiosk directly outside, as well as online (including the associated convenience charges for online ticket purchases). Day-of sales and will-call tickets are also available at the box office, which opens 90 minutes before the start of the show.

How to Get There


Coming north on I-5, take the Olive-Denny exit. Go one block to Melrose Street and turn right. The Paramount will be three blocks down on the corner of 9th Avenue and Pine Street.

Coming south on I-5, take the Stewart Street exit. Take Stewart to 9th Avenue and turn left. Follow 9th two blocks to Pine Street. The Paramount will be on your left.

The Paramount Theatre does not have its own parking lot, so you are stuck with paying for an expensive lot or trying to find street parking (free on Sundays). If you don’t have that kind of patience, try Pacific Place Mall parking (7th Ave & Pine St), the Washington State Convention Center, or the Grand Hyatt’s garage (7th & Pike St). There is a loading zone on 9th Avenue and Pine Street to drop off passengers.

Public Transportation

Because the Paramount Theatre is so close to the Washington State Convention Center, and in a prime downtown location, many bus routes will get you very close to the theater. From downtown, take the 10, 11, 43, or 49 buses. From the University District, the 43 or 44. From Capitol Hill, the 10. From Northgate, take the express 66. The Westlake Link light rail station is about a 5 - to 10-minute walk down Pine Street from Paramount Theatre.

Arts & Entertainment ✵ Movie Theaters

No doubt about it, Seattle is a cinephile’s city. Cutting edge film from around the world screens daily, and even chain video stores stock adventurous fare. Each spring since 1976 the Seattle International Film Festival has summoned the best and brightest talent from Hollywood and beyond for a month-long movie binge to rival Sundance and Cannes. The non-profit organization Northwest Film Forum offers film production workshops, equipment rentals, and funding grants to local filmmakers. And while there’s no shortage of mainstream multiplexes for the latest big-budget snooze, Seattle also boasts many moviehouses that are exceptional not only in architecture and ambiance but also in their programming choices. The result is a consistent flow of cult favorites, foreign cinema, and rarely screened classics from the past.

Over in Capitol Hill, exciting, obscure cinema is the norm at Northwest Film Forum (Map 4). In the University District, Seven Gables (Map 26) welcomes foreign film buffs with a bit of romantic atmosphere, aided and abetted by downstairs neighbor Mamma Melina Ristorante—a perfect first date package. The Varsity (Map 26) isn’t as glamorous, but the sixty-year-old theater offers three screens on three floors connected by a staircase that claustrophobics should avoid. Employee-owned non-profit The Grand Illusion (Map 26) (a dentist’s office in a former life) only seats 70, but it’s one of the best movie-going experience in the city—a cozy, intimate space to enjoy films handpicked by the cineastes on staff.

There are only two places left in the world equipped to properly show films shot in the Cinerama three-screen format, and we got one. A local billionaire (his name escapes us) saved Cinerama (Map 1) from extinction in 1998 by kicking in for much-needed technological upgrades while preserving the retro charms of the house itself. Along with rare showings of 70mm classics, this is the place to experience big Hollywood special-effect spectaculars and wide-screen classics.

By contrast, the tiny Jewel Box Theatre (Map 1) seats even fewer than The Grand Illusion, but the advantage (or disadvantage, depending on one’s attitude toward alcohol) is its location within Belltown’s Rendezvous—a speakeasy and burlesque stage during Prohibition. Now the Jewel Box features live bands and fringe theater events, as well as occasional special film presentations. Centrally located in the Central District, Central Cinema (Map 5) gives pizza, beer, and movies equal weight, serving hungry film fans who love their themed programs, making it a better choice for regular drunken cinema binges. Central’s more sophisticated sister is Big Picture (Map 1), which pairs first-run films with classy cocktails. When you purchase your tickets, you can order a drink (or several) to be brought to you mid-movie.

Last, but not least, is the Seattle International Film Festival’s year-round commitment to Seattle filmgoers. Their three venues fill a full docket of indie, foreign film, documentaries, and classics. SIFF Cinema Uptown (Map 15) in Lower Queen Anne has three screens, including a 500-seat auditorium. Down the street, the SIFF Film Center, (Map 15) located on the Seattle Center campus in what was formerly the Alki Room; it’s got state-of-the-art equipment in an intimate 95-seat theater with retro seats salvaged from Cinerama’s balcony. SIFF also rescued Capitol Hill’s much-loved Egyptian, pulling the SIFF Cinema Egyptian (Map 4) into its cinematic constellation in 2014.


Arts & Entertainment ✵ Museums


The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) (Map 3) traces its beginnings to the early 20th century, and has grown and expanded as the city came into its own. In 2007 the museum’s main downtown space was renovated, adding 70 percent more gallery space to show off its extensive collections of Pacific Northwest art. It also opened a new and improved museum store along First Avenue. Its sister gallery, the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) (Map 17) is located in idyllic Volunteer Park, with its sweeping city, water, and mountain views, and bad-boy reputation. The Olympic Sculpture Park (Map 1), also a SAM project, showcases 22 monumental sculptures in a nine-acre park located on Seattle’s waterfront. The Frye Museum (Map 4), founded by a former meat packing executive, shows fairly traditional late 19th-, early 20th-century art in its elegant and contemporary building, although new curators have pushed the institution in a more cutting edge direction. Oh, and since Mr. Frye sold so much meat, it’s always free admission.

The Henry Art Gallery (Map 26) is the University of Washington’s gallery-cum-museum (or the other way around). On permanent display is James Turrell’s Skyspace, a very cool enclosed light chamber. Bellevue Art Museum (Map 45) was once housed in a chi-chi mall, until it moved across the street into Steven Holl’s architectural wonder where it promptly folded. BAM only reopened after reinventing itself as a crafts museum.

Historic Seattle

Wing Luke Museum (Map 8), located in the heart of the International District, is better than ever after its fantastic renovation. Its primary emphasis is on the cultural history of Asian Pacific Islanders, and the museum invites the community to participate in its exhibitions. The Burke Museum (Map 26) is the University of Washington’s archaeological and ethnographic museum. Here you can see the notorious Kennewick man. The Nordic Heritage Museum (Map 28) is dedicated to the history of immigrant Scandinavians—free your inner Norwegian. The Museum of History and Industry (Map 16) is a city history museum for Seattle aficionados.


Ever wonder what billionaires keep in the basements of their mansions? Paul Allen puts his personal collection on display at two museums in the giant titanium blob at Seattle Center. The Experience Music Project (Map 15) invites you to free your inner Jimi with lots of interactive music exhibits; it almost justifies the inflated admission when you get a little percussion or guitar time in. Right next to EMP, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame (Map 15) houses Planet of the Apes memorabilia and appeals to Seattle’s geek-chic set (read: former Microsoft executives).

Plane Fun

In Boeing-obsessed Seattle, airplanes are serious business and The Museum of Flight (Map 41) has this topic covered. This is the place to tour the now-defunct Concorde and JFK’s Air Force One.


Arts & Entertainment ✵ Nightlife

Seattle may be small by metropolis standards, but we use our space very efficiently. From quaint dives to swanky Belltown wine bars, punk rock to hipster kitsch, in Seattle, anyone can find their scene.

Find Your Thrill on the Hill

If you don’t know what kind of vibe you’re in the mood for, Capitol Hill has a wide range of destinations, from the sexy red lighting of Cha Cha (Map 4) to the hunting lodge chic of Redwood (Map 4), you’ll find a cool place to hang out. The Hill is often pigeon-holed as a hipster/homo ghetto, but as long as you’re open minded, it really can be all things to all people. At Pony (Map 4) every day is Pride Day, meaning you’re probably going to see a lot of genitalia and party your ass off. The wing to Pony’s wang is the Wild Rose (Map 4), a fun and inclusive lesbian bar with plenty of love for both genders and a haunted bathroom. Smith (Map 4) is another hunting lodge-style bar with an enterprising gastropub menu. Seattle loves its speakeasy-style bars what with cagey entrances and enthusiastic cocktails. They’re like well-decorated clubhouses. Knee High Stocking Co (Map 4) is in an unmarked building on a weird triangular island between two busy streets. But if you feel like making the effort, your palette will be richly rewarded. There are only a handful of tables so reservations (by text) are recommended. Tavern Law (Map 4) has a speakeasy-within-a-speakeasy called Needle & Thread with extra hoops to jump through for entry. Pie Bar (Map 4) wants you to have your pie and drink it too. Sun Liquor (Map 17) and Sun Liquor Distillery (Map 4) will serve you the greatest cocktails of your life using fresh squeezed juices and their own hooch and they are more than happy to customize. The Unicorn (Map 4) is a carnival-themed den of iniquity with an adult arcade called Narwhal in the basement. Both floors serve sugary beverages, an array of corn dogs (with veg options) and more deep-fried junk food than you can shake meat on a stick at. Experience Steampunk salvage chic at Grim’s (Map 4) and soak up your mason jar cocktails with inventive and reasonably-priced sandwiches. After last call, on the weekends, find the Off the Rez food truck squeezed into a doorway on Pike and they will hook you up with some incredible hangover prevention in the form of frybread tacos.

It’s a Live!

The grunge days of flannel and hype may be long gone (thank goodness), but Seattle still has a thriving live music scene. Ground zero for alt-country and twang fans can be found at the Tractor Tavern (Map 23), but if you prefer turntables over pedal steel, then make it over to Chop Suey (Map 4) for “live” music. Nearby, Neumo’s (Map 4) rivals the Showbox (Map 3, 39) for booking the latest indie rock sensations, but their sound is definitely more on the dirty side. The Crocodile (Map 1) features shows small in size but big in rock. The Sunset Tavern (Map 23) is Seattle’s best small venue, a friendly joint with red velvet interior that consistently books great up and coming local acts plus a succession of superior touring rockers from abroad. Try Shadowland’s (Map 35) Tuesday open-mic night to be the first to discover the next Bon Iver. The bands at Slim’s Last Chance (Map 39) are eclectic and smalltime but usually play something to get you up and dancing off that bowl of chili. Blue Moon Tavern (Map 25) conveys a down-and-dirty vibe, booking punk, honky tonk and everything in between. Fremont’s High Dive (Map 24) is another good spot to check out new (though not necessarily stellar) local talent.

Dive On In

Whether ironic or earnest, one thing Seattle excels in is dive bars. We really know how to make the best of a dark drink hole. Coney Island-themed pinball bar, Shorty’s (Map 1), is on the NFT shortlist. Its hot dogs and boozy slushies have the Anthony Bourdain stamp of approval. The Kraken Bar & Lounge (Map 26) is very metal, very dirty and your best bet on the Ave for avoiding students. Ballardites would love to keep the Tin Hat (Map 30) to themselves, but the word is out about this marvelously mellow bar home to a handful of regulars and some of Sea-towns best tater tots. The Comet (Map 4) has been the Prom King of dives since 1948. They have live music and karaoke, but the real show comes from the customers. The only thing you can expect there is a memorable night. Eastlake Zoo (Map 20) is perhaps so called because of the eclectic clientele it attracts. Every inch of this vast space is covered in kitch, making it the perfect place for a smashed scavenger hunt. Georgetown’s diamond in the rough is the 9lb. Hammer (Map 39) offering free pool and a peanut shell-covered floor for added authenticity. The same owner also graced South Park with Loretta’s (Map 38), a cozy, friendly and economical restaurant and bar with an air of grandpa’s rec room. West Seattle’s best kept secret is the pirate/nautical themed Benbow Room (Map 35) which is tucked into the back of a mid-western comfort food restaurant.

Make Your Own Kind of Music

Seattle is filled with wannabe rock stars, some of which lack the wherewithal to form a band. That’s where karaoke comes in handy. And we’re not talking about that Gwyneth Paltrow “Duets” crap. Our karaoke is balls out. Some folks even occasionally don costumes add a little choreography to the mix. Often, this sort of dedication makes even the most tone-deaf performances entertaining as hell. Bachelorette parties and other karaoke dabblers usually start at Ozzie’s (Map 15) or Hula Hula (Map 1). Capitol Hill’s Crescent Lounge (Map 4) has one of the more colorful crowds and sings it loud and proud every damn night of the week, much to their neighbors’ chagrin. Everybody loves a karaoke room, but Rock Box (Map 4) takes it to the next level with their clean and classy rooms to accommodate nearly any party size from a huge birthday gathering to a single, solitary crooner. Whet your whistle with their Japanese-themed food and drink menu and don’t forget to make advanced reservations, especially on the weekends. West Seattle’s go-to is Tug Inn (Map 37). Sing at Monkey Pub (Map 26) every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. This beloved dive has a gritty, punk rock vibe and is refreshingly light on student infiltration. The Twilight Exit (Map 5) has moved their 70s dive shtick three times and their loyal patrons have always moved with them, singing their hearts out every Sunday night. Greenwood’s Baranof (Map 33) has karaoke every night of the week, attracting ironic amateurs, intense regulars and everyone in between. If you get hungry, they have jello shots.

Pleased to Meat You

Do you love waiting in line while a power-mad bouncer hold the fate of your evening in his hands? Does your idea of a good time involve bumping genitals with strangers and rolling the dice on roofied drinks? In that case, you’ll want to head straight to the breeding grounds of Pioneer Square where any bar can turn into a club at the drop of a white baseball cap. For those who prefer dancing on a bar or table top, check out Cowgirls, Inc (Map 7) or any number of bars in the dude-happy Pioneer Square triangle. The other white stretch-hummer lined strip is along 1st Avenue in Belltown. Tia Lou (Map 1) and Foundation Nightclub (Map 1) will make sure you don’t go home alone, even if you want to. Aston Manor (Map 39) brings Vegas nightclub elitism to SoDo.

Come Dancing

If the frat party annex isn’t your scene, but you still have happy feet, join the welcoming party scene at Neighbours (Map 4) This captain of the Capitol Hill Old Guard breaks out 80s, house, funk and mashups providing the opportunity to get your freak on any night of the week. ReBar (Map 2) has some very sexy dance nights in addition to cabaret, fringe theater and other alternative variety shows so check their calendar for details. Mercury @ Machinewerks (Map 4) is a private, invite-only goth club. So if your feet only get happy to Joy Division or Skinny Puppy, you might want to strike up a conversation with that pierced-up guy on the bus who wears his black trench coat year-round. Lo-Fi (Map 2) has a non-exclusive goth night on occasion but is best known for its super fun Emerald City Soul Club on second Saturdays. Want to hone your skills before hitting the town? You can take tango or swing lessons at the Century Ballroom (Map 4).

The Kids Are Alright

When your old uncle NFT was a youth, there wasn’t much in the way of an all-ages scene. But thanks to the efforts of The Vera Project (, the oppressive Teen Dance Ordinance was repealed in 2002 and since then, the under 21 crowd has been able to enjoy a nightlife outside of their dorm room or house party. The Vera Project (Map 15) has its own venue with shows as well as arts programs and plenty of other activities that keep little hands from getting idle. Major venues like Key Arena (Map 15) and the CenturyLink Field Event Center (Map 7) are always open to all ages as are The Moore Theatre (Map 3) and Paramount Theatre (Map 3), but their calendar isn’t always geared toward a younger crowd. Bumbershoot ( is an annual music and arts fest that allows you to get in a year’s worth of live music over Labor Day weekend. El Corazon (Map 2), Neumo’s (Map 4) and the Showbox (Map 3, 39) have loads of all ages shows, putting the grumpy legal drinkers in booze-dispensing bullpens while the kids have direct access to the stage. The Crocodile (Map 1), Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley (Map 2), and Skylark (Map 36) have occasional all-ages shows as well. Neptune Theatre (Map 26) adds alternative comedy shows to their terrific entertainment calendar. Of course there’s always a wealth of good cinema, make-out opportunities at the Seattle Laser Dome (Map 15) and allowance squandering at GameWorks (Map 3) to make keeping curfew a challenge.

24-Hour Party People

Seattle can be tough on night owls. But if you’re still raring to go at three am, there are a few options, most of which involve greasy spoon grub. The 5 Point (Map 1) has a solid 24-hour breakfast menu as well as a famous view of the Space Needle from the men’s room urinal. The Mecca (Map 15) is the 5 Point’s nearby little sister. Georgetown’s Square Knot Diner (Map 39) isn’t the best breakfast food you can get at 3 a.m., but it’ll do in a pinch. Beth’s (Map 30) 12-egg omelets and bottomless hash browns might make you sicker than the booze you’re trying to soak up, but you’ll have fun drawing dirty pictures on their paper tablecloths. For a classier after-hours meal, try 13 Coins (Map 2) for some surf-and-turf that is guaranteed to bring on weird dreams. Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge (Map 4) is Capitol Hill’s long overdue replacement to Minnie’s, serving an incredibly diverse menu with a Twin Peaksian ambiance.

Arts & Entertainment ✵ Restaurants

It’s safe to say that Seattle has comfortably settled into its Big Boy Britches when it comes to restaurants. We have nationally recognized (and respected) chefs, many of whom have cultivated their own empires. One could argue that our food scene has begun to outshine our music scene (sorry, Macklemore). We specialize in the casually upscale affair and, while not everyone succeeds with the business model, many of our restaurateurs manage to knock it out of thepark. Tom Douglas (Dahlia Lounge (Map 1); Lola (Map 1); Serious Pie (Map 1, 2); Cuoco (Map 2); Palace Kitchen (Map 1); ad infinitum) is the Coen Brothers of chefs. Each of his restaurants is a complete departure from his other work, yet there’s a pleasing familiarity to them. The ones that succeed are so good, you forget there were every any bad ones. Ruling at his side are Ethan Stowell (How to Cook a Wolf (Map 13); Tavolata (Map 1); Staple & Fancy (Map 23)), Maria Hines (Agrodolce (Map 24); Tilth (Map 24); Golden Beetle (Map 23)) and Matt Dillon (Sitka & Spruce (Map 4); Bar Sajor (Map 7); Bar Ferd’nand (Map 4)). Linda Derschang (Smith (Map 18); Oddfellows (Map 4); Bait Shop (Map 17)) stands apart with her hipster restaurant kingdom, but you’ll get your best meal at Tallulah’s (Map 18) with meat-accented vegetables for dinner and sophisticated toasts at brunch. There are also plenty of successful one-offs, like the farm-to-plate genius of Terra Plata (Map 4) and the cozy, inventive flavors of Belltown’s Tilikum Place Cafe (Map 1). The national eco-friendly sustainable, free-range organic craze has long been a founding principle of Northwest cuisine, which relies on and reveres locally sourced ingredients. Flavor profiles range from New American (whatever that means) to Pan-Asian flair to rustic Italian to provincial French. But often, it’s a pick n’ mix of vivacious victuals. With all this awesome grub around, you might want to start biking to work.


Because of Seattle’s proximity to the Pacific, there’s no wonder seafood seems to pop up on every menu in town. But selectivity is key. Ray’s Boathouse (Map 28) is a venerable waterfront landmark that’s been nailing it for decades, with a prime location and a slightly older crowd (including, yes, lots of tourists). Ivar’s Salmon House (Map 25) is the classic place to take out of town guests because the only thing better than the chowder is the view. For a true taste of Pike Place, go straight to Matt’s in the Market (Map 3). If you get a jonesing for lubrication by fish and chips, Spud on Alki (Map 35) is traditional, but Pike Street Fish Fry (Map 4) ups the ante with late-night hours, jars of homemade pickles, and fancy-schmancy sauces. The Walrus and the Carpenter (Map 23) has garnered many a devoted follower, not unlike the subjects of Lewis Carroll’s famous poem. If you’d like to spite the locavore movement, RockCreek (Map 24) is in your corner, flying their offerings in from all around the world like aquatic, edible rock stars.

Seafood, Nippon-style

Hardcore pescatarians like their fish raw and there’s no shortage of sushi restaurants to accommodate them. It’s rumored that Trey Parker bought a condo in Belltown just so he could take sushi-eating mini vacations whenever he wanted. Purists swear by Nishino (Map 19), the eponymous establishment of Tatsu Nishino (a former disciple of famed Nobu Matuhisa). Put your meal in his skilled hands omakase-style for a spectacular experience. Kisaku (Map 31) is where the sushi chefs eat. In West Seattle, try the chef specials at Mashiko (Map 35). Chiso (Map 24) and Liberty (Map 18) take sushi for a spin in hip, modern settings, inventing new rolls that are, more often than not, very oishii indeed. The ID offers more traditional sushi experiences, particularly at Maneki (Map 8), Seattle’s oldest sushi bar. The U District’s Village Sushi (Map 26) gives a solid performance on the cheap, complete with an on-the-ball sake sommelier. For the newly initiated, Blue C Sushi (Map 24, 26) rolls out cheap and crowd-pleasing dishes on a gimmicky (though admittedly fun) conveyor belt system. They love experimenting with tempura batter, cream cheese, and vegetables, making it a great place to bring picky eaters and vegetarians alike. The proprietor of the eponymous Shiro’s (Map 1) literally wrote the book on sushi (it’s titled Shiro: Wit, Wisdom and Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer) and the dude knows his shoyu.

Classy Joints

Seattle is infamous for its constant state of casual dress. But you can still find establishments that request a bit more refinement from their diners. Sometimes, it feels good to step out of the yoga pants and into the lap of luxury. The Grande Dame is Canlis (Map 13), a Seattle fixture since 1950 with a view to die for, impeccable formal service (crumb brush, bro), and spectacular food. Canlis is the ultimate Treat Yo Self. At Art of the Table (Map 24), what started as a weekend supper club has grown into a hospitable and unforgettable celebration of all things edible. Miyabi 45th (Map 25) is a fine dining soba noodle house where you can feel comforted and pampered simultaneously. Palisade (Map 11) is breathtaking inside and out with the meals to match. Cascina Spinasse (Map 4) is extremely hyped Italian but it’s all true, and worth the considerable money and effort required to eat there. La Medusa (Map 40) is the crown jewel of Columbia City. If you want an elegant meal but can’t find a sitter, bring the kiddos and give them a taste of the high life. Le Pichet (Map 3) is all class without the cost and about as French as you can get without feeling like an asshole.

No Animals, Please

If your dietary preferences don’t involve any fuzzy animals, or even their byproducts, we’ve got you covered. Seattle does meat-free so well, even the carnivorous have been known to relish the cruelty-free options. The cream of the crop is the fine dining at Plum Vegan Bistro (Map 4). Their creamy mac & yease could only be the result of a nefarious supernatural bargain. Cafe Flora (Map 19) is slightly less polished, but nonetheless a very pleasant place to take your veggie-skeptical great aunt for brunch (they also cater to the gluten-free crowd). The U District is an oasis for the penny-pinching vegan. <u>Wayward Vegan Cafe</u> (Map 31) (no relation to Roosevelt’s vegan-friendly coffee shop) is run by semi-militants, but if you can get past the gruesome pamphlets, they will treat you to the best tofu scramble and biscuits n’ gravy in the city. They also sell an array of mind-blowing pies by the slice or whole. The college crowd loves Araya’s Vegetarian Place (Map 26), a tasty faux-meat Thai joint with an excellent lunch buffet and Asian-inspired breakfast pastries. Vegans needn’t be deprived of the late-night joys of pizza: Pizza Pi (Map 32) has somehow cracked the dairy-free cheese code. The vegan donuts at Mighty-O (Map 31) rival anything on the Top Pot roster. Find them at their flagship store or in pastry cases around the city. For the comfort that only bar food provides, head to the gritty Georgetown Liquor Company (Map 39), where you can dig into flavor-packed meatless sandwiches and Super Nintendo, quite literally, on the wrong side of the tracks.

More Meat, Please

If you find yourself agreeing with Ted Nugent on food matters, Seattle has your back there too. If you aren’t lucky enough to work downtown, it’s worth a personal day to grab a glorious sandwich and stock up on Armando Batali’s amazing pork products at Salumi (Map 7). West Seattle’s The Swinery (Map 35) adds burgers and brunch to the shop-and-dine business model. Quinn’s (Map 4) was at the forefront of the foie gras revival. To help you reach artery blockage bliss, order the double bacon deluxe at Red Mill Burgers (Map 11, 30). Rancho Bravo (Map 4, 25) makes the most delicious brain, tripe, or tongue tacos this side of the border (though if you’re in mixed company, they have a terrific veggie menu too). Ezell’s Famous Chicken (Map 5) is so good that Oprah literally has it flown from the Emerald City straight to her constantly fluctuating waistline. It doesn’t really get any more Seattle than Damn the Weather (Map 7)—a gastropub housed inside a historical Pioneer Square building, where a former Fleet Fox serves cheeky cocktails alongside cured meats galore and fried pig skins for dessert. Ma’ono Fried Chicken & Whiskey (Map 35) offers just that, but with a Pacific Islands twist. Don’t tell Ezell, but some say it’s the best fried chicken in Seattle.

Palate Passport

Like most U.S. metropolitan cities, the cuisines of Mexico, Italy, Thailand, China, Vietnam, and Japan are well represented. However, the adventurous foodie can find plenty of other cultures from which to sample. At Vostok Dumpling House (Map 4), you’ll feel like you’re back in the USSR (minus the oppressive influence of Putin). Mamnoon (Map 4) will get you hooked on their Syrian and Lebanese flavors. Dress up and dine in or do takeaway to enjoy in your pajamas. For more casual (and exceedingly vegetarian friendly) Lebanese bites, stop by Cafe Munir (Map 23). People lost their shinola when Caribbean sandwich institution, Paseo (Map 24), closed unexpectedly. Some super fans took over and did a decent job copying the menu, but the flavors will never live up to the original. Fortunately, you don’t have to settle, because the former owners took their celebrated recipes with them to their new joint,Un Bien (Map 29). In West Seattle, the Salvadorean Bakery (Map 37) specializes in fast food from waaaay south of the border. Save room for their decadent tres leches cake. Fans of Malaysian fare will be pleased as punch about Malay Satay Hut (Map 46). Cambodian food is all about the noodles at Phnom Penh (Map 8). Inside the dusty-pink, windowless walls of the mysteriousMarrakesh Moroccan Restaurant (Map 1), all the romance and intrigue of Morocco comes alive. There are numerous Ethiopian spots clustered around Seattle University, but two places stand well above the rest: Enat Ethiopian (Map 34) is widely considered the city’s best but Cafe Selam (Map 5) has rightfully earned a legion of devotees including a disproportionate number of cabbies.

Cheap Eats

A high concentration of higher learning institutions means droves of intoxicated and hungry students prowling for food they can buy with their Coinstar winnings and leftover laundry change. Good thing there’s an endless supply of local restaurants for the hard up, hungry, or hung over—with no unnecessary sacrifice in taste. At Aladdin Gyro-Cery (Map 26), soak up booze the British way with a lovely kebab or falafel. (Be leery of the inferior imposter Aladdin Falafel Corner, a couple blocks north.) Hill trolls swear by Hot Mama’s Pizza (Map 4), where a gargantuan, foldable slice costs less than a bus ride. Even in Seattle, pizza proprietors endeavor to be the most New York-style, and Big Mario’s (Map 4) makes a strong case. A native Neapolitan, the Vellotti family business gained notoriety in the Big Apple before bringing their bona fide pies westward. On the lighter side, Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is one of the most mouthwatering meals you can get for a fiver. Seattleites couldn’t face the winter without this eminently filling and fragrant Vietnamese noodle soup. Pho Cyclo (Map 17, 39) ladles out a most intriguingly flavored version, but the ubiquitous Than Brothers (Map 17, 23, 26, 30, 35) chain undercuts the rest and throws in a free cream puff with every bowl). For gourmet sandwiches on the cheap, pick up a Brown Box lunch from Le Fournil (Map 20), which includes an expertly brewed espresso and one of their amazing French pastries. If a late-night craving for the lovably limp burgers you downed as a kid proves unshakable, local staple, Dick’s (Map 15, 17, 25, 33, 34), will sling you a paper sack full for not much more than your leftover change from that evening’s bar-hopping.

Take Out

For a city averaging 140 days of rain each year, Seattle has woefully few food options. East Coasters are often appalled. Given the limitations, we usually just sigh and order a pizza. Pagliacci (Map 15, 17, 26, 35, 45) or Flying Squirrel (Map 31, 40) are your best bets there. If you want something else, you’ll need to muster up enough energy to pick it up yourself. In the U District Thai Tom (Map 26) is usually packed, but you can always call in an order. The crack-like sauces at Taste of India (Map 31) will make you a regular. Kedai Makan’s (Map 4) Malaysian street food is one of the best meat and carb based alcohol sponges in the city (and open till 2 am on weekends). However, Seattle isn’t completely devoid of delivery. Some of Seattle’s best Thai restaurants will provide dinner without the need for pants. A lot of Thai food is created equal, but Savatdee (Map 31), serving the U District and surrounding areas, is unmatched in its awesomeness and even has a special Laotian menu to expand your horizons. Judy Fu’s Snappy Dragon (Map 34) will bring UD and Maple Leaf residents their divine dumplings and hand-shave noodles, but be prepared to wait as long as 90 minutes for your food (pick-up is faster). In the Bowl (Map 4) will also deliver its delectable vegetarian noodle bowls to those not willing to vie for one of their scant seats.

Food Trucks

Time was, some silly law made it prohibitive as hell to open a food truck in Seattle. Until 2011, sidewalk vendors could sell only hot dogs, popcorn and espresso unless they wanted to shell out a ton of cash and jump through some daunting hoops. But thanks to new regulations, our very own mobile food scene has emerged and now there are so many trucks (over 180) that someone had to make a website ( to keep track of them all. We’ve got sweets, savories and every kind of taco and sandwich imaginable. Some of the more successful trucks have opened brick-and-mortar restaurants to keep up with the demand (Skillet, El Camion, Marination Mobile) while several popular and established restaurants (Plum, Ezell’s, Top Pot) have taken to the streets to spread the love around. Other favorites include the life-changing fry bread tacos of Off the Rez (available for lunch or the perfect weekend drunk snack). 314 Pie bakes locally sourced ingredients into savory pies with cinnamon sugar “fries” (more pie crust!) for dessert. Where Ya At peddles authentic and lovingly made Cajun cuisine. My Sweet Lil Cakes takes chicken and waffles to the next level (it involves a stick and maple butter dipping sauce). There are two meat and two veggie options each day. Save room for more waffles for dessert.

Essential Mobile Food Trucks

BeanFish (Taiyaki)

Beloved Mexico (Mexican)

Bread and Circuses (Ecelectic/Gastropub)

Brown Bag Baguette (Vietnamese Sandwiches)

Caravan Crepes (Crepes)

Cheese Wizards (Sandwiches)

Cotigo (Mexican)

Dante’s Inferno Hot Dogs (Hot Dogs)

Ezell’s Express (Fried Chicken)

Fez! (Mediterranean)

Fish Basket (Fish & Chips)

Hallava Falafel (Mediterranean)

Happy Grillmore (Sandwiches)

I Love My GFF (Gluten Free)

Jemil’s Big Easy (Cajun)

Marination Mobile (Hawaiian/Korean)

My Sweet Lil Cakes (Sweet and Savory Waffles)

No Bones About It (Vegan)

Nosh (Eclectic)

Now Make Me a Sandwich (Sandwiches)

Off the Rez (Native American)

Outside the Box (Paleo)

Papa Bois (Carribean)

Pinky’s Kitchen (BBQ)

Plum Vegan Burgers + More (Vegan)

Snout & Co (Cuban)

Skillet (Seasonal)

Street Treats (Sweets)

Streetzeria (Pizza)

Tat’s Truck (Sandwiches)

Where Ya At Matt (Cajun)

Xplosive Truck (Vietnamese/Filipino)

Arts & Entertainment ✵ Shopping

Seattle is nothing if not eclectic, and that’s good news for all you shopaholics. Whether you’re named in the Gates family trust or scrounging for dollars, Seattle provides plenty of opportunities for retail therapy. If you’re looking to do some one-stop shopping, but can’t stand the soul-killing atmosphere of a mall, there are a number of funky and/or chic commercial strips in Seattle. Get yourself to: the Pike/Pine Corridor (Map 4), Broadway on Capitol Hill (Map 17), Ballard Avenue (Map 23), 36th Street & Fremont Avenue (Map 24), University Way (“The Ave”) in the U District (Map 26), and pretty much anywhere in Belltown (Map 1).

Look Sharp

Some people think Seattle dresses too casually and perhaps they’re correct. But what we lack in formality, we make up for in style. No matter where you are in this city, you will never be far from a cute boutique or funky thrift shop. If money is no object, you’ll find some hip duds at Mishu Boutique (Map 17, 24) and Ian (Map 3). Fellas will want to check out the post-mod threads Kuhlman (Map 1) and Recess (Map 32). It’s Leroy Men’s Wear (Map 3) all the way for fedoras and Zoot suits in every color of the rainbow. Rebels without a cause will not want to miss the jackets and boots at Insurrection (Map 30). For a more mainstream look, it’s all about the original Nordstrom (Map 3). Do moths fly out of your wallet whenever you open it? Try Buffalo Exchange (Map 23, 26) and Crossroads Trading Company (Map 17, 26), where you can buy and sell used, fashionable clothes from name brand designers. It’s never too early to get your baby into Johnny Cash. You can score hipster-themed clothing in baby and toddler sizes at Bootyland (Map 4) and the slightly more affordable Boston St (Map 1).

Play that Funky Music

Some cities have let the Internet render their music stores obsolete. But in Seattle, independent record shops are thriving. Maybe that whole grunge thing wasn’t so bad after all. Those who know the sound of a record scratch outside of movie trailers may be interested in Spin Cycle (Map 17), Georgetown Records (Map 39) and Jive Time Records Records (Map 24). Bop Street Records (Map 23) is known for its amazing selection at exorbitant prices. Discover further relics at Golden Oldies Records Tapes and CDs (Map 25). Sonic Boom (Map 23) and Easy Street Records (Map 35) are great places to see a live band and buy their music simultaneously. Singles Going Steady (Map 1) and Everyday Music (Map 20) specialize in bands from a time when things like record labels and “selling out” mattered. If you prefer to make your own music, you can get your gear cheap at Trading Musician (Map 31).

Don’t Toy With Me

We take a lot of things seriously in the Emerald City, but we’re never too old for fun and games. Quality baubles and gadgets for the pre-pubescent crowd are easy to score in Seattle, thanks to progressively minded toy stores like Magic Mouse (Map 7) and Top Ten Toys (Map 3, 30), where cheap plastic crap is an endangered species. If you dream of space exploration but Huntsville, AL seems impossibly far, Greenwood Space Travel Supply (Map 30) is a fine substitute. Providing all of your tiny cosmonaut needs are an enthusiastic crew of folks still sore about that whole Pluto demotion thing. Best of all, proceeds go entirely to tutoring non-profit, 826 Seattle. If you think toys were better in the past, Max and Quinn’s Atomic Boy’s Shop-O-Rama (Map 35) agree with you. Stock up on potato guns, slingshots and other wholesome toys for the child in your life, instead of that iPad they asked for. But forget about those unappreciative money drains. This is a city full of adults in various stages of arrested development and they demand to be catered to. Enter Schmancy (Map 3), a cozy boutique for vinyl and plush toys made for whimsical folk of voting age who need a cuddly T-bone steak doll or a sock monkey to get them through the night. Head out to Wallingford to Archie McPhee’s (Map 24), a veritable supermarket of kitschy gag gifts and other wacky wares for adults who miss the thrill that only whoopee cushions and potato guns can provide. Card Kingdom (Map 23)—”the ultimate in lawful good times”—is the ultimate for anyone who owns dice with more than six sides. You can test any game in their adjacent Cafe Mox or become King of the Elves in a D &D tournament in their back room. Speaking of adults and toys, Babeland (Map 4) up on Capitol Hill offers an utterly shame-free zone to casually shop for all manner of stimulating marital (or otherwise) aids—dildos, vibrators, leather whips, silicone sleeves, and how-to books are available in a clean, well-lit atmosphere with helpful sex-positive salespeople. Oh, didn’t think we’d go there, did you?

Eat, Drink, and Spend Money

Pike Place Market (Map 3) is unbeatable when it comes to fresh seafood; just don’t go to the guys throwing fish around. That’s for tourists, which you are not. Go to Harry at Pure Food Fish (Map 3). While you’re down in the market load up on cheese at Beecher’s (Map 3) and the myriad fresh dairy products at Pike Place Creamery (Map 3). Save room for a craft soda (with or without booze) from Rachel’s Ginger Beer (Map 3). If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding. Salumi Artisan Cured Meats (Map 7) does a fine job of keeping your carnivorous cravings at bay. Around here, we like to keep our fridges and cellars stocked with alcohol to get us through the long, wet winters. Vino Verite (Map 17) has the best wine selection. Bottleworks (Map 25) specializes in beer, filling every nook and cranny of their small store with international options. Wine World and Spirits (Map 25) is your one-stop shop for all things inebriating including an impressive locally distilled liquor section and all the accoutrements you can shake a swizzle stick at. Got a sweet tooth? The Confectionary (Map 26) in U Village is your upscale candy boutique with a mouthwatering hand-made chocolate case, the underrated joys of salted black licorice and even some lowbrow favorites. That long line at Molly Moon’s isn’t worth it, especially when some of the best gelato in town is just up the road at Fainting Goat (Map 25). They do gelato the Turkish way. Don’t knock their signature flavor, made from goat milk, until you try it. Pig’s Peace Sanctuary owns Vegan Haven (Map 32) a small store that is packed to the gills with cruelty-free goods from frozen pizza to lip balm and even the means to enforce your beliefs onto your pets. Uwajimaya (Map 8, 46) is a wonderland of Asian food and gifts that can’t be missed. Rising Sun Farms (Map 32) brings the rural roadside produce stand to the big city. Speaking of farms, there’s a farmer’s market in pretty much every neighborhood but the standouts are the University District Farmers Market (Map 26) on Saturdays and the Ballard Farmers Market (Map 23) on Sundays. Both happen year-round, rain or shine. Melrose Market (Map 4) made the smart play and put a roof over their vendors. Among those keeping the residents of Capitol Hill stocked up on locally sourced, organic foodstuffs: The Calf and Kid, Rain Shadow Meats, Marigold and Mint flowers and produce.


In 2014, Washington made history as one of the first states (along with Colorado) to end marijuana prohibition. The journey from legalization to retail has been a lengthy and grueling and the cannabis landscape will no doubt continue to morph (hopefully for the better), but here’s the rundown on the retail experience in its current incarnation: Adults 21+ show ID to a guy at the door who resembles an extra from Road House. You then enter a windowless building where you are greeted by a “budtender” (seriously), who gives you the lay of the land. You may purchase up to 1 ounce of “flower” (née weed), 16 ounces of infused edibles, 72 ounces of liquid, and 7 grams of marijuana concentrates. You pay your 37% sales tax on a $12-20 per gram base price. They place your goodies in a paper bag, and you proceed directly to the exit. The process retains an air of sordidness, made more so by the ruling that stores can’t be within 1000 feet of a school, public transit center, public park, day care, arcade, or library. In other words, most of the stores are in sketchy or desolate areas. Now, you’ll probably want to toke up. As Vincent Vega would say, “it’s legal, but it’s not 100% legal.” The law bans “public consumption,” meaning the only place you can smoke is in your residence—so long as your name is on the deed. Also, it’s illegal to take it out of state.

The lines at the stores have subsided and supply and demand has leveled so buying weed legally has actually started to become the rather pleasant experience we were promised. People can afford to be picky about where they shop and even get uppity about the little things on that website that rhymes with “help.” Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop (Map 5) is the best bet for the cost-conscious everyman. They update their menu daily online and the budtenders know their stuff. It reads like a wine list at a cool bistro. Ganja Goddess (Map 39) is for the folks looking for the shopping “experience”. The all-female budtender staff is renowned for its savvy and savior faire alike. The space itself has a very hipster, gastropub feel to it with exposed brick and low lights. Their edibles include high-end items like macaroons and sea salt chocolates. Cannabis City (Map 39) was the first retail store in the city, which ended up being a curse as much as a blessing for them. Now, with other places shouldering some of the demand, they’ve become a decent little shop; prices include tax so you’re not surprised by a huge gouging at checkout. Eastsiders wanna get high, too. At BelMar (Map 46) they can do it without having to drive into icky Seattle and shop with the common people.

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

Let’s face it. Things were better in the past. Fortunately, many Seattle shop owners agree with you. Find Formica galore and your new favorite old easy chair at Fremont Vintage Mall (Map 24) or Space Oddity Vintage Furniture (Map 23). If Mad Men has got you longing for golden age fashions, try Pretty Parlor (Map 17), carefully curated by Ms. Anna Banana with a bonus section for the men folk. She supplements her always-impressive inventory with clothes from some of Seattle’s best vintage-style designers. Diva Dollz (Map 3) is where Bettie Page would have shopped and they also have cute designs in plus sizes. Valley of Roses (Map 26) has threads for men and women, and frequently cycles through their inventory. The customer service oriented owner hides treasures all over the store, including the clearance rack. Vintage Angel Company (Map 24) spans several decades. Try not to get too depressed about the 90s section. If you prefer quantity to quality or are looking for pieces for a Halloween costume, Atlas Clothing Co (Map 4) or Red Light (Map 26) are your best bets.


If you must patronize a mall, it’s good to know which to hit and which to avoid. Let’s start with the malls to avoid. Westlake Center (Map 3) is well known as the most useless mall in Seattle. It is one of the two stops on the monorail, which makes it a bona fide tourist trap. Pacific Place is your other downtown option, but with all the Tiffanys, Club Monacos, and J. Jills, really only Amazon and Microsoft executives can afford to shop there. The mall for the masses is Northgate (Map 34), appealing to the simple folk who enjoy the mainstream pleasures of The Gap, Macy’s, JC Penney, and Express. Somewhere in between Northgate and Pacific Place is University Village (Map 26) with shops like the Apple Store, Eileen Fisher, and Lululemon. It is outdoors, but they provide shoppers with free yellow umbrellas while they stroll around.