Nirvana Tour: Walking the Motel Strip


Ah, the air of prosperity. Seattle as seen looking back from the George Washington Memorial Bridge on Aurora Avenue North; I never did make it to the seaside on this trip but the Pacific was a fairly regular presence. Apologies for absences, these past weeks have been less than ideal writing terrain nor is this cold a boon to productivity.

Marco Polo_1

It’s a rather sad note to conclude on. I’ve not written this one up simply because I didn’t really want to approach it but a bus ride from centre of town brings you up onto Aurora, just over the bridge. Walking back toward the bridge its relatively easy to find this address – one of the last known locations at which Kurt Cobain was seen.

Marco Polo_2

Still a functioning motel, there’s no reason at all your own tour couldn’t take in this place. If you figure out the bus networks you can be back to town inside ten minutes. If you stick to walking, OK, fine, it’ll take you an hour but it’s a pleasant enough stroll and walking the bridge looking down on the waters is beautiful on a good day (shame to spoil that sight by mentioning the ‘popular suicide spot’ bit of information someone told me.) It’s a pleasant place too, I strolled into the reception and the staff cheerfully let me take their business card and a postcard of the place. It’s a reasonably priced, reasonably close in location on a main thoroughfare and its just ill fate that twenty years ago one rock star needed a destination that promised privacy and where he’d be left undisturbed to pursue his own desired release.


The randomness of the choice, the undeserved staining of the location – I heard it described as a known hangout for drug users which seems to be a phrase so vague it could mark most motels and hotels anywhere in any country – is made clear by the nature of the strip on which its located. Even in the ten minute stroll back down to the bridge there’s a half dozen motels, I wonder how many were frequented and simply are undeclared components of the last days of Cobain?




It’s a quirk of history that the Marco Polo should have a place in the tale of Kurt Cobain – the Four Seasons would seem to deserve the greater drug reputation given the length of Cobain’s residency in 1992 compared to the fleeting ghost presence of March-April 1994. Using these motels makes sense of course, there was the blanket rule about not bringing drugs home to 171, plus these places are closer to the clubs and other locations where he was acquiring his supply; it was easy, simple and convenient to duck off the main road – same reasons why they remain good accomodation for less pharmaceutically orientated travellers.

Anyways, that’s one more walk concluded. Let’s enjoy the view shall we?

Oh, maybe a brief story. I was sat outside a frozen yoghurt place in Fremont with a friend of mine. A rather large lady comes up and explains she has a medical condition and needs to sit down, could she have a chair? Naturally, being a gentleman, I stand up and offer it to her. “No, I want that one.” She says pointing to the other chair. Sheesh! Apparently this medical condition was so acute it meant that she was too sensitive to sit in a chair that had been the recent recipient of my white English male cooties…



4 thoughts on “Nirvana Tour: Walking the Motel Strip”

    1. I’m sure it looks like any other hotel room and probably looks nothing like it did in ’94. That being said, you were right there lol. I’m not picking on you but you dropped the ball on that one lol. I’m an east coast guy so if I traveled that far I’d have to ask. I’m sure the employees know about it and maybe they’re cool about. Oh well lol

      1. It’s a good point!! 🙂 I chuckled out loud and thought “damn, if I’d known the room number I’d have done it in a heartbeat!” I forgot quite a few things on the tour – guess that was the point of yesterday’s post.. So, guess I better get back to work and earn the money to head back again someday… A bow of respect to the East Coast fella!

  1. You’re totally right! I can’t imagine there’s much more than the walls in place (and even those’ll be under the twentieth lick of paint.) Still, what the hey, cheap accommodation with historical resonance – a tad spooky maybe but not much else to dislike. Hope you have an awesome time up there!

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