I’ve never been to Chicago but I can definitely recommend Seattle! The city is very laid-back. It’s easy to get around. The EMP is worth a visit for rock n’ roll fans. Be sure to visit Easy Street Records for some cd shopping. I’d recommend seattlest.com and seattleweekly.com to see about the events on the days you’ll visit. Seattle has a lot to offer the tourist! You’ll love it. :)
Like Anne Mari, I haven’t been to Chicago, but Seattle is pretty wonderful. I’m not sure what you mean by “alternative”, but it is the birthplace of Grunge Rock, and based on the comments above, I’d agree that you’d have plenty to do. Unfortunately you will probably be rained on – in May and June I got lucky (I was there for 6 weeks for work) that it was GORGEOUS.
Basically, I’d say go to Seattle because it’s a really unique place that’s probably a lot more interesting/different than you might expect.
Oh, and ask someone about the Lusty Lady while you’re there :)
Seattle Rock City!
A few good record stores are Singles Going Steady, Sonic Boom Records, Holy Cow Records (in the Pike Place Market) and Jive Time Records (in Fremont). Easy Street Records has two locations, also.
The more “alternative” areas would be Capitol Hill (center of hipster life in Seattle), Ballard (still hip but with a little less pretense), and possibly the University District. You should find plenty of record stores, guitar stores (see the Trading Musician store near the U District), bars, clubs, music venues, mustached kids on bikes, etc.
Seattle has a diverse food scene. Much has been written about it and I don’t pretend to know everything. Two easy to access venues for good, cheap, and unique food are Chinatown and the Pike Place Market.
Hope this helps!
I’ve LIVED in both Chicago and Seattle, and depending on when you’re going, be sure to consider the weather, too… but between them, for music, Seattle. Ballard has great LIVE music, Easy Street and Sonic are great music shops… basically everyone hit it spot on with Seattle. Chicago is extremely diverse culturally, but when you get very far out of downtown, you’re in white suburbia overall — still, downtown has plenty to do, just not… not much on music. The best entertainment in Chicago has got to be Blue Man Group… by a long shot. If you go to Skokie or other area’s “last minute ticket sales” spots in Chicago, you’ll be getting great seats to shows for nothing… but if you want to constantly be in an art zone, Seattle is much better between those 2 (Though I’d have to remind you that Detroit was Rock City, Cleveland, too, then Philadelphia, Boston/NYC… they just aren’t very touristy save the last pair!)
Incidentally, food in Chicago trumps Seattle about 30 times over. Sorry, Seatown, but for a few days, you will be fine; Seattle’s very expensive (minimum wage is the highest in the nation so you pay for it everywhere: expensive groceries, expensive EVERYthing). The “Chinatown” in Seattle still doesn’t touch Chicago’s, either, but you didn’t ask about international cuisine (though Seattle has one of only a few, DC and NYC having the others, Afghan restaurants, and it is amazingly good).
As a past Seattle resident & someone who has visited Chicago, I would recommend Seattle for what you’re looking for. It’s the epitome of the “alternative city.” Easy Street Records is the best record store ever; there are 2 in the city – one in the Queen Anne neighborhood & one in West Seattle. The Stranger is also a great weekly paper that updates you on events going on throughout the week and also has reviews of restaurants & bars around the city. You can check out the website ahead of time: www.thestranger.com
Seattle would be my choice. Look at this for inspiration –
Pike Place Market – http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/frameset.asp?flash=true
Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Jimi Hendrix,
I went over in 2002. Brilliant! But for living some 5,000 miles away, I’d be over every weekend.
Honestly, if you’re coming to the West coast, visit Portland… Seattle is cool but way touristy and pretty lame.
You guys are ace! Thanks so much for all the info. Seattle sounds like our kind of city. LOVE the rain, LOVE Sub Pop. Oh, and by
‘alternative’ I mean punk/rockabilly/grunge etcetc.
My boy is mad for guitars, so all those places you have listed Lifeluvver will keep him out of trouble!
I’ve already been to Chicago, but my boy wants to go as he believes it’s a blues city…but I didn’t really see any blues there, mainly jazz. I think he’s sold on Seattle now. Don’t know why, but it’s always been a city I want to visit.
Thanks again all!
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