Coming to PAX Prime in Seattle? AWESOME!
Some of you live in Seattle or have been to PAX Prime before, so this post may not have a lot of new info for you. This is more for those that are PAX/Seattle newbs. Either way I hope there’s at least one nugget of info that helps you out.
Seattle proper isn’t very big. If you have the legs for hills I suggest you look into walking to your destinations to see more of the city.
Seattle has a decent bus system (Metro and Sound Transit) both on the streets and in the underground tunnels. If you are flying into the city, the LightRail train is around $3 and takes you right through downtown (via the tunnel). Just make sure you buy a ticket from the machine before getting on because they do random ticket checks.
If it’s late, you’re in the outer areas of the city, or you just aren’t seeing taxis drive by then it doesn’t hurt to call one. Be warned that you need to know the actual address of the building you are at or standing in front of or cabs typically won’t come. For some reason the cab services won’t take a call if you only provide the cross streets. Any bar neighborhood will be full of cabs, but if you find yourself downtown you’ll have good luck on 4th or 5th Ave. Seeing as the city will be full of tourists it shouldn’t be that hard to find a taxi. All taxis in Seattle take credit card, but make sure you ask them when you get in or they may try to tell you cash only when you get to your destination. It’s not a problem unless you’re like me and never carry cash on you.
Though if your destination is within a mile or so I’d say save the $6 to $10 and just walk. Seattle is actually quite awesome and if you are visiting why would you give up the chance to take in some sights and sounds personally?
I haven’t used it yet, but you may also want to look into Uber which runs here.
Want to do the really nerdy tourist things while in town? Don’t overbook yourself since I’d suggest hitting up the smaller, more personal experiences (dive bar with friends), but it doesn’t hurt to check out what puts Seattle on the map.
Pike Place Market – 10am to 6PM – 1st & Pike in Downtown Seattle
If you don’t go here in your once a year trek to Seattle then you fail. That’s all I gotta say. It may be crowded, but this is a Seattle staple. Awesome food, fresh flowers, a comic shop, etc. What else could you ask for?
Experience Music Project (EMP) and Science Fiction Museum – Open Daily 10am-7pm – 325 5th Avenue North
An interesting combo that will easily eat an entire morning or afternoon.
Seattle Underground Tour (@TourUnderground)– 10am to 7PM – 608 1st Ave (Pioneer Square)
Want a slightly different experience? Then this is for you. Do this with a group of friends! You’ll learn more about the city’s history on this one than probably any other tour in Seattle and the tour guides are funny and quirky. $15 per person ($12 for teens/college ID).
Seattle Space Needle – 9am to Midnight – 400 Broad Street (Kind of hard to miss, and it’s right next to the EMP/SFM)
I haven’t been in the Space Needle yet, but I hear the view is awesome.
Seattle Ducks – Check the website for hours and info
This is a land AND sea tour of Puget Sound. This would be a GREAT one for you and a group of friends to do together. A bit more expensive per person, but it is a 90 minute long tour.
Woodland Park Zoo – 9AM to 6PM – 601 North 59th Street
Your typical zoo and as long as it isn’t raining you should have a great time.
Seattle Aquarium – 9:30AM to 6PM (last entry is 5PM) – 1483 Alaskan Way
Seattle Mariners Baseball – Check the website
Seattle Sounders Soccer – Unfortunately there are no home games during PAX this year.
Magic Mouse Toys – 603 1st Ave
Not really a Seattle tourist attraction. I just think this place is rad. It’s near the Underground Tour.
Pacific Place – A shopping center that’s a little fancier than Westlake Center at 632 Pine St with an AMC Theater. There is also a Regal Theater on 7th Ave not far from the Convention Center.
Food and Chilling:
Before I get to the cool hangouts, there is a grocery store about four blocks from the convention center. It’s underground but there’s a big sign that says “IGA Kress Supermarket” at 3rd and Pike St. It’s near a Walgreen’s (222 Pike Street) AND the Pike Place Market so you could probably get everything you need in one well planned trip. There is a tiny convenience store (Clay’s Market) next door to the Convention center at the corner of 8th and Pike.
Yes, we have a lot of Starbucks. We know.
If you have the time and energy I would say you cab (or walk) up to the Belltown or Capitol Hill areas of Seattle. Their bars tend to have a little more character than a franchise. You can look for places using these handy guides: Stranger Bar Guide and Stranger Restaurant Guide
The following are some places I’ve been to and really liked. Apologies to the under age who may not be able to visit some of these yet. Also, be responsible while drinking, especially in an unfamiliar city. (Duh)
Manhattan Drugs - 1419 12th Ave – Pork Belly Mac & Cheese and cornbread to die for. Drinks are always good there. I go here a couple times a month and it’s rarely packed.
Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub – 1916 Post Alley – Great food in a building that used to be a mortuary. Allegedly haunted. The lamb is amazing there.
Shorty’s Pinball Arcade and Bar – 2222 Second Ave – Pinball hall with two bars (lounge in the back) and some tasty bar food/snacks
PoDog Hot Dogs (@podog) – 1009 E Union St – Best damn hot dogs I’ve ever had. Dare you to try the peanut butter and banana dog.
Lunchbox Laboratory – Another fantastic burger (excellent milkshakes too!)
Quinn’s – 1001 East Pike Street – One of my personal favorites located in Cap Hill district (ten to fifteen minute walk from Con Center)
Honey Hole – 703 E. Pike Street – Sweet little bar with fantastic sandwiches
Tavern Law - 1406 12th Avenue – It has a speakeasy theme to it and makes some of the best classic drinks (warning: pricey)
Garage – 1130 Broadway Ave – HUGE venue with pool tables and bowling.
Dahlia Lounge – 2001 4th Avenue – Breakfast and lunches are reasonably priced and would be a great place to take a date. All the Tom Douglas restaurants are highly recommended by everyone I know.
Stumptown Coffee – 616 East Pine – Unless you hit the original Starbucks in Pike Place market then Starbucks, Tully’s, and Seattle’s Best are basically all the same. Stumptown has a more relaxed, less corporate attitude and don’t serve those fancy “candybar in a cup” drinks. You go here to drink coffee and read a book or chat with friends.
Bauhaus Coffee - 301 e pine street – Another nice little coffee shop where you can relax with a laptop or book
It’s sad that I have to say this, but bathe every morning or at the end of the day. Seriously. Doesn’t take much for our geek collective to produce a katamari ball of odor.
Put your phone number in a visible place inside your wallet, backpack, etc. Sometimes you lose things, but not everyone is a criminal. Make sure that if a good samaritan finds it they can contact you. Put your email or a friend’s phone number on the lock screen of your phone so someone can contact you if they find it.
A messenger bag or backpack just for your swag is a good idea. Use it for swag, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Just be aware of others when you carry it around the show floor so you don’t hit others with it.
Try adopting the fist bump. Shaking hands is great, but I’ve gotten sick the last three conventions. Use hand sanitizer and if you explain why you aren’t shaking hands I don’t think anyone will be offended.
Charge your phone whenever you are taking a break. It is insane how fast your phone battery dies at a convention when you are texting, Tweeting, and using GPS all the time. I plan on using Twitter as my main communication for finding places to chill as long as it’s not overloaded.
If you see a newspaper dispenser with Seattle Weekly or The Stranger in it, grab one. They are free local lifestyle “newspapers” that get published weekly here in Seattle. They are a good source of local color commentary and tips on good concerts and bars to hit up. Grab one as soon as you can. At the very least you’ll get a good idea of the general attitude of Seattle is like. Be warned that there are ads throughout for medicinal marijuana, “gentlemen” clubs, and escort ads in the back. The articles are probably okay for a young teen, but you may want to remove a couple pages first before giving it to a child.
If you are serious about getting a job in the industry and want to network at PAX then it’s not a bad idea to bring your resume along. Just remember that most people are either working at PAX or using it as their chance to relax. Most people in this industry are willing to give you a moment of their time, but do not push the issue too hard or you will be “that guy”. Check it: Effective Networking.
Hope you all have a great time at PAX and get to see a little of what makes this city so great.