Now that the annual AWP conference is just days away, we’re setting our sights on Seattle. In case you’re under the impression that it’s all coffee and mist, here are a few things we think might be fun to do while you’re in town.
When founded in the mid-nineteenth century, Seattle was several stories lower and its buildings were made of wood. After the Great Seattle Fire in 1889, city officials banned wooden structures and decided that instead of rebuilding the city at its original level, they would reconstruct it a story or two higher. What this means to you: you can tour Old Seattle (family-friendly or adult-oriented) and pretend you’ve time-traveled 150 years and live in the seedy underbelly of the American West.
(photo © Dougtone via Flickr Creative Commons)
If you’re the type to venture off the beaten path, you might want to do some exploring and find Seattle’s Sound Garden—yes, the band is named after it. It’s one of five public artworks located on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA) campus, overlooking Lake Washington and adjacent to Magnusson Park. It’s an installation of hollow metal pipes that spin, whistle, and howl as wind blows through them. The effect is said to be beautiful, eerie, and maybe even a little supernatural.
Since 9/11, access has been limited, but the campus is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (Entry is allowed till 3:30 p.m.). It’s free, but you’ll need to bring a photo ID to get in, and be prepared to have your bags searched.
(photo © The Kozy Shack via Flickr Creative Commons)
Need fresh air? A break from 15,000 of your closest friends swarming the convention center? Why not take a picnic to an old gas plant? The plant, originally built to generate gas from coal, was made obsolete in the 1950s when the city began importing natural gas. In 1975, it was turned into a park, which sits on Lake Union and provides a lovely, sweeping view of the city.
(photo © analixa via Flickr Creative Commons)
And on Friday night, stop by our Astoria to Zion release party with Milkweed Editions and Ecotone! The Sorrento Hotel is just a short walk from the convention center, and the event will feature readings by Ben Fountain, Brock Clarke, Cary Holladay, and Rebecca Makkai. Drinks and snacks are free (while they last), and the cityscape view from the Sorrento penthouse is a must-see.