Innovators Reveal Cool, Creative Spots in Seattle

Where are the cool and the creative? Nine Seattleites on the places that inspire them in their hometown.

1. Peter Ungaro CEO, Cray Inc.


“Seattle is great city for runners, and one of my favorite places to run is along the Downtown waterfront. The views of Seattle on one side and the vistas over Puget Sound on the other are truly inspiring.”

2. Ken Jennings Jeopardy whiz

“I’m a writer nowadays, so spending time around books is inspirational for me. I’m a big fan of the Hogwarts-like graduate reading room on the third floor of the University of Washington’s Suzzallo Library. It has vaulted ceilings, ornately carved oak bookcases with crazy old atlases, and light fixtures that look like antique globes.”

3. Richard Tait Cranium creator and founder of Boom Boom Brands

“For blowing off steam, Garage Billiards and Bowl is one of the best spots on Capitol Hill. It’s a great place to hang with friends. The brand-new Star addition has inspiring art and decoration.”

4. Jonathan Klein CEO, Getty Images


“Fremont has the best of Seattle and its contradictions — beautiful yet a little grungy; quirky and bohemian, yet it also has Google, Adobe, and Getty Images; very capitalist yet has a statue of Lenin and a troll.”

5. Elizabeth George novelist

“I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it must be said: the doughnut stand in Pike Place Market. They make their own miniature doughnuts right in front of you, you buy them hot, and they throw them into a lunch bag with powdered or cinnamon sugar. You have to buy at least six — for a whopping $2 — and they are hands-down the best doughnuts I have ever tasted in my life. I took a devotee of Krispy Kreme there. The first bite won her over. She ate all six and then bought six more.”

6. Dan Savage author and editorial director of The Stranger

“Where do I go in this fishing village to feel inspired? Besides the airport? I hate it here. Wound up here by accident and got trapped. Seattle blows. It thinks it’s Paris, France, and it’s barely Dubuque, Iowa.”

7. Diane Irvine CEO, Blue Nile


“I’m a die-hard Mariners fan. During the summer, you’ll often find me, my husband, and our three children at Safeco Field. When the roof is open, you can cheer for Ichiro as he snags a fly ball and watch the sunset illuminate Puget Sound and the snowcapped Olympic Mountains. I don’t know another stadium that boasts such a dramatic view.”

8. Ernie Johnson CEO, Cutter & Buck

“The giant concrete troll that resides under a bridge about two blocks from our office. Known affectionately as the Fremont Troll, it represents the great thing about Seattle: You can always find a bit of the unexpected around the corner.”

9. Charles Simonyi cosmonaut and founder, Intentional Software

The airspace above Seattle to 2,000 feet. Even on overcast days, one can frequently see out to the Olympics. Everything is so ordered, yet natural — one’s bearing is never lost. The lakes, the boats on the lakes with their wakes, the seaplanes all around, the traffic jam on 520, the waves beating on the floating bridges from one side: This is God’s country.”