There's a few things that everyone needs to see when they visit Seattle for the first time: the incredible selections at the famous Pike Place Market, the astounding views afforded by the Space Needle, and the relaxing tranquility of Gas Works Park. However, Seattle is home to some wonderfully quirky stops that make for a thrilling day trip though the city. Check out our guide to taking an offbeat road trip through the Emerald City.
Stop 1: Statue of Viking Leif Erickson
Start your trip in Ballard, a rather offbeat little portion of the city already, at the imposing Statue of Viking Leif Erickson. Originally a gift from the Leif Erikson League for the 1962 World’s Fair, the strange statue now stands in honor of the Viking trailblazer that discovered America a full five hundred years before Christopher Columbus. Plus, the surrounding views are the great.
Stop 2: Edith Macefield's Tiny House
In the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, there's a huge shopping mall with a strange hole in the center of the building. Inside that gap sits a tiny house with an amazing story that some say inspired Pixar's UP. Edith Macefield's Tiny House, has become a cherished part of folk legend in the city after the 84-year-old woman who owned it refused to sell her house to developers looking to build a shopping mall. Even as the offers climbed to a million dollars, Edith forced developers to build around her, becoming an anti-gentrification folk hero worthy of festivals and even tattoos in the process.
After Edith passed away, plans were set in motion to save her property as a public park, but until then, you can still see her tiny blue house in the shadow of a shopping mall.
Stop 3: Official Bad Art Museum of Art
The Emerald City has some pretty fantastic art museums, like the The Seattle Art Museum or the Henry Art Gallery, but when it comes to art, beauty is subjective. Unless, of course, you stop into the Official Bad Art Museum of Art, where pretty much everyone can agree that the art really sucks. Admission is free, but you can grab a sandwich and a beer to support the museum.
Stop 4: Archie Mcphee
Yeah, you could buy your friends a Space Needle keychain, but wouldn't they rather have a dress-up Bigfoot or cupcake flavored toothpaste? At Ballard's Archie Mcphee, you can find some of the absolute weirdest novelty toys you've ever seen in a store filled with stuff you don't need at all, but desperately want. Boxing nuns, unicorn horns for your cat, and boxes of old military equipment - you'll buy this stuff to give to friends, but we all know you're going to keep it for yourself.
Stop 5: The Fremont Troll
The big guy hiding underneath the Fremont Bridge might be a little worse for the wear nowadays, but you can't find a much better photo op in Seattle. It's so popular that people sacrifice dead animals to it.
Stop 6: Science Fiction Museum at EMP
The Queen from Aliens, proton packs from Ghostbusters, and blasters from just about any flick you can imagine - they're all here at the Science Fiction Museum at EMP, easily the best science fiction museum in the country. While you're there, make sure to pop next door to the EMP Museum, where you can see relics from some of Seattle's greatest music legends like Nirvana and Jimmy Hendrix.
Stop 7: Haunted Soda Machine
By this point in your trip, you've got to be getting thirsty, and what weirder place to grab a drink than a soda machine stocked by a ghost? This vintage vending machine sits on a lonely street corner and has been baffling locals for years. Not only has no one ever seen someone stock the Haunted Soda Machine, but you can never guess exactly what its buttons, labeled with giant question marks, is going to vend. Spooky!
Stop 8: Market Theater Gum Wall
Tucked away in an alley just off the Pike Place Fish Market lies one of the weirder monuments in all Seattle: the Market Theater Gum Wall, where for years, locals and visitors alike have been sticking their used wads of Bazooka Joe, creating a massive monument to mastication. Head over and stick your own piece of gum on the wall, but beware the smell... it's funky.
Stop 9: Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
One of the weirder shops in the city, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is the proud owner of a shrunken head collection, mermaid corpses, and even Sylvester, one of the best preserved mummies in the world. The best part? They're completely free to see. Be sure to pick up your own shrunken head souvenier while you're there!
Stop 10: Seattle Underground Tunnels
You might not know that the Seattle you visit today is actually built on top of the original streets and storefronts, and on the stellar Seattle Underground Tunnels Tour, you can roam the subterranean passages that few ever get to see. The tour begins inside Doc Maynard’s Public House, a restored 1890s saloon, before taking deep beneath the current roadways to see the former home of Seattle's pioneers.
Stop 11: Alki Liberty
Finally, finish off your day with a trip with a visit to the beautiful Alki Beach, where the first white settlers arrived in the Emerald City way back in November 1851. The beach makes a beautiful place to watch the sunset as you marvel at Seattle's very own Statue of Liberty replica, Alki Liberty, dedicated by the local boy scout troops in the 50's.