Are you a Seattle “first-timer”? Known as the Emerald City, for its lush evergreen forests, Seattle is also touted as the rain city. paraphernalia.co’s first Seattle visit saw blue skies and sparkling bays so it begs the question, is the rain myth created by locals to keep this jewel to themselves?
Seattle’s Pike Place Market tops the foodie hit list. Whether to “catch fish”, indulge in local brews or take on the list of Bloody Mary’s at Lowell’s, there’s a gourmet treat around every corner. 9 acres of restaurants, breweries, wine stores and more. Make a day of it and check out a few places here to get you started.
Before your sight-seeing begins, take a quick look at Seattle’s CityPass. Half price offers at 5 of Seattle’s top attractions will save a pretty penny. Buy online or at the first of the listed attractions.
The monorail stops at Seattle Centre and The Space Needle. Seen from all over the city, 360° views from the top of the needle are a must. From the Olympic and Cascade Mountains to snow-capped Mount Ranier, Mount Baker and shimmering Elliot Bay, this bird’s eye view of Seattle is spectacular.
Adjacent to the Space Needle you’ll find the Frank Gehry designed, Experience Music Project (EMP). To fit with the Rock and Roll theme, Gehry purchased a bunch of electric guitars, sliced them up and used them as building blocks to develop his design idea. For the first time, CATIA 3D metal design equipment (used on Boeing aircraft) was used to design a building.
A permanent exhibition, Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, showcases the legendary Seattleite at the height of his fame (1966 – 70). On display are personal artefacts, original photos, and handwritten intimate diary entries.
Nirvana: Taking Punk To The Masses is an extensive exhibition including memorabilia, photographs, recordings, clips and interviews. Depending on your schedule, take a break and listen to their entire music collection.
On currently is a 32 piece exhibition of the award contenders for New Zealand’s World of WearableArt (WOW). The annual art show’s challenging brief for designers, costume makers, and other artisans; “to take art off the wall and adorn it to the human form”. Entries must be beautifully designed, well made, and, of course, wearable.
Live performances, outdoor cinema, art shows, and festivals fill the Seattle Centre’s events calendar annually. Check the daily guide for what’s on while you’re there.
Before exploring the waterfront via Olympic Sculpture Park check out “Ride the Ducks of Seattle”. Headquartered opposite EMP, World War 2 amphibious landing craft take you on a ride of your life. This is a great way to see many of Seattle’s attractions; the waterfront, downtown, Pike Place Market, Gasworks Park then you’ll be plunged into Lake Union under airborne seaplanes.
Olympic Sculpture Park is an easy walk from Seattle Centre. Free 60-minute tours through the park explain the site’s history, landscape and sculptures.
On the Waterfront, at Anthony’s Pier 66 try their coveted clam chowder to go, or rest your feet for a minute with a crab salad and happy hour margaritas. A 6 pack of Bloody Mary Oyster Shots are recommended for fellow bivalve lovers. A great spot to have up your sleeve before boarding your Alaskan Cruise.
At the Seattle Aquarium, learn about coral propagation, sea turtle rehabilitation, the journey of a Cedar River Salmon and the struggling local Orca population. The aquarium is a PokéStop too, so gather your Pokéballs and grab your Pokémon!
Take the 35-minute ferry ride to Bainbridge Island from Pier 52 at Colman Dock. A short walk up to Winslow Way via Olympic Way and you’re in the thick of markets, bakeries, wine stores and restaurants. Sculpture and fine art galleries compliment jewellery stores and boutiques while used books, vintage vinyl, upscale kitchen gadgets and gifts for the dog can be purchased too. Head to Harbor Square for wine tasting. Jeff travels the country so local Washington State wines, Californian or wines from Oregon may be on today’s list. Island Vintners is another excellent choice for tastings. Wines from 2 of the islands boutique wineries accompany delicious North West cheeses.
On the north shore of Lake Union, Westward & Little Gull is the place to indulge in locally harvested oysters. Views across the lake from strategically placed seating take in seaplanes, kayakers and mesmerising sunsets. Full-service restaurant, Westward, hosts Winemaker dinners with local and international producers pairing wines with dishes on and off the menu. Little Gull, the grocery store next door, provide prepackaged meals, oysters, champagne, local craft brews and wine. All the necessary components for a picnic by the water.
At 9lb Hammer in Georgetown, take a seat at the bar, choose your craft beer and in no time you’ll be in the midst of a discussion on the environment, politics or religion. Tamer topics are broached too, although the local perspective on the American political situation may take up the bulk of your time.
25 miles from the city centre at the Everett Boeing Factory, aviation buffs can’t miss the Future of Flight Aviation Centre and Boeing Tour. Home to the wide-body fleet, you can check out the assembly of 747s, 767s, 777s and 787 Dreamliners.
Seattle is a city using hydropower to produce 90% of its electricity and has a target to be fossil fuel free by 2030. Seattle’s spirit is buying locally, recycling and reusing. Once you’ve seen and tasted Seattle’s beauty for yourself, you’ll also be saying “Seattle, Washington: it’s a place we love….”