Explore These Unusual Seattle Attractions: 14 Quirky Places to See
If you're visiting Seattle and looking for something fun and exciting to do, there are tons of quirky and unusual sites to check out!
Whether you are visiting Seattle for the first time, a frequent visitor, or a native of the city and looking for something new and exciting to do, there are tons of unusual sites to check out.
For the intellectuals, history buffs, and artists there are quite a few unorthodox museums, libraries, historical sites, and artistic sites that are sure to capture your attention including the Bettie Page House, the UPS Waterfall Garden, the Seattle Metaphysical Library, The Giant Shoe Museum, Wallingford Wall of Death, and the Official Bad Art Museum of Art.
If museums and sculptures aren’t something you’re into, and/or you’re just looking for something else fun and quirky to do there are lots of other cool sites in Seattle to check out as well. There’s the Post Alley Gum Wall, The Fremont Troll, Nevertold Casket Company, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, and Steve’s Weird House.
If you’re looking for a cool place to stop and get a drink there’s the Mystery Soda Machine and Hale’s Palladium, a brewery and part-time theater, and there’s also Bob’s Java Jive, which is a bar and restaurant that features live music.
Libraries, Museums & Art
Seattle Metaphysical Library
Located in the basement of the Kress Building next to a bread bakery, the Seattle Metaphysical Library, also known as the As-You-Like-It Library, was first established in 1961 and advertises itself as “an underground library specializing in underground knowledge.” It is home to over 13,000 books and hundreds of CD’s, DVD’s, audio and video tapes, magazines, and newspaper clippings on a wide range of subjects including parapsychology, shamanism, magic, and UFO’s, and many other topics pertaining to the metaphysics and spirituality.
Address: 2220 NW Market St, L-05 Seattle, WA 98107
The Giant Shoe Museum
Home to the giant shoe collection of Danny Eskenazi, the Giant Shoe Museum can be found inside Pike Place Market. The exhibit has a vintage look and feel to it, resembling a classic circus sideshow and, while not exactly a museum, allows viewers a peek at displays of various large shoes through old-fashioned viewing slots for only a few quarters. Among the shoes featured in the display is a size 37 shoe that was worn by Robert Wadlow, the world’s tallest man.
Address: 1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101
Wallingford Wall of Death
Despite the ominous name, the Wallingford Wall of Death is not actually dangerous, and in fact it is not a wall but a sculpture. Erected in 1993, the sculpture was meant to be a representation of the “wall of death” structure often featured in car and motorcycle stunts. It can be found under the University Bridge next to the Burke-Gilman Trail and Northeast 40th St in the University District of Seattle.
The Official Bad Art Museum of Art
Located inside Seattle’s Café Racer, the Official Bad Art Museum of Art, which is also known by its acronym OBAMA, features exactly what it advertises—bad art. From a painting of Mickey Mouse posing next to Mona Lisa to one of dogs playing poker, you’re sure to be entertained, if not by the art then by the music played by a live band called God’s Favorite Beefcake, or by the “Real Art” shows which the museum hosts every month.
Address: 5828 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
The Bettie Page House
In Seattle’s Rowena District just off of I-5 near the 65th Street exit, a painting of famous pin-up girl Bettie Page can be seen on the side of a house. Chris Brugos, the owner of the house and a fan of Bettie’s since his teenage years, commissioned the painting in 2006 as a tribute to the model. Despite the fact that a rain gutter serves as a sensor bar of what would have otherwise been the most risqué portion of the painting—Bettie’s bare chest— Brugos has received his fair share of complaints (mostly anonymous), some of which might be attributed to the fact that his house, and ergo the painting, happen to be right next to a Mormon Church. Fortunately, the complaints haven’t resulted in any permanent form of retribution as most of those who have filed complaints cite the painting as graffiti, a claim which numerous government officials across the city have refuted, maintaining that the painting can be legally classified as art since it was commissioned and paid for.
Nevertold Casket Company
The Nevertold Casket Company, which opened only a year ago in 2014, is a shop that collects rare and unusual items, including such things as toy monkeys, animal bones, and human skulls among other things, all of which are believed to be haunted. Jack and Tiffany Bennett, the owners of the shop, hunt for and collect all of the items on display in the shop themselves, and Jack also hand-carves and sells caskets, including mini-caskets fit for insects.
Address: 1317 East Republican St, Seattle, WA 98102
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Located on Seattle’s waterfront on Alaskan Way, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is a tourist shop that also doubles as a museum. The oldest site on this list, the shop has been around since 1899 and is full of souvenirs and odd artifacts like narwhal tusks, a pig in a jar, a two-headed calf, a four-legged hen, and even a family of “Mer-creatures” (including a Mer-dog). The shop is also home to a pair of American mummies: Sylvester, who as legend goes, is believed to have been found by cowboys in the Arizona desert, and Sylvia, who was found in a cave in Central America and supposedly died of tuberculosis.
Address: 1001 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98104
Steve’s Weird House
If you’re a fan of spooky shops like the Nevertold Casket Co. and Ye Olde Curiosity Shop then I would recommend also visiting Steve’s Weird House. The owner of the house, Steve Bard, who goes by “Weird Steve,” has dedicated his life to turning his Victorian mansion into a private museum full of antiques and other unusual artifacts and exhibits, including wreaths of human hair, two-headed animals, Siamese twin animals, antique medical instruments, funeral paraphernalia, a 25-foot tall replica of Rapunzel’s tower, and much, much more. For more information you can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit or take a virtual tour of the house at http://www.bohonus.com/special-projects/virtual-tour-steves-weird-house/.
Fun Places to Get Drinks
Mystery Soda Machine
Located on the corner of East John Street and 10th Avenue East, the soda machine dispenses drinks for just 75 cents, including Coke, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, and Barq’s, and also featuring a button labeled “Mystery” which dispenses different brands of sodas at random (though none of them include any of the sodas previously named). Mystery button notwithstanding, the machine is also shrouded in mystery, as no one knows when it was erected, who stocks it (since the machine never seems to run out of stock), or who collects the money.
Address: E John St & 10th Ave, Seattle, WA 98102
Hale’s Palladium/Brewery & Pub
Hale’s Palladium is a brewery, which houses seasonal and limited edition beer, and interestingly enough, also occasionally serves as a theater. With high ceilings and enough room to seat 250 guests, the Palladium hosts various shows and performances throughout the year including circus performances and music festivals.
Address: 4301 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA 98107
Bob’s Java Jive
Standing 25 feet high, Bob’s Java Jive is a quaint little bar shaped like a giant coffee pot located just outside of Seattle in Tacoma, Washington. Built in 1927, Bob’s Java Jive was originally named the Coffee Pot Restaurant, but was bought by Bob and Lylabell Radonich in 1955 and renamed the Java Jive after a favorite song of theirs. Doubling as a restaurant, Bob’s Java Jive offers inexpensive food and drinks and not only features live music and DJs, but also hosts karaoke nights seven days a week.
Address: 2102 S Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA 98409
Other Quirky Sites to Visit
The Gum Wall
Perhaps one of the most peculiar (and popular) attractions in Seattle is the Gum Wall, located in Lower Post Alley under the Pike Place Market. If you’re a germophobe or easily grossed out, however, I would recommend skipping this particular attraction because as gross as it seems, the Gum Wall is exactly what it sounds like, a wall full of already-chewed gum left behind by thousands of tourists over the years. Interestingly enough, workers from the Market Theatre next door tried to clean off the wall twice over the years but by 1999 they finally accepted it as an official tourist attraction.
Address: 1428 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101
The Fremont Troll
A fearsome one-eyed creature depicted crushing a car underneath one of his hands, the sculpture of the Fremont Troll, also known as the simply The Troll or the Troll Under the Bridge, is located underneath the Aurora Bridge at North 36th Street and Troll Avenue North. The Troll was originally designed to scare off drug addicts and criminals since the area had become a popular spot for illegal activity. As far-fetched as it sounds, it actually worked because since the troll’s conception in 1990 criminal activity in the area has declined while tourism has increased. Visitors are encouraged to climb the sculpture, take pictures, and even decorate the sculpture for special occasions.
Address: 3405 Troll Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103
The Waterfall Garden Park
A secluded area in Pioneer Square in Seattle, the Waterfall Garden Park is home to a man-made waterfall that marks the original location of what eventually became a nation-wide postage delivery service initially dubbed the American Messenger Company, first established in 1907. The American Messenger Company originally operated out of Seattle until it started expanding to other areas of the country in the 1930s and later changed its name to the United Parcel Service, or UPS, moving its headquarters to Connecticut in 1975. Today the garden continues to be maintained by an organization established by one of the founders of UPS.
Address: 219 2nd Ave South, Seattle, WA 98104
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