How to REALLY avoid looking like a tourist in Seattle
Everyone knows that Seattle's summer doesn't really get cooking until after Labor Day (as evidenced by these predicted near-90-degree days), so clever tourists usually wait until Bumbershoot has come and gone to come a-visiting. But even the savviest of Seattle visitors (and, for that matter, Puget Sound locals) sometimes slip up. Inspired by a list posted by "Travel+Leisure," here's a list of 10 ways to really make sure you pass as a Seattleite.
"Pike's Place" is not a place. Please learn this. If everyone on the planet could just drop the unnecessary (and incorrect) possessive, everyone in Seattle would be delighted. Pike doesn't have a place. It's just Pike Place. Period.
King County Metro does not give change. If you give the bus a $5, expect nothing back but fare for two people during peak hours. Have your singles and quarters at the ready. Or, better yet, load up on an ORCA card in the transit tunnel on 3rd Ave.
Downtown is not as fun as you might think. If you really want to go play in one of the city's vibrant, active neighborhoods, particularly at night, go ahead and skip the center and head to a neighborhood. Capitol Hill, Ballard and Fremont are all good options.
Know your coffee order before you get in line. If you're hemming and hawing when it's your turn, we're going to know you're either not from around here, or you're a dilettante. And remember: It goes number of shots, size of cup, style of drink.
Carry cash. Some bars and restaurants are cash-only. Just hit the ATM before you head out and you'll be fine.
That no-umbrellas thing is kind of bunk. Plenty of real Seattleites do actually use umbrellas -- we just know that a hearty, appropriately-sized one is the way to go. No golf umbrellas, no flimsy "travel-style" collapsible models. Invest in an umbly that actually works and use it for years on those damp-but-not-quite-soaking days.
Parking is rough. If you can, leave your car at your hotel or wherever else it's docked and get around by bus, cab, or on your own two get-away sticks. Otherwise, you will spend the entire visit either circling for parking, or talking about how much you had to pay for parking.
The Eastside is not Seattle. Nor are the islands. Nor is Tacoma. You can visit these places, but if you speak to a local about it, they'll remind you politely (probably) that you were not actually in Seattle.
The South Lake Union Streetcar doesn't really go anywhere. Sure, it's quite novel to say you rode the SLU Trolley (it's not really called that anymore, by the way), but it will get you exactly nowhere. Except to South Lake Union. Or Westlake. As those are the only two places it really goes.
The first Starbucks? Yeah...about that.... Tourists love to snap photos in front of the "first Starbucks" in Pike Place Market. Except it's a pretty commonly-known fact among locals that the actual first location of the coffee giant was up the block at 2000 Western Avenue. It later scooted down into the Market proper and closed the actual original location.