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Aug 1, 2010 04:42 PM

9 hours, 1 person: What to do (and where to eat?) [Leavenworth? Bellingham?]

I have a 9 hour "layover" at SeaTac in a few weeks. Basically, my hiking trip drops everyone at the airport at 12:00, but my flight out isn't until 11 pm. I'd like to fill this time with interesting things to do, and equally importantly, memorable food.


1. I have a car for this time. Anything interesting within a 2 hour radius of SeaTac is fair game: I was thinking of visiting Leavenworth to try some of the Bavarian eats, or Bellingham, if only to check out the funky shops on Railroad Ave.

2. I've been in Seattle/Redmond for 10 weeks, so I've visited a lot of the Seattle 'attractions.' I've been to Pike Place a few times; last time I was there, I had Marionberry frozen yogurt (delicious) and Dungeoness Crab roll at Pike Place Chowder (disappointing). I /would/ like to try some really good seafood.

3. I am traveling solo and will have been hiking for the past three weeks. I'll have showered and put on my usual business casual uniform, but I'm guessing that 'breathtaking scenery' isn't my top priority at that point.


Summary: interesting/memorable places to eat within 2 hours of SeaTac?

Thanks in advance!

Edit: (has anyone noticed that 'edit' means 'he/she/it eats' in Latin?) I realized that it's helpful to give food preferences. I love vegetables and seafood, and pretty much every cuisine besides that of American Steakhouse, which I haven't learned to really appreciate.

Pike Place Chowder
600 Pine St Ste 404, Seattle, WA 98101

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  1. I live just north of Seattle, and been through Leavenworth many times. But it is not the first place that comes to mind when thinking about spending 9 hrs and looking for something interesting to eat. Especially if I had just had my fill of the mountains.

    If you want seafood, how about Xinh's in Shelton
    You could take one of ferries across the Sound (Fauntleroy is closest), and return via the Tacoma Narrows bridge. Or to complete the loop with more ferries, take a small one to the south end of Vashon Island, and return to Fauntleroy at the north end.

    Depending on the time of day, and day of the week, Seattle (and Tacoma) traffic could add half a hour or more to any travels - especially north of Seattle.

    1 Reply
    1. re: paulj

      Xinh's looks so delicious--I love curries and South Asian flavors. Sadly, my excursion has to happen on a Monday, one of the days on which Xinh's is closed.

      If I return to Western Washington, I'll be sure to pay it a visit--thanks for the recommendation, Paul!

    2. Sorry I don't have any suggestions for you, but I would not count on Bellingham or Leavenworth being within a 2-hour window from SeaTac. I live in the south end of Seattle and can vouch for the difficulty of getting through traffic in one direction or the other pretty much anytime. I would say that heading south would be somewhat safer so you don't find your window of time eaten up by frustrating slowdowns, Tacoma excepted.

      1. Take a drive to Gig Harbor. Do a little research on the area and you find some lovely, south Puget Sound areas to see. Have a lovely dinner at Brix 25.

        Brix 25
        7707 Pioneer Way, Gig Harbor, WA 98335

        2 Replies
        1. re: RandyB

          How abut a trip to Salumi in the South part of downtown Seattle to pick up some sandwiches and walk from there to the nearby ferry dock to walk on for a trip across the Sound and back. I think it would fit into your time frame and Salumi is nationally renowned for their Italian salami's and preserved meats, There may be a wait but it usually is not crazy long.

          309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

          1. re: forkit

            Salumi is also a no go on a monday.

            309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Hi everyone!

            I'm now on that long layover. I didn't realize that I'd be taking a 5 hour bus ride from the middle of Oknanogan National Forest (I was on an Outward Bound course) to SeaTac (6:00 am to 11:00 about a final Alpine start), so I decided to just be lazy and drive my rental car to Redmond, WA, the city i called home for 10 weeks prior.

            For my first meal in the front country, I went to Pho Hoa in Redmond, WA, a chain Pho restaurant in a very average suburban plaza, and had a delightful and fully satisfying meal of Pho with tripe, flank, tendon, something, and something else. Here's why:

            1. Pho Hoa is friendly and fast. I went there on a cold and dejecting May afternoon earlier this summer, and the owner's cheerfulness made me comfortable and happy as much as the unguent, flavorful broth and tender, reasonable-lengthed noodles. It vaguely felt that the owner remembered me this time around--even if he didn't, service was still objectively swift and ample.

            2. In the back country, meals were extremely short on fresh green things and fresh meat. This meal had plenty of both: scallions, basil, lime, and all that tender sliced meat.

            3. Huge portions. One can be slightly gluttonous after being in the wilderness.

            Now I'm trying to figure out what to eat for dinner :)