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Holly Green’s Guide to Seattle, PAX Prime 2013!

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So you’re going to PAX Prime 2013! As a long time resident of the area, I welcome you to the city of Seattle. If you’ve booked one of the PAX affiliated hotels, you’ll likely find it easy to track down food and other necessities while you stay, as Seattle has a well organized downtown area with a vast variety of resources. If you’re looking for tips on transportation, where to go, and where to eat and drink, read on my friend!

Metro:

Seattle Metro is fairly easy to use, especially if you have a smartphone and download the app One Bus Away. Buses leaving the downtown area can generally be found on 3rd Ave., about four blocks west of the Convention Center. When finding a route, be sure to check if the bus picks up on the street, or in the tunnel beneath 3rd Ave. There are many places to enter the tunnel, but I usually prefer the University Street entrance, located at Benaroya Hall.

Bus fare is $2.25, $2.50 during the peak hours from 6-9am and 3-6pm Monday through Friday. Your transfer ticket is good for up to three hours. Seattle Metro only accepts cash (or the local ORCA card system). The redlines, a new addition the Metro system, are a consolidation of some of the overlapping routes in Seattle and work just like the Metro. They also have free Wi-Fi.

Check this map for the downtown area Metro tunnel:

http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/tunnel/tunnel-map.html

Light Rail:

Seattle’s light rail is efficient and a much less expensive way to travel from the Sea-Tac airport. Generally a ticket from the Westlake (that is, the downtown area near the CC and many of the PAX affiliated hotels) to Sea-Tac or vice versa costs $2.75.

The light rail picks up in the tunnel beneath 3rd Ave. It is required you pay fare before embarking, as they do not sell tickets onboard. The ticket vending machine can be found on the train platform and it accepts cash, VISA, or Mastercard. Get more details here:

http://www.soundtransit.org/Fares-and-Passes/Link-fares.xml

Cabs:

I personally recommend Yellow Cab, (206) 622-6500, as they have a $6 flat rate all the way up to Mercer St. of Queen Anne and down to S Dearborn St. in Pioneer Square. I also like to use Ubercab, but they tend to be expensive. Lyft is a little bit cheaper.

Where To Visit In Seattle:

You’ll likely want to stay in the general downtown area, as venturing in a city you’re unfamiliar with is generally unwise. But if you do find yourself feeling adventurous and prepare yourself well with a smartphone, Google Maps, and plenty of cab/bus fare, here are some fun places to visit during your stay.

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Seattle Center/Space Needle/the Monorail

You know why they call it the Monorail right? Because it only goes one place, hyuck hyuck. But seriously, it only goes to the Space Needle. Head to the top of Westlake Center on Pine between 4th and 5th Ave and pay a $4 round trip fare to the Seattle Center and back. While you’re there you can get a bite at Center House (with a newly opened Skillet location!) or check out the new Chihuly Garden beneath the Space Needle. If it’s hot, consider a quick race to the center of the International Fountain.


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Pike Place Market

It’s cliche, but the Market really is a great place to spend an afternoon. You know, when it isn’t so crowded. One highlight is the variety of cheap bouquets available from Washington’s many flower farms; visitors can get a beautiful bunch of posies for as little as $10 or $5. I personally like to hit up Pike Place Chinese Cuisine on the second floor and buy a humbow through their service window so I can eat it as I walk around. Right around the corner on 1st Ave. is the Rocky Mountain Candy Company, where you can get everything from Oreo bark to decadent candy apples, drenched in a variety of rich chocolates and sweets. Across the street, the legendary Showbox.

(Above photo by Dtoid community member Sam Gobbldigook)

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Pike Place is also home to Post Alley’s infamous “Gum Wall”, accessed through the brick path between the Market and First & Pike News; be sure to stop by and leave a wad of your own!

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Seattle Great Wheel

This is a new feature on Seattle’s waterfront, and can be accessed with a short walk down to the pier. Tickets are $13 and can be purchased online.

Kerry Park

This Queen Anne area park features the best view in all of Seattle. It can be reached by taking the #2 Metro bus from downtown Seattle on 3rd Ave.

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The Jimi Hendrix Statue

This tribute to Hendrix can be found up in Capitol Hill at 1798 Broadway. Take the #9 from Pine and 5th to reach it. Afterwards you can round the corner and hit up the mind blowing Molly Moon’s. A Dick’s location is also a short walk away.

Queen Anne

This is the neighborhood surrounding Seattle Center and has a diverse restaurant and club scene. It can be reached by taking the 1, 2, 13, C redline route from downtown Seattle on 3rd Ave or by taking the Monorail and exiting Seattle Center. Places of note are a classic Dick’s sit-in restaurant, Seattle staple Pagliacci’s Pizza, and Kidd Valley, home of the world’s best deep fried mushrooms.

Capitol Hill

Best described as Seattle’s gay neighborhood, Capitol Hill is usually home to several pub crawls during PAX Prime. It can be reached simply by walking east from downtown Seattle, or taking the Metro #10 from Madison and 2nd up to E Pine and Broadway. There you’ll find an eclectic jam packed selection of organic coffee shops, jazz clubs, consignment boutiques, hole in the wall gin bars, smoke shops, Asian fusion restaurants, vegan bistros, and more. There is nowhere more “Seattle” than Capitol Hill.

Pioneer Square

Located south of Seattle’s downtown leading into the stadium district, Pioneer Square can be a dangerous place to cross through at night. Nonetheless, they have the city’s highest concentration of sports bars, many of which offer live music and cheap drinks on the weekends. It’s also home to Elysian Fields, arguably one of Seattle’s finest microbreweries (try the Men’s Room Red, or the Loser) with an impressive menu to boot. Reaching this neighborhood is as easy as talking a walk; hit 1st Ave. and keep going south for best results. And be sure to cut through Occidental Ave. on your way back.

Belltown

In between downtown Seattle and Queen Anne lies this posh and trendy neighborhood, home to a variety of upscale restaurants and posh nightclubs. One major highlight is Mama’s Kitchen on 2nd Ave., serving up great Mexican food in an atmosphere that’s classic Seattle. If you’re in the mood for a non-virtual game during your PAX stay, hit up Belltown Billiard’s on Blanchard and 1st. Shorty’s on 2nd Ave. serves up some pinball fun alongside super cheap PBR.

International District

Finding good Asian food is as easy as closing your eyes and pointing when you’re in the International District. Visit Uwajimaya to stock up on manga and Ramune or visit their massive food court where you can get a variety of authentic Japanese cuisine. To get there take the tunnel down to King Street Station or just walk south from downtown. Once you’re there just head inward and walk into almost any restaurant for amazing hot pot or sashimi or pho or dim sum…it’s endless really. My friend Gil Ruta from Nintendo is a regular over at Honeycourt Seafood on Maynard Ave, which has some pretty tasty duck hot pot. And don’t leave without getting a Seattle favorite: bubble tea.

Restaurants:

This list is somewhat limited to what you can access during PAX Prime without sacrificing too much time or money, while at the same time filtering through the crap. If you’re in a bind, don’t forget you can always pop up to the top of Westlake Center on Pine between 4th and 5th to hit up everything from McDonald’s to Sbarro’s, with Thai, sushi, teriyaki and even crawfish available in the formidable food court (they also have the nicest public bathroom facility in the downtown area). I visit Candy Thyme, outside the Monorail station, on a weekly basis.

Note: some of these locations are not in the immediate downtown area and may require a small amount of travel. You can easily figure out what neighborhood an address is in by looking at the road names: anything with “South” is in Pioneer Square, “East” markings indicate Capitol Hill, and “North” designates Queen Anne. Neighborhoods with “SW”, “NW”, “NE” and “SE” will likely be too far for you to travel during your stay and thus for the most part have been left out of this list.

Breakfast:

The 5 Point Cafe* (open 24 hours, pancakes the size of dinner plates, full menu all day, best diner food!)
415 Cedar Street
Seattle, WA 98119 
(206) 448-9991 

Peso’s Kitchen and Lounge (best happy hour in the city, and one of the few breakfast happy hours)
605 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109 
(206) 283-9353 

Beth’s Cafe (Features 12 egg omelet. Open 24 hours. A famous Seattle spot but be aware it’s a bit of a trip outside downtown)
7311 Aurora Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103 
(206) 782-5588 

The Shanty Cafe (diner food with a great specials menu, try the Rockefeller Oysters if you can!)
350 Elliott Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119 
(206) 282-1400

Cafe Champagne (classic French food!)
1600 Post Alley
Seattle, Washington 98101
(206) 728-2233

Bang Bang Cafe* (if breakfast burritos are your thing)
2460 Western Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 448-2233

The Lucky Diner*
2630 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 805-0133

Americana (you won’t believe how good their brunch is!)
219 Broadway Ave East
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 328-4604

Vegan /Vegetarian

Bamboo Garden (mostly Chinese but other Asian dishes too like udon. Great cocktail list)
364 Roy Street
Seattle, WA 98109 
(206) 282-6616

Cyber Dogs (literally as close to the Convention Center as you can get, inventive and tasty vegetarian hot dogs)
909 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 405-3647

Pike Place Chowder (has a delicious vegan chowder)
600 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 838-5680

In The Bowl (Asian vegetarian/vegan)
1554 E Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 568-2343

Poppy (inventive vegan friendly Northwest cuisine)
622 Broadway E.
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 324-1108

(Check my other listings; all vegetarian friendly restaurants have a * by the name!)

Seafood:

The Crabpot (one of my fave restaurants, period)
1301 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 624-1890 

Ivar’s
1001 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98104 
(206) 587-6500 

Blueacre Seafood (try the duck and andouille sausage gumbo!)
1700 7th Ave. (corner of 7th & Olive St.)
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 659-0737

Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar
2121 Terry Ave, Suite 108 
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 462-4364

The Brooklyn Seafood Steak and Oyster House
1212 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 224-7000 

The Walrus and the Carpenter (an oyster bar)
4743 Ballard Ave NW
Ballard, WA 98107
(206) 395-9227

Ballard Annex Oyster House
5410 Ballard Ave NW
(between Market St & N 22nd Ave)
Seattle, WA 98107
(206)
783-5410

Burgers:

Dick’s
115 Broadway Ave East
Seattle, WA 98102 
(206) 323-1300 

Kidd Valley
531 Queen Anne Ave North
Seattle, WA 98109 
(206) 284-0184 

Red Robin (a West Coast treat and one of the few chains I actively go out of my way to visit)
1101 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 623-1942 

Pizza:

MOD Pizza*
1302 6th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 332-0200 

Pagliacci’s Pizza (has free Pac-Man at this location)
426 Broadway E
Seattle, WA 98102 
(206) 726-1717 

Zeek’s Pizza
419 Denny Way
Seattle, WA 98109 
9206) 285-8646 

Primo Pizza Parlor (interesting happy hour menu)
1106 8th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 547-7466

Beer:

The Pike Brewing Company
1415 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 622-6044 

Elysian Fields
542 1st Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98104 
(206) 382-4498 

The Stumbling Monk
1635 East Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98122 
(206) 860-0916 

Pyramid Alehouse
1201 First Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98134 
(206) 682-3377

The Red Papaya* (fantastic beer selection and AMAZING Asian fusion cuisine)
530 1st Ave N.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 283-6614

Wine

Purple Cafe and Wine Bar
1225 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 829-2280 

Fonte Coffee Roaster and Wine Bar
1321 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA
(206) 777-6193 

Hotel Vintage Park
1100 5th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 624-8000 


Drinks:

Von’s Roasthouse and Martini Manhatten Memorial
619 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 621-8667 

The Zig Zag Cafe* (voted many times as best cocktail bar in Seattle)
1501 Western Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 625-1146 

The Highline (rough around the edges but amazing infused liquer and cocktail menu)
210 Broadway Ave E.
Seattle, WA 98102 
(206) 328-7837

Tini Bigs (home of Seattle’s classic cocktail revival and THE best place to drink in the city, period)
100 Denny Way
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 284- 0931

The Hula Hula Tiki Bar and Karaoke (site of the Tiki cocktail comeback)
106 1st Ave N (next door to Tini Big’s)
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 284-5003

Sun Liquor (it’s a bar, I promise!)
607 Summit Ave E.
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 860-1130

(Distillery)
514 E Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 720-1600

The Whisky Bar* (also has craft beer)
2122 2nd Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98121
(206) 443-4490

Bubble Tea

Gossip Espresso & Tea
651 South King Street
Seattle, WA 98105 
(206) 624-5402 ‎

Oasis Tea Zone
519 6th Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98104 
(206) 447-8098 

Bobachine (a favorite of many PAX attendees in the past)
1514 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 447-2622 

Sandwiches

Pot Belly Sandwich Shop
1429 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 623-0099 

Salumi Artisan Cured Meats (an Anthony Bourdain favorite)
309 Third Avenue S.
Seattle, WA 98104 
(206) 621-8772 

Beba’s Deli (favorite of many long time Seattle residents)
415 1st Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104 
(206) 264-8844 

Honeyhole Sandwiches
703 E. Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98102 
(206) 709-1399 

Mimosa Cafe (home of the French/Vietnamese BBQ Bahn Mi)
621 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104

(206) 340-4401


Asian:

Wild Ginger* (Asian fusion)
1401 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 623-4450 

Pho Than Brothers*
516 Broadway E.
Seattle, WA 98102 
(206) 568-7218 

Samurai Noodle (ramen)
606 5th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104 
(206) 624-9321 

Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant (a Seattle legend)
2401 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA
(206) 443-9844 

Phuket* (Thai)
517 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109 
(206) 284-3700

Racha Thai & Asian Kitchen (amazing duck curries and soups, and alcoholic Thai iced tea!)
23 Mercer St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 281-8883 

Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill
83 Spring Street
Seattle, WA 98104 
(206) 340-8880 

Mexican/Spanish Tapas:

Mama’s Kitchen
2234 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121 
(206) 728-6262 

Blue Water Taco Grill*
1000 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104 
206-838-1857 

Barrio
1420 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122 
(206) 588-8105

Tango*
1100 Pike St
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 583-0382


Pub:

Buckley’s of Belltown
2331 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121 
(206) 588-8879 

Elephant & Castle
1415 5th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 624-9977 

Fado Irish Pub
801 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104 
(206) 264-2700 

Kell’s Irish Pub (keep an eye out, maybe you’ll see a ghost!)
1916 Post Alley
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 728-1916 

Belltown Pub (great food)
2322 1st Ave  
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 448-6210

Coffee:

Caffe Ladro (get an iced Medici!)
801 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 405-1950 

Caffe Vita
1005 East Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98122 
(206) 709-4440 

Cherry Street Coffee House
1212 1st Avenue
Seattle WA 98101 
(206) 264-9372 

Fonte Coffee Roaster and Wine Bar
1321 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA
(206) 777-6193 

Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt:

Molly Moon’s
917 E Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98122 
206.708.7947 

Gelatiamo
1400 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 467-9563

Yeti Yogurt
604 1st Ave N.
Ste 107

Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 285-1213

Menchies
507 Broadway E.
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 743-8510 

YogurtLand
1620 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 860-1386

(see also Cupcake Royale and Top Pot Donut, below)

Cupcakes:

Cupcake Royale (now serving ice cream)
108 Pine Street
Seattle, Wa 98101 
(206) 883-7656 

Donuts:

Top Pot Donuts (now serving ice cream)
2124 5th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121 
206-728-1966 

Cheap:

Bruno’s Mexican-Italian Restaurant
1417 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 622-3180 

Must Visit:

Shorty’s (pinball arcade, cheap PBR)
2222 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121 
(206) 441-5449 

Gourmet Dog Japon (yes, a gourmet Japanese hot dog stand, and right downtown too!)
97 Pike St, Ste B
Seattle, WA 98101 

Skillet Diner (a dine in version of the famous Seattle area gourmet bbq food truck Skillet Street Food)
1400 East Union Street
Seattle, Washington 98122 
(206) 512-2000 

Zanadu Comics (one of Seattle’s most beloved comic book shops)
1923 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 443-1316

Peso’s (inventive Mexican seafood fusion, best happy hour in the city!)
605 Queen Anne Ave North
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 283-9353

Toulouse Petit (French Creole, amazing seafood, and has the OTHER best happy hour in the city!)
601 Queen Anne Ave North 
Seattle, WA 98119
(206) 432-9069

Coastal Kitchen (rotating menu of amazing foods from around the world with great breakfast and even better seafood. Local, wild, sustainable. Absolutely you must visit this place)
429 15th Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 322-1145

Best Places Within 3 Block Radius Of Seattle Convention Center

Caffe Ladro
801 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 405-1950 

Taphouse Grill
1506 6th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 816-3314 

Blue C Sushi
1510 7th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 467-4022 

MOD Pizza
1302 6th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 332-0200 

Rock Bottom Brewery
1333 5th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 623-3070 

Thai Ginger*
600 Pine Street Suite 406 (6th & Pine at the top of Pacific Place)
Seattle WA 98101 
(206) 749-9100

Il Fornaio Authentic Italian (across from Nordstrom)
600 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 264-0994

Wild Rye Cafe Bakery
800 Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 694-5049

Dragonfish Cafe
722 Pike Street (in Paramount Hotel)
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 467-7777

Convenience/Grocery Stores, Pharmacies

Target
1401 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA, 98101 
(206) 494-3250 

Clay’s Market (next door to the Convention Center)
815 Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 264-0306 

Walgreens
222 Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 903-8392 

Bartell Drugs
1628 5th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101 
(206) 622-0581 

Kress IGA Supermarket
1427 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101‎
(206) 749-9500 

Where Not To Visit:

These excursions just generally aren’t worth the price and/or effort:

EMP, Gameworks (except for the Destructoid get together of course), top of the Space Needle, Olympic Sculpture Park.

And of course folks, always be careful in the city if you’re going to be attending one of the many PAX Prime pub crawls. It seems every year we got groups painting half of Capitol Hill with their barf and getting alcohol poisoning. If you’re gonna bar hop with the best of ‘em, stick to a beer per pub or less! PAX is substantially less fun when you’re drunkover.

You should also take caution when traveling through Pioneer Square (anything east of 1st Avenue S) or going through 2nd & Pike (unfortunately the location of both the gourmet Japanese hot dog cart and the new downtown Target). Walk quickly and do not allow yourself to be approached. Slip into large groups if you can. The Seattle area homeless are very friendly and are easily placated with a quarter and/or a smile, but in the noted areas you are better off not stopping unless you have to.

Regarding WA State’s Marijuana Laws:

As many of you already know, the state of Washington recently made possession of marijuana legal for citizens 21+ older in the quantity of one ounce (about a full sandwich baggie). However, the distribution system has not been formalized and thus, you will have difficulty finding any for your personal consumption unless you already have friends in the area. You will not be able to purchase marijuana in any of the co-ops or apothecaries, even with an out-of-state medical marijuana recommendation card. If you do find marijuana, it is highly advised that you consume it only in the privacy of indoors, as local law forbids public pot smoking. If you find yourself in need of rolling papers, pipes, or other paraphernalia, you will find many of those things in little bodegas or shops all over downtown, or in the head shop at Pike Place Market (second floor).

Above all please be respectful by obeying the few rules we do have about smoking marijuana here; our ability to do so is in part based on a legacy of peaceful civil disobedience and responsible, adult use. Please honor and contribute to that by smoking indoors privately with your fellow adults.

ALSO—Seattle just passed a new ordinance that requires you pay $0.05 for plastic bags when you go shopping. Whether it’s Old Navy or Metropolitan Market, they’re required to ask if you’d like to “buy a bag today” during the transaction. Unless you brought your own, the answer is always “Yes.”

P.S. If you’re still having trouble envisioning the downtown Seattle experience, I invite you to let the High Fiven White Guys show you the way. I’d also take a look at Almost Live!’s Guide To Living In Seattle (Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4). We Seattlites love us some Almost Live! (Joel McHale! Bill Nye! Pat Cashman!), especially when they make fun of Kent.