Seattle, Washington is probably best known as the birthplace of Starbucks Coffee and Grunge music and although true, this spectacular city is paving the way again as it makes its mark as one of America’s Greenest cities on its quest to redefine the American Metropolis living up to its ‘Emerald City’ nickname. Nestled below the watchful eye of Mt. Rainier and the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Seattle is situated on the Puget Sound and surrounded by Elliot Bay, Lake Union and Lake Washington making it one of the most beautiful places on earth. Visitors to this breathtaking city will have no problem finding things to do as they move through and around Seattle. Attractions are both manmade and natural elements, satisfying and stimulating all of the senses and leaving tourists wanting more.
The Space Needle
The Space Needle dominates Seattle’s skyline, not because it’s the largest building in the city but because its revolutionary architecture stands alone among American structures. Built to be the dominant structure in the 1962 World’s Fair, the space needle has been a popular attraction ever since. A great thing to do is dine at the SkyCity Restaurant that hovers 500 feet in the air and rotates 360 degrees as you experience some of Seattle’s finest cuisine. While in the area visit the Pacific Science Center that houses an IMAX theatre, planetarium and laser dome theater in addition to 6 acres of hands on fun with abundant things to do. Other nearby attractions include the Seattle Children’s Museum and the Seattle Center Monorail.
A great way to explore Seattle and its rich history is by visiting one of its many museums. From traditional art and science museums to those chronicling the Asian Pacific American experience these local attractions allow visitors to walk through the North West culture which expands beyond its borders and into the world. Two of the most unique museums in Seattle are the Experience Music Project (EMP) and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (SFM). These two museums are combined in one architecturally amazing location and bring two popular passions together through state-of-the-art exhibitions and hands-on interactive. This attraction provides many things to do and see as you learn about how the Seattle music scene has evolved and discover the basic building blocks of science fiction. The EMP|SFM is a leader in education to the Seattle community providing many programs and things to do for children and adults.
The Pike Place Market
One of Seattle’s most iconic attractions is the Pike Place Market, established in 1907. Filled with endless things to do, this market is one of the oldest continually operated public farmers’ markets in the U.S. Overlooking the Elliot Bay waterfront, Pike Place Market covers over 9 acres and includes buildings, streets, walkways and alleys all dedicated to the people of Seattle and founded to bring farmers and consumers together. Filled with over 190 commercial businesses, 50 restaurants and take-out food shops, and 200 table spaces rented by the day, over 9 million people visit the market each year. The unique shops include: comic book sellers, antique dealers, specialty food shops and handmade clothing boutiques. If you can imagine it, someone is selling it at Pike Place Market. A great thing to do is to stop by Pike Place Fish and experience the extravagant sight of the Salmon tossing fishmongers or stroll along the cobblestones to hear some of the many street performers as varied and diverse as the market itself.
Pioneer Square and Underground Tour
Pioneer Square is known as the historic centre of Seattle and is where the first pioneers settled in the city. The Pioneer Square-Skid Road Historic District is also included within the National Register of Historic Places, thus making it a popular destination with tourists. Within the district, you will find an array of art galleries, cafes and even a portion of the Klondike Gold Rush National and Historic Park. Within Seattle, you can take an Underground Tour within Pioneer Square and discover what secrets lie beneath.
Music and Seattle
Music and Seattle seem to go hand in hand. Always going against the grain of the era, Seattle has been influential in the music industry since the 1920’s when it embraced the politically radical American Folk scene. Seattle native Jimi Hendrix and bands like Sound Garden, Nirvana and Pearl Jam have kept the music culture alive and diverse. Today Seattle is home to hundreds of celebrated music venues playing a wide variety of music every night of the week and is an attraction that stands alone as one of the most diverse venues hosting rock, electronic, indie, hip hop, world, alt-country, and DJ’s of all kinds. The music lover will not have a problem finding a venue to suit their taste. There are clubs of every kind scattered throughout Seattle with unending possibilities and things to do in the search for entertainment.
The Seattle Festivals
For a family friendly activity look no further than one of Seattle’s many festivals throughout the year. These attractions provide countless things to do for ‘kids’ of all ages. The Seattle International Children’s Festival is one of the largest performing arts festivals for families in the United States. Artists from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas perform in downtown Seattle providing a cultural education and experience for all. The Sea Fair has been an annual tradition for over 50 years, this festival last for about a month from the beginning of July until the first Sunday in August. It was voted in the Top 10 events in the country overflowing with activities and things to do including arts and crafts, live music, parades and triathlon. For movie lovers the Seattle International Film Festival gives cinema buffs 25 days of film viewing. More than 300 works are showcased from famous directors to independent filmmakers covering every genre. If travelers are looking to add a fitness adventure to their trip the Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon is sure to deliver. Held annually on the first Sunday after Thanksgiving this event is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. Combining this event with your holiday shopping is a great thing to do as you enjoy Seattle during the holidays.
Because the North West is abundantly beautiful a great way to spend time is finding things to do in the great outdoors. Seattle has a wide variety of natural attractions for beginners and seasoned adventure travelers alike. Visitors to this incredible landscape will not have a problem finding activities like mountaineering, hiking, white water rafting, whale watching and even scuba diving. Seattle has done an amazing job keeping its natural resources pristine and their devotion to being a leader in the Green charge is apparent everywhere. There is also a wide range of attractions for the Green minded traveler. Enjoy a tour of one of the many Green buildings, visit ecological restoration sites, tour a state-of-the-art recycling center or sample alternative transportation options. The city also has a Free Ride Zone in downtown that allows visitors to get on and off as they sight see-for free.
Seattle has earned the reputation for being one of America’s top cities for the size of its carbon footprint and has been recognized for its commitment to protecting the environment. Placed among the top cities for walkability, Seattle’s attractions are easily accessible giving travelers an abundance of things to do and see that are low cost or free. Her neighborhoods are welcoming and whether you are enjoying a cup of coffee at a local café, taking in the view of the mountains or listening to a local band jam Seattle will leave you feeling refreshed.