Seattle skyline under cloudy skies with Space Needle and Mount Rainier
Weekend Warrior

Trolls, Tunnels, and Tunes: 48 Hours in Seattle

The Hidden Gems of the Emerald City.

Known for coffee, rainy weather, and grunge, Seattle takes pride in being a little offbeat. In fact, they take being quirky and ahead of the curve pretty seriously. The city did give us Starbucks and Nirvana, after all. Spend your 48 hours in the Emerald City exploring old Seattle favorites as well as looking for the next big thing.

The Fremont Troll

Daytime shot of the famous Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge in Seattle

Source: Shutterstock

Meet Seattle’s most beloved citizen: The Fremont Troll! This massive public sculpture is located under the George Washington Memorial Bridge, and is a play on the classic Scandinavian Billy Goats Gruff fairy tale.

Pike Place Market

Ndeon Pike Place Market signage at dusk with water in the background

Source: Shutterstock

Pike Place Market is one of the city’s most popular attractions, and for a good reason: it’s a microcosm of everything that makes Seattle what it is. Views of the ocean, fresh seafood, locally-sourced goodies, coffee shops, great people watching, and other quirky offerings can be found here.

Market Theater Gum Wall

Tourists touch the famous gum wall in Seattle, WA

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Tragically, Market Theater Gum Wall was scraped clean in November of 2015…but of course, The Man can’t keep such an important piece of Seattle history down, and within hours, the first few wads of gum were back on this alley wall in Pike Place. When they cleaned it, though, they removed over 2,000 pounds of chewed up gum.

Pike Place Chowder

If you’re not too grossed out by the gum to grab a bite to eat, you should sample one of the city’s favorite dishes: chowder. They offer different kinds at Pike Place Chowder. The Market Chowder is a great way to go, since it just has whatever the chef thinks looks best that day, but they also make a mean smoked salmon chowder, and even have a vegan, gluten-free option.

Science Fiction Museum at EMP

The EMP is a museum dedicated to everything pop culture, which means exhibits on everything from indie games and Hello Kitty to horror movies and Jimi Hendrix. The Science Fiction Museum housed within is a favorite: artifacts from “Star Trek,” “Blade Runner,” “Mars Attacks!,” “Dune,” “Terminator 2,” and more can be found here.

Olympic Sculpture Park

Olympic Sculpture Park is a 9-acre public park, sculpture museum, and beach, and it’s a great way to appreciate the coastal views of Puget Sound. It makes for an especially pretty stroll right at sunset.

Archie Mcphee

At Ballard’s Archie Mcphee, you can find some of the absolute strangest novelty toys you’ve ever seen in a store filled with stuff you don’t need at all, but desperately want. Displays of bizarre creatures, like the mysterious “Wallingford Beast,” line the walls, bacon-flavored candy sits near the register, and toys like boxing nuns, unicorn horns for your cat, and boxes of bedpans all beg to be bought. You’ll buy this stuff to give to friends, but we all know you’re going to keep it for yourself.

Hotel Max

Hotel Max is easily the most effortlessly cool lodging in the Emerald City. There’s no doubt that the meticulously-designed and decorated hotel has a pretty keen sense of style, but it’s all the quirky extras that really make this place stand out: a pillow menu, a free happy hour, and an entire floor dedicated to the legendary Sub Pop Records, are among the offbeat offerings.

Skillet Diner

When you’re ready for an out-of-this-world breakfast experience, the Skillet Diner is probably the most intense brunch in the city. They offer incredible cornmeal and pork belly waffles, a mind-blowing fried chicken sandwich, and rich biscuits and gravy. But if you’re feeling indulgent, they even have a burger on the menu.

Frye Art Museum

Free admission and parking are great, but the exhibits in the little but still impressive Frye Art Museum are worth paying for. Their rotating offerings can lean more offbeat, and it’s a cozy, intimate atmosphere.

Salumi Artisan Cured Meats

You haven’t had salami until you’ve had it from Salumi Artisan Cured Meats. Different spices and flavors, like mole, oregano, and paprika, among others, are combined with amazing cheeses and fresh bread to make mouthwatering sandwiches.

Seattle Underground Tunnels

It’s hard to believe, but the Seattle you see today was literally built on top of the original city. Flooding, fires, and plagues caused the city to decide to regrade the streets a level above the original, and what was once the street level of the buildings became hidden. You can tour the Seattle Underground Tunnels and old basements, which have been decorated to look as they did in the 19th and early 20th centuries, for an interesting look at the city’s history.

Seattle Pinball Museum

Abstract pinball background in Seattle

Source: Shutterstock

The Seattle Pinball Museum is all about pinball. They have machines from as far back as the 1960s, the world’s largest pinball machine, and a massive collection of classics. Plus, it’s a flat rate for unlimited free play, so you don’t have to worry about quarters.


You’ll have to make a reservation at Maneki in order to get a table, but it’ll be worth it. This Japanese restaurant has been open for over 100 years, and has consistently served up some of the city’s best sushi. Plus, the prices are shockingly reasonable.

The Crocodile

You can’t come to Seattle and not enjoy some live music, and The Crocodile is a low-key venue that makes for a great place to catch a show. Not only because it was among the first places that Nirvana performed, but because it remains a great place to discover a new and totally cool act.

The best time of year for your 48-hour Seattle getaway:

Spring is rainy, and winter can be pretty cold here (although there’s some great skiing in the area), so summer and fall are ideal times to visit. The overall temperatures remain pretty mild, despite the fact that the city is known for its drizzly weather.

What part of Seattle are you itching to experience on your next weekend getaway? Let us know on Twitter.

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