Food & Culture

Seattle’s Top Bucket List Attractions

What to see, hear and do when it comes to pop culture, amusements and the arts

By Niki Stojnic June 10, 2019

Culture_Cinerama_003_large

This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This article appears in print in the June 2019 issue, as part of the 150 Must-Do Summer Experiences cover story. Click here to subscribe.

> Catch an action thriller or a cinematographic masterpiece at the Cinerama, the 1963 movie theater that has seen major upgrades both technological and edible; among the top-notch concession treats is its famous chocolate popcorn. Belltown, cinerama.com

> Channel your inner lumberjack with your crew—or join a team—at one of the several axe-throwing venues, such as Axe Kickers, Blade and Timber and Ninja Axe Throwing, that have cropped up across the city. Times and prices vary. Fremont, ninjaaxethrowing.com; White Center, axekickers.com; Capitol Hill, bladeandtimber.com

> Take a ferry—any ferry. We suggest a voyage to Bainbridge Island at sunset for a gorgeous view of the city, or to Vashon Island, where you might encounter our resident orcas along the way. Times, prices and locations vary. wsdot.wa.gov/ferries

> Visit The Letter Farmer’s bright red mobile truck and write an old-fashioned “wish you were here” letter to anyone. The truck is often parked at Westlake Park or Occidental Park, and is stocked with pens, stationery and postage. Owner Rachel Weil will even seal your letter with wax. Times, prices and locations vary. theletterfarmer.com

> Travel the SoDo busway between light rail’s SoDo and Stadium stations to scan the SODO Track, a 2-mile stretch of murals by 64 artists from 20 countries in a collaboration that explores motion, speed and progress. (As an alternative to taking a bus, you could walk or cycle along the busway’s bike path.) SoDo, sodotrack.com

> Take in Seattle’s renowned houses of culture: a literary lecture at Hugo House (Capitol Hill, hugohouse.org); theater, music or dance at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (Central District, langstonseattle.org); a concert at the 1908 Washington Hall (Central District, washingtonhall.org); or a screening at Northwest Film Forum (Capitol Hill, nwfilmforum.org).

> Check out the city’s lively theater scene by viewing a production by one of its small or experimental groups: Washington Ensemble Theatre (Capitol Hill, washingtonensemble.org); Sound Theatre Company (various locations, soundtheatrecompany.org); or Book-It Repertory Theatre (Seattle Center, book-it.org), which features stage adaptations of books.


An everyday scene at Occidental Park. Photo by Alex Crook

> Play pingpong in Westlake Park, chess in Hing Hay Park or cornhole in Occidental Park—Seattle’s urban parks always have something going on, rain or shine (but especially shine). Downtown, Chinatown–International District, Pioneer Square; seattle.gov/parks/find/parks

> Attend one of the city’s legendary festivals such as the Fremont Solstice Parade and Fair (6/22–6/23. Times vary. Free. Fremont, fremontartscouncil.org/parade), iconic folk music fest Northwest Folklife (5/24–5/27.Times vary. Free. Seattle Center, nwfolklife.org) and outdoor music and arts showcase Bumbershoot (8/30–9/1. Times and prices vary. Seattle Center, bumbershoot.com).

> Go record shopping—or catch a free in-store concert—at one of the city’s most beloved record shops, Easy Street Records (West Seattle, easystreetonline.com).

> Cruise the creaky floors of book mecca Elliott Bay Book Company, then grab a pint at Comet Tavern and a seat on Ethel’s stool, named for the woman who co-owned the bar and whose ashes are reportedly in the chair itself. Capitol Hill; elliottbaybook.com, thecomettavern.com

> Pay homage to the late Bruce Lee (along with city notables Denny, Chittenden, Yesler and Nordstrom) at Lake View Cemetery (Capitol Hill, lakeviewcemeteryassociation.com) and Jimi Hendrix at Greenwood Memorial Park (Renton, jimihendrixmemorial.com).


New glass floors make a Space Needle visit more essential than ever. Photo by John Lok

> “Top” off your list with a step onto the mesmerizing glass floors of the newly renovated Space Needle (Seattle Center, spaceneedle.com); take in the 360-degree vantage from Columbia Tower’s 73rd-floor Sky View Observatory (Downtown, skyviewobservatory.com); and have a seat in the Wishing Chair, a gift from China’s Empress Dowager Cixi, at Smith Tower’s 35th-floor Observatory (Pioneer Square, smithtower.com)


A collection of pieces at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Photo by Alex Crook

Taylor Swift/YouTube

New auditorium, better BMX track and a greener Seattle

Casket Case Bellevue company’s product featured in Taylor Swift video Social media absolutely lost it after a casket manufactured by Bellevue-based Titan Casket was featured in American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s recent “Anti-Hero” music video. Tweets and Instagram posts from Swift’s fans about the casket have generated tens of thousands of likes and retweets, resulting in…

Act Theater: History of Theatre group shot-cropped

Seattle Celebrates Black History Month

A guide to events happening throughout the city in February

From the Northwest African American Museum to the Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle residents have an abundance of opportunities to celebrate the achievements of African Americans in February during Black History Month. The annual celebration began in the United States in 1976. Countries around the world also celebrate the month. Here’s a guide to events…

Photography by Tyree Harris

Book Excerpt: Marmots May Be Running Out of Time

New book explores endangered species in Pacific Northwest

In her debut as a book author, Josephine Woolington turns back the clock to examine events that have shaped Pacific Northwest wildlife in an effort to provide a deeper sense of place for those who call this unique and beautiful region home. Where We Call Home: Lands, Seas, and Skies of the Pacific Northwest sheds…

Illustration by Arthur Mount

Seattle Artifacts: The Mystery of Chief Seattle’s Death Mask

Is it real? Where did it come from?

In different parts of the world, and throughout the course of history, death has been memorialized in a variety of different ways. One of the more intriguing was death masks. Typically, a wax or plaster cast was made of a deceased person’s face, which then served as a model for sculptors when creating statues and busts.  …

Photography by Sage Chen

The Art of Weathering Winter: Foraging, Bathing, and Gold Dust

Two Seattle chefs on the soothing hobbies that get them through the winter

Though I’ve lived in Seattle nearly my entire life, the early winter sunsets, which fall like a set of blackout curtains over the world, never fail to feel like a curse. This year, though, I wanted to challenge myself to find a better way to get through it. Could it be an opportunity to surrender…

DSC_5132 copy 2 hero-min

Hip-Hop Healing in Seattle

Rapper Carter Costello’s house is more than just a venue for artists

The last time I was at Seattle rapper Carter Costello’s house was under the cloak of night. I had been invited to an art and music show — featuring Seattle photographer and artist Baby Claypool, a duo of fire dancers, rapper Nobi and Costello — by local photographer James Gerde. Once I set foot on…