Recommendations for things to do in Seattle/Oregon in July?

MurderbearMurderbear Cold Spring, Ky
 So, I know we at least used to have a pretty good sized contingent of Bald Movers in the Pacific Northwest so hopefully I can get some good recommendations for things to see while I am up there. It's really the only part of the country I haven't been to and I would love to get in as much as I can! I will be up there about a week and I know we'll be spending a couple of days in Seattle and at least a day or two in Bend, Oregon to see friends and family.

What cha got?

Restaurants, foods, ahem, dispenseries, parks, anything is welcome! Thanks!
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Comments

  • TravisTravis CA
    edited May 1
    If you hit Portland, two words: Gorgonzola Fries.
    I've been up there a few times, but only once for a couple of days in the last 10 years (even that trip was probably 7 years ago), and mostly I just made it a point to soak up the vibe of the town. I love it up there. That said, when I think of Portland my mind almost instantly goes to gorgonzola fries. I can't remember the place, but it was right by the Crystal Ballroom. We ate there right before seeing Delta Spirit and the Shins (good venue if anyone is playing). There was also a neat record store across the street from the venue that I enjoyed browsing in, if memory serves. Anyways, mostly we just cruised around without much specifically to guide us. Walked around in a really nice hiking park type of thing and had a really lovely time of it.

    Seattle is really amazing as well. I really dug the tour of the underground (Seattle was rebuilt on top of itself after a major fire). The Experience Music Project is a fun museum and is adjacent to a Science Fiction museum. It makes for a fun double header. If you dig going to baseball games and the Ms are in town it was a really good experience. 

    I know it's not much, but I'm sure you'll have a great time. I love the Pac NW. It's just a wonderful vibe. That's actually my favorite part. There's just a different "way" up there. Feels good and right, and it's beautiful up there. On our couple of trips up to Seattle and Portland respectively we didn't really go in with big plans and just had a great time being there. Have fun!
    Murderbear
  • MichelleMichelle California
    edited May 1
    Are you going to Seattle or Bend first?

    In Seattle, the Pike Place Market is a must.  Be sure that, when you're standing and facing the fish market, go down the stairs to your left.  That leads to the gum wall alley.  It's quite the spectacle.  Also, the original, very first Starbucks location is just across the street if you care about that at all.  Also be sure to go to the Space Needle and the Chihuly Glass Gardens (they are right next to each other).

    Leaving Seattle and heading south into Oregon, be sure you head east and travel along the Columbia River Gorge.  You *must* see Multnomah Falls and the other falls as well.  There are great hiking trails there too, but it's worth it for Multnomah Falls alone.  Also, the Columbia River is *beautiful*.  If you can make it a bit farther east, Hood River is a cool little town full of shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars.  Full Sail Brewing Company is there too, and you can hang out in their tasting room.  Heading south outside of Hood River, travel along Hwy. 35 into Odell and Pine Grove.  You'll see tons of fruit orchards and packing plants and lots of fruit stands.  Be sure to stop at the Gorge White House.  It's a beautiful old house with a market and a tasting room.  They bottle their own pear wine there and it's super delicious.  They also have a huge pick-your-own flower garden.

    Have a great time!  It's a really beautiful and scenic area to visit.  :)
    DummyMurderbear
  • cdrivecdrive Houston, TX
    MoPop
    Archie McPhee
    Skyspace
    Murderbear
  • edited May 1
    If at any point you want some fast food, hit up Burgerville. Voodoo donuts and Stumptown are places you might also want to check out. I'm going to also agree with @Michelle and say the Columbia River Gorge is a must visit since you will be in the area. Crater Lake might be the best site in Oregon, but it doesn't sound like you will be all that close. 
    TravisMurderbear
  • Powell's Books in Portland is one of my faves.  Cool retro gaming arcade that serves beer called Ground Kontrol is fun. Get some edibles and be outside : )
    TravisMurderbear
  • MurderbearMurderbear Cold Spring, Ky
    Awesome! These all sound amazing so far! I am definitely excited about getting up to that area! The furthest I've been in that sort of direction is Yellowstone.

    @Michelle we haven't quite planned which is first. We are going up Wed-Tue. I'm guessing it will be Seattle first and then Bend.
    TravisMichelle
  • I've lived in Seattle for almost 15 years so if you have any questions after reading this ramble, let me know. I think I've rambled on about this in the past under my old account too, which now appears like "user deleted" or something. 

    Also- Seattle is a pretty big city and an even bigger 'metro area,' so if you know where you are staying I can give more localized recommendations.

    July is the best time to visit Seattle. The days are long and dry and sunny but not too hot. Bring some summer clothes but also make sure to bring a jacket, jeans, and real shoes since it can still be chilly at night (I've spent many a July 4 watching fireworks in jeans and a jacket). We have a ton of beaches but the water is pretty cold so if you want to swim for a long time you want a wetsuit. But you can chill on the beach or by the waterfront in lots of different areas. And if you can't sleep with sunlight you should bring a sleeping mask or make sure your accomodations have blackout curtains because the sun comes up at like 4:30 or some shit.

    There are lots of tourist-friendly things to do in or near downtown and you will find them on all your lists, so I will skip them. My favorite place to take people from the Midwest (where I am from as well) is the Hiram A Chittenden Locks, AKA the Ballard Locks. It's really cool to see this bit of maritime activity, it's something unique to Seattle, and it's a fairly large park with the locks, a fish ladder, a small botanical garden, and a little museum with a little film that explains the history of it. You can spend a good couple of hours walking around. It's easy walking, flat and a lot of it is paved. Sometimes they have music going on there as well. And it's a city park, so it's free to visit. (they do charge for parking, as does just about everywhere in Seattle nowadays) The neighborhood of Ballard nearby is also really fun in terms of having a lot of shopping and restaurants, so you can make a day of hanging out there.

    Note: The Experience Music Project that @Travis ; mentioned is now called the Museum of Pop Culture, aka MoPOP. 

    Another place people like to visit in Seattle is Gasworks Park, which believe or not I have NEVER been to. But it's one of the cool/weird places people like to go. It's near the Fremont neighborhood which is also a great place to walk around, eat etc.

    In terms of food, how adventurous an eater are you? We have lots of great Asian food here and quite a bit of it has been a little too authentic for my visitors in the past. But you definitely want to try to get some Thai while you are here- Thai is basically the national food of Seattle, low key. If you go to any neighborhood and just find a thai place in a strip mall, it should be good. You can also find lots more extreme Asian food if you look for it. there is an International District aka Chinatown, but you don't even really have to go there, you can find Asian food everywhere. 

    In terms of American food, I recommend sitting on a deck somewhere and having a beer and some fish and chips or a burger or something. the food is not important but the deck is! haha If you can find a full service Ivar's that's one place that my visitors like a lot. (They all tend to be near waterfront areas). However there are also fast-food Ivars that are not as scenic. 

    Food is very specific so if you have more specific wants let me know and I will direct you.

    Pot stores are plentiful, just not exactly in the middle of neighborhoods. I think there are zoning requirements or something. They tend to congregate on highway-ish streets like Lake City Way in NE Seattle, Aurora Ave, and other streets like that in other parts of town. Just remember even though pot is legal in many states, it's not legal to take it on the plane! :) I am not a pot person but I have been in the shops with others and it's always been a welcoming experience, almost like a boutique shopping experience where you get carded several times lol

    I have always felt extremely MEH about Portland, OR. I guess if you have never been there, you should stop on your way through if you are going by land. But don't plan for a ton of time there;  you won't miss much. I consider it the least interesting city in the PNW. if you have some wiggle room in your journey, try to jog over to the coast in Oregon for a bit of it. The Oregon coast is AMAZINGly gorgeous and nothing like a beach in say Southern California, Florida or wherever. It's rocky and very natural and gorgeous. I do not advise driving from Seattle or Portland to the coast on a Friday or back on a Sunday, or if you do, make sure and give yourself plenty of time.
    MurderbearTravis
  • MurderbearMurderbear Cold Spring, Ky
    Angie! I literally just last night had the thought this was you. I knew because you mentioned Michael Rapaport and no one else has ever mentioned him on here. Ha!

    Thank you for this! I love Asian, especially Thai food sl that is great news. Definitely want to drive the Oregon coast. I've heard that and Crater Lake are two of the can't miss things.

    Thanks for the tips. And glad to know you are back!
    CeciliaMTravis
  • MurderbearMurderbear Cold Spring, Ky
    edited May 3
    I guess it would be good to know a few neighborhoods that would be good to look for Airbnbs. My travel companion's sister lives In Seattle (no idea where) so I am sure we will stay with her some but I would imagine we wouldnt stay more than a couple of days. So if you have any suggestions for areas to focus on on that might be a little cheaper but still kind of cool, that would be great! Location doesn't matter as much because we have nothing but time out there.

    Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions!! These are great! I really appreciate it!
  • MurderbearMurderbear Cold Spring, Ky
    Ha! That's definitely on the agenda @cdrive!
    cdrive
  • I live in Seattle too and agree there is plenty to do in July and most things have been commented on already.  The touristy spots will be crowded but may be worth checking out. The space needle has been recently remodeled with a glass floor. The downtown waterfront (close to pike market) is fun with tourist shops, restaurants, aquarium, etc. And at the northern end of the waterfront is a great sculpture garden in Myrtle Edwards Park. 
    MurderbearCeciliaMTravis
  • Angie! I literally just last night had the thought this was you. I knew because you mentioned Michael Rapaport and no one else has ever mentioned him on here. Ha!

    Thank you for this! I love Asian, especially Thai food sl that is great news. Definitely want to drive the Oregon coast. I've heard that and Crater Lake are two of the can't miss things.

    Thanks for the tips. And glad to know you are back!
    Yes, I told some people and I mentioned it, I think on the politics thread. But I felt like kind of an asshole about making some huge announcement since I figured most people dgaf lol

    I do have a strange  obsession with Michael Rapaport... haha
    Murderbear
  • @Murderbear Are you going to have a car when you are in Seattle?
  • I guess it would be good to know a few neighborhoods that would be good to look for Airbnbs. My travel companion's sister lives In Seattle (no idea where) so I am sure we will stay with her some but I would imagine we wouldnt stay more than a couple of days. So if you have any suggestions for areas to focus on on that might be a little cheaper but still kind of cool, that would be great! Location doesn't matter as much because we have nothing but time out there.

    Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions!! These are great! I really appreciate it!
    As with any city, as you get further out from the center it gets cheaper. People say the south end is more dangerous than the north end but what they really mean is it is more brown people. and their amazing FOOD!! :) Seattle is relatively safe everywhere although there are some neighborhoods you probably wouldn't be as comfortable in. Check Google maps and if there are 27 pot stores near by, avoid staying on that street lol

    Cool but further out, maybe West Seattle? It's a cool neighborhood but it's a bit of a jog to get to downtown or anywhere else. You will probably want a car if you are staying there though. Also I would like to hear where the friend lives, it might be fun to move to a different neighborhood for the other part of the stay. 

    If you have a car you can stay anywhere, if you don't have a car you want to stay closer to the city center or a neighborhood like Fremont, Ballard, Capitol Hill etc - even though we do have a great bus system here and obviously there are cabs/Ubers, the further out you stay, the more time and money you are going to spend trying to get around.
    Murderbear
  • edited May 3
    Oh also if you are a Funko person and you have a car, there's a new-ish Funko store in Everett, where they have their HQ. I actually live a stone's throw from Everett and have a whole list of recommendations up here if you come up for Funko. I haven't been there yet other than driving by, but I took a look on Yelp and it looks like quite a place for the Funko fan.

    MurderbearTravis
  • MurderbearMurderbear Cold Spring, Ky
    Yeah, I think with trying to get out and see so much we are going to rent one for the week. Even if we get somewhere that we don't really need it for a few days, I'd definitely rather always have the option.
    CeciliaM
  • Seattle
    food : Go to pike place and walk and eat, wear a decent shoe
    morning breakfast places are fine. too many coffee options but some people like
    not good bbq or southern food, some place called fats is good
    Capitol hill have good club scene.
    there is a glass museum near the space needle. it is decent.
    you can smoke pot if you are into it.

    couple of parks near the water are cool

    Good luck, seattle is fantastic if you enjoy slow burn 
    CeciliaMMurderbear
  • Oh, yeah about markets. Pike Place Market is awesome. I love visiting it. But there is a whole farmers' market system in Seattle that if you are interested in buying local food and produce you will want to check out. https://seattlefarmersmarkets.org/ There are markets in different neighborhoods different days of the week. This is where you would go as a local to do your farmers' market business and this is one of  the things I love about Seattle. 
    Murderbear
  • Former Seattlite here. Been about 4 years since I lived there but below is the last standard email I'd send to friends visiting. The growth & gentrification is nuts there but my recent return visit tells me housing prices have finally stabilized, if still insane. Anyway. Enjoy. It's a great city to visit if a hard one to live for people making modest salaries. 

    ​There's so much to do here, if you have a few bucks.  Where to start?  First, use Lyft.  The bus is OK but for a vakay, Lyft is the way to go.  Depending on where you're staying, the light rail from the airport will save you money.   On that note, I'd say downtown is the least interesting part of the city.  There is some cool stuff.  You have to see the Needle but to go up is a bit pricey.  The Smith Tower is where locals go. http://smithtower.com/ though it's not free either

    ​All that Pike's Market shit is for the tourists but it is cool.  We occasionally pop in & get fish or produce.  Seattle is a city of neighborhoods & that's where I'd recommend strolling.    Ballard, Freemont (check out the statue of Lenin), Capitol Hill, Pike/Pine (part of Cap Hill, arguably - this is where the uber hipsters are Thur - Sat), Freemont, Phinney Ridge, the International District (I.D.) & Queen Anne are sorta the 'big' 'hoods to stroll.    Pioneer Square & the underground tour are what the guidebooks recommend.  I think the tour ​is cool but Pioneer Square, not so much.  The Center for Wooden Boats is in my former 'hood & occasionally offers classes, rides, etc.  It's next to MOHAI  - Museum of History & Industry.  It's nerd cool.  The EMP (Experience Music Project) sucks, IMO but I've been & it has a the occasional cool exhibit so there's that... Paseao has been listed as one of the top restaurants in the country.  It's famous for its Cuban & it's not terribly expensive but the line....Get there at like 11.  There's a debate about which Paseao is the 'real' one. I'll leave that to your GoogleFu to determine.

    ​There are tons of places to eat.  It's hard to go wrong.  Trove in Cap Hill was just named 'one of the best restaurants in the country'.    As for hiking, etc. try the Burke-Gilman trail.  It's in the city & goes throughout.  Start at Gasworks Park & go from there.  There's lots of other places outside of the city & even in a few parks.   Tom Douglas has lots of Seattle restaurants & they're all good.  Serious Biscuit & Serious Pie won't break you.  Voodoo Doughtnuts are big here.    I'd also recommend hitting Elliott Bay Books in Pike/Pine.

    As for beer, there are tons of craft breweries.  My favorite, Odin, just moved out of the city.  When the weather is nicer (think June or later) you can take the bike tour where about a dozen people peddle to a variety of breweries.  I haven't done it yet & don't plan to but some people love that stuff.  Black Raven & Georgetown are two of the more popular.  Personally, I find some of that craft stuff a bit pretentious.  Just because it's local doesn't mean it's good. 

    There's so much more.  You could take a $99 short seaplane tour, for example.  There are cruises of Lake Union.  Some of this stuff we've done, some money has kept us from doing.  
    Murderbear
  • @SeaHog ; I agree that the EMP was underwhelming, but it recently changed its format. Not sure if that makes it better or worse as I haven't been to it since it changed. Now it is called Museum of Pop Culture.

    It definitely got too expensive for us. We moved up near Everett. The housing market is stabilizing now but it's not really getting any cheaper. Just not continuing to get more expensive. I thought I would hate living in the burbs but I actually love it. We do a lot of stuff in Everett now, which has a funky feel that Seattle has sort of lost in a lot of neighborhoods.
    SeaHog
  • We take our travel-trailer to the Bend/Sisters area about 4-5 times a year. (I call our trailer the caravan because that sounds classier).  I love it there!  It sounds like you will have local friends and family to be your guides, but here are some of my favorites.  The city is great, but the surrounding nature is fan-fucking-tastic.   You can drive or hike to the top of the 500 foot tall Pilot Butte and get a panoramic view of the desert and Cascade Mountains. My favorite hike is probably Smith Rock, which is like 40 miles north of Bend.  You can't swing a dead cat in a cricle without hitting a spot of unrivaled narural majesty, so you'll just have to pick a few and go.  Tumalo Falls and Camp Sherman are top-10 for sure.  

    As far as food, we always hit the Pho Viet Cafe in Bend.  The Sno-Cap in Sisters is the place for ice cream cones.  There are several breweries and at least one distillery.  I particularly geeked out during a tour of the Dschutes Bewery, but you could just partake at a brew pub. 

    Non-hiking recreation: There are several city Parks in Bend along the Deschutes River. You can rent an inner tube and there is a bus that will ferry you back upstream all day for like $3.  The High Desert Museum is always fun and is full of "Wildlife, History and Art. If you time it right, you can be there when the handlers bring the raptors out for an educational show. They do someties have "living history", so if you are uncomfortable around role-playing adults in period costume, beware. One time my husband backed out of a room, leaving me alone with a bonnet-topped woman seated at a spinning wheel while I tried to make small talk about "the hard journey here".  I sputtered something about scoring a parking spot in the shade, so ya know, the journey wasn't that bad and then I left.  

    Now I want to load up the caravan and head south to Central Oregon!  Just like the pioneers, we travel with a flush toilet, plenty of beer and a flat-screen tv. Sometimes we run out of beer, so I feel like I know their hardship.   

    MurderbearCeciliaM
  • one more idea -  if you are here on the days of 7/19-7/21 the "Bite of Seattle" is taking  place which is worth checking out.  It's a big annual food festival with lots of different restaurants and vendors participating and you can try small dishes of just about everything you can think of.   

     
    Murderbear
  • MurderbearMurderbear Cold Spring, Ky
    We will be up there the 24th-30th.

    Are there any good train rides up there? I mean, I know there are but has anyone ridden one they would recommend? Something with some really cool views and vistas to see? This whole trip idea actually started when we were talking a few years ago about taking a train trip somewhere. We thought about from Cincy to Denver. Then the whole Seattle idea came up and while a 70-80 hour train does sound suuuuper appealing /s the ticket prices compared to flying are insane! 2-3 times the amount of a round trip plane ticket.

    It might even be something as simple as Seattle to Portland. I dunno. Probably something most people don't do but whenever I think of that area, steam engine locomotives always come to mind for whatever reason.
    CeciliaM
  • I recently took the Amtrak train from Portland to Seattle. It was very convenient and no hassle compared to driving  but the scenery is not the most stunning for this trip. Too far from the coast and too far from the mountains.  But that is speaking as a native who has seen all the usual stuff out here multiple times.  The Seattle King Street Station is architecturally very cool.  If you want to head East there are more scenic routes through the N Cascades I believe but haven’t done that myself. 
    Murderbear
  • I recently took the Amtrak train from Portland to Seattle. It was very convenient and no hassle compared to driving  but the scenery is not the most stunning for this trip. Too far from the coast and too far from the mountains.  But that is speaking as a native who has seen all the usual stuff out here multiple times.  The Seattle King Street Station is architecturally very cool.  If you want to head East there are more scenic routes through the N Cascades I believe but haven’t done that myself. 
    Do they all take the same route? i was thinking there was one that was supposed to be scenic? 

    maybe youtube knows.
  • I will say this- the drive from Seattle to Portland on I-5 (most efficient route) sucks... the scenery is not great, and the traffic is terrible getting through Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia. If I had to go to Portland I would consider the train just for that reason.
  • ChinaskiChinaski Santa Cruz, CA
    CeciliaM said:
    I will say this- the drive from Seattle to Portland on I-5 (most efficient route) sucks... the scenery is not great, and the traffic is terrible getting through Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia. If I had to go to Portland I would consider the train just for that reason.
    the I-5 drive from the Bay to LA is one of the most saddest and boring drives ever. no shout out I-5!
    CeciliaMbbordTravisMurderbear
  • MichelleMichelle California
    Chinaski said:
    CeciliaM said:
    I will say this- the drive from Seattle to Portland on I-5 (most efficient route) sucks... the scenery is not great, and the traffic is terrible getting through Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia. If I had to go to Portland I would consider the train just for that reason.
    the I-5 drive from the Bay to LA is one of the most saddest and boring drives ever. no shout out I-5!
    Omg, the worst - although I did have one of the best experiences ever, driving overnight from Concord to LA, the most incredibly large harvest moon sitting off on the horizon. I don't think I've seen one that large before or since.

    101 to 1 south to the PCH is the best, though.  :smile:
  • MurderbearMurderbear Cold Spring, Ky
    So, I think we might actually fly in to OTH in North Bend, Oregon. We have been going back and forth about whether we should do the Oregon stuff first or go to Seattle first. The flight is about $50-60 more than SEA but we can more than make up for that with the car rental because they seem to be about HALF the price at SEA or PDX. So that's nice.

    But trying to decide what to do first leads me to a question: What's your process for trip planning? I've been on vacations before but it was really just as a kid with my parents, going to Boston multiple times to hang out with friends or maybe a long weekend with some friends. I went to Yellowstone on my own about 13 years ago but I had no plan and didn't really want one. So most of my vacations have been pretty go with the flow and leaving it up to someone else.

    The friend I am going with is fairly anti-planning and I don't know if it's cause I'm getting older now or what but I don't like that as much anymore. I guess really I just want to secure at least flights, car and places to stay. That's my biggest concern. What we do during the day or whatever is less of a concern. I guess for me it's about the balance of having solid plans, but also not making the vacation feel too regimented and planned out.

    I don't know if this makes sense at all. Maybe I am just worried about making this trip as efficient as possible. I want to see as much as we can but I also know you have to be realistic and you probably won't get to see everything you want to the first time you visit an area. I probably just need to go old school and bust out an atlas and a notepad and just plan this shit out.
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