Seattle With Teens in Tow: Top attractions for families visiting the Emerald City

Seattle With Teens in Tow

Top attractions for families visiting the Emerald City

By: Tiffany Owens
Want to experience Seattle, but bringing your teenagers along? They are the perfect age to enjoy cultural offerings, coffeehouses, and outdoor recreation. Here are some teen-approved excursions you’ll enjoy, too.
Seattle Center
Next door to the Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) houses the largest collection of music memorabilia from Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain/Nirvana, and many iconic bands of the grunge era. It also offers outdoor concerts at the Mural and at the indoor Sky Church, free for all ages.
Also at Seattle Center, check out world-renowned KEXP radio station’s free-entry Gathering Space to see DJs spin on-air or watch live, in-studio musical performances by national and local acts. Nearby, stop by La Marzocco Café and museum for baked goods and specialty coffees.
Coffee Culture
While Starbucks was born at Pike Place Market in 1971, it’s the local, independent coffee shops that serve up the true Seattle flavor and experience.
Notable coffeehouses to try in and around downtown include: Caffé D’arte, Zeitgeist Coffee, Café Racer, Slate Coffee Roasters, or Seattle Meowtropolitan, the city’s first cat café.
Explore Outdoors
On sunny days, take a 12-minute water-taxi cruise across Elliott Bay to West Seattle (hourly departures from Pier 55 at the downtown waterfront). You can rent bikes or stroll along the 2.5-mile boardwalk at Alki Beach Park for panoramic views of the city skyline, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains.
Or, head to the sandy shores of Golden Gardens Park in Ballard for beach volleyball, bonfires, and spectacular sunsets.
Downtown
Teen foodies will enjoy sampling flavorful delicacies at restaurants in the Chinatown-International District, from Vietnamese satay at Tamarind Tree to traditional Cantonese dim sum at Jade Garden. Nearby Wing Luke Museum showcases an exhibition on the life and films of former resident and martial arts master Bruce Lee.
Afterward, stop by the Seattle Pinball Museum, where the price of admission grants unlimited play on 50-plus vintage pinball machines.
IF YOU GO
Getting around town: Skip the 30-minute cab ride from SeaTac airport. Instead, hop the quick Link Light Rail and go downtown for $3. Also, avoid parking headaches at the Space Needle by catching the Seattle Center Monorail from Westlake Center downtown, which departs every 10 minutes from both stations.
Souvenirs: Try Archie McPhee’s novelty shop in Wallingford or browse the funky clothes and handicrafts by 100-plus local designers at the year-round Fremont Sunday Market.

 

Beyond Bourbon Street: In Search of Historic Hideaways + Hidden Haunts in New Orleans

There’s the New Orleans stories that everyone knows, like Mardi Gras and Marie LaVeau, and then there’s the hundreds of lesser-known storiesthe ones that remain just out of sight, as if wiping away a fine layer of paint or dust to reveal an unexpected work of art underneath.

Sometimes, they take a bit of detective work to uncoverporing over dusty books in old librariesor, they might present themselves unexpectedly, in a most unlikely place. It’s these latter, usually untold stories, that pique my interest and keep me returning to the city again and again.

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I’ve been fascinated with New Orleans for as long as I can remember, the multi-layered history, the slightly edgy, gothic mysteriousness. With the proper research (and proper respect), New Orleans will occasionally let you peek behind the veil, but only on her timetable. She can be a fickle mistress when it comes to revealing her secrets.

I’ve also found that, even if you plan your travel itinerary (or story idea) to a “T,” New Orleans will also invariably have other ideas for you. During my last visit, I had planned to investigate and write about modern-day voodoo culture, but New Orleans wasn’t having it. She created missed interview connections and showed me that (with the exception of Sallie Ann Glassman and Nicole at Erzuli’s), the inner city’s voodoo culture has mostly gone the touristy curio route. But all the while, New Orleans kept steering me toward other interesting, albeit lesser-known, places and stories to pursue, which were happening right under our noses, just waiting to be delved into.

As such, here’s a few new favorite, recently discovered hidden gems. Anyone that’s looking for a one-of-a-kind experience would do well to include these 3 places on their next sojourn to The Big Easy, especially if visiting with a group.

Click here to read the article in its entirety on Modern-Day Nomads.

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In the heart of O’Keeffe Country, Abiquiu offers a unique glimpse into New Mexico’s beauty

Rio Chama, Abiquiu, New Mexico | Photo: Tiffany Owens, ModernDayNomads.com

Rio Chama, Abiquiu, New Mexico | Photo: Tiffany Owens, ModernDayNomads.com

Abiquiu (AH-bi-kyoo) is an artist enclave and historic village, surrounded by juniper and sage canyonlands of incredible natural beauty. It also has been touted as having the best hiking in all of New Mexico. Settled in 1754 atop ruins of an ancient Tewa pueblo, according to locals, Abiquiu was named for the “northern-most” location one could travel and be protected by the Spanish army.

Georgia O’Keeffe and her paintings of its striking landscapes put the small town on the map, and artists and travelers have been inspired by the shifting hues on the Rio Chama and colorful cliffs throughout history. About 48 miles north of Santa Fe, there’s no shortage of natural attractions to explore around Abiquiu. Here are five of the top must-sees.

Ghost Ranch
A 21,000-acre retreat and education center, Ghost Ranch is where Georgia O’Keeffe had her summer home. Take a trail ride to see the landscapes that inspired her, or hike to Chimney Rock for a spectacular bird’s-eye view.

Plaza Blanca
Near Abiquiu lies an anomalous outcropping of enormous white limestone formations that look like something that would be found in a lunar canyon. Plaza Blanca, or “The White Place,” as O’Keeffe called it, inspired O’Keeffe’s painting series and countless movies have been filmed on site. To get there from New Mexico state Route 554, take County Road 155, and use the Dar al Islam main entrance road.

Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert
The most remote monastery in the Western Hemisphere, Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert, is only accessible by a winding 13-mile dirt road through the Santa Fe National Forest, but the panoramic views are worth the trip. Visit the chapel, meditation garden, or gift shop selling monk-made coffee, honey, and Belgian-style ales.

Abiquiu Lake
Spanning 5,200 acres, Abiquiu Lake has recreation facilities for picnicking, hiking, swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing, and camping surrounded by vermillion sandstone cliffs.

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs
Dip into the soothing baths at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, one of the oldest spas in the country. The mineral springs at the foot of the mountain are famous for their rejuvenating, healing waters. The combination of lithium, sodium, iron, arsenic, and soda mineral waters of Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Indulge in a private pool with cliffside views and a crackling Kiva fireplace, creating the perfect atmosphere for stargazing soaks.

Where to stay: Conveniently located on U.S. Route 84, Abiquiu Inn makes an ideal hub for exploring. It has 25 comfortably appointed casitas and rooms with Kiva fireplaces and is next door to the O’Keeffe Home and Studio tour office. Year-round camping for $10/night and scenic slot canyon hiking can be found at nearby Echo Amphitheater. Or find rustic guestrooms, plus tent and RV campsites at Ghost Ranch.

Where to eat: Services are few in Abiquiu, but that’s the point. Cafe Abiquiu (at Abiquiu Inn) is the only bistro-style restaurant, with a newly expanded patio to enjoy seasonally inspired fare. Gelato or scones and tea make for a great midday break at the Purple Adobe Lavender Farm and Tea House. Grab a pizza or subs at Mamacita Pizzeria. Stock up on fuel and camping supplies at historic Bode’s General Store, open since 1893.

Read the article in its entirety in the September 2015 issue of Arizona Highroads magazine.