Reader J is visiting Seattle in a few weeks, and since he’s thinking about applying to Microsoft in the next year or so (yay!), he wants to make sure he tours the area while he's here.
I responded to him with my top three (outside of the city) choices, but I thought you all might want to see my list, too. Of course, I’d always suggest a walk through the Microsoft campus, but if you want to see the rest of the world, here’s what I’d suggest …
Washington has great wine, and while our grapes are grown east of the Cascade Mountains, Woodinville, a town 20 minutes outside of Seattle, offers a visit to wine country without crossing the Pass. (But if you have the time, cross the Pass.) Many wineries in Woodinville are small and family operated, so they are only open on special occasions, but at least four wineries immediately come to my mind as “always open” and “must tastes": Chateau Ste Michelle (big and corporate - but fun), Columbia (nice gift shop), Silver Lake (affordably priced), and Facelli (my personal favorite in all of Washington. Say hi to Lou!). For beer lovers, you can also visit the Redhook Brewery, which is right next to Columbia Winery. I'd suggest eating at Purple Cafe & Wine Bar, Red Hook’s Forecaster's Public House (great pulled pork and outdoor seating) or, if you want something a little more fancy, the Barking Frog.
Argosy Cruise of Lake Washington:
This Argosy Cruise sets sail from the Kirkland waterfront, which is definitely a must-see place on a warm, sunny afternoon. The boat tours you around Lake Washington and pulls close to Bill Gate’s house. (Is that a gardener or is that Bill?) Afterwards I'd suggest eating at Anthony's Homeport (if you like seafood) or the The Slip (if you like good peanut butter cheeseburger and people watching.)
Salish Lodge / Snoqualimie Falls:
Here's the dorky part. Salish Lodge was one of the main settings for the off-beat TV show Twin Peaks. In fact, the whole show was filmed in various locations around the lodge. (And yes, I have done the full tour.) Now the less dorky part ... Snoqualmie Falls is gorgeous, and you can take a short walk down the base of the falls. I'd also recommend breakfast at Salish. (Book reservations in advance.) Take 202 East from Redmond for a beautiful drive or I-90 for the fast shot. This area is about 30 minutes outside of Seattle.
Alrighty, that's my top three list. What are your must-see attractions in Seattle when you visit or have guests visit?
P.S. I am not a paid endorser of any of these places. I will gladly accept free wine though. :)