Seattle, U.S.A.

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Seattle Guide – Spend Less, Do More

Seattle skylineAfter you've wandered along the waterfront, caught the monorail to the Space Needle and possibly a drowned on a wet ferry on a rainy Seattle day without even getting below sea level; you might have then decided to soak up the city views from Olympic Sculpture Park and tast the produce at Pike Place Market. But you would probably be surprised to realize you've only just scratched the surface of things to see in the Emerald City.

If you want to make your mark in Seattle for the price of a piece of gum or less…

The Market Theatre Gum Wall is just the place for you to do it. It's arguably no place for a germaphobe, but this sticky attraction is home to thousands of pieces of the soft and chewy stuff, kindly donated by more-than-willing volunteers. Icky though it may be, this bizarre landmark certainly provides a colorful display. Or if you'd prefer to have a more natural experience, visit the volunteer-operated Center for Wooden Boats at the Sunday Public Sail where proud Seattleites offer their time on the weekends to show you their city from the water from a variety of boats.

For the price of a 1970s can of coke, visit Seattle's supposedly haunted vending machine. Serving the masses for over 40 years, no one claims to have ever seen this derelict machine being refilled and all the buttons are labelled 'mystery' so you only get what you're given.

For the price of a lite lunch

Head to the Official Bad Museum of Art (aka OBAMA of course) and grab a bite to eat at the onsite Café Racer afterwards. Tacky, gaudy and often just generally tasteless, this museum has been voted as one of the strangest in the state. Make sure you check the website to time your visit for one of the many offbeat musical items, including an eight-piece ukulele band, is playing.

Especially if you have kids Archie McPhee may just appeal. It's a novelty shop known for having all sorts of items you never knew you wanted until you see them. Finger hands (fingertip gloves which look like little hands), 'creepy doll' salt and pepper shakers and pencil sharpeners shaped noses, a lot of the items need to be seen to be believed and are probably (and some would say thankfully) not found anywhere else in the world.

When in Rome you might want to wear Romans do, and when in Seattle…

Embrace the grunge experience. For about the same cost as a flannelette shirt and torn jeans you can explore the 1990s grunge of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Taking a step back to find out how their roots emerged, a dodge mini-van tour is a great place to start exploring that Seattle sound.

But you'll only be in the city for a short time

Vashon Island FerrySo take a day to do a short ferry ride from the west side of the city, Vashon Island. Art galleries, parks, markets, shorelines and hiking trails, this paradise is just take a short trip to a laid back little island with great views of the city. Rent a kayak or bike while there to explore the most of the daytime getaway.

And if you have a few more days to spare

Hire a car and drive to the historic farmland at Swinomish Salt Water Channel, just 60 minutes north of the city. Enjoy your day swimming and kayaking and then head to one of the many seafood restaurants like La Conner or 13moons at Swinomish Casino & Lodge for fresh catches of the day afterwards.

Or spend a few days at picturesque San Juan Island. Bicycling, hiking, farms and health spas: there is plenty on the island to occupy your time depending on your interests. There you can visit the friendly orcas on a whale watching tour or sail away into the sunset on a chartered tour.

Spend Less, Do More

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