Seattle is located in the northwest of the US and is the last major city before the border with Canada. It is one of the most beautiful cities in America, beautifully situated on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The Space Needle towers above the skyscrapers as the hippest symbol of a city that likes to set trends. Although few people visit Seattle as a city trip and most people only know the city from the film ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, there are many fun things and beautiful places worth seeing. Moreover, it is the ideal base for those who want to explore the northwest of the US. You can even travel further to Canada and the Rocky Mountains. What should you see and do? Which sights should you not miss in the city?
- The success of the city of Seattle (USA)
- What are Seattle’s sights and beauty spots?
- Pike Place Market
- Space Needle, Seattle’s tower
- Downtown Waterfront
- Pioneer Square
- Washington State Ferries
- International District
- Museum of Flight
- Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)
- Woodland Park Zoo
- Golden Gardens Beach in Seattle
The success of the city of Seattle (USA)
The site had been inhabited by Native American tribes for more than four thousand years when the first Europeans settled there at the end of the eighteenth century as a stop on an exploratory expedition. The Duwamish Indians were a friendly tribe and they soon made friends with the first white settlers.
Foundation and growth
On February 15, 1852, Europeans founded a colony there, named after Sealth, the chief of the Duwamish. At first, Seattle was an insignificant place. Only from the end of the nineteenth century and after the two world wars did the city grow into an important metropolis and a hub of trade and economy.
In 1916, William Boeing started his aircraft factory in Seattle. The company contributed greatly to the growth of the city. In the decades after World War II, the ‘Emerald City’ continued to attract young people, thanks to its mix of career opportunities with its beautiful waterfront and mountain location. Seattle became one of the hippest cities in the US, known for its progressive policies and open culture.
Starting point of trends
Many new trends, with Starbucks coffeehouses as the best-known example, started in Seattle and spread to the rest of the world. Numerous technology companies are also based in Seattle. You will find the headquarters of giants such as amazon.com and Microsoft.
What are Seattle’s sights and beauty spots?
The city has a lot to offer. You will find pleasant squares and beautiful neighborhoods to stroll around. Seattle also offers a number of fascinating museums, such as the Museum of Flight and the Museum of History and Industry. Sun worshipers shouldn’t miss the beautiful Golden Gardens Beach. A visit to the Space Needle, the high tower and the symbol of the city par excellence, should also not be missed.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is a popular public market in the heart of the city. It is one of Seattle’s main attractions. It has been buzzing with activity since 1907. The main access is between First Avenue and Pike Street.
Pike Place consists of several buildings. The most important are the ‘Main Arcade’ and ‘North Arcade’. All year round you will find stalls with vegetables, flowers, souvenirs, goodies from the sea and much more. Pike Place Market also has the craziest fishmongers in the world. They literally perform acrobatic feats with the fish. Stairs lead to Down Under, the market below the above-ground part. It is a labyrinth of nice shops and stalls.
Pike Place Market can be very busy on weekends. It is therefore best to visit the market during the week.
On the corner of Pike Street and 1st Avenue you’ll find the original Starbucks, opened in 1971 and the first branch of what would become the world-famous chain of coffeehouses.
Space Needle in Seattle / Source: Skeeze, Pixabay
Space Needle, Seattle’s tower
A UFO on stilts
The Space Needle is the symbol of Seattle. The 184-meter-high monument was built for the 1962 World Exhibition and resembles a UFO on two large stilts. From the Westlake Center in Downtown you can reach the Space Needle in a few minutes via the Monorail.
The view from the deck at the top is impressive. There is also the slowly rotating, pricey SkyCity restaurant for those who want to eat well and enjoy the view at the same time. If you have a reservation for the restaurant, you can take the elevator up for free.
At the foot of the Space Needle lies the Seattle Center, a large cultural complex with exhibition halls, food stalls and more. Like the Space Needle, it was built for the 1962 World’s Fair.
It is pleasant to stroll in this part of Downtown along the water. Alaskan Way is the main street. Shops, food stalls and wooden jetties on the water form the backdrop here. On top of that there are beautiful views over Elliott Bay. There are also a number of nice attractions such as an impressive aquarium and the Omnidome.
Are you curious about what’s swimming in the local waters? Then you shouldn’t miss this attraction. You will see many impressive fish and other inhabitants of the sea. Sharks, octopuses, jellyfish in all colors and even catchy sea otters will cross your path.
Next to the aquarium you will find the Omnidome Film Experience, a cinema with a completely circular screen of one hundred and eighty degrees. Check which films are showing on the days of your stay in the city.
Seattle Great Wheel
A ride on this enormous Ferris wheel is also recommended. The spectacular view is not limited to the city. On a clear day, the Olympic Mountains are also visible in the distance.
This Downtown Seattle neighborhood was once the heart and birthplace of the city. The founders of the city settled here in 1852.
Pioneer Square is a pleasant neighborhood with historic buildings, totem poles, art galleries, nightclubs, cafes, bookstores. You’ll also find some of the city’s best restaurants there. The Waterfront Streetcar on Alaskan Way also stops near Pioneer Square.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
Seattle played an important role during the ‘Gold Rush’ of 1897 towards Alaska and the Yukon. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is a small attraction that keeps the memory alive with slide shows, gold prospecting demonstrations and exhibits from the era.
Washington State Ferries
Ferries are part of Seattle’s public transportation system. A fun side trip is a thirty-five minute ride on the boat ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. Along the way you will enjoy a beautiful view. On a clear day you can even see Mount Rainier looking south.
The ferry departs from pier 52 along the Downtown Waterfront. On Bainbridge Island you can get off and walk to the town of Winslow. On the return trip to Seattle you will get a beautiful view of Downtown Seattle and its skyline.
Like many other major cities, Seattle also has its own Chinatown. It was founded in the 1880s, making it almost as old as the city itself. In Seattle people speak of the International District rather than Chinatown. In addition to Chinese, many other population groups such as Japanese and Vietnamese also live in the district.
Of course you will find Asian restaurants and shops in abundance. There is also the Wing Luke Museum. It tells the history of the Asians in the region. Also visit Uwajimaya, a large Asian supermarket with food and gifts.
Concorde / Source: Daniel Morrison, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)
Museum of Flight
It sounds a bit boring, but it certainly isn’t. Even more, this is one of Seattle’s best museums.
The museum provides an overview of the history of aviation. It starts with the ideas of Icarus and Leonardo da Vinci, shows the first attempts of the Wright brothers and ends with NASA’s space program. The museum is especially interesting for aircraft enthusiasts, but even those who are not ‘freaks’ will find this a fascinating excursion.
You will find aircraft from different periods in history, such as aircraft from the First and Second World Wars, a former Air Force One aircraft and a shuttle used by NASA to train astronauts. A copy of the legendary Concorde, the passenger plane that flew from Europe to New York faster than the speed of sound, can also be admired here.
Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)
Seattle has a very interesting history. This small, modern museum brings the city’s story to life in a fascinating way, from the first European George Vancouver to sail on Elliott Bay in 1792 to the present.
The presentation is unique and very interactive. This makes the museum very popular. Allow about two to four hours to see everything. It is an ideal excursion for a rainy day. The location of the museum, on the shores of Lake Union, is also beautiful.
Woodland Park Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo is a world-renowned zoo in the middle of the city. More than a thousand animals from more than two hundred and ninety different species attract more than a million visitors every year.
The natural environment of the animals has been simulated as closely as possible. This zoo was one of the first in the world where animals were no longer kept in cages but in their natural habitat.
Golden Gardens Beach in Seattle
One of the best-kept secrets among Seattle’s beauty spots is Golden Gardens Beach, west of Ballard.
From the beach you have a beautiful view of the waters around Seattle and the Olympic Mountains to the west. There are picnic areas and hiking trails. In short, a nice place for a relaxing moment.
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