With a long-established music, TV and film pedigree, Seattle is on many travellers’ must-visit lists, but if you’re new to the ‘Emerald City’, these are our tips for the top 7 things to do:
Browse Pike Place Market – Start your exploration of Seattle at the world renowned Pike Place Market which is brimming with local crafts, speciality foods and fresh produce. Established in 1917, this mighty market spans some seven hectares in downtown Seattle. Watch the vendors setting up their stalls for the day, throw a penny in ‘Rachel’, the bronze piggy bank and grab a coffee at Starbucks – it was established right here in 1971 don’t you know!
Admire the view from Seattle waterfront – Located just a few minutes away from Pike Place Market is the chilled out waterfront area. Imbibe the views of Elliott Bay and the looming Olympic Mountains range which dominates the city. Admire the twenty or so large sculptures within the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is one of the many free things to do in Seattle.
Hang out in Pioneer Square – This is Seattle's oldest, and probably most cultural neighbourhood, brimming with art galleries, antiques stores, bookshops, trendy restaurants and lively nightclubs where you can while away many an hour. Easily accessed from the Downtown district, sections of Pioneer Square features quaint cobblestoned streets, red brick buildings and traditional horse-drawn carriages.
Get high at the Seattle Center – Take the elevator up to the observation deck of the Space Needle, which at 520 feet tall, dominates the city’s skyline. Originally built for the World Fair in 1962, it’s a great way to take in the sights – but check the weather forecast first!
Be inspired at the Chihuly Garden and Glass – This fascinating gallery in the heart of Seattle focuses on the works of the American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. The eight inside galleries explore the influences that inspired the Washington born artist. His unique large scale pieces feature throughout the building and flow into the lush gardens and the impressive glasshouse, which is undoubtedly the centerpiece.
Explore the city’s Museums – It’s no understatement to say that Seattle is bursting with museums! Take your pick from the arts, pop culture, nature and science, maritime, history, military, aviation and so many more! If I had to pick just three (tough call) I would opt for the Museum of Flight which has an intriguing collection of air and space collections within the USA, including the very first Air Force One. Next up I would explore the kid-friendly Seattle Children’s Museum which has fantastic hands-on exhibits and then also the landmark Seattle Asian Art Museum which is home to some elegant and mesmerising collections of Chinese, Japanese and Korean art from around the world. The multitude of museums are a popular option for those rainy days in Seattle!
Ride the Washington State Ferries – the Downtown ferries leave from Colman Dock at the southern end of the waterfront. Hop onboard to visit nearby Bainbridge Island where you can go trekking, sailing, sailing, hiking, kayaking and mountain biking. Or take the scenic route to Bremerton, whose downtown area (which is close to the dock) has a good selection of galleries, museums, shops and theatres.