10 biggest lies guidebooks will tell you about Washington
1. Pioneer Square is the “hip” neighborhood.
Don’t go there. It’s full of overpriced restaurants like McCoy’s and parking is impossible. Head to the outskirts of the city to Fremont instead to get the true, laid-back vibe at local bars like Outlander.
2. Bring your umbrella, rain jacket, and rain boots since it always rains.
Hearing this is one of the biggest pet peeves Washingtonians have. Most days a light rain jacket will get you from South Lake Union to Belltown just fine.
3. Starbucks is the best place to get coffee.
Don’t get us started. Just because it’s from Seattle doesn’t mean the over-roasted chain is where everyone drinks. Head to Victrola on 15th for your latte fix instead.
4. The Space Needle has the best view of the city.
It may be Seattle’s icon, but the views are not that stunning, particularly on a cloudy day. Head to the Columbia Tower’s observation deck instead where you can overlook the city, Cascade and Olympic Mountains, and Puget Sound.
5. Everyone shops at thrift stores.
We may have that “hipster yet trendy” vibe down, and we’re proud of it. However, unlike Macklemore’s song, we also shop at other places besides Value Village. Try the Horseshoe in Ballard or Bellefleur in Fremont.
6. You can ski in the mountains “just outside” the city.
Contrary to what you see in photos, the mountains are actually a good two to three hours away. Trust me though, it’s more than worth the drive to get to Stevens Pass for the runs. Stop in Leavenworth afterwards for bratwurst and beer.
7. Bumbershoot is the best music festival in the state.
It’s overpriced, overcrowded, and only has a handful of decent artists. Head to Sasquatch at the Gorge instead for a weekend of camping and much better bands.
8. Ride the Ducks.
It’s cheesy and you’ll stand out as a tourist. You’ll find it much more interesting to walk around the Seattle Center, visit the amusement park, see the International Fountain, and grab lunch at MOD Pizza on your own.
9. You can see orca whales just looking out your window.
Those pictures of the whales with the city skyline in the background are from very rare sightings. You most likely will never see whales while eating your clam chowder down at the pier at Ivar’s. In most cases, you have to head hours north to the San Juan Islands on a specific whale-watching boat to actually find them.
10. There’s nothing to do in the winter, so don’t bother visiting.
This is so far from the truth. We’re surrounded by mountains, so you can ski, snowboard, snowshoe, cross-country ski, sled, and much more. Head to Crystal Mountain for some outdoor activities, followed by hot chocolate and a warm meal in the Lodge.