Starbucks coffee, Boeing jets, Microsoft millionaires, flying fish and underground tours are some of the things that will keep you sleepless Seattle! Here are 10 things to do in Seattle.
1- See Seattle from the sky
The Space Needle is a Seattle icon. The tower is 184 meters tall and the view from the sky is amazing.
You’ll get a bird’s eye of the Cascades and the Olympic mountains while below, the city’s waterways, ports and islands are an enticing contrast.
Seattle is a waterside city (80% of the city is surrounded by water) connected by 112 bridges. As the home of many Microsoft millionaires, Seattle has more boats per capita than anywhere else in the USA.
2- Experience the music in Seattle
Try your hand at making music in the Experience Music Project (EMP) Sound Lab or get swept away with their Artist’s Journey multimedia motion-platform ride.
Located in the Seattle Centre, the EMP is an interactive music museum that brings American popular music and rock ‘n’ roll to life.
There are 80,000 artefacts including stage costumes and instruments from popular American music icons such as Bob Dylan, as well as an extensive collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia.
Its most unusual attraction is the Sky Church, a dramatic hall with a video screen that spans an entire wall. This interactive and multimedia nirvana is housed within a controversial and wild freeform building.
The exterior has sections of blue and red painted aluminium and stainless steel with purple, silver, and golden finishes. Seattle’s monorail passes through the structure.
3- Visit Pike Place
Pike Place Market is a great spot to wander around. The waterfront market is not a tourist trap. It’s where the locals go to shop for fresh food like Dungeness crabs (large crabswith white-tip claws), vegetables and salmon.
The fish sellers at Pike Place Fish shop are entertaining. Actually, selling fish has become a bit of a Broadway production. They shout and chant in harmony and throw the fish around the store.
Outside the market is the original Starbucks store, openend in 1971. The store has retained its original rustic charm.
4- Explore the underground
For a 90-minute tongue-in-cheek, offbeat, entertaining and adventurous way to learn about the city’s colourful past, buy a ticket to Seattle’s underground tour. Dispensing quirky titbits, the underground tour guides entertain with stories of significant events in Seattle’s history.
During the late 19th century, the streets of Seattle were raised in order to prevent flooding. As a result, the bottom levels of many of Seattle’s old buildings are hidden beneath the ground. You’ll be taken through secret passageways and dark dungeons at the city’s original level to discover a whole new world.
The vivid imagination of the tour guides bring Seattle’s past to life with imaginative descriptions and colourful story telling.
5- Ballard Locks
Watch the boats at Ballard Locks make the transition through the gateway from the fresh water of Lake Washington and Lake Union to the salt water of Puget Sound. Between June and October, the salmon make their annual migration.
Through underwater windows, you’ll see them leaping and jumping out of the water. Hire a kayak, and kayak along Lake Union, where Tom Hanks lived on a houseboat in the movie Sleepless in Seattle. Ballard Locks is situated in Seattle’s Scandinavian neighbourhood.
6- San Juan Islands
The ferry to San Juan islands is a fabulous way to enjoy the water. San Juan’s harbour is a charming port with restaurants, shops and galleries. And it’s a good spot to go orca watching although the waters around the island is also home to other species like Grey and Minke whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, seals, sea lions and otters.
7- Pioneer Square
Walk around Pioneer Square, Seattle’s oldest neighbourhood, now a historic district and home to many of Seattle’s art galleries, restaurants and web development companies. Spend a few hours at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Pioneer Square. They conduct free daily readings and well-known authors often pop in for special book signings.
After dark, Pioneer Square turns into an entertainment district, with one of the city’s liveliest collections of nightspots. You’ll find sports bars, jazz bars, hard rock taverns and little romantic eateries.
8- Explore the waterfront
Browse the shops on Seattle’s waterfront. The Bell Street Pier is delightful to wander around. Or you can board the Victoria Clipper catamaran from Pier 69 for a sightseeing tour of Puget Sound.
9- Snoqualmie Falls
A day trip out to the Snoqualmie Falls will surely delight. The small mountain town (with a dramatic waterfall) is where Twin Peaks was filmed. Snoqualmie Falls is spectacular. It’s over 80 metres high (almost 30 metres higher than Niagara Falls!).
The sight of gushing water is mesmerising and it’s easy to see why the Snoqualmie tribe considered Snoqualmie Falls a spiritual place.
Aircraft fans will love the Boeing factory tour at the Boeing Everett Tour Center. Watch Boeing’s 7-series (747, 767 and 777) aircraft being manufactured on the assembly line. It’s a popular tourist attraction that sees nearly 110,000 visitors each year. The factory is massive, covering 39.8 hectares.