I would use this to get around: Two words. MONO. RAIL. There are only two stops, so it basically just runs between Point A (Westlake Center Station, at 5th Avenue and Pine Street) and Point B (Seattle Center Station, a.k.a. the Space Needle), but these are two key points of interest when attempting to seamlessly maximize good times in Seattle and stay dry at the same time. Plus, the only other monorail I’ve ever ridden was at Disney World, making this the second most awesome monorail in the whole entire world, for all I know. It costs $2.25 and only runs on one rail (I assume, I’m no engineer) but if you need more information, there is a website dedicated to the Seattle monorail and it’s 50th anniversary. Check it out here. Seattle buses are also free within the downtown core, which becomes infinitely more attractive the second it starts to rain, but is still not as cool as riding the train equivalent of a unicycle.
I would stay here: The Sorrento. It’s a bit uppity and old-timey thanks to dark, wood paneled walls in the lobby and a lounge filled with leather and red velvet. The whole scene kind of makes you want to smoke a pipe, stroke your goatee and say words like whom and whilst. Rooms, though, are bright and airy with possibly the softest, most decadent sheets my skin has ever snuggled. It’s centrally located in downtown Seattle and is pet friendly, which I take as irrefutable proof that the owners are good people. I’ve also stayed at the Moore, which is far cheaper and not nearly as swank. However, it is clean, comfortable and kind of funky, with themed rooms and a theatre on the ground floor. It, too, is central to all things tourist, perhaps even more so than the Sorrento, and there is the even cheaper option to stay in a “European Style” room, which means that the bathroom is down the hall and you may or may not have to share with the half-naked German couple in the room next door.
I would eat here: Poppy. This hot spot is located in the trendy Capitol Hill district which is worth a visit in and of itself. The menu is pretty unique in that dishes are served “thali style”, meaning that each meal consists of several small tastings presented together and all at once on a large, round platter. Each thali consists of a variety of foods from soups to salads and pickles to proteins, all of which are tied together with complimentary herbs, spices and flavours. It’s like an edible mosaic and it’s awesome.
I would drink here: Big Time Brewery & Alehouse. Located in the University District since 1988, one has to expect that this place has got beer pretty well figured out. I’d say so. The bar itself is no-frills and full of history, which seems to suit the neighbourhood crowd just fine. A dozen or so brass taps offer a revolving selection of microbrews and local favourites, but Thursday and Friday nights are the big draw when an English-style, authentic cask conditioned ale is featured on the handpump. If beer’s not your thing, however, you may want to take a pass on drinks at Big Time as there’s a good chance the bar stock has been sitting in the well since Y2K.
I would do this: Take a stroll through the Seattle Public Library. You can’t miss it from the outside – it’s like a big, glass, Salvador Dali Rubik’s Cube. I’m not saying it’s better than, say, the Experience Music Project (you really should) or Pike Place Market (you obviously will), but it’s worth checking out if only because it’s free and more fun than not. Assuming you do head to Pike Place Market, be sure to poke your head around a bit until you find the Gum Wall. I don’t want to give anything away here, but it’s a wall covered with gum and it’s surprisingly impressive.
I wouldn’t do this: Take an umbrella. For whatever reason, Seattle locals don’t use umbrellas despite the fact that it rains approximately 100% of the time. It’s like some weird sort of resistance movement against science and geography. I don’t get it, frankly, but I feel as though I should give you the heads-up in case you pack your hippest, most happening umbrella thinking you will be a hit on the streets of Seattle. You will not. People will look at you funny through their dripping wet bangs and soggy newspaper hats until you feel weak and delicate. It’s terrible. Save yourself the humiliation and spring for a cab.