Seattle is the largest city in the American northwest and an important economic and commercial center. Its skyline is recognizable around the world and its presence under the watchful eye of Mount Rainier, one of America’s most prominent mountains, is notable and picturesque. Below are my picks for the best of Seattle, to be followed by a photo album.
1. Space Needle – Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, this iconic symbol of Seattle is 605 feet high and provides wonderful views of the city skyline, Mount Rainier, Elliott Bay and Puget Sound. It is located within Seattle Center, in the northern part of the city.
2. Pike Place Market – One of the oldest public farmer’s markets in the country, Pike Place Market is the number one tourist attraction in the city. Sol Amon’s Pure Food Fish is the major attraction here, as the workers toss fish from one end of the display to the other, delighting the crowds that flock here to witness the exhibition. Starbucks Coffee also originated near the market.
3. Pioneer Square – This is the oldest section of the city, and although it was completely destroyed by a devastating fire in 1889, was rebuilt and still maintains the flavor of the original neighborhood. The public park that marks the square contains a Tlingit totem pole, an obvious landmark for visitors.
4. Olympic National Park – This extensive national park contains three distinctive environmental areas which create an region of tremendous biological and ecological diversity. The Olympic Mountains dominate the upper reaches of the park Inland from the beach is temperate rain forest, a unique forest environment which is characterized by large quantities of precipitation and mosses draping the trees.
5. Mount Rainier National Park – This 14,000 foot mountain has more glaciers than any other peak in the contiguous United States. It was America’s fifth national park, dedicated in 1899. Within the park are numerous walking and hiking trails. Some areas have particularly evocative names, such as, paradise and sunrise.
6. Experience Music Project (at Seattle Center) – This music museum is located near the Space Needle within Seattle Center and is one of two stops for Seattle’s Monorail that connects Seattle Center with the downtown. The building was designed by Frank Gehry, who contributed to Milennium Park in Chicago and designed the Guggenheim Museum in Blibao, Spain. Some exhibits highlight artists from the region.
7. Seattle Art Museum – SAM as it is known is the major art museum of the city. It recently expanded and moved its collection. It also included the Olympic Sculpture Park on the waterfront.
8. Museum of Flight – This is the largest private air and space museum in the world and benefits tremendously from the proximity to Boeing, one of the world’s major aircraft manufacturer. It is located in the city of Everett, near Seattle.
9. San Juan Islands – These islands, along with the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, form a large archipelago northwest of Seattle. Some of the islands can be reached by ferry, both private and public. The main tourist activities are kayaking and observing Orca whales (Killer Whales).
10. Chittenden Locks – These locks are located on Seattle’s Salmon Bay which is connected to Washington Lake. They provide commercial and recreational access to the freshwater of the lake and the salt water of Puget Sound. More important for tourists is the fish ladder which was built into the lock system. Visitors can watch migrating anadromous fish (born in freshwater, adult life in salt water), such as the Coho, Sockeye, Steelhead, and Chinook Salmon work their way upstream to their spawning grounds.
Other sights considered:
Boeing Aircraft Company Factory
Wing Luke Asian Museum