If you’ve spent much time in Seattle, you know that it’s a tale of two cities. For maybe four months a year the sun seems to forsake the place that gave us Nirvana, grunge and plaid.
But then spring arrives. The clouds (mostly) depart, and the city is transformed. Seattle is among our most vibrant metropoles. And the mountain ranges and waterways that surround it are, in the opinion of your humble Hi&Low correspondent, among the most beautiful in the world.
Washington state also happens to be among the country’s most progressive in its treatment of cannabis, which has been legal for adult use since 2012. 21 years of age or older, with a government ID? Then Seattle’s 40 recreational dispensaries are at your disposal. (Just remember to bring cash.)
“Seattle,” Seattleites love to say, “is less a city than a collection of neighborhoods.” And the dispensaries here are as varied as the neighborhoods. That said, there are a few standouts we’ll mention here to give you a sense of what to expect.
If you find yourself downtown, swing by Have A Heart. The Belltown location of this dispensary is modern and efficient, and we’ve always had great experiences with the staff, who are both knowledgeable and approachable. You won’t feel intimidated by their budtenders, and you can trust that their advice on flowers, edibles, and other cannabis products is as solid as the life advice they built into their company name. (There are two other locations, and we hear the one in Freemont is pretty great too).
If you’re looking for an affordable and fast option that’s also a Seattle staple, check out Uncle Ike’s in either Capitol Hill or Central District. Since 2014, Ike’s has done double the cannabis volume of any other dispensary in Seattle. With all the options around, they must be doing something right.
Finally, are you curious to visit a dispensary about which The Stranger said: “If Donald Trump opened a weed shop, it would look like this”? Of course not, that sounds terrible.
Instead, go out to Freemont and pop by Oz. Funny story, Oz. (as in Ounce) was originally named Oz after the famed and famously trippy film, but the owner was forced to rename the shop after fears arose that “Oz” would prove too tempting to youngsters. (This apparently to protect youngsters old enough to want designer cannabis but young enough to still be into The Wizard Of Oz…) Semantics aside, Oz. is a first-class spot well worth a visit.
What to do after:
Seattle has no shortage of nature within city limits, and the largest (and our favorite) option is Discovery Park. Located a quick 15 minute Uber from downtown, Discovery Park boasts 534 acres and dozens of trails. Feel free to get lost, though we recommend you eventually find your way to the lighthouse at the northwest tip of the park. (And yes, Ubers will drive out to the lighthouse to get you after. We’ve run tests.)
Feeling a little more adventurous? Why not hop on one of Seattle’s many ferries for a (nearly) free aquatic tour of the harbor. We recommend heading over to Bainbridge, only a thirty minute ride away, which offers a number of cute breweries and restaurants. And bring your camera; the return trip offers up breathtaking views of the full cityscape, with Mt. Rainer in the background- impossible to get otherwise without chartering your own yacht.
Feeling even more adventurous? Get out of the city for a day hike in Snoqualme [National] Park. Why Snoqualme? Well, it’s name for starters (that’s pronounced Snow-qual-me). Also the numerous trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty bring you through truly rustic evergreen forest, complete with mountain lake and sweeping views. Whatever your level of ambition, you can find the right fit here.
And if you recognize the name Snoqualme for another reason, then a) you’re our pop-culture sister, and b) you’re spot on, this is the real world location of David Lynch’s fictional Twin Peaks. The town is a quick drive from the national park. The town itself is also, well, kinda boring; however, we do recommend grabbing a meal (and maybe a massage) at the Salish Lodge and Spa, where you can also check out that amazing waterfall from the opening credits.
Seattle is known for music, and rightfully so. There are too many great venues, and too many great bands (local and touring) playing, to list here. (We recommend checking out Seattle staple The Stranger’s music calendar to see what’s going on when you’re in town).
If music is your thing but a show isn’t in the cards, we suggest swinging by iconic Seattle indie station KEXP. To call KEXP indie is, in fact, a little misleading. It’s an institution, with avid followers and fans well beyond the Seattle, and it recently moved to a larger space off Seattle center, and now offers a beautiful community workspace, complete with top-shelf espresso offerings (coffee offerings to be discussed in a future update to this guide), plenty of room to hangout and watch- yes watch- the DJs through a large window into the sound booth as they put on their shows in real time. KEXP also offers daily tours, live sessions open by reservation to the public, and frequent live sets by serious bands who drop by to promote their albums and pay their respects.
Proceed with caution, but if you want to follow up a dispensary tour with some brewery hopping, Seattle has you covered (and we’re not here to judge). In the heart of this Hi&Low contributor, a war rages between Portland and Seattle for brewery capitol of the world, but we digress; there is no question that both the quantity and quality of breweries in just about every Seattle neighborhood is top-shelf.
Forced to choose, we recommend Fremont. It’s hip, it’s walkable, and it boasts one of Seattle’s highest concentration of microbrew options.
In particular, on a sunny afternoon get started at the large outdoor “urban beer garden” of the Fremont Brewing Company. After that, just explore, though don’t miss the chance to check out some of Ballard’s iconic public statuary, including cracked Lenin (actually transported from the former Czechoslovakia in 1993 after having, you know, fallen out of favor) and The Freemont Troll.
Seattle is a cool town. And you should go.
If you do, feel free to shoot us a pic or story on Facebook, we’d love to hear what you think!