Seattle’s musical roots go deep. Vibrant, cutting edge and independent, true revolutions in sound were born in the city—the home of Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Bing Crosby and Macklemore. Grunge is one of the city’s claims to musical fame, but the musical history isn’t entirely summed up by guitar feedback and distortion pedals—Ray Charles came up in Seattle, as did Jimi Hendrix and the ladies of Heart. To explore the city’s music heritage—and to find a few of the lesser known spots tied to Seattle’s rich musical history—check out the ideas below!
There is no place in Seattle for music lovers like EMP Museum. Start your day here so you have plenty of time to check out all the exhibits and brush up on your musical history. Housed in a unique Frank O. Gehry-designed building, EMP features exhibits like the Guitar Gallery and SoundLab, where you can learn to play the regional rock classic, “Louie Louie.” 325 Fifth Avenue North, Seattle, Wash.
Dick’s Drive In
When lunchtime rolls around, feed your hunger at this hidden historical musical gem. Dick’s is the home of the Deluxe burger, and a local legend in its own right, but it got national exposure when it was immortalized in Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s 1989 hit, “Posse on Broadway.” Last year, local phenoms Macklemore and Ryan Lewis filmed a music video on top of the building. 115 Broadway East, Seattle, Wash.
This is a great spot to end the day with a drink and a show. Everyone who is anyone in the Seattle music world has played this rock ‘n’ roll venue—from Nirvana, Pearl Jam and R.E.M, to Cheap Trick and Death Cab for Cutie. The Crocodile is one of the most beloved clubs in the city and has live music nearly every night of the week. Plus, the pizza is pretty tasty. 2200 Second Avenue, Seattle, Wash.
Jimi Hendrix Statue
Privately commissioned, this bronze statue depicts Seattle’s legendary electric guitarist rocking out for fans. 900 E Pine Street, Seattle, Wash.
The Edgewater Hotel
With its stunning views of Elliott Bay, The Edgewater was the go-to hotel for 1960s and 70s rock stars like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. You can even stay in the Beatles suite where the Fab Five fished out the window all those years ago. Pier 67, 2411 Alaskan Way, Seattle, Wash.
Located near Kurt Cobain’s former home, the graffiti covered bench in this park is an unofficial public memorial to the Nirvana frontman. 151 Lake Washington Boulevard East, Seattle, Wash.
Black (Hole) Sun
Head to Volunteer Park to see the “Black Sun,” a doughnut-like sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. It’s rumored to be the inspiration for Soungarden’s grunge anthem, “Black Hole Sun.” 1247 15th Avenue East, Seattle, Wash.
One of the first clubs where the Seattle sound originated, this was the location where Nirvana played their first show in 1988. Vain, an edgy hair salon, art gallery and boutique, now occupies the space. 2018 First Avenue, Seattle, Wash. Explore more of Seattle at www.wheretraveler.com/seattle.