STOC '06 Seattle and Area Information
climate in Seattle can be very pleasant. Average highs in May are
typically in the mid 60's Fahrenheit with lows around 50. For specific details
check current forecasts
and weather details.
Most of the things you'll want to do in Seattle are within walking distance of
the Red Lion on 5th hotel.
If your legs are getting a little tired you can
just hop on a Seattle Metro bus. Buses in the downtown area are free until 7:00 p.m. Regular fare is $1.25 off-peak, $1.50 peak, and $2.00 peak from the airport. Buses are running on surface streets since the bus tunnel and the
iconic Seattle Monorail are closed for repairs and upgrades.
Northbound routes run mostly on 1st, 3rd, or 4th Ave, southbound routes run
mostly on 3rd, 2nd, or 1st Ave.
For more complex bus trips try the
Metro Trip Planner.
Bus Tracker gives
real-time locations of Metro Buses on a map of downtown at one-minute
intervals. Alternatively, you can check when buses are expected to
be at specific locations you choose.
Monster is slower but shows bus routes and current progress on an overlay of
Zoom in, select "routes" and enter the route numbers you want to see.
An amalgamation of local cab companies makes Yellow/Gray Top/Red Top Cabs:
(206) 282-8222 [or (206) 622-6500 or (206) 789-4949] by far the largest
company, though only Stita cabs are licensed to pick up from the airport.
An alternative is Orange Cab: (206) 522-8800
There is lots of great food in Seattle.
Here are some suggestions:
Favorites of the local arrangements committee and
Restaurant Recommendations and Reviews on Citysearch
Dining Guide Seattle:
For information on what's happening in town, check out the calendar section of the local
weekly, alternative newpaper The Stranger . (If you don't find it, Seattle Weekly will do in a
Some sure bets within walking distance of the hotel:
- The Crocodile Cafe (2200 2nd Ave) has nightly live music
in a fairly intimate setting. This is one of the most fantastic places in Seattle for indie rock.
- The Showbox (1426 1st Ave) has nightly live rock music. Also
fantastic, but less intimate than The Crocodile.
- Jazz Alley (6th and Lenora) has live jazz every night.
- The Triple Door (216 Union St) has
nightly live music of many different styles (anything from jazz to blues to latin and beyond).
The sound system is great and you get seated at a private table where you can drink and
eat yummy food while you listen to music. This place is the opposite of seedy (for better
and for worse).
- Teatro Zinzanni (2301 6th Ave) is a super-fun dinner and 3 hour show.
If you are willing to shell out some dough, this is a great way to spend the evening.
- The Seattle Symphony (200 University St). The only concert of the week is a May 20 concert of
modern American Music.
- Live/Musical Theater
- The 5th Avenue
Theater (1308 5th Ave) has Pippin on ending May 21 and Les Miserables beginning May 24.
- The Paramount Theater (911 Pine St) has Chicago ending on May 21.
- ACT Theater (700 Union St) has Miss Witherspoon, a play by Chris Durang. (It is off-season or
between shows for the other major local theaters.)
- The Seattle Opera performs at Seattle Center (1020 John St) and is excellent. Their final production of
the season is Verdi's Macbeth ending May 20.
- Movie Theaters
AMC Cinerama (2100
4th Ave): "Nominated for best movie theatre for its plush accommodations,
state-of-the-art acoustics and for proving that single-screen theatres are
much, much cooler than megaplexes."
AMC Pacific Place 11 (corner 6th Ave and Pine St)
Egyptian Theater (805 E Pine St)
LCE Meridian 16 Cinemas 7th
Ave & Pike St)
- The Central Cinema is not within walking distance, but it is a way cool dinner theatre, where you can
eat and drink while watching a movie on a big screen. The movie you see is likely to be an old classic, a crazy cult
movie or a newer independent.
Coffee Since this is Seattle, there is a Starbucks (and
probably also a Tully's and a Seattle's Best Coffee) on just about
every block. But here are some of our favorite cafe's, especially for
hanging out and working in.
- Uptown Espresso --
the locations in Belltown and Downtown are both walking distance from
- Both of the downtown locations of Cafe Ladro have good
coffee, but the ambiance is not fantastic.
- Cafe Zeitgeist in Pioneer
Square (more like a mile from the hotel) has great coffee, great
sandwiches and a great vibe, but it is not open in the evenings. It's
also close to one of Seattle's best bookstores Elliott Bay Bookstore, which
is open until 10pm and also has a cafe (and author readings almost
Places to Visit during the day (walking distance)
- Pike Place Market
(6 blocks west) is bustling and a great place to visit during
the day and has some a few good restaurants for the evening.
Everything from fish flying through the air,
to crafts, international foods, local produce, oddball shops, good
bakeries and the original Starbucks (with the original, not-so modest
logo). It also has a staircase down to the waterfront.
- Waterfront Activities
- The Seattle Aquarium is pleasant and fairly low-key concentrating on local
Puget Sound sea life.
Seattle has regularly scheduled commuter ferries and it can be pleasant
just to go for a ferry ride as a walk-on passenger on the
State Ferries which leave from
Seattle Pier 50/52 Ferry Terminal. This is an inexpensive way to
get great views of Seattle and Puget sound.
There are organized tours of the harbor at
Cruises from Pier 55/56, as well as the usual silliness of the
Ducks amphibious boat tours.
Finally, if your object is to get out of town to Victoria, BC the
Victoria Clipper Ferry Service
runs enclosed high-speed catamarans to Victoria where you can preview
things for STOC 2008. (Air transportation to Victoria by float plane (Kenmore Air or Seattle Sea Planes) from downtown
Seattle by Lake Union is even more entertaining.)
- Belltown which is the area of town around Bell St. that begins just north of Pike Place Market has many restaurants and bars.
- For fans of innovative architecture, the new central Seattle Public Library just 5 blocks south at Spring between 4th and 5th Ave is definitely worth a visit inside as well as outside.
- Pioneer Square was the original settled part of Seattle and has many 1890's
buildings that now house bars, art galleries, and Cafe Zietgiest and the Elliott Bay Bookstore mentioned above. It contained the
original Skid Road and also was the
jumping off point for the Alaska gold rush which is commerated with the
Klondike Gold Rush National
Historical Park, a small museum in one of the buildings.
More entertaining and corny is the
Underground Tour which explores 1890's Seattle before street levels
changed. For a view you can visit the top of the
Smith Tower, Seattle's early 20th century skyscraper.
Pioneer Square is also a popular place to go
before/after a Seattle Mariners or Seahawks game. The Seahawks are
done for the season but...
- The Seattle Mariners baseball team is in town during STOC. They play San Diego May 19-21 and Baltimore May 22-25. Getting to Safeco field is a short easy trip by metro bus.
- Seattle Center (1.1 miles northwest).
This 1962 World's Fair grounds
has several theatres, museums, sports, and
performance venues as well as the Space Needle.
The Seattle Monorail used to be the easiest way to get there
from downtown but it is currently shut down.
Taxis or Metro buses (routes #1-4,15,18) are the most convenient
way to go.
- The International District (Chinatown) near Pioneer Square and the
sports stadia is an old area of town. While Thai and Japanese
restaurants are a strength of the Seattle restaurant scene, the best are not in the International
District (though the popular Uwajimaya supermarket is a great place for
supermarket sushi). The pickings for
good Chinese food are much more limited.
Other Places to Visit in Seattle
- The Museum of Flight has a great collection of more than 150 aircraft,
ranging from a
pre-World War I fighter plane to the Lockheed M-21 Mach 3 "Blackbird"
spyplane, a Concorde, and Air Force One, as well as the original 1920's
Boeing airplane plant. (If you have much more time there is also a tour of the massive Boeing assembly building for wide-body airplanes
thirty miles away in Everett (Mukilteo).)
Alki Beach Park has great views of Puget Sound, downtown Seattle, and the Olympic and
North Cascade Mountains. There are inexpensive places to eat near
the beach (but don't expect to swim as the water is very cold).
- There is an extensive network of Bike Trails both in Seattle and the surrounding region, including many converted rail lines.
- The Ballard (Chittenden )
Locks are where pleasure boats and fishing vessels make their way
from Lake Washington to Puget Sound. There are seafood restaurants
with good views within a couple of miles at Shilshole Bay.
Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture is a small but
well-designed museum on the University of Washington campus
- Woodland Park Zoo
The Museum of Glass in Tacoma is a great place to see some of the best of Northwest art glass. The Pilchuck School and especially Dale Chihuly have made this an artistic center.
Falls is a pleasant place to stop for lunch, a view,
and a short hike.
If your taste runs to tiny trees rather than the larger ones the Pacific Northwest is known for, check out the
Weyerhauser Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection halfway between
Seattle and Tacoma
This year the snow-pack is a bit above normal which means that the higher
elevations will still be snow-covered and the ground will be somewhat wetter
for hiking at lower elevations. You can check out current snow pack and
weather or road conditions for the higher elevations.
Mount St. Helens is
a spectacular place to visit. Check out the VolcanoCam to see the current conditions as viewed from
the Johnson Ridge Observatory and the archive of high quality recent photos of the
current eruption. The best way to get there is to take I-5 south
for 2 hours to Castle Rock and then drive the 52 miles along well-paved road
from I-5 to the Johnson Ridge Observatory of which the last 25 or so has many
great views. The roads are hilly so check out the road conditions
before you go.
Mount Rainier is about 50 miles away
as the crow flies but the main visitor areas are roughly 3 hours drive away.
The road to the Paradise Visitor Center on the south side at one mile of
elevation is open all year though the lodge is closed for renovation. There
will be considerable snow pack there in May. Sunrise visitor center on the
northwest side may also be open but at the time of writing it is still closed
for the season. (Good lodging
is available in the park at Longmire or just outside in the town of Ashford.)
If you can't see Mount Rainier dead ahead as you drive south on I-5 from
Seattle past Boeing Field then you probably won't see it even if you are on it.
North Cascades. This area of jagged peaks is very popular with serious hikers and
There is a vast range of hiking trails available in the area ranging from
beach trails to ice-covered summits and wooded mountainsides in between. The
Washington Trail Association has a searchable list of hikes available.
Although Seattle is on salt water, the shortest route to the Pacific Ocean is 2.5 hours by car south on I-5 to
Olympia and west
on Routes 101, 8, and 12 to the wide sandy beaches at Ocean Shores, popular for kite flying and horseback riding. (The water is bone-numbing cold so swimming is out of the question.) The most interesting parts of the coast are on the ocean section
of Olympic National Park, La Push, Cape Alava,
and Cape Flattery or south near the mouth of the Columbia. These are about
4 hours away either by car from the south or (for more variety) by driving
ferry and taking a northerly route via Port Angeles.
You can walk among the massive moss-covered trees at the Quinault Rainforest
or the much larger Hoh Rainforest, the latter of which is at the beginning of the
popular Hoh River trail.
Via ferries one can reach many of the islands in Puget Sound.
Island is the largest island and has a variety of
public beach areas and parks such as
Deception Pass State Park.
The San Juan
Islands are popular weekend destinations.
Village on Blake Island (by boat from Pier 55) offers salmon
dinners and Northwest Coast Native American culture.
Other nearby islands such as Bainbridge and Vashon Islands are more bedroom communities for Seattle-bound ferry commuters.
Other Information Sources for Seattle