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Greetings Internet Stranger! Have you ever dreamed of escaping the present, Internet Stranger? Want to go back in time and relive your glory days? Or how would you like to experience the high tech world of the future? Well, with 24 hours in Seattle, both things are possible! You can travel into the past and jam on the music of the 90s. Or you can ascend into the skies at the future at the Space Needle. The choice is yours!
24 Hours in Seattle
Where to Stay?
If you’re anything like me, there are a few things you look for in every hotel. You want a convenient and safe location. Then you’d like a clean and comfortable room, but it doesn’t need to be fancy, as we are probably not on our honeymoon and don’t plan to be spending that much time in the hotel. Finally, you’d like some cool amenities, especially breakfast.
Well, if that’s the case then the Best Western Pioneer Square is for you! As you can see from my photo, the rooms are clean and of a goodly size. The location in historic Pioneer Square couldn’t be better. Plus there’s free Wifi, breakfast, and a coffee machine in the room. Even better, there was an ice machine down the hall so I could depuff my eyes every morning. Who could ask for more?
24 Hours in Seattle
What to Pack?
One of my favorite souvenirs I got in Washington was some delicious tea from Thyme Well Spent. Lucky for you, you can order some here.
24 Hours in Seattle
Morning: Museum of Pop Culture
Seattle is relatively young, even for an American city. (Yes London and Paris, I can hear you chortling about how immature American cities are behind your monocles. You’re the immature ones!) However, Seattle has still managed to make an out-sized contribution to American culture, especially American music. That’s why we’re beginning our 24 hours in Seattle at the Museum of Pop Culture.
The MoPop, as no one calls it, displays artifacts from the greatest Seattle area musicians from Kurt Cobain to Jimi Hendrix. But it also has excellent exhibits on other geek areas of interest, like genre films and video games. The museum is so large that it can be a little overwhelming, so allow me to get you started with…
Approximately Top 5: Museum of Pop Culture
1) Biscuit Bitch
My apologies to any readers who are offended by my language here, but Biscuit Bitch is indeed the name of this restaurants. And Seattle isn’t really a city for squares, man! Biscuit Bitch has a few locations in Seattle, but for this 24 hours in Seattle itinerary I recommend starting at the one in Pioneer Square because it’s closest to the hotel.
Biscuit Bitch’s slogan is “Trailer Park to Table”, and I have to laugh at anything that tweaks the seriousness of the farm to table movement a bit, as much as I love farm to table food. I recommend the Easy Bitch: two eggs with mildly spicy gravy and thick moist biscuits. My parents are both Southerners, so I was a little skeptical about getting biscuits in the Northwest, but these won me over.
Just be prepared because the staff calls everyone who enters the store a bitch. I’m sure it’s meant with love! At least that’s what I told my therapist.
2) Seattle Musicians
Now that our tummy is fed, we are ready to rock! Head on over to the Museum of Pop Culture and dive right into the exhibits on Seattle musicians.
As far as I could tell, the Museum of Pop Culture always has exhibits on the three most famous Seattle-area musicians: Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, and Jimi Hendrix.
Want to see Hendrix’s actual suitcase? You got it, Internet Stranger! I was surprised to learn that Hendrix was born in Seattle because I’d always assumed he’d been born in Woodstock.
Next up we’ve got Eddie Vedder and his insane mask collection. I can only assume he is a bank robber in his spare time.
My favorite object from the Pearl Jam exhibit is this poster for Citizen Dick. It actually comes from the Extremely Nineties movie Singles, in which Pearl Jam plays the band Citizen Dick along with non-musician Matt Dillon.
No discussion of Seattle musicians is complete without the legendary grunge band Nirvana. No joke, I actually saw grown men at this exhibit tearing up at the sight of Nirvana’s real instruments.
But I preferred seeing the band’s behind the scenes photos and fan letters. It’s especially nice seeing that Kurt Cobain sometimes spelled his name Kurdt. Who among us hasn’t made a typo when writing our own name?
3) Science Fiction Exhibit
The science fiction exhibit at the Museum of Pop Culture is one of the best movie artifact exhibits I’ve ever seen. You can see authentic gear from just about every major science fiction movie in history. I’m from New York City, so I was most excited about the Ghostbusters gear. I live by the motto, “Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say YES!”
But don’t worry, geeks! If you have the misfortune to not be a Ghostbusters fan, you can still see the hoverboard from Back to the Future, Arnie’s jacket from Terminator, and the equipment the MiBs used to erase people’s minds, turn bugs into goo, and write novelty rap songs with in Men in Black. I think the Museum of Pop Culture might be in a science fiction movie itself, as it gives visitors a chance to stay in the 80s and 90s…forever!
4) Fantasy Exhibit
All right, at last we have an object that can join Jimi Hendrix’s things in the category Things in the Museum of Pop Culture That Are Too Old to Be a Millennial. Yes, you can really see treats from The Wizard of Oz, including Dorothy’s dress and the Wicked Witch of the West’s hat. How fitting, given that one of Seattle’s nicknames is The Emerald City.
But who wants to see something from the 1930s when we can just live in the 80s forever! Here’s the sword Inigo Montoya used in The Princess Bride, as well as the glove belonging to the six-fingered man, Count Rugen, aka Mr. Jamie Lee Curtis. I’m pleased to inform you that the Museum of Pop Culture also sells shirts that have a fake Hello My Name is sticker on them, and the sticker says Hello My Name is Inigo Montoya. You Killed my Father. Prepare to Die. If you think I didn’t buy one of these, you don’t really understand me at all!
5) Lunch at Toulouse Petit
Before we continue to the afternoon of our 24 hours in Seattle, we’re going to need lunch! Let’s walk a shortish distance away from the Museum of Pop Culture to Toulouse Petit, a Cajun restaurant in the heart of the Extremely Not Cajun Pacific Northwest.
My mother is from New Orleans, so I was very skeptical that you can get good Cajun food in Seattle. But I was sure glad to be proven wrong! This is vacation, which means I’m allowed to day drink all I want! (Especially since I don’t know how to drive.) The Toulouse Petit take on the NOLA classic Hurricane tasted entirely like fresh fruit juice. You could easily convince yourself that there was no rum in this baby at all. That’s why the Hurricane is such a sneaky cocktail.
For a main course, I recommend the soup and salad combo. Get the gumbo made with local fish, shrimp, and andouille sausage. It has a nice heat in the back of the throat. Plus I liked the twist of making it with Pacific Coast fish. I guess that’s what makes it Seattle gumbo!
This gumbo is on the heavy side, so I suggest pairing it with the prawn and avocado salad. This fresh and light salad was the perfect contrast to the rich soup. Plus it’s very important to eat veggies when you travel so you don’t get scurvy.
24 Hours in Seattle
Afternoon: Seattle Center
The Seattle Center is a remarkable entertainment complex that was originally built for the World’s Fair. But it has remained as a center of artistic and tourist activity for the city. Technically we’ve been in the Seattle Center for most of the 24 hours in Seattle, since the Museum of Pop Culture is here. But in the afternoon, we’re going to see two of the Seattle Center’s loveliest and most famous attractions: Chihuly Garden and Glass and the iconic Space Needle.
PS. There are some pretentious people out there who will tell you the Seattle Center is for tourists and to see the “real Seattle” you need to go stare at some random bench in the middle of nowhere all day. These people are terrible. Ignore them. The Seattle Center is fun and that’s all that matters.
And with that out of the way, I give you…
Three Fun Facts: Seattle Center
1) What’s the Coolest Sight at the Seattle Center?
How about the museum at Chihuly Garden and Glass? This museum is dedicated to the works of Washington native and World’s Most Famous Glassblower Dale Chihuly. (I recommend buying a combo ticket to the Chihuly Garden and Glass and Space Needle online in advance. It will save time and money.)
Get the audioguide for the Chihuly museum, as it’s the only audioguide I know of done by Kyle MacLachlan of Twin Peaks and Sex and the City fame. (He is a native of Yakima, Washington and wanted to support the arts in his home state.) When you listen to the audio guide, you’ll learn about how natural forms like flowers and marine life influence Chihuly’s work.
His bowls look like plants.
Sometimes he even houses his sculptures in a giant greenhouse.
Don’t forget to look up when you’re in the Chihuly museum! Some of his sculptures are literal glass ceilings. I like to think these pieces are meant to remind us all how far feminism has come and how far it still has to go!
2) Or what is the coolest sight in the Seattle Center?
When you’re done with the museum, head out into the Garden part of Chihuly Garden and Glass. (It’s included with the price of admission.) If the weather is grey–which is more than likely, after all Miss, this is Seattle–the colorful glass pieces will stand out even more forcefully.
You can usually find glassblowing demonstrations taking place in the garden. Don’t get your hopes up about seeing Chihuly himself perform! But I’m sure you’ll be entertained by watching glass melt and take shape before your very eyes.
And if you really want a cool photo to impress your friends and relations, look for this patch of grey grass to get a groovy reflected shot of the Space Needle. (This photo isn’t even slightly photoshopped, Internet Stranger! You are suitably impressed.)
3) OK, so what’s the coolest sight in the Seattle Center?
Every major city has its most notable monument. In New York City we have the Empire State Building, in Paris it’s the Eiffel Tower, and in Birmingham, Alabama, it’s the giant statue of Vulcan. Seattle’s Crown Jewel is clearly the Space Needle. It was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, and looking at it immediately makes you think of the 1960s when the future meant living like the Jetsons with robot maids and whatnot. Some people, and by people I mean the publicists for the Space Needle, call it America’s Eiffel Tower.
I recommend you buy your ticket in advance online as a combo with the Chihuly Garden and Glass. Reserve a time of 4 PM for this perfect 24 hours in Seattle itinerary. You’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the entire city of Seattle!
As a New Yorker, I feel honor bound to mention that the Space Needle isn’t as tall as some people think it is. It’s about half the size of the Empire State Building. But you won’t be thinking about that when you get to the top and gaze at the peaceful Seattle skyline!
24 Hour Tip
When you’re done, pay 2 dollars and take the Monorail back to the center of Seattle. It’ll give you one last taste of what the future looked like back before the Kennedy assassination.
24 Hours in Seattle
Evening: Dinner at Bateau
Though I am not a vegetarian, I appreciate my vegetarian readers very much. I always try to look for veggie friendly restaurants when I travel. But this evening is not one of those times. Bateau is one of the best restaurants in Seattle, and it’s also extremely meat forward. The Chef Owner Renee Erickson makes sure that all the beef is grass fed and butchered in house. It doesn’t get fresher than this.
Their steaks are wonderful, but for my meal I opted for the four course “Meat Lovers” tasting menu. I can never resist a tasting menu. My decadent repast began with a Bateau charcuterie plate: cured bresaola, an oxtail and foie gras terrine, and rillons. Rillons are kind of like a country pate made from cubes of pork belly.
I enjoyed the contrast between the different types of charcuterie. The bresaola was light, the foie gras was extremely rich, and the crispy rillons topped with caviar were satisfyingly salty. It was a perfect start to the meal.
Next up we have a consomme made with beef tongue and a Vietnamese sauce called nuoc cham. It was like a French beef consomme crossed with Vietnamese pho. There may possibly be some commentary on colonialism in Asia going on in this dish. The gingery taste of the broth combined with the fatty thin flavorful meat ensured that this broth would be anything but boring. It was like the cool evil twin to the sort of beef broth you drink when you have a tummy ache.
The main course was French onion crepes made with beef neck confit and comte cheese. Comte is a French cheese made with unpasteurized cow’s milk. That might freak some people out, but I say it’s worth getting sick if it means indulging in a flavor like this! One bite of this dish will transport you to a cozy little cottage in the mountains of Eastern France. So in one day we’ve managed to go from Oz to the future to rural France. Not bad for 24 hours in Seattle.
Our meal and our 24 hours in Seattle conclude with fried milk served with honey, truffle, and argan oil ice cream. You know, just a light ending to this meat-a-palooza! Truffle + honey + fried anything is a recipe for amazing, and I assume that the nutty argan oil ice cream also made my hair and skin more beautiful. Now I look like Gigi Hadid. Thanks Bateau!
That’s a Perfect 24 Hours in Seattle!
What would you do with 24 hours in Seattle? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Seattle right now? And which is better, Pearl Jam or Citizen Dick? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while this article is about how to spend 24 hours in Seattle that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours in Seattle. If you’re looking for another 24 hours in Seattle, click here.