Five Summer Destinations Even Seattle Residents Can’t Explain

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on May 29, 2014

Seattle TouristsSeattle is home to a number of tourist attractions, including the Pike Place Market, numerous museums, and the ever-present Space Needle.  But just as the city has a reputation for “weird” residents, it also has a reputation for “weird” tourist destinations – places and sights even Seattle residents can’t always explain.

Whether you’re looking to get off the beaten path this summer or to entertain some out-of-town visitors with more than just baseball tickets and a sculpture park, check out these five haunts:

Archie McPhee

Located on N. 45th Street, Archie McPhee might be the most “novel” novelty shop in the country, filled to the rafters with things you never knew you needed and can’t live without.  Does your cat need a unicorn horn?  Is your ordinary adhesive tape suffering a tragic shortage of bacon designs?  Archie McPhee has your kids – and the kid in all of us – covered.

Bob’s Java Jive

Only in Washington would a giant coffee pot house serve as a dive bar.  Located on South Tacoma Way in Tacoma, Bob’s Java Jive offers a restaurant menu, beer, live music, and karaoke every night of the week.  The building, designed by Bert Smyser and built in 1927, looks like a coffee pot – but there’s far more than coffee going on inside.

The Fremont Troll

If your kids claim they’re too old to believe that trolls live under bridges, take them to the north end of the Aurora Bridge near N. 36th Street.  Since 1990, the Fremont Troll has lurked here, having his picture taken with everyone from A-list celebrities to college students.  The sculpture, created by artists Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, and Ross Whitehead, is composed of steel rebar, concrete, and some more esoteric parts – including an entire Volkswagen Beetle.

The Giant Shoe Museum

Seattle’s weirdest museum is also its smallest.  Located on the lower floor of the Pike Place Market, the Giant Shoe Museum is a wall of vintage coin-operated displays that give visitors a glimpse at some out-there footwear.  Exhibits include a shoe worn by the world’s tallest man, “the greatest shoe on earth,” and the “shoes of mystery.”  A must-see if you’re stopping at the Pike Place Market.

Post Alley Gum Wall

An entire wall of used gum?  One of Seattle’s weirdest, grossest, and most fondly-enjoyed attractions is its Gum Wall, a collection of ABC chewing gum that has been growing since the 1990s.  Visitors can check out shapes made from gum and stuck to the wall by past visitors and can even leave their own contribution.  Bring your own gum!

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