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Insight from locals

Edmonton
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Insight from locals

Hello all,

My wife, kids (aged 7 & 4) and myself will be in your beautiful city next fri and sat and were hoping to get some advice from locals as to itinerary. We will be staying at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue and are mainly coming down to shop and eat.

Can you please recommend some decent malls/outlets that carry brand names?

Decent seafood restaurant or other local favourite ? One of the night we will be checking out Maggianos as its a favorite of the wife and we do not have them in Canada

We'd like to get in some sightseeing in as well that is easy to do with the kids.. could you please recommend some must sees sites or a favorite thing to do that only locals would know about.

We will be there on Jul 12 & 13.. anything going on those days in particular?

Thanks in advance.

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Bellevue
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seattle
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1. Re: Insight from locals

be aware that Bellevue to Seattle is a toll bridge. Please read how to prepay your tolls so you don't get a larger bill. Bellevue has a huge mall right in downtown Bellevue. There is an outlet mall east of Bellevue in North Bend. There is also Snoqualmie Falls right there if you want to do a bit of sightseeing. I'll let others comment on your other questions. Compared to Canada I think you'll find everything very reasonable in price. Any reason you chose Bellevue?

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Green Valley...
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2. Re: Insight from locals

Seattle Premium Outlets (not really in Seattle): www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp…

Consider these, with your kids, and you too, in mind:

Ballard/Chittenden Locks Uniquely Seattle. http://tinyurl.com/ixbu

Pike Place Market www.pikeplacemarket.org/frameset.asp…

Museum of Flight A world class museum, for all ages. http://www.museumofflight.org/

Seattle Center (site of the 1962 World's Fair)

Woodland Park Zoo http://www.zoo.org/

Seattle Aquarium http://www.seattleaquarium.org/

Argosy Cruises (Tillicum Village) argosycruises.com/publiccruises/tillicum.cfm

Snoqualmie Train Museum and Rides (Seen on the way to or from Snoqualmie Falls.)

http://www.trainmuseum.org/

Archie McPhee Store http://www.mcphee.com/shop/

Edited: 11:06 pm, July 05, 2013
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3. Re: Insight from locals

SR 520 is the toll bridge...just drive a couple of miles further south on 405 and take the free I-90 bridge. It gets you a heck of a lot closer to downtown Seattle than the 520 does.

This will help:

visitseattle.org/Visitors/…Seattle-Maps.aspx

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4. Re: Insight from locals

You will be right across the street from Bellevue Square, a very nice large shopping mall with all sorts of brand names. If you want an outlet mall, you'll have to drive some distance - the closest ones are North Bend or Tulalip. Map at mallseeker.com/washingtonoutletmalls.aspx.

Just north of Bellevue, you may want to visit Kirkland - a smaller town with a pleasant downtown area (not a big mall), waterfront, and you can take an Argosy cruise on the lake. I like Trellis, the restaurant at the Heathman Hotel in Kirkland.

If you want to venture into Seattle, either go online to set up a temporary account to pay for the 520 bridge toll (it's all electronic, no toll booths) or take I-90 instead. From your hotel to the central downtown area, either way would be about the same distance, so I'd check traffic reports to decide.

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5. Re: Insight from locals

Next weekend is going to be packed with events.

In Ballard the big Ballard Seafood Fest is going on with live music, salmon bbq, eating contests, kids events and more. http://www.seafoodfest.org/

West Seattle is having their big West Seattle Summer Fest in the West Seattle Junction area. Lots of music, food and other fun. http://wsjunction.org/summerfest/

In the International District (Chinatown) they are having the ID Dragon Fest.

cidbia.org/events/mcdonald-s-presents-seattl…

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6. Re: Insight from locals

FYI 520 bridge is closed the entire weekend of July 13, creating more congestion on I-90. To make matters worse, northbound I-405 will also be closed between 90 and 520. If you're renting a car, I would stay away from going into Seattle and drive north to the Seattle Premium Outlets. Bigger than the North Bend outlets. For food, check out Din Tai Fung, Wild Ginger, Seastar that are all within walking distance in Bellevue.

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7. Re: Insight from locals

[Edited -Oops. You will only be here Friday and Saturday but for others reading this thread re: next weekend see the following additional option] The Subpop records 25th anniversary Silver Jubilee is also happening in Georgetown on July 13th. There will be live music from the label's artists plus food, art and more.

Edited: 1:23 pm, July 09, 2013
Edmonton
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8. Re: Insight from locals

thanks for all your help.. what type of cuisine is din tai fung and wild ginger?

and out of the seafood fest, summer fest or the dragon fest which would the children enjoy the most? or do you recommend snoqualmie falls?

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9. Re: Insight from locals

I excluded Snoqualmie Falls from the list posted above, post #2, except to include it if visiting the train museum/ride in the town of Snoqualmie. You have limited time, it won't be the highlight of your trip and it adds driving time.

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10. Re: Insight from locals

Din Tai Fung is a famous Taiwanese restaurant. The specialize in dumplings and buns. It's not really traditional dim sum style but their reputation is very authentic cuisine, particularly the dumplings and buns.

Wild Ginger is a kind of Pan-Asian restaurant. There is one downtown that has been pretty successful.

Hmmm. The question about festivals is a tough one. I guess it depends on what the kids are most interested in.

The Dragon Fest will have cultural dancing, drumming and other events almost continuously (about half hour a new event starts). There are also going to be historic walking tours, an Asian market and a kind of bite of the International District. There will also be Asian arts and crafts, dragon mask making, face painting, lion dance lessons, and outdoor pinball machines. For Year of the Snake, children can interact with live snakes and reptiles brought by the Pacific Northwest Herpetological Society. This is easiest as the I-D borders downtown.

I live in Ballard and go to the Seafood Fest every year. In fact I am the 2009 Lutefisk eating champ.

Ballard is an old Scandinavian and Fishing neighborhood that in recent years has had a boom of dense residential development and a bourgeoning bar, restaurant and nightlife scene. Seafood fest is a celebration of Ballard's heritage.

There are three stages. On historic Ballard Avenue is the main music stage. Music will be largely rock and roots oriented (Ballard is one of the real centers for Americana revival, new folk and alt country in the city and the main stage is being sponsored by two of Ballard's well known live music venues the Tractor and the Sunset Tavern). Music goes from about 12-9pm with some time between sets for changeover. It looks like there are six sets on Saturday on the main stage. Seattle's GEMBA Summerfest national champs School of Rock will be performing first at noon on Saturday.

On the separate Family Stage in Ballard Commons Park are native stories and hoop dancing, puppets, roving reptiles etc. There is also a small spray park in Ballard Commons Park and other stuff for kids including "Fin the Migrating Salmon", a 25' model of a female chum salmon, a large slide, Little Wing from the School of Rock (an early childhood music education class set to rock songs), Ballard firefighters, and a bounce play area. On the Bergen Place stage will be mostly contests including the Pike Place Fish toss, lutefisk eating contest (lutefisk is a gelatinous and generally stinky lye-preserved herring which is a traditional Scandinavian food) and oyster shucking and eating contests.

There will be all kinds of food stands (all of which have to offer at least one seafood dish) and a big salmon bbq. A local cartoonist also created a small comic to benefit the Chamber of Commerce which is a new superhero "The Anchor". ;-) Anchor will be on hand to sign the comic books.

What else, arts and craft and non-profit vendors and for adults Ballard Beer Fest which will feature a range of Pacific NW (mostly Seattle) breweries. Five are Ballard breweries. I do caution that this may not be do-able for you guys because typically beer gardens and many bars have a 21+ tavern license. I understand that the beer garden will be 21+. If you wanted to get a local beer on Ballard Avenue though there are plenty of places that you can do that. In fact microbrewery Ballard Urban Family Brewery is kid friendly. Hilliard's over near the Ballard bridge is also kid friendly.

If you have a car it would be an excellent opportunity to also take in other Ballard activities with the kids. The Nordic Heritage Museum has an interesting permanent exhibit on the Scandinavian Immigration to the Pacific NW and the founding of Ballard. The Ballard locks (also called the ship canal locks or the Hiram Chittenden locks) are fascinating. There is typically heavy summer traffic through the locks and all manner of boats from tugs and fishing boats to wooden sailboats and large yachts pass through the locks both eastbound and westbound all day. The sockeye run is currently in full force. Around 140,000 sockeye have already passed through the fish ladder (which was built to bypass the locks) heading "upstream" to spawning grounds. It is pretty amazing and it is not uncommon to see Blue Heron and sometimes harbor seals, sea lions and bald eagles around the locks. The locks grounds are beautiful and there will be live music from a youth motown group there on Saturday the 13th. There is also a small and interesting visitor center which talks about the locks, the history of the ship canal, maritime traffic in the area etc.

Or you could head over to Golden Gardens, Ballard's beach and wetland. There is an attractive and popular beach which is a combination of sandy areas and rocky areas with some driftwood. There are play and picnic areas there and kids like to play in the water which is cold (but Seattle has been hot and sunny).

If you are walking around Ballard I think the kids will also just enjoy Ballard. I would highly recommend stopping briefly in at Secret Garden books. They have some excellent kids books by local authors and typically have signed copies from author events. On Ballard Avenue is the superlative Clover toys.

West Seattle Summer Fest is about as far from downtown as Ballard. They actually run Friday through Sunday. They have a very decent music lineup with something like 25 bands playing over the weekend. Caspar Babypants is fun for the kids.

Edited: 4:41 pm, July 11, 2013
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