There are many things to do in Seattle, the culture capital of the Pacific Northwest — set on the Puget Sound with the stunning Mt. Rainier visible on clear days — is packed with everything from renowned museums and beautiful parks to buzzy neighbourhoods and popular attractions.
Here are a few suggestions:
Pike Place Market
Opened in 1907, the Pike Place Market is one of the country’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ markets. A thriving community of farmers, street performers and restaurateurs, this is more than just a place to grab a bite: Make sure to check out the underground shops, bookstores, apothecaries and one very special magic shop.
Washington State Ferries
The Washington State Ferries are an integral part of the commuter culture in Seattle. The system stops at multiple neighbouring islands and towns for the largest fleet of ferries in the United States. A day trip out of the city is easy as a walk-on or car passenger. Even though most boats can carry 200 cars, commuter crossings are very busy so try to avoid them during rush hour.
Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop)
One of Microsoft founder Paul Allen’s greatest contributions to the city is the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop). Formerly known as the Experience Music Project, the museum’s structure was designed in 2000 by architect Frank Gehry, so it is truly a sight to be seen. Exhibits range in topic and explore various themes, from indie video games to horror films to tattoo culture. If you want to beat the crowds, come early on a weekday. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Seattle.
Seattle Great Wheel
Who doesn’t love a Ferris wheel? Boasting 360-degree-views of both mountains and open sky, Seattle’s Great Wheel is worth being a bit of a tourist for. At $16 for an adult ride, many locals scoff at this attraction. Don’t make the same mistake: Get in line and get up there. If you’re feeling swank, you can purchase a VIP ticket for $50 that puts you ahead of the line and in a four-person gondola with a glass bottom.
Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the 605-foot-tall Space Needle quickly became an icon of the city recognized far and wide today. On the observation level, which you can reach via a 43-second elevator ride, see the doodle-on-a-napkin concept that led to the Space Needle design. Views from the top feature Elliott Bay, the Cascade Mountains, and even Mount Rainier.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
The Chihuly Garden and Glass museum is dedicated to the work and career of locally born, world-renowned glassblower Dale Chihuly, who was introduced to the craft while studying at the University of Washington. It is the most comprehensive collection of his art to date, with interior galleries featuring a variety of his work in the medium. The pièce de résistance is the glasshouse, with a vibrant 100-foot-long sculpture in hues of red, orange, and yellow suspended from the ceiling.
The ornate Chinatown Gate welcomes you to this diverse neighbourhood, where the food scene is incredible. After eating your fill of everything from pho to sushi, visit Wing Luke Museum, dedicated to the Asian Pacific American experience and shop for Japanese snacks and cute gifts at the Uwajimaya supermarket.