How to Seattle 2024

The Stranger Presents: How to Seattle 2024

99 Things to Do Before the Big One Takes Us All

How to Seattle: Outdoors

Sure, the View Is Beautiful, but It’s Gonna Kill Us All

How to Seattle: Food & Drink

The Best Side of Seattle Is Waiting for You at the Hot Dog Cart

The 99 Things to Do in Seattle Checklist

Download It and Print It Out to Keep Track of Your Progress!

How to Seattle: Attractions & Landmarks

Welcome to Our Weird Little Corner of the Country

How to Seattle: Shopping

Because You Can't Take It With You

How to Seattle: Music & Nightlife

From Punk Shows at Roller Rinks to Trivia Nights Hosted By Jeopardy! Champs

How to Seattle: Arts & Culture

Only in Seattle Can You Scream in a Museum and Dance to Robyn at Church

How to Seattle: Extra Credit

Adventures That Require a Bit More Time, Money, and/or a Willing Grindr Date

You can’t take it with you, so why not spend a bunch of your money at all of Seattle’s delightful local businesses? You kind of owe us, tbh. How much money have you given Amazon for air fryers and paper towels and zit patches delivered same-day? Alas, despite the company’s massive headquarters in South Lake Union, Seattle sees very little of those fat profits, relatively speaking. Our City Council lacks the courage to really go after Amazon and other big businesses' profits. Money that would greatly benefit Seattle’s social services, or perhaps make a dent in our housing crisis. But that’s a discussion for November. (Google Initiative 137 if you wanna read more.) For now, money please!

Grow Your Physical Media Collection at Scarecrow Video

University District

Scarecrow Video is fighting the good fight in this nightmare world of streaming where movies can be erased from the cloud at the touch of a button because some rich executive wanted a tax write-off to further fill their pockets. Since 1988, the beloved video store has been celebrating and preserving physical media so the works we love aren’t lost to time. Their library of movies—the title count at press time was 147,789—is truly unlike anywhere else in the world. Just wandering through the many sections, both upstairs and down, is like being taken into a utopia of cinema preservation where you can find just about anything ever made, and it’s all available to rent or buy. Don’t live nearby? They also have a rent-by-mail service, allowing US residents to borrow up to six discs for 14 days at a time. (CHASE HUTCHINSON)

Buy Every Flavor of KitKat at Uwajimaya

Chinatown–International District

Melon KitKats at Uwajimaya. MS

Located in the center of the Chinatown–International District is Uwajimaya, one of North America’s largest Asian retailers. (They also have locations in Bellevue, Renton, and Beaverton, Oregon.) Seattle’s store is more than 35,000 square feet, filled with all the usual grocery store delights, yes, but there’s also a full-service service seafood counter, a deli section stocked with countless, mouthwatering grab-and-go options, and every imported KitKat flavor you could ever imagine. (Available flavors rotate, but Melon, Salt Lemon, Pistachio, and Chocolate Daifuku have been spotted.) There’s also a food court with sweet and savory options—Mexican sandwich counter Los Costeños, Beard Papa’s Cream Puffs, Dochi Japanese Mochi Donuts, and taiyaki counter BeanFish—and Kinokuniya Bookstore. (STRANGER STAFF)

Buy Some Weed! It’s Legal Here!

Various locations

Dockside Cannabis SoDo is a great place for folks buying legal weed for the first time. It’s emblematic of the new direction in pot retailing brought on by legalization: big, open floor plans, lots of light, and classy decor. Dockside’s got all that, and a cannabis museum to boot. That’s right: An entire corner of their store is devoted to the history and science of cannabis, including selections from the Wirtshafter collection, Ohio cannabis activist Don Wirtshafter’s hoard of vintage cannabis medicine bottles. It sounds bland when I put it that way, but it’s awesome, a fascinating physical reminder that pot used to be both legal and benign. There are also Dockside locations in Ballard, Green Lake, and Shoreline (without the museum). A few other shops we like include the Reef Cannabis on Capitol Hill, Canna West in West Seattle, and Cannabis City, Seattle’s first pot shop, just one block from the SoDo light rail station. (TOBIAS COUGHLIN-BOGUE)

Get Grossed Out over Clam-Flavored Candy at Archie McPhee


Dare you. MS

A Seattle staple since 1983, Archie McPhee is the local joke shop that keeps our city weird. It started out as a little hole in the wall in Fremont that sold vintage (unused) medical supplies, rubber snakes, and Whoopee Cushions. It has since become a world of its own. The store, now in a large, slick storefront in Wallingford, is world-renowned for its own line of toys, candy, and knickknacks. Think squirrel-sized underpants, wind-up sloth racers, clam-flavored candy canes, and finger puppets in every imaginable shape and size (glow-in-the-dark tentacles, anyone?). While you’re there, take a stroll through the Rubber Chicken Museum, which proudly displays both the world’s largest and world’s smallest rubber chickens. (STRANGER STAFF)

Choose Your Own Seattle Bookstore Adventure 

Various locations

Elliott Bay Book Company's warm treehouse vibes. BEN LINDBLOOM

Seattle is a UNESCO City of Literature and, according to the latest report, there are more than 50 bookstores in the region. That’s too many to name here, and honestly, it would be an insult to try. But to help narrow it down at least a little bit, here are a few Stranger faves: Elliott Bay Book Company has been around, in some form or another, since 1973. Their current space on Capitol Hill feels like a warm, creaky treehouse and they have a cafe and author events almost every day of the week. Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery in Georgetown is a must-visit if you love alternative comics and graphic novels. Newer indie shops on the scene include Charlie’s Queer Books in Fremont, where 98% of the books are written by queer-identifying authors, and Mam’s Books in the Chinatown–International District, which is focused on stocking books by Asian American authors. Looking for anarchist literature? Left Bank. Rare books? Arundel. Poetry? Open Books. Cookbooks? Book Larder. Love cats? Twice Sold Tales—they have six of ‘em. And we’d be remiss not to mention the University Book Store, Third Place Books, and Phoenix Comics. Get out there and find your favorite. (MEGAN SELING)

Hunt for Treasures—and Maybe Get Married???—at Georgetown Trailer Park Mall


If you peek behind Star Brass Works Lounge in Georgetown you’ll notice something odd—a bunch of Airstreams parked in a line, some with awnings, some with auxiliary wood structures, and a shotgun wedding chapel with a 6-by-6-foot Astroturfed square. It’s confusing if you don’t know what it is—the bones of Seattle’s cutest little weekend market (sorry, Ballard). Every Saturday and Sunday, small businesses sell skincare products, vintage clothes, Lowrider cookies, marriage, and more out of the RVs, adding a fun stop on the bustling Georgetown retail and bar corridor. (KATHLEEN TARRANT)

Build a Booze-Free Bar at Cheeky & Dry

Phinney Ridge

In Phinney Ridge, Cheeky & Dry is a darling booze-free bottle shop where owners Kirs- tin and Yura Vracko sell dozens of different non-alcoholic spirits and amari and syrups and canned cocktails and sodas and tinc- tures and bitterses. This place looks like a wine shop from France and carries all kinds of curious elixirs I never knew existed, like yuzu or vanilla-rooibos tea or rose cordial syrup (Portland Syrups), mango/lychee/ turmeric soda (Zyn), cherry/ginger/maple NA cider (Nowhere), lemon/cucumber/serrano pepper NA spirit (Amethyst), and all four of the Casamara Club botanical sodas, which are nearly impossible to find. Think of the beautiful party you could have after shopping here! There must be a hundred thousand individual items within this store, and the staff let you taste everything in a little cuppity cup. (MEG VAN HUYGEN)

Find Your Perfect Dildo at Wild at Heart


Wild at Heart is a great sex shop that shares a name with a great film. Like Nicolas Cage found his symbol of individuality and belief in personal freedom in a snakeskin jacket, you can do the same with this Ballard shop’s selection of dildos, lubes, whips, crops, and puppy masks. Browsing for straps is awkward for the best of us, but Wild at Heart’s friendly, judgment-free atmosphere is pleasant even for shy types. Where a lot of sex shops in Seattle feel stuffy and corporate for their lascivious merchandise, Wild at Heart sparkles with a genuine quality. (VIVIAN MCCALL)

Try the Board Games Before You Buy at Mox Boarding House, Nerd


Seattle’s antisocial winters have given me a new appreciation for board games. Even reclusive friends can be lured out with the promise of Catan, but eventually old games get old, and new games can be expensive and totally not for you. Mox’s Boarding House in Ballard is a restaurant and game shop that lets you try new games as you eat. If you like the game, you can buy a new copy at a 15% discount. Games are the main attraction, but the food is good, too, and there’s a surprisingly large selection of mead for the D&D nerds in your life (though if this appeals to you, you’re probably that dorkass). (VIVAN MCCALL)

Waste the Day Away in Alaska Junction

West Seattle

A lot of people joke about West Seattle being impossible to get to, but the trip across the Duwamish Waterway really isn’t so bad, especially if you hop on the West Seattle Water Taxi. From there, you can explore Alki Beach or grab a shuttle that takes you straight up to the Alaska Junction, a bustling neighborhood core of indie stores, art spaces, and restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. Easy Street Records is one of the best record stores in the city, and they are always hosting free live performances (they have a great cafe, too), and Husky Deli has great sandwiches, dozens of flavors of housemade ice cream, and an old-school candy counter that sells confections by the pound. There are several bookstores (Paper Boat Booksellers, Pegasus Book Exchange) and gift and home goods shops (Northwest Art & Frame, Capers), and a fun selection of vintage everything at Doll Parts Collective. (STRANGER STAFF)

Star in an Episode of Gilmore Girls on Ballard Avenue 


Downtown Ballard is so sweet and quaint, it will make you feel like you just stepped into an episode of Gilmore Girls. The historic streets are lined with trees and brick buildings that house bars and restaurants, independently owned stores and boutiques, and art galleries. Lucca Great Finds has a dizzying array of gifts and home accessories as well as a selection of stationery, pens, and pencils that will inspire you to take up letter writing. Sweet Mickey’s is a can’t-miss if you’re traveling with little ones—the old-fashioned candy store carries bulk candy, seasonal sweets, and fudge by the pound. Stroll a little further to Market Avenue and you’ll find one of Seattle’s most iconic record stores, Sonic Boom, and don’t miss nearby Monster, which carries locally made crafts and gifts. (STRANGER STAFF)

How many things on our list have you done? Download a free PDF of our checklist to keep track!