Exploring the Neighborhoods
The oldest part of the city, Pioneer Square, is also downtown.
Visit galleries and shops along its tree-lined streets. And if you're so inclined (or declined) take the Underground Tour to explore the Seattle's archaeology.
The tour originates at Doc Maynard's Public House then descends
below street level, dispensing a thorough historic background of the
city prior to its retrograde and rebuilding after The Great Fire of
If you prefer department stores and malls to market stalls,
there are plenty throughout downtown, all within walking distance from
most hotels. Most notable is Nordstrom's
flagship store, located next to Pacific Place Mall. High-end retailers
Barney's, Furla and Louis Vuitton, plus a slew of other shops, are all
Seattle is recognized as America's most literate city, and it shows;
the number of bookstores -- new, used and specialized -- is staggering.
The Elliott Bay Book Company in Pioneer Square bears all the authenticity and creaky floors a respectable bookstore should. The University Bookstore in the University District (home to the University of Washington) hosts notable readings, signings and events.
And perhaps the best thing to happen to Seattle's bookworms and architecture mavens is the stunning Seattle Public Library.
Opened in May 2004, this remarkable Rem Koolhaas-designed building is
an impressive structure, both inside and out. Circumnavigate the block,
go in and take a tour, guided or on your own -- the building is a feast
for the eyes, even before you get to the one million volumes it houses.
Sleeping in Seattle
From sleek boutique hotels to adorable houseboats, accommodations in Seattle vary as much as its neighborhoods.
For a unique experience, try one of the city's many bed and breakfasts.
For luxury-seekers, the Fairmont Olympic is right in the heart of downtown's business and shopping district; the red brick Sorrento Hotel is not far from downtown on First Hill. Both offer old-world charm and veritable hospitality. Or try downtown favorite Hotel Monaco, which welcomes pets or even provides you with one (a chubby goldfish) for the duration of your stay.
If you prefer to fall asleep to the sounds of the Waterfront, stay right on the Bay at The Edgewater.
From there, you can take to the water on an Argosy Boat cruise or check
out the largest ferry system in the U.S. with a ride to Bainbridge
Seattle is a music lover's paradise, and one needn't look any further than The Stranger, a free newspaper, for all there is to know about who's playing where.
If it's more classical tunes you're after, there's also the Seattle Symphony
at Benaroya Hall. A nearby jazz nightclub venue with impressive shows, cocktails and dishes is The Triple Door
, beneath elaborate eatery Wild Ginger
, which serves diverse Asian fare.
The NBA SuperSonics may soon be leaving Key Arena for new digs,
but the Superbowl XL runner-up Seahawks will be at Qwest Field, rated
the loudest stadium, for quite some time. And next door is beautiful
ballpark Safeco Field, the Seattle Mariners' home complete with Dale
Chihuly chandelier of glass bats and retractable roof barring all
chances of rainout.
Key Arena is one of many structures, like the Space Needle, making up the Seattle Center. The Pacific Science Center houses a wonderful museum for children and an Imax theatre.
At the base of the needle is the
EMP, Experience Music Project. A colorful Frank Gehry-designed building, it's must-visit for all music lovers and creators.
The Green Scene
Climbers, hikers, skiers and outdoor sports lovers in Seattle relish
in the short distance to activities. However, you don't need to leave
the city for outdoor action.
In Madison Valley, walk the trails in the Washington Park Arboretum
or meditate in the Japanese Garden -- you'll quickly forget you're in a city.
Rent a kayak on Lake Union and cruise under bridges, through
canals and alongside quaint houseboats. For special dining, don a
jacket and head to Canlis
for inventive Northwest cuisine. A charming locale overlooking the
lake, you can watch seaplanes return from nautical excursions with
Watch ships of all sizes lowered and raised through the Hiram
M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard, home to professional fisherman. Near
the locks, the fish ladder is one of few places in the world where
fresh and salt waters meet, and salmon can be seen jumping through on
their upstream migration.
in Ballard's Shilshole Bay is a classic for views of Puget Sound and
the exceptional seafood of which the Northwest is so very proud.
Much like watching the world go by is something you must do in Paris, coffeehouse time in Seattle is required.
Capitol Hill, one of the largest and most popular neighborhoods, is prime for people-watching. Victrola
are three favorites on the Hill, but independently-owned coffee shops
dot the city, offering superior brews, yummy pastries and free Wi-Fi.
But what cup of coffee would be complete without the perfect doughnut? Underneath the monorail in Belltown is Top Pot Doughnuts, each hand-forged and totally scrumptious.
Whether you go for the cake doughnuts and old-fashioned, they're
equally delicious and equally sinful -- so you'll just have to try
Seattle can get a little cloudy or drizzly, it's true. But if
you do end up with a blue-skied day, you could be lucky enough to hear
a Seattleite say the words, "the mountain's out," referring to the
unforgettable view of the city's guardian angel, Mt. Rainier, glowing
in the distance.