EMP Museum is a tribute to cultural icons as well as a breeding ground for the next generation of musicians and societal shapers. Here, attendees don’t just stand before exhibits that explore Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones, but throw down their own musical chops in interactive exhibits such as Sound Lab, where they riff on an electric guitar, bang on drums, and tweak acoustics behind a mixing console. On Stage also gets guests to grip instruments, but under the hot lights of the stage, where they can pretend to entertain legions of fans or accompany their nephew’s birthday party.
The museum also curates rotating exhibits that celebrate modern cultural achievements. These have showcased the impact of Nirvana’s career alongside historic artifacts as diverse as Hendrix’s Stratocaster from Woodstock and Neo’s black futuristic coat from Matrix Reloaded. As home to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, the museum also spotlights luminaries such as Ray Bradbury and Steven Spielberg, who have shaped a generation’s imagination while warning people about the perils of suppressing ingenuity, ideas, and viewpoints.
All of the educational programming and special events unfold inside the architectural jewel that is the EMP Museum. Designed by Frank O. Gehry, the building’s 3,000 stainless-steel panels shimmer and seemingly swing through the air. This fluidity, which can alter its appearance depending on the time of day and light conditions, is about “reminding audiences that music and culture is constantly evolving,” as the museum’s website states.
Horseradish vodka and salty pops of red caviar mingle with cigar smoke, baked apples, and freshly plucked orchids. One of Sweet Anthem’ signature fragrances, Anton’s scent is as heady as the concept behind it. Meredith Smith derived the musky fragrance from her honeymoon in Russia, and each note recalls a specific place and time from her trip. “Fragrance is evoking an idea—it’s creating something out of nothing,” explains Meredith. “Fragrance leaves, evaporates, and I want those fleeting moments to be evocative of the inspiration behind it.”
This olfactory philosophy inspired all of her signature scents, which she compounds and bottles by hand in her atelier. Her fragrances shirk the stereotypical floral notes, instead incorporating unusual notes such as tobacco, tomato leaf, and sarsaparilla.
Meredith’s meticulous attention to detail extends to her apothecary itself: tiny glass vials occupy wooden nooks, and long metal tables serve as workspace for her perfume-making classes. In addition to classes, Meredith empowers customers to concoct their own scents with DIY kits and private appointments that teach the fundamentals of perfumery, such as figuring out ingredient volatility and determining which nostril regulates the ability to love.
Christen Cottam can describe scents on an atomic level, although she prefers to discuss the emotional, memory-based side of fragrance with her clients at Knows Perfume. According to the West Seattle Herald, Cottam taught high-school science and worked as a biotech sales rep, explaining complex, ethereal concepts to laypeople. Now, she helps clients discover their favorite fragrances and find words to interpret their sensory experiences. Cottam backs up her methods with hard facts: She eschews paper test strips because scents evolve when they mingle with chemicals on the skin, and explains that citrus seems fresher and lighter than musk because of its lower molecular weight and the deodorant it wears.
Cottam opened the boutique in 2010 to showcase uncommon fragrance lines such as Smell Bent and Aroma M, which are not necessarily distributed at department stores. Under a high, wood ceiling that maximizes ventilation, Cottam cultivates an indie fragrance community through perfume classes, scent "tastings," and an art gallery she curates and opens for the monthly West Seattle Art Walk. Cakes from Baked Seattle grace every Knows event, as do patrons' keen-nosed, four-legged companions, who are also welcome to sojourn from the gossip at the fire hydrant into the shop's aromatic yet apolitical atmosphere.
After producing a children's educational video about local produce and healthy eating called Earth to Table, ChefShop founders Tim Mar and Mauny Kaseberg capitalized on their passion for locally sourced fare in 1998 with an extensive online database of artisan farmers and food experts. Today, ChefShop connects shoppers with top-shelf ingredients and produce, from free-range turkeys to fruit from central Washington or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from Italy. Before stocking them on their virtual shelves, the ChefShop team ensures each item is raised and developed using time-honored techniques and is run through a gauntlet of quality-assurance taste tests, meetings with farmers, and food fights with the preeminent experts in food fights: middle-school rebels.
Clients peruse the ever-updated inventory for goodies such as sustainable line-caught seafood, decades-aged balsamic vinegar, or rare Sardinian bottarga, filling their kitchen repertoire with handy recipes along with the top-shelf ingredients. Aspiring cooks master a range of cooking styles under professional chefs in ChefShop's cooking classes, ranging from the creation of rich Italian pastas to fashioning delectable small plates and tapas.
Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Wilson make up each store's enormous selection of new and recycled gear, which is replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that range from baseball and football to snowboarding, skiing, and ice skating. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. Knowledgeable staffers man each location, ready to answer questions, arrange gear deliveries or pickups, and even sharpen skates or wax snowboards. To ensure their stock remains robust, they also encourage athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
For more than 15 years, the company’s Seattle outpost has fused the best aspects of a family-owned business and a national franchise. The friendly staffers can pinpoint the best gear for hitting nearby ski slopes, but they're also able to tap into a nationwide stock of new and gently used sporting goods.
"Hip" and "kid-friendly" aren't often adjectives that go together, but Rebecca Pelletier changed all that when she founded Twirl Café. A mother herself, Rebecca envisioned Twirl as a place where kids and adults could come to have fun in their own ways. For children, there’s a custom-built jungle tree house, which oversees a play area replete with a train table, a reading area, and a play kitchen. For adults, the café stocks coffee, espresso, and craft beers, and provides access to free Wi-Fi so guests can catch up on the news or send out urgent chain emails. Another all-aged pleaser is the café’s menu, which includes items made with locally sourced ingredients. Dishes include breakfast sandwiches on Macrina Country biscuits with nitrate-free bacon, eggs, and Tillamook cheddar or sweet grilled melts with cinnamon, raisins, and cream cheese. And, each week the café also serves a rotating menu of dinner specials, which can include anything from barbecue chicken sliders to butternut squash lasagna. Friday nights are the real draw though, when Twirl Café invites kids to don their PJs and adults to wear their comfiest usher costume for the weekly "pizza and a movie" night.