As someone who has lived in the Seattle area for over 30 years, and have attended nearly every PAX, here are some helpful tips for everyone who has been here before, or new to the PAX West show:
1. Those who didn't get tickets during the initial sale, don't panic. Still plan your trip out here, because generally a number of tickets appear on the Seattle Craisglist page the days leading up to PAX. You may have to purchase them at a little over original price, but generally there are some people who can't make the show at the last minute and post up their tickets on the local Craigslist site hoping to make their money back. Also PAX has released more tickets later on, generally as a "second wave" which seem to go faster than the initial offerings, but still, it's an opportunity to get ticket if you could not get them today. No guarantee they will but over the past few years they have done just that, offering a limited amount of tickets to fans.
2. The day of PAX, as most of you who have attended already know, there are scalpers/resellers right outside of the Convention Center. Generally it's the same group every year but there are also legit sellers who sometimes have extra tickets to sell at cost, or end up bringing their friend's tickets who couldn't attend to sell for them in hopes to make their initial purchase. So other than Craigslist here in Seattle, you can try outside the convention, if you wait awhile, there generally are good people selling not looking to profit off them.
3. As the hotels sell out, and most are quite expensive, consider staying outside of the downtown area as a last resort. It may be cheaper to stay 15-30 minutes away from downtown and either take the bus or rent a car, than it is to stay downtown. If you book a hotel in what is called the "east side", and you drive, remember the newly redesigned 520 floating bridge just opened and is a toll bridge. Also portions of the 405 freeway are now tolled as well. I-5 is not tolled.....yet. With it being a holiday weekend traffic should be fairly light into Seattle for the four days, "should" being the keyword there. Hotels to consider would be in the cities of Bothell, Kirkland, etc which are all cities on the east side and roughly 15-30 minutes east/north east of downtown Seattle. Also staying south by the airport is an option too.
4. When in Seattle, visit "Dick's Drive-In" for a burger. Capitol Hill and Queen Anne are two of their closest locations.
I would also HIGHLY recommend branching out of the convention center. There are a lot of amazing places to eat and hang out within a mile radius around the convention center and yet a lot of attendees seem to be a little afraid to venture out. I promise Seattle people don't bite!
At least until you get to 3rd Avenue. Then they bite.
Southwest is having a 3 day sale on round trip fares for select days. I don't have the link ATM, but some flights are $100 round trip.
So people may wanna check that out. Sale ends Thursday.
Now we live here and have favorite places to eat downtown and in Capitol Hill and we don't bat an eye at taking two or three buses to get where we're going if we have to.
I second TOGSolid's advice--granted I haven't lived here as long probably but I agree. Don't be afraid of trying something a little ways away from the convention center--the lines for everything are so long that sometimes it's worth the 10 minutes of wandering just to find a place that will get you some food fast. Someone always posts a PAX Foodie Map, but I bet it could use a little updating.
3rd and Pine can be a little sketchy but not really that bad in the middle of the day. Just walk with purpose and know where you're going ahead of time if you're going to be on that block.
Last year a friend of mine stayed at a motel near SeaTac and just took the tram in, managed to get it and airfare on a Travelocity deal
The EMP last year had a Star Wars exhibit around PAX time so yeah, it's definitely worth checking out cause even if you've been there before they always some new stuff there. Right now they have a Star Trek exhibit I really need to go to o_o The Pacific Science Center, Space Needle, and EMP are all in the same area and there's a day pass that lets you get into the entire area so it's a really fantastic way to spend time while you're here if you wanna venture off the PAX path. There's also a good sized food court (with delicious meat pies!) there for noms. :biggrin: If you really wanna get adventurous there's the Boeing Museum of Flight and the Flying Heritage Museum up around Everett which has some SUPER rad stuff if you're into WW2 planes.
As far as food recommendations, the Blue Water Taco Grill is super tasty and not expensive and the Icon Grill is one of my ritual haunts. If I'm hungover in the morning you can bet your ass I'm getting breakfast there...so basically every day at PAX. The men's restroom there is also the most amazing experience you will ever have in your life. Not even joking. But really, just hit "food" in Google Maps and the area around the WSTCC will light up like the most delicious Christmas tree ever. You seriously can't go wrong with whatever you pick. Unless you pick boring fast food. Then you're fucking up.
My first year I stayed at a motel and it really wasn't bad at all. Granted, over the years I've pretty much required having a hotel in stumble range of Cap Hill and PAX because I didn't earn my title of Professional Alcoholic by accident but for the less inebriated trekking to and from an off site motel ain't a bad way to do it. I was even an exhibitor that first year so my days started a little early and it still was nbd.
Get an ORCA card if you plan to use transit. It costs $5, but it then let's you transfer between bus and rail, forget about exact change, etc. Save it and use it again next year.
Pax weekend also falls on Bumbershoot, which is a large music festival spanning over Labor Day weekend. So, traffic might be a little bit heavier than normal if you're outside the convention area. For all those who love music, Bumbershoot is a pretty cool little event to check out as well if you have some time.
I find its actually faster to walk to Westlake Center and hit the food court rhere than to get anything by the con. It's like two blocks, saves you a ton of time and has better choices.
Edit: Being off street level helps a lot.
There is also one down 9th past the olive 8. I can't quite recall the precise address, but its also near the other crepe place
It's also been going downhill for years. Less games, more problems, worse service. It's nothing like it was ten years ago.
Oh yeah, total garbage heap.
My friends and I go to play DDR (which also makes us realize that we're not as young or in shape as we were ten years ago).
Which seems to be next to Rabbit Hole, home of the best skee-ball tables in town.
It's still there, or it was there last year at least. Pretty good ice cream, was worth the walk.
Don't forget about the Pinball Museum... in Chinatown/Intl Dist. A great place to hit in the evening (open until 10pm on Sat). VERY easy to get to via the subway/lightrail. Just get on at Westlake center and it's just a couple stops away. Great food in the area as well.
For pinball there's also John John's and The Unicorn in Capitol Hill, not too far and you can take the link so you don't have to walk uphill
Also, for sports/soccer fans, the Sounders may be off for the weekend of PAX, but you can always visit any one of their pro shops or their practice facility in Tukwila!