For Seattle's music scene, the Showbox is a local must. They have the most popular acts like Ashley Simpson, then the more esoteric acts like the Scandinavian Electronic duo Royksopp. Bright Eyes played here with The Faint. The place is gorgeous--it has a massive chandelier in the center of the room. It seems more like a dance hall than a rock club. Arrive early or you'll be waiting outside in the rain. (If you arrive early, they'll take the front of the line in the covered back.)
With all the stories about little independently owned bookstores foldiong under the enourmous pressure exerted by giants like Borders, Elliot Bay books is truly remarkable. It is a massive two story building in Pioneer Square. It's the center for local literary culture. All of Seattle writers come through, buy all their books here, lecture and associate. The cafe downstais is mediocre--it hasn't decided what it's identity is yet and now it just seems a bit like a seventeenth century prison.
Start your capitol hill shopping experience at Value village. You will always come out of that store with something in your hand. It's generally picked over but if you get there at the right time--ie just after they've stocked the shelves--you'll be the happiest person around. I found a pair of GEOX boots, new for five dollars. I think everyone has some story like this one--there is Value here for all!
The selection is just amazing here--the quirkiest, most interesting collection of clothes. The upstairs seems at first androgenous--it's impossible to decide which clothes are men's and women's. If you are looking for wild glasses, or really anything costumey then this is the place to begin. The prices are a little bit expensive for vintage clothes. I would recommend starting at Value Village.
If you are looking for specialty books this is the place in Seattle to go. their selection of general interest books is meagre, but judging by their Music section and Computer textbooks sections they have detailed and thorough selection. This is also the place for Huskies memorabilia. The books are generally more expensive than those you'd find in Borders, etc.
I remember the Pacific Science Center from when I was young. There was a bike that you could ride on a tightrope with a massive weight hainging down as a counterbalance. Now that I live here I see the Center all the time, but I know that it's a definite must for kids. Adults will probably get more out of the IMAX theatre which plays hollywood movies like Harry Potter and the Matrix.
I attended a performance with former captain Janeway from Star Trek playing the lead role and was moved to tears. This is a nice theatre--seems as though it hearkens back to the World's Fair days of Seattle Center. Tickets are moderately priced and if you're a student you can pick up ten dollar rush tickets. I definitely recommend a visit--at least see one play here.
This is a quirky venue--a small room with very intimate performances, like a university lab theatre. The tickets to all performances sell out quickly do the the extremely limited space. If you want to see new dance/theatre/performance art then you should keep tabs on their schedule. I saw former PNB dancers in a new modern dance work and was truly moved.
The instruction is expensive, but valuable. The teachers come from the greatest ballet companies in the world including Boston Ballet, New York City Ballet, as well as modern instruction. The center is a bit industrial looking with it's almost gutted warehouse feel. If you are serious about dance, then PNB school is definitely the place to be. They place students from every graduating class.
With its ever popular hypercolored Nutcracker with sets and costumes by Maurice Sendack and a journey to Arabia, Pacific Northwest Ballet doesn't need your money. They are able to produce real works of art without pandering to their consumers. The PNB repertoire is varied, but centers around the New York City Ballet cult of Balanchine. If you can see them and can afford a good seat, I would highly recommend it.