Where do you take visitors after you’ve steered them to the Space Needle and Pike Place Market? Here are a few off-the-beaten-path spots.

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It’s almost summer and the relatives will be here soon. After you’ve steered them to the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, what’s next? Here are a few off-the-beaten-path spots full of Northwest flavor. (Though, of course, any local could name dozens more.)

Central Area

Ba Bar

Really excellent Vietnamese food made with the best quality ingredients isn’t available in just any U.S. city. If your guests arrive on a late flight, take them straight to the late-night happy hour, served from 11:30 p.m. to close daily, for memory-making food and drinks. 550 12th Ave., Seattle (206-328-2030 or babarseattle.com).



Seattle may be getting glossier and pricier every day, but it still has unreconstructed pockets of weirdness. Georgetown is one of them, and Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery — which specializes in comics and graphic literature — is the silver dollar in the pocket. 1201 S. Vale St., Seattle (206-658-0110 or fantagraphics.com/flog/bookstore).


Mercer Slough


Related video: Elements of summer

Summertime in Seattle is best known for its beauty. As an ode to the season, Seattle Times photographers seek out the elements that define its essence: earth, wind, water and fire, to pay tribute before the rain returns. Read more. (Marcus Yam, Bettina Hansen and Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)    

You can’t really say you’ve been to the Northwest if you don’t get out on the water — and this Eastside wetland is a nice place to do it, with its abundant birds and wildlife. (Watch for otters!) Rent a canoe at Enatai Beach Park (3519 108th Ave. S.E., Bellevue; 425-430-0111 or ci.bellevue.wa.us/enatai_beach.htm) and paddle around the canal, which is reserved for human-powered watercraft. 1625 118th Ave. S.E., Bellevue (425-452-2565 or ci.bellevue.wa.us/mercer_slough.htm )

Capitol Hill

Caffe Vita

Get a rock-your-world cup of coffee while checking out one of Seattle’s most dynamic neighborhoods. Nearby are Elliott Bay Book Co., the Century Ballroom and oh-so-many other great Seattle destinations. 1005 E. Pike St., Seattle (206-709-4440 or caffevita.com).


The Lockspot

After visiting the (very heavily touristed) Ballard Locks, head to The Lockspot restaurant for fish ’n’ chips and a good Northwest beer. It’s got a dark, woody interior, cozy window booths, moose antlers on the wall — and it’s where “After the Catch” was filmed. 3005 N.W. 54th, Seattle (206-789-4865 or thelockspotcafe.com).

Seattle Times staff