RV Road Trip Nirvana: Stalking Seattle’s Grunge History

“RV camping” and “Grunge” may not click at first glance, but if you still miss the ‘90s and the glory days of Grunge, it will all soon make sense. Seattle, the birthplace of flannel-wearing, electric guitar slamming garage bands, also happens to be an awesome RV camping venue. If your vintage vinyl honors Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Nirvana, your next RV road trip should be to Seattle.

Where Can I Find Seattle Grunge Landmarks?

Your Seattle pilgrimage can take you to the places where the bands played, recorded and hung out in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. Expect some of the locations to be under different names now; as with every city, businesses come and go. You can, however, map the trail of places important during the Grunge movement without much trouble.

As you pay homage to the Grunge Movement in Seattle, you’ll want to visit the unofficial Kurt Cobain memorial in Viretta Park. This unassuming little spot directly across the street from the house where Kurt Cobain died includes a park bench covered with graffiti from Cobain fans. Feel free to photograph the house from a distance, remembering that it’s private property.

Check the website for London Bridge Studio before you come to find out when they’ll be open for tours. Some of the biggest names in Grunge recorded here, including Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Buy your tour tickets online before you come to Seattle on your RV road trip.

Grunge may be gone, but Seattle still has a five-star indy and live music scene. Plan to visit The Crocodile, a live music venue where Nirvana and Pearl Jam were known to play. Check their concert schedule; you might just get lucky and be in Seattle when one of the Grunge tribute bands is performing.

Another venerable music venue that should be on your list is The Showbox near Pike Place Market. Grunge gods often played here, and it’s still a good place to catch live music, with every genre music you can imagine playing here since the ‘30s.

One more stop Grunge fans will want to make before leaving Seattle is Re-Bar, the legendary club where Nirvana was bounced for starting a food fight during the release party for Nevermind. Not your run-of-the-mill art/music/comedy venue, Re-Bar offers edgy shows and often features regional bands.

What RV Campgrounds Are Near Seattle?

It is possible to find a campsite close-in to the city, but drawing a circle in a forty-mile radius around Seattle will give you lots of amazing options. You’ll find private camping resorts and campgrounds from Everett to Tacoma. We’ll highlight just a few.

Eagle Tree RV Park in Poulsbo, WA, is on the Kitsap Peninsula, just across Puget Sound from downtown Seattle and served by the Seattle-Bremerton Ferry.  Lake Pleasant RV Park, north of Seattle in Bothell, WA, has lakeside campsites and easy access to bike trails that will take you to downtown Seattle.  Blue Sky RV Park, twenty miles west of Seattle on I-90, has a nice, park-like feel with plenty of green space.

National park campgrounds near Seattle are another option. The Seattle/Puget Sound area is ringed by national parks with picturesque RV campsites. You’re going to have to drive a little farther to reach those Seattle Grunge landmarks, but the view will make it worth the trip.

Mount Rainier National Park, in the shadow of that mighty peak, has three campgrounds that accommodate RVs. (Check the website for RV length limits.)   

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Olympic National Park & Forest west of Seattle also accommodates RVs in three of its campgrounds.

North Cascades National Park, where the glaciers rule, has RV-ready campsites in its main campground. Here’s one more resource to help you find the right campground in Washington State.

Where’s Seattle’s Best Coffee Shop?

Admit it, when I said “Seattle”, your brain said, “coffee”. And what would a Grunge-seeking, coffee-loving RVer do when visiting Seattle except search for the city’s best coffee shops? It’s going to take some time to visit the espresso options in this java-centric city, but here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  •         Milstead & Co. in the Fremont neighborhood ranks high in hipster chic, but Grunge fans will still love the coffee.
  •         Storyville Coffee in the famed Pike Place Market never lacks in espresso-scented charm.
  •         Voxx on Eastlake comes with the bonus of mid-century modern décor.

If Grunge music never died, as far as you’re concerned, and you’ve learned how comfortable RV travel can be, it’s time to put tires to pavement and get to Seattle. Walk the streets, visit the venues and experience the coffee of your dreams in the town where the best bands of the nineties got their start.

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