- Indians at Mariners
- Fire at Sounders
Emerald City: The Jewel of the Pacific Northwest
Perhaps east coast bias is the reason Seattle often goes without mention when top cities in the country are being rattled off. There really is no other explanation. For the outdoorsy, the Puget Sound and Lake Washington offer ample opportunities for recreation, and Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helen’s are accessible for the adventurers. Seattle is still a music hub; it is much more than the grunge rock birthplace in the 90s. And in terms of the Sports Power Weekend warrior, their sports teams are not to be dismissed.
Throughout the spring and summer it is all about the Mariners and Sounders. In the fall and winter the Washington Huskies football and basketball teams are worthy of some attention as well. Unfortunately, after the bitter departure of the Sonics from Seattle the NBA left a void in the city’s pro team roster; Portland and Vancouver, each three hours away, provide the closest NBA and NHL teams, respectively. But who needs them? Seattle is making the most of what it has got.
- Red Mill Burgers
- Safeco Field
Courtesy of MLB.com
The best, cheapest way to get from the airport to downtown is via the new Link Light Rail, only costing $2.50 one way. Downtown Seattle offers ample attractions and sports and entertainment venues, including Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners host their home opener against the Cleveland Indians at the 12-year old ballpark that provides sweeping views of the downtown skyline and fantastic sunsets over the Puget Sound. The park itself isn’t too bad either, featuring a retractable roof that acts as an umbrella for fans protecting them from the elements, and when it needs to be closed it only takes 10 minutes and is virtually silent.
Ballparks generally have a stigma of being a place you would want to eat at only if you were interested in hot dog and beer. Though the modern ballparks should have erased that stigma, if you still maintain it you can check out Red Mill Burgers up near the University of Washington campus before the game. It has been voted the best burger in Seattle 10 years in a row by Seattle Weekly, and GQ called it one of the 20 burgers you must eat before you die. Safeco offers some incredible food options but we’ll save those for the Sunday afternoon game since Red Mill is such a must-eat place.
After the game you can check out some of the local bars and get a taste of the music scene in town. Places like Triple Door are good for hearing some live music, and there is no shortage of bars along the waterfront above Qwest Field, adjacent to Safeco.
- Beth’s Café
- University of Washington
- Qwest Field
- Pike Place Market
- Space Needle
- Crab Pot
Courtesy of Getty Images
After a night at the ballpark and the bars, there is no better way to start your Saturday than a hearty breakfast and a huge omelette at Beth’s Café. Seattle Weekly called Beth’s the “best place to cure a hangover,” but more than that they make some great breakfast food. It has been featured on Food Network and Travel Channel, and was named a Top 10 breakfast spot in the country by Epicurious.com. Needless to say, this is a place you want to be spending your Saturday morning. Beth’s resides alongside Green Lake, so give it a look on your way to the campus of UW to walk around.
The weather is nice and energy is up as students sense the end of the school year. Check out the scene and enjoy the environment. You can even make a stop at Husky Stadium, the largest stadium in the Pacific Northwest. Husky Stadium is the site of the loudest recorded game in college football history; ESPN measured the noise of a 1992 game against Nebraska at 130 decibels. Husky Stadium is also unique in that it resides along Union Bay, making it one of the few college stadiums accessible by boat. Thousands of fans are in boats on Lake Washington prior to the game, and it is not uncommon to see members of the Husky crew team shuttling fans from their boat to the docks for the game.
As we approach game time, head to Qwest Field; no, we aren’t seeing the Seahawks in action, the Seattle Sounders are taking the pitch against the Chicago Fire. Qwest Field is known to be the loudest stadium in the NFL for Seahawks games, and the fans are just as rabid for the Sounders. An MLS-record 36,433 fans were on hand for the Sounders’ 2011 season opening game, and they are sure to be ready for another match this weekend. The stadium is no stranger to big-time events having hosted the NFC Championship Game and the MLS Cup; it is certainly a stadium any football or soccer fan in the country has to see, so it is a perfect stop on this SPW.
From the game head to nearby Pike Place Market, one of Washington state’s most frequented destinations, home to the original Starbucks, and often called the “soul of Seattle.” A major attraction of the Market, which has been open since 1907, is the Pike Place Fish Market, where employees famously throw three-foot salmon and other fish to one another instead of passing it by hand when a customer orders it at the counter. Additionally, street performers are abundant in what is one of the nation’s oldest continually operation public farmers’ markets.
Courtesy of Flickr.com
From one Seattle institution to another, head north a few blocks in downtown to the Space Needle. One of the major landmarks in the Pacific Northwest, the Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and features and observation deck at 520 feet. It is part of the Seattle Center, which features a number of venues ranging from science-related, to cultural, to sports, such as KeyArena, former home of the Seattle Sonics.
For dinner, head back towards the waterfront area to Miners Landing on Pier 57 to check out the Crab Pot. People head here for their specialty, “The Seafeast,” a huge mix of crab, clams, mussels, shrimp in the shell, salmon, halibut, oysters, potatoes, corn on the cob and andouille sausage steamed with mouth watering spices poured right on your table. Don’t be shy; dig right in and get after it. It gets a little messy, but that is all part of the fun. Explore the area a bit after dinner and check out some of the local bars and live music venues.
- Voula’s Offshore
- Pioneer Square
- Safeco Field
- Museum of Flight
Today is back to the ballpark for a 1:10 Sunday afternoon first pitch at Safeco Field as the Mariners close out their home opening series with the Indians. Prior to the game get some breakfast at Voula’s Offshore, a Greek joint that offers a power breakfast on the shores of Lake Union, near UW. Then make your way down near Safeco for a pregame stop at Pioneer Square, the city’s first neighborhood, now listed on the National Register for Historic Places. There are a variety of shops and art galleries, as well as tourist attractions and restaurants and cafés.
Checking out Safeco for a second time will give you an opportunity to take advantage of some of the perks of the park. Not only does the park have great food – it was nominated by the Food Network for having the “Best Ballpark Eats in America” and ranked by an ESPN poll as having the “Best Signature Ballpark Food” (Ivar’s Salmon and Hebrew National Kosher Hot Dogs) – but you can order it directly do your seat using your cell phone or Nintendo DS. Safeco is also rolling out Locavore Crepes, a new dish for the 2011 season. This is certainly not your grandfather’s ballpark food.
When you make your way towards the airport for your trip home, make sure to leave time on the front end to check out the Museum of Flight, located at the sound end of the airport and one of the largest air and space museums in the world. It has a comprehensive air and space collection and flight simulators and activities for kids. You’ll have a newfound appreciation for air travel on your way home, as well as a newfound appreciation for the Pacific Northwest after your Seattle Sports Power Weekend.