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Wacky Washington

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Ready to move beyond Seattle? Check out these strange and wonderful sights from all around Washington state.
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Visiting the Polish Home Association's restaurant takes some advance planning, because it's only open to the public on Fridays. But where else are you ever going to get to try pickle soup? Every Friday, you can buy a one-day "temporary membership"...
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Bremerton, WA, USA
The Port Gamble Museum of Shells & Natural History may not be a real museum, but then, Port Gamble isn't a real town, either. (It's an unincorporated part of Kitsap County that was formerly a mill town.) The museum, such as it is, is located on...
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510 Commercial Ave, Anacortes, WA 98221, USA
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Small-town dining often means managing your expectations and developing a high tolerance for burgers and omelets. But I was impressed and delighted by brunch at the Adrift Restaurant in Anacortes, WA. The nautical theme extends to copper-covered...
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1323 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225, USA
Over the past few years, I've been steadily replacing my boring old socks with awesome novelty socks, and I'm proud to say my sock drawer is now 99% garish prints. Modsock, in Bellingham, would surely approve of my quest. This fun, quirky store...
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415 W Heron St, Aberdeen, WA 98520, USA
Here's the thing: I don't actually recommend that you go to Aberdeen. But if you should find yourself there one Saturday night, as I did earlier this year, it's hard to beat the sheer surrealness of the black light mini-golf mini-course located...
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1600 Gateway Blvd NE, Lacey, WA 98516, USA
I'm far from a hunting enthusiast, but I am an avid fan of taxidermy, so when I heard that every Cabela's features museum-quality displays, I was hooked. And they weren't kidding. The Lacey, WA location has a multi-story mountain plunked down in...
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735 Front St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, USA
If you love an off-the-beaten-track, oddball museum full of strange old stuff, then you'll have a cracking good time at the Nutcracker Museum. Located in the ferociously quaint, ersatz-Bavarian-village of Leavenworth (a pretty wacky place in...
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110 9th Ave SW, Puyallup, WA 98371, USA
The Puyallup (pyoo-OWL-up) Fair is Washington's state fair, held in early September. (For baby animal enthusiasts, there's also the lamb-and-chick-filled Spring Fair in April.) Sure, there are all the usual state-fair staples: carnival rides, a...
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Troll Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
With only a day to wander around Seattle, I was wondering if the slightly strange Seattle neighborhood of Fremont was worth a visit... until a friend told me about the giant troll statue under a bridge there. Sold! The Aurora Bridge troll is the...
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3420 Evanston Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
The Fremont neighborhood is full of quirk, which seems only right, since the locals consider it to be the Center of the Universe. Attached to the top corner of a gift shop, the rocket was fashioned into its current shape out of Fairchild C-119...
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719 Front St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, USA
Few can resist the fun of playing dress-up with the Hat Shop’s hundreds of zany novelty hats. If you’ve ever mused, “Where can I get a hat that looks like a chicken wearing lederhosen is sitting on my head?” wonder no more. Oh, sure, they have...
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735 Front St, Leavenworth, WA 98826, USA
After you’ve visited the Nutcracker Museum (or if you don’t feel like paying the admission fee), stop by the Tannenbaum Shoppe to get another dose of nutcracker claustrophobia. The walls are packed floor to ceiling with every kind of intricately...
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743 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402, USA
Sanford & Son may very well be the strangest antique mall you ever visit. It starts with the gun-wielding Terminator posing menacingly in front of a massive stained-glass panel just inside the entrance. Follow the twisting, turning aisles past the...
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3526 Fremont Pl N, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
One of Fremont’s more unusual pieces of public art is a 16-foot-tall bronze statue of Bolshevik Russian Communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. The statue was constructed by a Slovak Bulgarian sculptor, Emil Venkov, on commission from the Soviet...
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6046 West Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE, Redmond, WA 98052, USA
At Teatro Zinzanni, dinner is the show. It’s an offbeat and slightly bawdy blend of cabaret, circus, and comedy with a five-course dinner interwoven through a variety of live acts. Housed in an antique Belgian “mirror tent,” embellished with...
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1300 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
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Archie McPhee is a legendary Seattle novelty and party-supply store. Formerly in Ballard, it’s now located in Wallingford and is a bit of a trek from downtown Seattle, but well worth the journey for lovers of the absurd, weird, and bacon-flavored....
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6430 Corson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134, USA
An iconic, if perplexing, Seattle landmark, the Hat and Boots date back to 1953, when Seattle artist Lewis Nasmyth created the oversize accessories for a Western-themed gas station in Georgetown. The 44-foot-wide hat and 22-foot-high boots were an...
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309a 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
If you're a fan of taxidermy/curiosity stores like Paxton Gate in San Francisco or Deyrolle in Paris, you'll need to check out the whimsically morbid Belfry Oddities. It's located in the Pioneer Square area near the train station, but don't let...