It truly does rain a lot in Seattle, but luckily the Emerald City generally gets a break from the grey weather in the summertime, when the city is at its most magnificent. Take advantage of the low cloud cover and seasonal cheap flights to enjoy these surprising summer activities in and around Seattle. This article lists six ideas for summer fun in the Evergreen State’s largest city — and six surprises for you once you arrive.
Beautiful Snoqualmie Falls is located about 50 kilometres from downtown Seattle and makes for a great daytrip on a sunny day. The falls are set within a two-acre park, where you can hike and view the spectacular 82-metre waterfall.
What’s the surprise? You can have the most memorable picnic of your life on the misty rocks beneath the mammoth waterfall. Picnicking and dog-walking are both allowed here, making it a very family-friendly excursion.
A summer festival that extends for the whole month of August, Seafair has been a tradition in Seattle for more than 60 years. Including marathons, half-marathons, parades and a whimsical derby for full-size boats built from milk cartons, Seafair’s multitude of events aim to offer something for everyone.
What’s the surprise? Seafair has a long history of performances by the United States Navy’s Blue Angel flight squadron. These flying acrobats zoom over Lake Washington on the weekend of the Seafair Cup, usually held at the end of July. In 2013 the Patriots Jet Team, another flight squadron, will take over the show for the first time.
Another surprise? The Seafair Pirates are a group of dedicated sea dogs making sure the festivities go well. Listen for the boom of a cannon to let you know they’re on their way, in full dress and with fanfare.
Bite of Seattle
Indulge your taste buds with a visit during “the Bite.” This weekend-long food festival in downtown Seattle explores the region’s cuisine. What would you like to nibble on? Perhaps a bit of nosh from Seattle-based celebrity chefs, or samplings from some of the more than 50 area restaurants participating in the festival.
What’s the surprise? It’s not called “the Sip,” but if you’re over the legal drinking age of 21 you’ll be able to try plenty of local wines from Washington vineyards and local brews concocted by Seattle brewmasters.
Another surprise? The “green” foods on offer may improve your understanding of the “locavore” movement and will certainly delight your palate.
The Ballard Locks
Boaters heading from the salt water of Puget Sound to the fresh water of lakes Union and Washington have been using the Ballard Locks since they were built in 1911. There’s a visitor centre explaining the operations of the locks, or you can hang out outside and marvel of the technology of this elevator for boats. If the weather’s fine, stroll to the north to take in the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Gardens.
What’s the surprise? The fish ladder is a curious sight: transparent panels below the water allow visitors to see salmon swimming up through the canal during spawning season.
Pike Place Market
Seattle’s most famous shopping district, Pike Place Market is a historic farmer’s market on the edge of Elliott Bay. Browse the fresh fruit and vegetables, admire local and imported handicrafts, and taste some of the best food in Seattle at the market’s restaurants and cafes.
What’s the surprise? Buying fish at the Pike Place Market is an in-your-face activity. The fishmongers not only sell delicious fresh seafood, they have fun with it too. Watch as they effortlessly throw around the day’s catch. When has buying ingredients for dinner been this much fun?
Gas Works Park
Spending your free time at an old coal gasification plant might not seem too appealing, until you see Seattle’s Gas Works Park. Once an important source of public utilities, the former plant has been a public park since 1975. It’s located on the shores of Lake Union and provides a great view of the city skyline.
What’s the surprise? The best kite flying around can be had on the artificial kite-flying hill. Look to the skies and let your spirits take flight.
Another surprise? The old gas machinery is still around, and one part of it has been converted into a colourful “play barn” for kids. A strange addition to a public park, it’s interesting to check out even if you’ve outgrown slides and swing sets.
About the Author: Roslyn Seagan is a poet, playwright and travel blogger who lived in the Seattle area as a young adult. Now thoroughly happy in her new home of Regina, Seagan enjoys giving tips to others who plan to visit the Emerald City.