Tough Mudder’s Weekend Warrior Guide: Seattle

By Jade de la Rosa | March 23, 2017


Eat. Adventure. Stay.

Seattle might have a reputation for being rainy nine months of the year, but you better believe that summer is worth the (usually) grey skies of fall, winter, and spring. The birthplace of coffee, grunge, and big companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing, Seattle is a thriving city and the perfect playground for your Tough Mudder Full or Half. Held at the Palmer Coking Coal Company, get ready to run through gravel pits, wade through mud, and test your limits in the Pacific Northwest.

Here’s how to make the most your time in this northwest gem, before and after the event:

Seattle has no shortage of good food, and its location in the Northwest means that restaurants tend to use fresh  ingredients that feature local specialties like wild-caught salmon, briny oysters, dark coffee, and, in the summer, produce. Get ready to fuel up for event weekend with a stroll through the famous Pike Place Market. Feast your eyes on stall after stall of bright red peppers, massive Honeycrisp apples, and ripe berries. Alternatively, taste-test raw honey, Chukar cherries, and creative pasta flavors like Dark Chocolate Linguine or Lavender Fettucine from Pappardelle’s Pasta. While the market has enough options for a week’s worth of meals, don’t forget to check out the stores along Pike Place. Piroshky Piroskhy serves baked buns, stuffed with meat, vegetables, and cheese, along with an array of sweet treats, while you can get your coffee fix at the original Starbucks on the corner of 1st and Pike. The alleys around this area are just as appealing, and more amazing food is quite literally just around the corner. Pike Place Chowder serves award-winning Seafood Bisque and Smoked Salmon Chowder, or try their Market Chowder featuring the catch of the day. While we don’t recommend you check out the colorful Gum Wall, just around the corner, before you eat, it’s the perfect spot for memorable team photos; we’ll leave it up to you on whether to contribute or not.

For those looking for a slower-pace, check out The Pink Door, a popular Italian restaurant that is entered from–you guessed it–a pink door. Opened in 1981, it’s a classic establishment that locals will even recommend. Think of it as pre-race carb loading, Or, if you need a reason to indulge, save it for after your Tough Mudder. You’ve earned it.

For a high-brow option–because you deserve it after running 12 miles–you can’t beat the views from the top of the Seattle Space Needle. Enjoy your dinner from 605 feet above the city at the SkyCity Restaurant. Enjoy the tastes of the Northwest with wild greens–a salad using mountain huckleberry and Oregon blue cheese–or wild mushroom risotto–highlighting seasonal chanterelle mushrooms. At the observation deck, enjoy a 360 degree view of Seattle’s cityscape or, if you’re lucky, catch a sunset.

If you’re flying in or out of Seattle and need a place to eat, you’re in luck. The famous 13 Coins, a diner of the highest calibre (and we don’t say that lightly), is tucked between airport hotels. Sit at the bar to watch chefs flame-broil a steak, or catch their live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Post-race, take a chill pill and relax downtown. The Seattle Art Museum, affectionately known as SAM, is only a few blocks from Pike Place Market and highlights artists from around the world. Their ongoing Australian Aboriginal and Native American collections are especially compelling. Or, visit the Olympic Sculpture Park, a 20 minute walk away from SAM, to see unique designs for free.

If it happens to be raining, duck into the Museum of Pop Culture for an afternoon of music at the Sound Lab, where visitors can take a lesson or record a song in soundproof rooms, try their hand at DJing, or having a family marimba jam-sesh with your kids. Those who grew up in the 90s will especially appreciate the Nirvana exhibit, which pays homage to Seattle’s grunge history. Those who remember Jimi Hendrix will equally enjoy the gallery that features the Purple Haze singer’s music.

Looking to get out and explore a little more? Nearby Discovery Park offers a roughly 4-mile loop for biking, running, or simply enjoying the view of Puget Sound, but the park itself is 534 acres in size and is a oasis for wildlife–within city limits.

Ready for another adrenaline rush? Check out Skydive Snohomish for some truly heart-pounding action. Rated as one of the top six places to skydive in the world (and the only location in North America), you’ll get the best views of Pacific Northwest as you fall back to earth.

For those who like to round off a trip with some shopping, head downtown. Meanwhile, boutique-lovers can check out Ballard, a nearby neighborhood that quickly become one of the trendier areas. Conveniently located between the Space Needle and Pike Place Market is Belltown, which is best suited to those who love art. Check out the Seattle Glassblowing Studio, which provides a 30-minute “Blow Your Own Glass” class by appointment, with options to make bowls, sea floats, or paperweights.

Whatever you decide to do, before, during, and after your event, make sure you gear up with Merrell’s new 2017 line.

For a budget-friendly option, you can’t beat the location of the Green Tortoise Hostel, located across from bustling Pike Place, and you really can’t beat the price either. Additionally, the hostel offers free walking tours that take you to the best places around town (Pike Place, here we come). Or, check out the Beneath the Streets tour that quite literally takes you underneath the streets and back into Seattle’s past.

For those who prefer forgoing the bunking experience, the Belltown Inn provides both comfort and convenience at a decent rate. Bonus: bikes are available to borrow at any time and are especially handy if you don’t have a car (or simply don’t want to deal with difficult parking.) Then again, the location means you’re only ever a 10 minute walk from downtown, Pike Place, or the Space Needle.

Think that Pike Place is all about food? Think again. The Inn at the Market is the only hotel located directly inside Pike Place, which already sets the standards high for this hotel. Most rooms offer views of the Puget Sound, and the patio provides the perfect backdrop to watch the sun sink below the horizon at night. While rooms are a splurge, most find the convenient location well worth the high price tag.

Looking for lodging closer to the venue? Check out these options here.