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Greater Seattle

Savoring a city of superb scenery, historic markets and perky coffee

Located on the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, Seattle is known as the “Emerald City” because of the abundance of greenery in the region. It also fits the moniker because, like its Oz counterpart, it’s a city of wide-open promise and excitement.

Seattle’s major role as a trade and manufacturing hub over the decades has made it the biggest city in Washington—and one of the youngest cities in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is known for excellent seafood, a thriving technology industry and rich coffee culture (after all, Starbucks started here). High-tech companies such as Microsoft and Amazon are also located in the area, giving the city a cosmopolitan and international vibe, with a diverse culinary scene to match.

Though rainy days are frequent in this Pacific Northwest metropolis, a little bit of water doesn’t keep the average Seattleite from getting outside, and there are plenty of forest trails and outdoor recreation spots within an easy drive from town. This active city also has plenty of sports teams that embody this same spirit, including the Seattle Seahawks, the only NFL team in the Pacific Northwest. Other teams include the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball, the Seattle Sounders soccer team, the Seattle Reign women’s soccer team and the Seattle Storm of the WNBA.

Seattle Center

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Getty Images/iStockphoto

Many of Seattle’s best-known attractions are located in the Seattle Center, just west of the city center. It was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, and its best-known feature is the Space Needle, a futuristic tower (even by today’s standard), which, at 605 feet in height, is Seattle’s most iconic landmark. At the top of this tower sits a disk-like halo designed, quite successfully, to resemble a flying saucer, complete with an observation deck.

Inside is a rotating restaurant, SkyCity at the Needle, which serves an eclectic menu featuring items such as ribs, risotto and lots of seafood. In addition, the center features an International Fountain, also built for the World’s Fair. This futuristic half-globe fountain has over 20 spouts and plays occasional music shows. The Seattle Center is also home to the Pacific Science Center, another World’s Fair attraction that today has two IMAX theaters, a planetarium and a tropical butterfly house.

Launched in 2000, the EMP Museum is dedicated to modern music, with a regular rotation of exhibitions focusing on 20th- and 21st-century popular music. Seattle’s celebrated music scene is a heavy focus here, so expect to see lots of exhibits on the likes of local heroes Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana and Pearl Jam. The top floor is dedicated to interactive musical experiments, and here you can try your hand at keys, drums or strings in soundproofed booths, or pay an extra fee to shoot your very own music video.

One of the newest attractions to open at the Seattle Center, Chihuly Gardens and Glass, is a small, high-ceilinged museum dedicated to the intricate, enormous soft-glass sculptures by internationally renowned Washington artist Dale Chihuly. There’s a steep admission fee, but floor-to-ceiling windows make it possible to get a distant glimpse of all the exhibit has to offer without entering inside.

Downtown Seattle

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Howard Frisk

Dating back to 1907, downtown Seattle’s Pike Place Market is one of the city’s best-known attractions. It’s a great place to shop for everything from antique bric-a-brac to local handicrafts, but it’s probably best known for its boisterous and oft-photographed fish market.

The oldest Starbucks in the world is also located here, but expect long lines and no seating. Just down the road is the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, where travelers can try out all sorts of special roasts and learn more about the lifecycle of coffee, from bean to cup.

Another not-to-be-missed attraction, the Seattle Underground is a series of passageways and storefronts that were originally the ground level of Seattle (the streets were later elevated to their current position at the beginning of the 20th century). Although it’s no longer a functional part of the city, tours of the old subterranean neighborhood take place throughout the year.

The city of Seattle has recently been putting major efforts into revitalizing the waterfront area, and today there are plenty of places to stroll, dine and take photos. The Seattle Aquarium is also located here, and guests wanting to get out on the water can catch ferries from one of the many piers to popular islands in the area, including Bainbridge Island, Blake Island, Vashon Island and the city of Bremerton on the Kitsap Peninsula.

For More Information

Visit Seattle

866-732-2695

www.visitseattle.org

 

Washington Tourism Alliance

800-544-1800

www.experiencewa.com