SEATTLE TOURISM

Are you planning a visit?  There are lots of things to do and places to go in Seattle.  Here are my 10 favorite locations:

1.  SPACE NEEDLE

It wouldn’t be Seattle without the SPACE NEEDLE and a trip to the 605 foot observation deck gives the best views. The Space Needle was built in 1962 to symbolize the space-age theme of the Seattle World’s Fair. It took 13 months to build, from the pouring of the 30 foot deep foundation to the assembly of triangular I-beam tubes, which form the Space Needle’s graceful legs.

Take the high speed elevator to the O-Deck for a 360 degree introduction to the city. Use SkyQ’s unique location maps for details about key attractions. 

Step outside to O-Deck for views of the Downtown skyline, Mount Rainier to the southeast, Lake Union, Mount Baker and the Cascade Range to the northeast and the Olympic Mountains beyond Elliott Bay to the west.

2.  SEATTLE CENTER

This family friendly park is the home of many of the city’s most popular museums, arts & entertainment sites including:  

                          MoPOP - The Museum of Pop Culture

 Look for MoPOP Museum in a Gehry designed structure suggesting broken a broken guitar. Go to Mo POP to experience this unique museum with collections and exhibitions using interactive technologies to spotlight contemporary popular culture with its roots in rock 'n' roll. Musicians tell their stories, with rare artifacts and memorabilia on display.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

The works of world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly are collected in this exhibition includes eight Galleries, the centerpiece Glasshouse and an outdoor garden of real plants with glass forms that mimic nature.

 Pacific Science Center

This is a wonderful place for kids to discover science, mathematics and technology in exhibits and programs from butterflies and dinosaurs to exercise gadgets and health inventions.  Interactive planetarium, leaser light shows & two IMAX theaters are all part of the Science Center.

Seattle Center Theaters

The Seattle Center is the cultural focus for the city. Depending on the season of year for your visit, take in a production of the Seattle Opera and Northwest Ballet at McCaw Hall, the nationally acclaimed Seattle Repertory Theater, Cornish Playhouse or the Seattle Children’s Theater.


Children’s Museum

Children and their families come to participate in hands-on exhibits at the Play Cafe, in the Construction Zone, the Sound Transit Station, the Imagination Art Studio and in the Education Center. 

 Seattle Center Monorail

When it’s time to leave the Seattle Center let the Monorail speed you downtown and drop you off at Westlake Center.

3.  PIKE PLACE MARKET

The Pike Place Market is considered by many to be the heart of the city!  This is a working market where Seattle residents shop the high stalls for fresh produce, fish markets for the best prices on Salmon, Dungeness Crab & Oysters, food shops for unique treats and day stalls for local flowers, arts and crafts.

You’ll find six levels of retail shops and restaurants including the very first Starbucks. What began as a market coffee shop has spread all over town and now the world!

BRIEF HISTORY

Seattle’s history is tied to this natural harbor. Elliott Bay was explored and named in 1792 for a member of the Vancouver Expedition. The Arthur Denny Party arrived in November of 1851 and settled at Alki Point in what is now West Seattle.

After their first stormy winter, Denny, Bell and Boren staked claims across Elliott Bay on the mainland.  They named the new town for the friendly Duwamish Indian Chief Sealth. Over the years it became Seattle.

The Elliott Bay natural deep-water harbor was a favorite port-of-call for ships carrying lumber and produce to coastal cities like San Francisco.  

When the Port of Seattle developed Harbor Island for modern shipping, the finger piers along Alaskan Way became a favorite area for visitors.  

4. SEATTLE WATERFRONT

The Aquarium

Visit the Aquarium on Pier 59 to view the Window on Washington Waters, a 120,000 gallon tank holding sea creatures from the coast of Washington. See touch tide pool tanks, Life of a Drifter, tanks of jellyfish, the Giant Pacific Octopus, harbor seals, sea otters, and the Underwater Dome showing sea life found while diving in Puget Sound.

The Great Wheel

On Pier 57 Glass gondola cars are lifted 175 feet on the  Great Wheel  for views of the city skyline, waterfront, Puget Sound and the Olympics Mountains.

Sculpture Park

The Olympic Sculpture Park is a vibrant 9-acre green space where you can experience award-winning art outdoors. Enter the park on Western Avenue and follow the zigzag trail of art installations down to the Elliott Bay.

Boat Tours

For a bargain boat ride catch a Washington State Ferry on Pier 52 and ride across Elliott Bay to Bainbridge Island and back.   

Argosy Cruises sail from Pier 55 with narrated waterfront tour of the Elliott Bay, Lake Union and Lake Washington. 

Whale Watchers - stop at Pier 69 to catch a San Juan Clipper Catamaran sailing to the San Juan Islands.  From Friday Harbor whale watching tour go in search of wild Orca Whales.

5.  PIONEER SQUARE

Pioneer Square, is the original town site.  It was Henry Yesler’s saw mill that helped get the town going, with an early economy based on timber and fishing.  Seattle continued to grow until 1889 when fire destroyed this 64-acre town.  But the spirit of the city was not destroyed.

Businessmen worked quickly to rebuild on top of the original site.  The frame buildings were replaced with brick and stone Victorian structures, many built with gold rush money. 

Klondike Gold Rush National Park

See the role Seattle played in the1897-98 Klondike Gold Rush.  A miner’s camp and panning for gold are highlights of this National Park. 

Smith Tower

Built in 1914, the 38 floor Smith Tower was once the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.  Take an historic Otis elevator to the open air observation deck for panoramic views of the city, Mount Rainier, the Olympics and Cascades.

Shops, Galleries, Bars & Clubs

By day browse unique shops and galleries when the sun goes down the bars and music clubs take on party atmosphere.

 6.  SEATTLE MUSEUMS

You’ll see public art in Seattle that can go from the classical to comical.  Downtown art like Henry Moore’s “Vertebrae” at Fifth and Spring, Dale Chihuly’s “Crystal Cascade” chandeliers at Benaroya Hall and the Seattle Art Museum kinetic work “Hammering Man” contrast with whimsical works like “Waiting for the Interurban” and “The Troll” in the Fremont neighborhood.  

Seattle Art Museum

Just across the street Pike Place Market is the Seattle Art Museum.  The museums three floors of American, European, African and Native American collections are arranged thematically rather than chronologically.  Check for special touring exhibits when you visit.

Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park

Go to Volunteer Park on Capital Hill to see the world-renowned collection of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Southeast Asian, and Himalayan art. The collection is housed in a 1930’s Art Deco-style building protected by camels at the entrance!!

NOTE: The Asian Art Museum will close for renovation from February to July 2017

 Wing Luke Museum

Seattle’s Asian-American culture, art and history are documented in this museum named for the first Asian-American City Councilman.

MOHAI - Museum of History & Industry

Catch a South Lake Union Streetcar downtown to go to MOHAI and discover 150 year of Seattle history presented in ‘state of the art’ exhibits.  The whole family will enjoy this unique inter-active museum.

The Frye Art Museum

This FREE museum of 19th & 20th Century European & American art was begun by the Frye family to share with the community their growing collection of German art. Exhibitions of contemporary art, many purchased from the artists, are featured thought the year.  The Frye Cafe serves a great tasty lunch!!

Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture

Get a glimpse of the natural and cultural history of the Pacific Rim in this museum on the University of Washington Campus. See the giant skeletons of a stegosaurus, a cast of a 10,000-year-old mastodon, and a saber-toothed cat. Learn the stories of the Coast Salish and other people who have populated this region.

Museum of Flight at Boeing Field

This premiere air and space museum begins with the original 1916 Boeing airplane factory in the Red Barn, includes the Personal Courage Wing with World War I and II fighter planes and the Great Gallery display of 43 historic aircraft.  The Space Gallery houses the NASA Space Shuttle Trainer and the International Space Station to give a look at life on a space mission.  

Boeing Tour & Future of Flight Center in Everett

Make reservations to take a Boeing Tour of 747, 777 & 787 aircraft being assembled in the world’s largest building! Back at the Future of Aviation Center try your hand at designing and building a plane or practice landing a commercial jet.  Up on the Strato Deck watch Boeing jets being tested.

7.  SPORTS TEAMS

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks are the National Football League team that plays in CenturyLink Field.

Seattle Mariners

The American League Mariners Baseball team plays at  Safeco Field.

Seattle Sounders

See the Sounders soccer team at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle Storm
The Women's National Basketball Association Storm plays in  Key Arena at the Seattle Center.

Seattle Thunderbirds
Thunderbirds hockey team takes to the ice at the  ShoWare Center   in Kent

8. CHINATOWN/INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT

Walk through the Chinatown Gate and into bustling International District. Dragons coil around light posts, Asian shops and restaurants are mixed with stalls of fresh vegetables & fruit in this district

Uwajimaya Asian Market

A unique one-stop shopping experience in the International District, Uwajimaya combines specialty produce, meats and seafood for the Asian cook, Japanese tableware, gifts and home decor.  The food court has a great selection of Asian food stalls and bakeries. Sushi made fresh is a special treat!!

Walk through Hing Hay Park the brick-paved district gathering place with a pagoda and a dragon mural. You may even see a Tai Chi class in session.

9. HIRAM CHITTENDEN LOCKS

You could spend an afternoon here watching boats of all sizes and prices as they go through the locks from the Lake Washington Ship Channel and into Puget Sound waters. Puget Sound tides can vary as much as 26 feet a day, requiring a lock to compensate for the variation in water levels. 

Walk along the sea wall, across the gates, in front of the dam to see the fish ladder of migrating salmon as they travel from salt water to spawning grounds in streams that feed Lake Washington.  

10. UNIQUELY SEATTLE

Underground Tour

Seattle history after the 1889 fire is revealed in this humorous tour under Pioneer Square.  Pick up the tour at Doc Maynard’s Public House on First & James.

Fremont Troll

Crouching under the  north end of the Aurora Bridge is the  Fremont Troll.  Enjoy this quirky public art installation in the Fremont neighborhood along with ‘Waiting for the Interurban” and the giant statue of Vladimir Lenin.