Washington is a state of many beautiful things. It can be defined as anything but normal. So the next time you plan your vacation there would you really want to explore it like a tourist and visit the popular clichéd places, or would you like to explore it as a traveler and go where the locals go? Well look no further we bring you a list of top 10 unusual and offbeat places you can only find in Washington!
1) Grab a can out of a Mystery Soda Machine
If you’re a normal human being who likes vending machines, you’ll surely love this one! Seattle’s Mystery Soda Machine is a contraption out of time that dispenses cans of soda for just 75 cents! Isn’t that insane? It is located on the corner of John Street and 10th Avenue East in the heart of Seattle lies the mysterious soda machine. No one knows the origin of it, as it looks like it was directly spat back from the seventies. This modern antique offers a limited selection of drinks with aged plastic buttons offering Coke, Mountain Dew and Pepsi, but the intriguing button marked "Mystery" generally produces none of the above.
2) Walk through the ruins of Seattle’s Underground City
During the 1800’s a fire raged and consumed the wooden buildings in the business district of the city. In the wake of the fire updated building ordinances required the building to be made from stone and brick, and in the process of rebuilding the city, decision was made to raise the city streets out of the swamp. The new city shaped over on the top of the old one, leaving the underground ruins to drug dealers and prostitutes. In 1965 a campaign was launched to save the neglected city by arranging guided tours, which has seen tremendous rise over the years. You can join a walking guided tour which will take you on the Seattle’s sidewalks and streets, exploring the subterranean passages that once were the main roadways and first-floor storefronts of old downtown Seattle.
3) Buy a souvenir from the Ye Old Curiosity Shop
Like the name suggests this shop has abundance of old things (like really old). It was founded in 1899 by Joseph Standley who was an avid collector of Indian and Eskimo artifacts. Since then the shop has been passed down through four generations. Among its numerous wonders the collection includes a large collection of shrunken heads, a walrus skull with three tusks and a pair of famous mummies. Of course we’re not suggesting you to take a cadaver home with you (although that would be cool). But you can surely take home one of their famous fridge magnets!
4) Read a book or paint a painting at the Hall of Mosses
Plucked straight from a Lord of the Rings book, the trail is filled with old trees -- a mixture of temperate big leaf maples and Sitka spruces -- draped in green and brown mosses. Along the main trail there is a particularly other-worldy 200 ft side path which leads to an enchanting grove of giant maple trees, cloaked in hanging moss. It truly is a beautiful sight. Due to the abundance of water and nutrients in the soil of the rainforest, many of the large trees have stunted roots and fall easily during particularly windy storms. This leads The Hall of Mosses to also serve as a graveyard for fallen mossy trees. However, many trees and mosses continue to grow from and over the fallen tree trunks. Most of them shape to look like a character from a fairy tale.
5) Visit the Fremont Troll
A 20 ft tall troll made out of cement lies underneath the Seattle overpass clutching an old VW car. Not many people know but that is an actual car with California license plate. It was constructed in 1990 after winning the Fremont Arts Council competition for designs to improve the underpass that was a dumping ground. It was sculpted by four local artists: Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, and Ross Whitehead. The troll has had a rough time, and is often getting spray-painted upon. You can take amazing snapchat stories or instagram posts. After all how many times do you find a troll under a freeway?
6) Visit Steve’s Weird House
Weird Steve has a house that lives up to his name. Filled to the brim with oddities and curiosities, it is a perfect example of the Victorian decorating style known as "horror vacui" (literally, fear of empty spaces), and not a square inch goes uncovered. Weird Steve has dedicated his life to cramming his Victorian Mansion with his growing collection of curios, antiquities and odd refuse.
7) Take cool pictures at the Ape Cave
Located on the south side of Mt. St. Helens, the Ape Cave was formed over 2000 years ago when lava flowed down the volcanic mountain in streams. As the lava cooled an outer crust would form, allowing the molten lava inside to continue to flow and creating tunnels. This kind of formation is unusual for the Cascade Range volcanoes, which seldom erupt with fluid lavas.
8) Read a book at the Seattle Metaphysical Library
Legally registered as the As-You-Like-It Library, this lending library has been serving Seattle's more esoteric reading needs since 1961. During its decades of operation, the collection has amassed over 13,000 books on topics such as parapsychology, shamanism, magick (sic) and UFOs just to name a few of their astounding sections. They also offer CDs, DVDs and newspaper clippings on subjects most libraries simply do not cater to. It is free to visit and browse the stacks; members can even check out many of the rare titles. If you are not in Seattle the full list of wondrous titles can be viewed via their website.
The library itself is located in the basement of the historic Kress Building via an unmarked glass door next to a bread bakery. Although the landlord will not allow a sign to be hung outside, visitors can locate the entrance and determine whether the library is open by looking for the sandwich board placed on the sidewalk. The door is sometimes locked by the building's other tenants in which case it is suggested to simply call the library's friendly staff to be let in. If you can manage to get inside you are in for a truly enlightening experience.
9) Chill in the Olympic Hot Springs
There is nothing better than a hot bath in cold Seattle weather. To visit, you must walk through the trail which is mostly along a paved road and several washouts will be encountered. The pools are across the bridge after the parking area. Consider investing in a towel and something to put your clothes in while soaking, thereby avoiding an awkward and possibly wet and uncomfortable hike back out. The springs are located in rain forest environs and are north facing which makes for some difficulty in finding a dry place to hang your clothes on all but the sunniest of days.
10) Visit at your own risk (Nevertold Casket Company)
Owned by relic hunters Jack and Tiffany Bennett, the shop displays a wide variety of strange and extremely items that the couple has collected over the years. Everything from elephant foot tables to creepy toy monkeys to human cadavers are on display in the store and the collection continues to expand. Most of the items come with a haunting story, many of them involving the supernatural. The array of antlers, bones, claws, and what not may seem a bit unusual to some, but the Bennetts would have it no other way, reveling in the wonder that being unsettled can be.
So, book those tickets to Seattle, and explore the land of offbeat places, if you've encountered a few, do let us know in the comments below.