Clearwater Casino

I first went to the Suquamish Reservation casino back in the late 1990s as a high-school kid when it was basically a one-room FEMA trailer with a tattered blackjack table and a nice chubby woman handing out pull tabs. Now the Suquamish Clearwater Casino is a glittering casino-resort with a three-star hotel, casino-grade live music (Ted Nugent played last year), and some of the best water views in the Puget Sound area. I haven't been back since the upgrade, but people on love the place. If you want to get away, but not too far away, Clearwater may be your joint. Just ask for a room with a view. (Clearwater Casino, 15347 Suquamish Way NE, Suquamish, BRENDAN KILEY

Indian Fireworks

Did you know there are hundreds of small, family-owned firework stands on 18 different reservations in Washington State? There's even a website,, that has a handy-dandy "Rez Finder" link. These stands have the best prices on consumer fireworks, and I'm not talkin' sparklers. You can buy all the really good shit—bottle rockets, Roman candles, mortars, and more. Just about every casino has a stand nearby. If you're a decent haggler, you can walk away with a small arsenal for less than you'd probably lose inside the casino. I recommend the stands near Emerald Queen in Tacoma and Muckleshoot in Auburn. Oh, and ask lots of questions, so you don't blow your fingers off. ( KELLY O

Steak at

Snoqualmie Casino

You don't have to love gambling to enjoy the Snoqualmie Casino. I go once every blue moon for the food. For instance, the Terra Vista restaurant's tender 42-ounce Snake River Farms Black Label Wagyu "Tomahawk" steak ($80) is bigger than the plate it comes on. It could feed a family of four or anchor a small boat to shore, and the truffle fingerlings that accompany it are more succulent than babies' toes. Catch the $10 Snoqualmie Express bus from downtown and you'll get $10 to gamble with and a $10 food voucher. (Snoqualmie Casino, 37500 SE North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, dining hours at, bus info at CIENNA MADRID

Roxbury Lanes and Casino

Roxbury Lanes and Casino in White Center is an out-of-the-way dive—the last great remnant of the Wild West. It is where men like General Custer go to drink their breakfast and happily wait to die. Nowhere else near Seattle can you gamble in bowling shoes or start your happy hour at 10 a.m. (with $1 well drinks in the casino until 6 p.m.!) with a side of breakfast. Or, if you hate traditional eggcentric breakfasts, order a New York steak ($16.99) or some breakfast chow fun or yakisoba for less than $10. Avoid the rush and book your next birthday, holiday party, or wake now. (Roxbury Lanes and Casino, 2823 SW Roxbury St, White Center, CIENNA MADRID

A Concert at Tulalip Amphitheatre

If you need socks, the outlet mall by Tulalip Resort Casino has you covered (miles of argyles!). If you'd like to see a show at a small-scale outdoor venue—one with a crowd that's bound to be the most appreciative around—you want the Tulalip Amphitheatre. The sight lines and the sound are pretty much perfect, and this summer you can see and hear Boyz II Men, En Vogue, AND Salt-N-Pepa (July 7), Buddy Guy (Aug 16), and Foreigner (Aug 25), among others. It's just a half-hour north of Seattle. I saw Al Green here, and it knocked my socks off. (Tulalip Resort Casino, 10200 Quil Ceda Blvd, Tulalip, BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT

Emerald Downs

I used to love making an annual trip to the casinos, but then I fell in love with the ponies and I haven't been back to Muckleshoot since. A trip to Emerald Downs is part sporting event, part spectacle, and part immersion into a foreign culture. If you're going to bet—and that's something you should absolutely do, but only $1 and $5 at a time—you'll be immersed in a language of double downs and trifectas and post times. Two or three races in an afternoon will leave you reeling and, assuming you win even a little bit of your bet back, exhilarated. (Emerald Downs, 2300 Emerald Downs Drive, Auburn, PAUL CONSTANT