The Rainy Day Layover Slayer

Weekend Wanderlust

By Jamie Hazlett
Sun Star Columnist

You’re either dashing “Home Alone” style through the terminal or lingering around your next gate so long that the TSA agents start looking at you funny. It seems that there is rarely a happy medium.

There isn’t much you can do if your flight is late or your schedule too narrow except study the airport map in the airplane magazine and cross your fingers.  If your stay in an airport is longer than a couple of hours, though, there are many ways to cure your boredom and rid yourself of the gate attendant’s evil eye.  This is especially true of Sea-Tac. Since Seattle is the home base for Alaska Airlines and a major hub for many other airlines, you will probably find yourself there at least once.  Sea-Tac’s distance from downtown Seattle makes it difficult to get out and see the city’s main tourist attractions unless you have an extremely long layover.  Fortunately the airport makes up for this by providing an assortment of things to do inside the terminals, from fine dining to kitschy shopping.  For the purposes of this column we’ll focus on the C terminal, which offers the greatest range of things to do in a relatively small space.

My favorite restaurant at Sea-Tac is Anthony’s.  Black and white clad wait staff give the restaurant a four star feel and set it apart from other airport eateries.  Anthony’s also shatters the ‘airport food’ stereotype, offering an array of fresh seafood and regional wines at reasonable prices.  This place melts away stress and can turn a rash of flight delays into a minor itch.  The only thing at Sea-Tac better than a meal at Anthony’s is the fact that you can take your leftovers on the plane for a mid-flight nosh.

If you’re looking for something a little less formal, try the Alaska Lodge.  The fare is cheaper here than at Anthony’s, and offers classic favorites like burgers and stews in a pub-style atmosphere.  There is also a good selection of regional beers, including several from the Alaskan Brewing Company.  Alternately, kick back under Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schechter’s artwork, ‘Landing,’ which hangs over the dining section of the C terminal. Enjoy a steaming hot chocolate and a brownie from Dilettante Chocolates and Mocha Cafe as you wait for your flight.  Dilettante serves up phenomenal drinks and baked goods in very little time, making it a great place to hit on your way to the gate.  Plus they’re open 24 hours a day, so you can get your pick-me-up at any time.

If you have time to kill after filling your stomach, duck into Fireworks.  Items here range from the whimsical (blowfish-shaped photo holders) to the stylishly functional (gorgeous leather messenger bags for under $100), and there’s sure to be something to please everyone.  This store is worth a visit even if you’re broke, as something on the shelves is bound to put a smile on your face.

When you step off a plane in Seattle, don’t lament your four-hour wait.  Take a moment to relax and refresh yourself, and the next leg of your journey will be a breeze.  No matter what you do on your next layover, in Seattle or elsewhere, remember that getting there really can be half the fun.

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