Hikes et balades:

Si vous n’êtes là que pour quelques jours: https://ufeseattle.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/que-faire-seattle-lors-dun-court-passage

Must See/Do:

  • Mt. Rainier.  The Indians call it “Tahoma” (thus the name Tacoma).  Serious climbers who train for K2 and Everest use this as their training base because it is the best mountain that mimics the dangerous conditions of the Himalayas.  Several people die climbing this every year (fortunately I climbed the summit without incident).  On rare clear days you seen the mountain (we say, “the mountain is out”) from afar, but you must visit Paradise to appreciate it.  Yes, Paradise is one of the main areas where you can visit and hike on the trails, all the way to the summit if you choose (14,410).  Paradise Lodge is one of the great rustic lodges in America, relatively cheap to stay (about $100/night), and only open late spring to early fall.  The stars at night are spectacular.  We try and make an annual pilgrimage to Mt. Rainier.  It is one of the most spectacular sites anywhere in the world.  It is, in every way, Paradise.
  • Olympic Peninsula.  You can take a ferry boat to Baindbridge or to Kingston (from Edmonds) to another Washington gem.  The peninsula extends northward through Sequim to Cape Flattery, the most northwestern point in the continental U.S., off the Makah Indian Reservation (they still hunt wales).  The site from the cliffs is amazing.  Southward, you can go to the Hoh rain forest, which has almost a mystical quality, and is perhaps the greenest (and wettest) place on earth.  Klaloch Lodge, the midpoint on the peninsula toward Aberdeen, is a great place for beachwalking.  The rustic log cabins are terrific (don’t expect 5 star amenities or service).  Also on the peninsula are Lake Quinalt and Lake Crescent.  Both have historic lodges to stay or visit and are open year round.  Port Gamble, another favorite town just outside Kingston, was one of the early white settlements in the mid-1800s and a more important transit point than Seattle until the late 1800s.  Two American sailors are buried in a very old cemetery there, killed in the 1852 Indian War.
  • Whidbey Island/Deception Pass.  Fort Casey Fort Ebey are two WWI forts are worth visting, though Deception Pass – a small bridge over a major waterway — provides breathtaking views of Puget Sound and is itself worth the drive.  You can drive back through the Skagit Valley, where the Tulip festival occurs (I think) just about this time of year.
  • Snoqualmie Falls.  Only 20 minutes or so from Campus, the falls are spectacular, and the town Snoqualmie is a fun place to take toddlers who love trains.
  • Pike Place.  Everyone knows about Pike Place, but it is not just a great place to visit, but to shop.  Best seafood shop:  Pure Food Fish.  Also a great place to buy flowers, fruit and vegetables.  Arts and Crafts are also a favorite.  A great place to see oddbolls, and on May Day (May 1) the communists are out in full force.  De Laurentis’ is the best Italian deli shop in Seattle, and the famous newspaper stand on the corner has every newspaper and magazine imaginable.
  • Cascades/Alpine Lakes Region.  A favorite place to hike for avid outdoors folks.  More information about trails/hikes can be obtained at REI.  The North Cascades Highway (closed in the winter) provides one of the most spectacular drives in Washington.
  • Mt. St. Helens.  On May 18, 1981, I just happened to be having breakfast at the Space Needle (first and only time) and we could see the ashes spew from 150+ miles away — St. Helens had just blown its top.  You can climb the active volcano year round.
  • The San Juan Islands.  A ferry ride or seaplane ride away (seaplane rides are fun, if you don’t mind being in a rickety de Havilland vintage 50s airplane), the islands maintain their pristine state.  Orca whale watching is easy to do.  Summer time it is warm, sunny, but never hot.  Friday Harbor (on San Juan Island) is a great place to stay.  The famous “pig war” occurred here, in which an international dispute between us and Canada erupted over boundary lines of Canadian and U.S pig farmers.  Shots were fired, but no one died.  Many well-known civil war veterans did tour-duty in Puget Sound prior to the outbreak of the Civil War.
  • Sun Mountain Lodge (Chelan).  In the winter, a Winter’s Paradise.  Some of the best cross country skiing anywhere in the world.  The lodge is nice (but expensive), with a very good restaurant and world class wine list.  A long drive in the winter, but in my opinion worth it.
  • Skiing.  If you like to ski, the best areas for advanced/experts are:  Stevens, Crystal and Alpental.  Best area for beginners:  Snoqualmie Summit/Ski Acres.  Skiing at Stevens and Crystal is almost as good as Colorado and Whistler.
  • Pioneer Square.  This is old Seattle.  A bit rough at times, but worth visiting and seeing.  Some of the bars have been there for 100 years (the J&M).  Doc Maynard’s is named after Seattle’s first mayor, a well known drunk, who fostered good relations with the Native Americans and Chief Sealth (Seattle).  Many Native Americans still live down in this area.  The “underground” tour also operates here.  I think it is overrated but others love it (the historical aspects to it are very interesting)..
  • Ballard Locks.  Boats pass from/to Lake Washington to Puget Sound.  There is also a salmon ladder here and you can see salmon migrate from the sea to Lake Washington during spawning season.
  • Discovery Park.  In the Magnolia neighborhood on Puget Sound, there is an old working lighthouse and this is a great place for a day hike, picnic or weekend run.
  • Magnusson Park.  This used to be a naval airbase.  I grew up not far from here and during the Vietnam War planes flew in and out of this base.  There are a few planes buried in the lake close by.  Great fields to fly kites, and a popular place to swim in the summer.
  • Dungeness Spit.  This deserves separate mention, though it is on the Olympic Peninsula outside Sequim.  It is one of the largest sand spits in the world (6 miles in length).  You can hike to the tip and see a working lighthouse.  You will see bald eagles and seals.
  • Shilshole.  Another great beach park west of Ballard on the Sound; awesome sunset views in the summer.  Nice sandy beach.  Great viewpoint of sailboats and yachts.  Have dinner at Ray’s Boathouse.  Ray’s burned down in the early 90s but was rebuilt because it is a Seattle favorite for seafood.  Former Seattle SuperSonic Jack Sikma (of the 1979 NBA championship team) was (maybe still is) a part owner of the restaurant.  Drive up the hill to Sunset Hill and Sunset Hill park for awesome sunset views of Puget Sound and the majestic Olympics (they turn a purple hue; thus the reason for the song from Seattle native Jimi Hendrix “purple haze”).
  • Seattle Waterfront.  Always worth a weekend stroll.  Have lunch at Ivar’s next to the fireboat house to feed the seagulls, and have the Northwest’s best white clam chowder (Ivar’s is one of Seattle’s great  institutions though, to be honest, only its fish and chips and chowder are really good).  Check out the Ye Old Curiosity Shop; it is the most unusual store you will ever see.  If you are lucky you will see see lions, even whales, down at the waterfront or Myrtle Edwards park.  A great place for kids is the Seattle Aquariam.  It is somewehat small, and really not all that terrific, but still a favorite for little ones.
  • Elliot Bay Marina.  Great views of downtown Seattle, Mt. Rainier, and the Olympics.  Maggie Bluffs restaurant is a fun place to eat outside in the summer time.  Palisades is another favorite seafood restaurant situated in the Marina.  Gorgeous yachts.  A reputedly good sushi restaurant is also located here.
  • Lake Union.  You can rent kayaks and see seaplanes land and take off on the water.  Tuesday nights (at least spring through fall) there are sailboat races and they are fun to watch.  You can also rent sailboats at the wooden boat center (provided you know how to sail).  Gasworks Park is packed on July 4 because a major fireworks show occurs on the lake (fireworks are launched from barges).
  • University of Washington Campus/Husky Stadium.  Rated one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country, Husky Stadium offers great college football and one of the most spectacular views of the mountains and lake.  About 5,000 or so fans travel to the game by boat.
  • Opening Day.  They say Seattle has more boat owners per capita than anywhere in the U.S.  Check out Opening Day at the Montlake Cut and you will see why.  Opening Day also offers worldclass crew races, for free.
  • Alki (West Seattle).  Alki means “bye and bye” (the Duwamish tribe was native to this area).  The Denny Party landed here in 1851 and Seattle was born.  They eventually moved over to the downtown side of Seattle (near Yesler).  Great views of Seattle, the Olympics, with good restaurants and a fun place to watch nasty storms.

Major Events:

SeaFair Parade and Hydro Races.  First weekend in August.  Pure mayhem.  The Seafair pirates are a band of friendly clowns who have been doing this for years.  This is a Seattle institution.

Bumbershoot.  Seattle Rain Festival (a misnomer because this is only for a weekend).

Paul Allen’s EMP.  You must see the Experience Music Project to appreciate Seattle’s deep and rich contribution to American music.  Jimi Hendrix, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Grunge (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Mother Love Bone, etc.), Steve Miller Band, Heart, Gun’s N’ Roses (Duff McKagen, a childhood neighbor and classmate through high school) and many other well known musicians were either raised here or started their careers here.  Hendrix was kicked out of Garfield (so legend has it) for throwing a typwriter out of a window.  His dad still lives here.

Art Walks.  Thursday evenings the art galleries around Pioneer Square host free art walks (this occurs at least in the summer).

Fremont Outdoor Movies.  In the summer, you can watch movies in a parking lot.  People bring sofas, sleeping bags, etc. to watch movies that are shown on a big wall.  Kind of quirky, but that is so Fremont and so Seattle.

The Seattle Times has a good section on weekly events every Thursday or Friday (I can’t remember which day).

Did You Know:

  • Lake Union and Lake Washington were separate until the ship canal bridge was dug to bridge these two separate lakes together?
  • Chief Sealth is buried in Suquamish just across Agate Pass from Bainbridge?
  • Tacoma, Port Gamble and other port towns were much bigger cities than Seattle until the Alaskan gold rush put Seattle on the map in the late 1800s?
  • Indians conducted traditional canoe races in Penn Cove Bay on Whidbey Island until the 1930s?
  • Washington elected the first Asian governor (Governor Locke)
  • The “founding” settlers of Seattle are buried on the old hill cemetery on Capitol Hill (the Yeslers, Dennys, etc.)?
  • Before the Lake Washington bridges were built persons commuted across the lake by ferry (the old ferry docks are in Medina and North Mercer Island)?
  • The Hood Canal Bridge has sunk twice?
  • The I-90 Bridge has sunk once?
  • Summer does not begin until after July 4?
  • We had a major drought in 1987?
  • Issaquah, North Bend, Snoqualmie and other outlying eastside communities were relatively small and undeveloped until Microsoft expanded in the 1990s?
  • Seattle’s population (city limits) has remained just around 500,000 since 1962?
  • The SeattleSupersonics was the city’s first professional franchise, established in the late 1960s?
  • Seattle is one of the only (if not only) major metropolitan city that has elected an African-American mayor without a majority of the voters being African-American (only about 10% of the city’s voters are African-American)?
  • The only unsolved and “successful” hijacking occurred on Thanksgiving at Sea-Tac in 1972 by D.B Cooper (I think that’s the year)?
  • The term “skid road” originated from the logging area on 1st in which logs would skid to Yesler’s mill (and drunks/hobos lived in this area).
  • Safeco field is on a mudflat that during high tide would be covered with water until the area was filled with land.

Best Books on Seattle/Northwest:

  • Timothy Egan’s “The Good Rain” (must read; best book ever on the Northwest and understanding of Northwest culture).
  • Murray Morgan’s “Skid Road” (must read, especially if you are interested in history).