Splashes of blue and green dot the aisles. To the left, tufted number 12 beanies and war paint. To the right, a family with matching fluffy feather scarves. It’s pretty obvious this is no ordinary sailing on the Victoria Clipper… it’s gameday weekend in the Emerald City!!

The cabin of the Seattle-bound vessel brims with team spirit as the engines fire up in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. It is all smiles as eyes meet and quick nods are exchanged in acknowledgement we’re all rooting for the same team. During peak football season, there’s no easier way to visit the bustling city than by water. The snarling game day traffic and parking woes fade away, leaving nothing to dampen the spirit of the day. Get your team together and use this guide as a playbook to create the perfect Seahawks weekend in Seattle. Go Hawks!

Discover Seattle

Stay

Once you’ve landed in Seattle, head downtown and shop a little at Westlake Center before hopping on the Link Light Rail. Once those automated doors close, it’s a straight shot to the Red Lion Hotel, just a short walk from the SeaTac Airport station. Drop your bags off inside your cozy room and take a quick tour of your new home base for the weekend.

Spacious rooms at the Red Lion Seattle Airport Hotel offer every amenity you might need during your stay. Credit: Red Lion
Spacious rooms at the Red Lion Seattle Airport Hotel offer every amenity you might need during your stay. Credit: Red Lion

Pop downstairs to Gregory’s Lounge, where you’ll not only enjoy breakfast, but also a neighborhood favorite for dinner or a drink. If you have a few minutes to spare, stop by the hotel’s Whidbey Coffee for a cup of joe and conversation with the barista before hopping back on the Light Rail to explore the rest of Seattle.

Play

With eight stops between the hotel and the gridiron, Seattle’s Link Light Rail makes it easy to explore much of the city on foot.  Pay a visit Columbia City, where a short five minute walk from that station will land you in one of the most diverse zip codes in the entire country. Discover Hawaiian fusion at Super Six, catch a flick at the historic Ark Lodge Cinemas on Rainier Ave South or stop by the Northwest African American Museum.

The 98118 Sandwich at Super Six, complete with harissa smothered seared spam. Credit: Ryan.G. via Yelp
The 98118 Sandwich at Super Six, complete with harissa smothered seared spam. Credit: Ryan.G. via Yelp

A couple stops to the north, the International District/Chinatown Station puts you in the middle of one of the densest neighborhoods. Walk through the entrance of the historic 45-foot Chinatown Gate and you’ll find countless gift shops, restaurants and cafes in the area. Uwajimaya market bursts with tasty eats and the Wing Luke Museum, with its Bruce Lee exhibit and other regional Asian Pacific American cultural stories, is a must-see.

Seattle's International Chinatown District is a must-see for any traveling photographer. Credit: Instagrammer @uncagedcrane
Seattle’s International Chinatown District is a must-see for any traveling photographer. Credit: Instagrammer @uncagedcrane

Continue all the way downtown on the light rail and walk up and out into the heart of the city! Explore Pike Place Market’s newest addition, the MarketFront expansion, which offers up more space for local crafts and produce. (A little insider tip: For something different, skip the line at the original Starbucks and head to the stylish Storyville Coffee for a pour over). After your caffeine fix, head downhill to the waterfront for some antique thrifting at the Seattle Antiques Market, a stop at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, a spin on the impressive Seattle Great Wheel or a trip to the Seattle Aquarium.

Baked goodies and warm mugs are in no short supply at Pike Place Market’s Storyville Coffee. Credit: Flickr/ruthanddave
Baked goodies and warm mugs are in no short supply at Pike Place Market’s Storyville Coffee. Credit: Flickr/ruthanddave

Eat

It’s no secret Seattle takes its food scene seriously. With new restaurants popping up every week, there’s a mouth-watering joint nearby in whichever neighborhood you visit. In the downtown core, you can’t miss The Pink Door, a cozy space nestled in Pike Place’s magical Post Alley. Just a few blocks over on University and Fourth, Purple Café’s lofty, modern vibe and impressive wine tower never disappoint.

Purple Cafe’s central wine tower and staircase are the centerpiece of the room. Credit: Flickr/tomspix
Purple Cafe’s central wine tower and staircase are the centerpiece of the room. Credit: Flickr/tomspix

Of course, when it comes to seafood, Seattle is chock-full of opportunities for feasting on fresh Northwest ingredients. Check out John Sundstrom’s Lark for phenomenal Lopez Island oysters or Alaska-caught spot prawns. If you’re eager for oysters, Taylor Shellfish is another excellent spot for sampling sumptuous shellfish. With seafood bars in SODO, Capitol Hill and Queen Anne, the restaurant is a welcome addition to Seattle’s diverse seafood-scape.

Fresh Northwest oysters as far as the eye can see at Taylor Shellfish. Credit: Hana B. via Yelp
Fresh Northwest oysters as far as the eye can see at Taylor Shellfish. Credit: Hana B. via Yelp

Sip

Wash down those bites with some local Seattle brews, it is fall after all! In addition to its section 309 stand in Century Link, Elysian Brewing has an ultra-popular bar on Pike and Second. Enjoy everything from bread and spreads to full course meals with your glass or flight. (A little insider tip: sip on their Spacedust IPA or Men’s Room Red to get a taste of a few local favorites).

Five fine IPA’s at Elyisan Brewing, including local favorite Night Owl 3rd from right and seasonal Pumpkin Porter left on tray. Credit: Flickr/hollyking
Five fine IPA’s at Elyisan Brewing, including local favorite Night Owl 3rd from right and seasonal Pumpkin Porter left on tray. Credit: Flickr/hollyking

Another excellent spot to grab a brew or two is at Tap House Grill, up on Pike and Sixth. With more than 160 beers on tap, as well as jambalaya, steak and sushi you are sure to find something to whet your whistle. If you are up for a hike, head to Westland Distillery’s First Street location, just beyond the Starbucks headquarters. It’s worth the trip; the new Cantilever Room is the perfect setting for a cocktail or whiskey tasting with friends.

SODO gem Westland Distillery offers the neighborhood’s best whiskey tasting. Credit: Mitzi A. via Yelp
SODO gem Westland Distillery offers the neighborhood’s best whiskey tasting. Credit: Mitzi A. via Yelp

Game Time!

Come game day, the Hawk Alley Tailgate is the place you want to be. Known for its live music and brewery sponsors, it’s the center of the Seahawks spirit! Be sure to swing by The Beast Bus, a British double-decker dressed up in blue and green and sporting speakers, flat screens and authentic Seahawks memorabilia. It’s basically one big rolling tribute to the team. We also recommend visiting the WaMu Theater Expo Hall to check out more Seahawks gear, as well as exciting performances and games.

The Beast Bus! Catch it at the Hawk Alley Tailgate every game day. Credit: Beast Bus Facebook page
The Beast Bus! Catch it at the Hawk Alley Tailgate every game day. Credit: Beast Bus Facebook page

Once you’ve had your fill of beer, barbeque, brats and pre-game rituals, weave through the lines of fans and into Century Link Stadium to claim your seats. Join in the rush of cheers from your fellow 12s throughout the entire stadium. “SEA!” “HAWKS!” “SEA!” “HAWKS!” as players fill the field. We won’t predict this year’s season, but if last year is any sign, it’s gearing up to be a good one!

Game time! Enjoy sweeping views of CenturyLink field and the Seahawks as the crowd roars all around. Credit: Dale Ryan
Game time! Enjoy sweeping views of CenturyLink field and the Seahawks as the crowd roars all around. Credit: Dale Ryan

If you’re lucky enough to witness the Hawks win, exit the stadium under a shower of fireworks and cap your night off with a celebratory pint at Hooverville Bar and Henry’s Tavern. Or, sample a seasonal flight at the original Pyramid Brewing Alehouse, just across First Street from Safeco Field. From there it’s an easy light rail trip back to the hotel for the night. In the morning, hop back on the Clipper for a ride home, but not before one last look at the Seattle skyline as you skim over Puget Sound.

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Feature Photo: flickr/antrover

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