Seattle Destination Guide
Yes, it’s an option, but there is genuinely no need to go sleepless in Seattle to enjoy all the largest city in Washington State has to offer. The “Emerald City” of the Pacific Northwest marries its economic importance as headquarters to world-renowned brands Boeing, Starbucks and Amazon.com with historic, scientific, cultural and scenic attractions.
The result is a vibrant destination with the added bonus of a marvellous waterfront location. Seattle is a city of waterways – of picturesque Puget Sound, Lake Union and the Ship Canal, and Lake Washington. It all adds up to a first-class location for visitors who appreciate the combination of urban sophistication and waterfront style.
The Seattle Space Needle at the Seattle Center would have to be the most iconic city landmark and the view from up high – where you can also take in the revolving restaurant – is quite superb. It’s hard to believe the Needle is more than 50 years old. You will get other great views from Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill.
The Seattle Center is also home to several museums including the Science Fiction Museum, Pacific Science Center and the ever-popular Chihuly Garden and Glass with its extraordinary glass work.
Another must-see is the big and bustling Pike Place Market, a focal point for locals and visitors alike. A little further afield in Georgetown, aviation buffs will marvel at the Museum of Flight.
Eat and Drink
Seafood, boutique beers and great coffee, of course, are just three of the highlights of a dining scene that is counted among the best in the United States. You will find options to suit taste and budget all over the city – whether it’s food to go, a seat in a bar or a splurge in a top-quality restaurant.
Local seafood specialities include shellfish such as mussels, oysters and clams as well as crab and salmon in season. The waterfront is a good place to start for seafood restaurants.
There are plenty of other dining options Downtown, including the restaurants of Belltown and outlets at the Pike Place Markets. If Asian cuisine is on your menu, try the International District.
Where to Stay
It pays to look around for the best hotel deals with recent, slick waterfront development in the South Lake Union district adding to potential places to stay. Traditionally, most visitors have headed towards Belltown and nearby streets Downtown which have the greatest concentration of hotels.
There are also a couple of options on the Waterfront. Districts close to the Seattle Center are a good option for families wanting to be close to its attractions but just a monorail ride from Downtown. For something different, don’t forget the inns and hotels of Bainbridge Island, a scenic 30-minute ferry ride from the city.
You will find that Pike Place Market is a magnet to shoppers looking for everything from fresh food and flowers to gifts, crafts, clothes and souvenirs. Be prepared for the crowds – it can get very busy.
If high-street brands plus a touch of luxury are more your style, Downtown is home to the Westlake Center and Pacific Place shopping malls and stores such as Nordstrom, Macy’s and Barneys.
For independent designer fashion and shoe boutiques, head over the canal to the trendy, buzzing Ballard district before slipping across to more boutiques, as well as leathergoods and gift stores, in neighbouring Fremont.
Seattle Like a Local
Seattle is one of the friendlier cycling cities in the US. Look out for the excellent bicycle share scheme called Pronto, with more than 500 bikes at 50 locations around the city. You can use your credit or debit card to buy 24-hour or three-day passes at any Pronto bike station. After signing on, the first 30 minutes are free. For a safe, scenic, water view ride, take the Elliott Bay Trail starting at Myrtle Edwards Park.