As the home port for many Alaskan cruises, Seattle has developed into a year-round destination because of the wide range of activities available whatever the weather. Set amid the glorious scenery of the Pacific North West, it is well worth exploring. Here, our popular guest columnist Scott Anderson, from the Luxury Cruise Company (www.theluxurycruisecompany.com), picks his ‘Top Ten Things to Do in Seattle’.
Space Needle. This striking 605ft tall construction has been a regional landmark ever since it was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. The Observation Tower and rotating 500ft high Space Needle Restaurant offer magnificent view over the city.
Chihuly Garden and Glass. Many travel experts, as well as cruise passengers, say the Chihuly Garden and Glass is one of the most-sought-after attractions in Seattle. This is where you can explore the work of Dale Chihuly – and possibly explore the adjacent Space Needle during the same visit.
EMP. Designed by renowned architect Frank Ghery, this museum takes visitors on a journey through the history of music with a variety of exhibitions consisting of over 80,000 artefacts, costumes and musical instruments. The museum showcases how musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana and Pearl Jam formed rock music, and much more.
Pike Place Market & Walking Food Tours. The Pike Place Market, in downtown Seattle, first opened its doors in 1908 to put the consumer in direct contact with the producer. Branches of popular chain stores are not welcome and all the shops and stalls within the market must retain their original concept. As a matter of interest, this is also the place where Starbucks was born. To ensure you don’t miss a single thing, I suggest you join one of the daily guided tours around the market place.
Pioneer Square and Underground Tour. Pioneer Square, where pioneers first settled, is the historic centre of Seattle. You will find an array of art galleries, cafes, and even a portion of the Klondike Gold Rush National and Historic Park. At Pioneer Square, it is also possible to take an Underground Tour and discover what secrets lie beneath.
Seattle’s Waterfront and Ferris Wheel. The old quays of Pier 59 and the Waterfront are perfect places for visitors to explore. Highlights along waterfront include the Seattle Aquarium, Myrtle Edward Park, the Olympic Structure Park and many shops, bars, arcades and restaurants. Don’t forget to take a ride on the Ferris Wheel, at Pier 57, and take in the breathtaking views of Seattle’s skyline.
Seaplane from Lake Union. Hop into the co-pilot’s seat, and zoom along one of the most attractive cityscapes in America. The Scenic Seattle Flight departs from Lake Union and takes you on a grand tour around the Emerald City aboard a comfortable seaplane.
Fremont, Belltown and Ballard Neighbourhoods. Although downtown Seattle may be fairly small, the city is home to over thirty neighbourhoods, all of which have their own character. The most famous neighbourhoods of Ballard and Fremont are in the north of the city, and are renowned for their upmarket shops and spectacular views. Belltown is close to the Pike Place Market and is the up and coming district, with a variety of new developments. It is also home to one of Seattle’s most famous restaurants: Flying Fish.
Tillicum Island. Over at Blake Island, you’ll find the cultural experience of the Salish tribes, who lived in Seattle around the early 1800s. The various shows and exhibitions are popular with tourists.
Shopping. There’s plenty of choice for anyone indulging in retail therapy, with
global chains and designer shops in the city centre and chic independent boutiques in Belltown. Be sure to visit Capitol Hill, Pike Place Market and the Waterfront if you are looking for an array of foods, great coffee and locally-produced preserves.
Beyond Seattle, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens and the Olympic National Parks are within a two-hour drive from the city. Alternatively, you can discover the rugged coastline, dense rainforest and spectacular alpine peaks on the San Juan Islands, or visit the world-famous Boeing factory.