When Visiting Seattle

When you visit Seattle, your money is best spent on the longer, warmer days of summer. I recommend going to Seattle Visitors and Convention Bureau (www.visitseattle.org) to see what’s happening. The phone book has the most important scenes and sites, so that’s a good guide once you get here. The airport has a great visitor’s magazine, too.

Layne lived in neighborhoods in the Queen Anne and Seattle Center districts, as well as his permanent residence in the University District. When you visit, enjoy their views and stroll their parks. Neat shops everywhere.

Since our family is from the Puget Sound area for 6 generations (Bainbridge Island, Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Lynnwood), enjoy all the sightseeing you can pack in and know that Layne has been there, too.

You’ll want to visit the Experience Music Project (www.empsfm.org), an interactive and historic tribute to rock and grunge. The “Northwest Passage” exhibit traces the development of the Northwest music scene, from its beginnings as a small, isolated community to its status during the grunge years as the center of the rock universe. Copy a music sightseeing map at www.seattle.gov/music/map/.

I found a great article about visiting Seattle “on the cheap”. What follows is excerpted and adapted from The Vancouver Columbian, September 20, 2008:

Seattle On The Cheap “Urban soul, natural beauty make city easy on wallet”

Home to Microsoft and Starbucks, grunge rock and a constant potpourri of weather, Seattle is defined by the collision of urban soul and natural beauty. It’s also a great destination for the budget-conscious traveler. An abundance of outdoor activities and a pulsing arts community make it the perfect place to visit while holding onto spare change.


Seattle is the eternal home of one time only cover. But if you shy away from commitment to one bar for the night, a joint-cover price allows you to club-hop among nine locations in Pioneer Square.

For best bets on live shows and music, snag a copy of The Stranger, Seattle’s free alternative weekly, to find out who’s playing where. If you’re looking for a quieter evening, pack dessert and head to Gas Works Park in Wallingford, or Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill, for stunning views of the city skyline and the new Farris Wheel on the Seattle Waterfront.

Other hot spots are easily found at www.seattletravel.com. The site gives you the lowdown on more than 200 night spots in the city.

For cheap eats at all hours of the day, stick to Seattle staples like Dick’s Drive In (www.ddir.com), an old-school burger joint with five locations, or the Burg (www.burgermaster.biz), where Layne learned to make potato chips. To gobble up some of Oprah’s favorite fried chicken, try Ezell’s with three locations in Seattle (ezellchicken.com).


You can’t make it to The Emerald City and not visit Pike Place Market, the heart of downtown, and one of the nation’s original farmers markets! It’s free and a great way to spend the afternoon. Close-by is the Green Tortoise (www.greentortoise.net), a new hostel, including free Wi-Fi, continental breakfast and free dinner on three nights during the week (www.greentortoise.net/index.html).

When you’ve had your fill, wander up Elliott Avenue to the Olympic Sculpture Park, a 9-acre waterfront site nestled on the shoreline with towering, permanent sculptures by contemporary artists.

Visit Ballard and Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, where boats rise and fall as they move between Puget Sound and the inland waterways, and where salmon run through the fish ladder.

For a little cash and some fancy footwork, you might just forget you’re on a budget. Good options include the Pacific Northwest Ballet (www.pnb.org), or, for the younger crowd, use your college ID to get in the Seattle Symphony (www.seattlesymphony.org).

Layne’s great, great-grandfather cut stones for the foundation of Paradise Lodge on Mt. Rainier. It’s a breathtaking day-trip to a multi-million dollar renovation of the lodge’s infrastructure. All of the floors, fireplaces, furniture are original from 1908. Beautiful hikes amongst wildflowers.

Don’t miss the Seattle Art Museum.

Hope we’ve whetted your appetite for a long vacation on Puget Sound. If you can extend it a bit, enjoy boating to the American San Juans or even up into Vancouver, B.C. and Victoria, where, again, Alex Munro cut stones for the Empress Hotel and Parliament Buildings. Also, Craigdarrough Castle.

Layne Staley Memorial Fund at THS is dedicated to recovery of heroin addicts and their support families in the Seattle music community. Your donation is invested, and only the interest earned will be spent on recovery, so that the fund is self-perpetuating. The principle, raised from your donations, will always be there earning income for recovery.

I know you’ll love the new site.