Seattle >Food & Dining > Argosy Cruises
2992 SW Avalon Way, Seattle, WA | Directions 9812647.567929 -122.370955
Neighborhoods: West Seattle, Fairmount Park
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Complete with boat ride, salmon dinner and live show, this native amusement is three tourist activites in one. – The Experience
From an hour-long boat ride across Elliot Bay to a potlatch style salmon dinner, you'll experience a Disney-like venture into Northwest native culture. Watch craftsmen carve totem poles before heading inside for the buffet. You'll see Tillicum workers cook salmon in the traditional method--lashed to cedar strips and smoked over an alder fire. After the meal, the performance "Dance on the Wind" begins. It's an educational and visually appealing tribute to native lore, though the constant narration is unfortunately reminiscent of a TV documentary and the dance leaves much to be desired.
Bill Hewitt opened the village in 1962 in order to serve his "potlatch style" salmon bake to the masses.
Good advertising, but reality's different – If you really have nothing better to do, and money to burn, then this attraction is fine. You start with a ferry ride from Pier 55/56, which in itself is fine for the views of Seattle and the bay. But then, you're better off taking the ferry to Bainbridge.
You land at Blake Island where they ladle clams in incredibly hot water into paper cups. I like seafood in general, but after this experience, I can't stand the thought of clams. No doubt some people liked them - I saw a few empty cups.
Then you stand in line for the buffet. No way is the buffet worth what you pay for it. The salmon's fine, not great. Go to almost any well-recommended seafood restaurant in Seattle for better salmon. What I liked best was their bread made with molasses. At the table you get water, lemonade and iced tea, and some okay chocolate shaped like a salmon.
The dancing was amateurish - I've seen middle schools put on better shows. In my opinion, they do more of a disservice to Native American culture than anything else. Some of the dancers seemed like they'd been pressed into performing.
Then you get about a half-hour to wander along the beach. Most of us went to the beach, stood around for a few minutes, then returned to the ferry.
Overall, a very mild four hours. Not worth the $62-70, but maybe worth $30.
~Truly Amazing~ – I can not possibly believe the bad reviews! This place is great for authenticity, good fresh traditional baked salmon, it is the best natural baked salmon around. There are real native dances, filled with 3rd and 4th generation employees. Tillicum Village is a phenomenal place to glance into history as well as taking a break from the stressful high paced monotony of life. It's a place to relax and enjoy. Try camping on the island.
Big disappointment – We took 40 guests from out of town. The boat ride had old hotel stacking chairs and once we got there we were immmediately ushered into a buffet line that reminded me of a school lunch line. There were no alternatrives for veg. The dancing was not very good but the scenery was nice. The whole thing was an embarrassment to us as meeting planners - we should have tried it out first - this did not meet our expectations!
Top 10 tourist trap – Only take your out of town guests here if you want them never to return. I enjoyed many of the 10 ten tourists attractions listed on City Search but this was not one of them. It was overpriced, uninformative, and boring. The buffet consisted of a salad buffet, followed by two starches of potatoes and rice, followed by greasy, mushy salmon. The native dances lasted no more than 20 minutes and consisted of overweight men walking around a fake fire. I learned nothing of the Native American culture and would rather have donated my money to the village than have wasted the 4 hours there. Take your money and spend it on a nice seafood dinner on the Seattle waterfront.
Waste-O-Time! – fTop 10 things to do in Seattle? You mean Top 10 tourist traps! Nothing like a beautiful boat ride to end with mushy, greasy salmon, dull dancing and an overpriced gift shop. Didn't think you could make the incredible NW Native American culture seem so dull! Tillicum succeeded.
Real Time Native Culture – The real deal, not a Hollywood version, of NW Indian culture. A must for anyone wanting to know the "First People" of Seattle.
Good Memories – My family had a boat growing up, and we used to spend just about every summer weekend camping on Blake Island. Many great memories of that small, quiet island with its acres of shoreline and forest waiting to be discovered. Always a very safe place for us kids to hangout, and many group BBQ's were held.
The tour boat that takes you to Tillicum is a relatively short and uneventful ride. But once you get to Tillicum, you are greeted to a show the minute you set foot. A cup of hot, fresh clams is presented to you and after you eat the clams...just toss the shells on the ground and stomp on them to provide new groundcover.
Inside the building, there is a small, interesting museum you can wander until the theatre starts.
The show is wonderfully entertaining for everyone, and the salmon and bread are out-of-this-world.
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