The number of ways meeting attendees can explore Seattle’s rich culture is remarkable. Here, group experiences are designed to dig deep and go beyond a typical team building experience. Instead of a simple wine tasting, groups can actually visit a winemaker and make their own wine and custom label. Or, instead of watching a prescribed cooking demonstration, groups can meet the producers themselves, learning about the region’s bounty and history (expensive onions were the impetus for the creation of Pike Place Market) before diving in and testing their chops in the kitchen. There is so much to explore. Peruse the idea starters below and leave lasting impressions at your next meeting.
One of the city’s first foodie tour companies, Savor Seattle features a variety of walking tours, including a sweet look at the city’s many chocolatiers and a filling sample of the hip eats and sips on Capitol Hill. Their early-access tour of Pike Place Market showcases a unique side of the market, before the crowds come through.
Arguably the most whimsical place to practice yoga in Seattle is at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Attendees unroll their mats in the magnificent Glasshouse, which contains a 100-foot long glass sculpture that twists and twirls in shades of red, orange, amber and yellow—all with a “worm’s-eye view” of the Space Needle towering above. Classes are offered twice a month, and there are opportunities for group buy-outs.
After getting their zen on under the glass art, attendees can channel their inner Chihuly and create their own glass masterpieces. Seattle Glassblowing Studio instructors will show your attendees the ropes of glassblowing 101 where they’ll create 1-2 glass pieces each that can be shipped direct back home.
Offsite group wine tasting options in downtown Seattle continue to grow, offering opportunities for shorter events if a half-day in nearby Woodinville wine country isn’t possible. Acclaimed Browne Family Vineyards recently opened a Seattle outpost just around the corner from The Estates Wine Room, a local favorite in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. In other words: your next wine offsites are just minutes from downtown hotels and the WSCC.
Within 10 miles of Seattle there are 12 public beaches where adventurous groups can harvest, shuck (and eat) their own oysters right on the spot—they’re that fresh. Or, for a less rustic experience, groups can take an oyster shucking class at Westward restaurant, located right on Lake Union with sweeping views of downtown Seattle. Classes are offered twice a month, from October-February.
New wineries and tasting rooms continue to pop up in downtown Seattle and beyond. A group of seven notable Washington labels—including Kerloo Cellars, Rotie Cellars, and Structure Cellars—have taken an industrial-chic approach and opened elegant facilities in SODO, Seattle’s industrial district. Schooner Exact Brewery has also joined the mix and serves some of the best “un-brewery” food from their kitchen: ahi tuna salad, spring gnocchi, seared scallops, and kalbi beef short ribs, anyone?
After learning the tasting notes, groups can try their hand at making their own blends. Chateau Ste. Michelle’s “Winemaker for a Day” (well, 90 minutes) class teaches groups the art of making the perfect red blend and accompanying custom brand and label. Cin-cin!
Seasoned Seattle culinary teacher with an infectious, hilarious personality is Diane LaVonne—owner of the namesake business. First she’ll take groups on an outing to Pike Place Market, chatting and learning about the local fare with her produce and seafood friends. After procuring fresh ingredients for the day’s cooking class, the tour circles back to her cheery kitchen just down Post Alley, where guests enjoy a glass of wine as they concoct delicious dishes.