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Getting Around Seattle
Hotel Reservations | Travel to the Event

Updated September 5, 2018

Around the City

Seattle was founded in the 1860s and saw major timber industry in its early days — the term “Skid Row” comes from Seattle, originally Yesler Way, the road that trees were pulled down from the hills to the lumber mills — as well as being a major step-off point for the Alaskan gold rush.  Today, it is noted for its beautiful landscapes and outdoor tourist activities, plus noted sports teams (Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders, and Storm), software and online shopping companies (Microsoft, Amazon, Zillow, and many more), and of course, coffee (Starbucks) and microbrews.

The architecturally unique Seattle Public Library is just a block away from the host hotel.  Two blocks away is the 5th Avenue Theater, which presents plays and Broadway-style musicals year round; the Paramount Theatre is also in walking distance.  Three blocks north is the edge of Seattle’s downtown shopping core, with major stores and a huge selection of lunch and dinner options.  (Many dining options are within just a couple blocks of the hotel as well, although lunch options may be sparse on Saturday.)  The Seattle Art Museum is just a few blocks away, and the Seattle Center (with the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and MOPOP, the Museum of Popular Culture) is a short ride share away (or walk to Westlake Center and ride the 1960s-era monorail from there!).

A fun tourist option is the viewing platforms in various buildings.   The Sky Tower at Columbia Center — Seattle’s tallest building — and the top of Smith Tower are both in walking distance.   The Space Needle is further away, at the Seatle Center, but is worth the trip with its recent refurbishment, including the entire floor being made of glass now!

Please take note of challenges for parking in Seattle and recommendations for alternatives on this page.

Seattle’s Gayborhood, Capitol Hill

The gay neighborhood in Seattle is centered on Capitol Hill, one-half to one mile up Madison from the hotel — walkable in nice weather, or a short ride share trip.  On Capitol Hill, you will find several gay bars (and many happening straight bars as well), gift shops, leather stores, funky thrift shops, and food of all sorts (from cupcakes to phở).  And check out the new rainbow crosswalks, installed in June 2015.

Rain Country’s home bar, the Cuff Complex, is located on Capitol Hill at 13th Ave. & Pine.  We dance there on Fridays and 1st/3rd/5th Tuesdays.

Seattle has a large and diverse GLBTQ population, including prominent gay sports teams, many gay and lesbian elected officials on the state and city levels, and the second highest percentage of gay and lesbian couples in the country.  In November 2012, Washington was one of three states to formally approve same-sex marriage rights at the ballot box, and the first to enact those marriages.  (We were also one of two states in that election to legalize recreational marijuana use, and there are numerous recreational pot shops open around the city.)

Around the Northwest

Beyond Seattle itself, the Pacific Northwest is an outdoor tourist’s dream, with the glacial-carved and island-dotted Puget Sound right at hand, several national parks close by, and even an active volcano (Mt. St. Helens).  A few hours to the south is Portland, to the north is Vancouver, British Columbia, and across the Cascades to the east is the high desert of Eastern Washington, full of apple orchards, wheat fields, deep river canyons (coulees), and massive hydroelectric dams.