ALA Midwinter 2019

Seattle Flavor – #alamw19 in the Emerald City

The Gum Wall recently came up in a discussion about Midwinter and got me thinking about Seattle “must-do’s”.  Before moving to the Olympic Peninsula, I lived in Seattle for over a decade where I worked at a tourist destination and spent a big part of my work day helping people from around the world navigate the city.   If you need a break from the fluorescent glow of the Exhibits Hall and the low light of the conference meeting rooms, here are a few ideas.

  1. Visit the Space Needle.  Or at the very least, photo bomb the Needle take a picture of yourself with Needle in the background.  Voilá! Ready for the holiday card.  Be sure to take the Monorail to the Space Needle so you feel like a Jetson.
  2. Eat lunch at Pike Place Market.  The Market is alive with people and color, from the iconic fish throwing to the rows of flowers from around WA State.  Get in line for a piroshky (delish), sample beer at Old Stove or a coffee at the “original” Starbucks, visit Rachel the Pig, or have a delectable macaroon from Three Girls Bakery.
  3. Check out the Seattle Sculpture Park.  Walk along Elliott Bay and look out over the Olympic Mountains to the west and the Cascades to the east. Mount Rainier is to the south, Mt. Baker to the north.  Have extra time?  Take a ferry to Bainbridge Island and see the city from the water (trip takes about 35 minutes each way-you pay $8.50 on the Seattle side of the water as foot traffic and travel free coming back)…although it is unlikely you will see an orca, it HAS happened and it’s a wonderful way to view the city.
  4. Listen to live music.  Seattle has a long history as a musical city, with strong jazz roots and is frequently regarded as the birthplace of grunge. Quincy Jones, Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and L Downtown a few well-known places are Jazz Alley (for jazz lovers), the Triple Door , the Showbox, Neumos, Chop Suey and the CrocodileThe Stranger weekly or the Seattle has a fairly good list of events as does the Seattle Weekly.  KEXP 90.3, Seattle’s beloved radio station, has an eclectic mix of music all year round-you can get into the Seattle mood by streaming. If classical music is your jam, the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera are lovely and powerful experiences (insider tip: Friday, the 25th, the Symphony has a free concert with the University of Washington).
  5. Take a trip to the Seattle Public Library’s Central Branch—it’s an architectural wonder.
  6. Like ferris wheels?  Seattle Great Wheel is right next door to the Seattle Aquarium.  While you’re there, grab some chowder at Ivar’s Fish and Chips; if you happen to be there at Happy Hour (3-close) note that the restaurant portion has some great deals in the lounge.
  7. Seattle has some great museums and galleries.  Seattle Art Museum and the Frye Art Museum are two favorites. The Chihuly Garden and Glass museum is spectacular.  MoPOP (formerly the Experience Music Project) currently has a Marvel exhibit that looks fun.
  8. Get some new ideas. World class Pacific Science Center and the Seattle Children’s Museum have hands-on ideas for kids.  Get ready for summer reading by visiting the Museum of Flight (bus ride takes around 40 minutes from downtown).
  9. If you have the time, take a bus to one of Seattle’s neighborhoods, each of which has its own flavor and can often feel a planet away from downtown.  While you’re there, check out neighborhood libraries. Ballard, Fremont and West Seattle are favorites.
  10. Keep an eye out for Seattle’s abundant parks and green spaces, which quite literally are every few blocks throughout the city, some of which are right across the street from the convention center. There are some great places to walk, jog, or birdwatch.

Do you have any Seattle tips for people traveling to the Emerald City for Midwinter?  What are you looking forward to doing?

Photo of guest blogger
Photo courtesy of guest blogger

Today’s guest blogger is Jennifer Knight. Jennifer Knight is a Youth Services Librarian for the North Olympic Library System on the scenic Olympic Peninsula. Her favorite Seattle activities are jogging around Green Lake, heading to the Ballard Farmer’s Market, or visiting SAM.  When not in her garden trying to grow kale, she is reading for Notable Children’s Books or helping sending postcards for the ALSC Membership Committee.  Jennifer is a 2009 graduate of the University of Washington’s Information Schoo

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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  1. Carol Edwards

    I tried to go to the Children’s Museum on a previous trip to Seattle and they wouldn’t let us in without accompanying children. Has that changed?

    1. Jennifer Knight

      Oh drats! Carol, I just looked it up, and you DO have to have a kid with you according to website! I never thought about because I have always been with family/friends with a kid. However, I wonder if you call and tell them you are a librarian scouting ideas I wonder if they’d make exception? Apologies if I am wrong.

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