Top critical review
on 6 October 2015
Unusually for a Lonely Planet – the only other example is its guide to Montreal & Quebec – this is something of a disappointment. I already knew a little about Seattle before I went and so had a few things I knew I’d like to do, but this didn’t add much to the sum total.
Discovery Park, for example, is an excellent city-based natural space, with ample walkways but nothing by way of amenities such as refreshments, unlike, say, Stanley Park in Vancouver. It has two car parks, North at the far end and South at the entrance, and offers magnificent views over Puget Sound, the Olympic Peninsula and, in one or two places, Mount Rainier. It is also the site of an old military base. I only got about half of that from LP. The rest I got myself. The write-up in LP is a little dull, and doesn’t really recommend the park as much as it deserves.
Likewise the Chittenden Locks in Ballard, a couple of miles away. This is a real piece of theatre, not only watching the Locks themselves, but also the men who are directing the boats, whose no-nonsense demeanour is an object lesson in how to maintain the safety of large numbers of people in a confined, potentially hazardous space. No sense of the drama is conveyed by LP, though.
Same for the EMP Museum, surely the coolest museum in the world with its Sci Fi and Fantasy relics and exhibitions dedicated to the Seattle Seahawks (not my team, but a good exhibit nonetheless), the history of the guitar, Hendrix and, especially, Nirvana. But after reading LP I almost didn’t go. It was only on the recommendation of a local that I did.
As for hotels, you’ll probably find the internet more useful, and it’s way too biased towards the currently trendy micobrew beers to be of any use to me when it comes to restaurants. None of the ones I ate at are mentioned, leading me to the conclusion it’s best to walk the streets and find your own.
On the upside, the maps are pretty good, although I found the local giveaways more useful for downtown Seattle, and the pullout map doesn’t even extend to Discovery or the Locks.
Based on the information it makes available, I would recommend the more concise Top 10 Seattle over this. Neither is brilliant, but Top 10 is cheaper!