Sea-Tac’s Pacific Marketplace: Worth The Early Arrival Time

As much flying as I do out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, I’ve never really taken the time to see what it has to offer. But now that my arrival time is at least two hours prior to a domestic flight, I can browse. And graze. And even re-charge my phone.

sea tac airport terminal

Pacific Marketplace in Sea-Tac’s Central Terminal (only accesible by ticketed passengers and airline personnel) made its debut last year, and people are still cheering the end result. All in all, it’s a grand space — complete with shops, restaurants, landscaping and public art. A 60-foot tall ceiling and west-facing glass curtain wall make it feel more outside than inside. The centerpiece, a suspended mixed-media sculpture by artists Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter titled Landing, is comprised of 1,800 individual sculptures that magically form the image of a snow goose landing on a calm lake.

OK, art is good, but I’m hungry, and there are a variety of vendors to choose from. I always like to go local if possible, and at Pacific Marketplace you’ll find Seattle food guru Kathy Casey’s Dish D’Lish for yummy sandwiches, salads and other tasty treats.

If you enjoy a cocktail before your flight, try Anthony’s Restaurant. I’ve ordered Bloody Mary’s before flying off to Paris and Glasgow; they go down real easy with such menu items as mahi mahi tacos or any one of their salmon dishes. Try to snag a table by the large expanse of windows that have a view of the runways and the Olympics in the distance. Ivar’s has been a Pacific Northwest institution since 1938, and their fish ‘n chips and chowder are two of their most popular items. Not a good choice to carry on the plane, however!

Shoppers can also support local stores here, at ExOfficio, based in nearby Tukwila; Fireworks, with five galleries in the Seattle area; and Made In Washington.

Forget to charge up your cell phone? Sea-Tac Airport has cell phone charger kiosks that offer a variety of connections to fit most phones. They’re available on Concourses A, B, C and D. The cost is $3 per use. And if your nails are lookin’ ragged, stop by Butter London, located in the Central Terminal concourse just around the corner from Borders Book & Music Store.

One of these trips I’ll arrive a day or two in advance to take in all the artwork. Throughout the airport is glass, sculpture, photography, painting and even sound. Along with such renowned artists as Frank Stella, Louise Nevelson and Robert Rauschenberg, you’ll also find works by regional and emerging artists. Lots of humor and whimsy. Print out a map of Art in the Airport on Sea-Tac’s website (above) and tuck it in your bag next time you’re off to the Emerald City.

Maybe you’ll even find the yellow brick road.

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