The biggest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is not only visually alluring—between the vastness of Puget Sound and the mass of Mount Rainer—it is home to some of the most unforgettable attractions in the United States. Condensing these down to a small list is an almost impossible task, but here are some of the highest-profile reasons to visit the Emerald City.
• Pike Place Market: Cascading down a steep hill to the waterfront on Elliott Bay is a market of amazing proportions. With a history going back to 1907, Pike Place Market has farmers’ stands for seasonal produce, a wealth of permanent produce stalls, four fish markets, dozens of specialty food stores for hard-to-find ingredients, a crafts market with more than 200 traders and an absurd number of places to eat. Visitors will be tempted by the aroma of baking bread, or to browse collectibles, vinyl and retro decor in little shops. Come early in the day to beat the crowds.
• Seattle Center: Below Queen Anne Hill at the northern fringe of Seattle’s downtown, the Seattle Center is a cultural, arts and entertainment zone on 74 acres. This Modernist cityscape was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, which gave a shot in the arm to the city’s economy and cultural life, and pulled in more than 2.3 million visitors. The Seattle Center’s emblem is the Space Needle, but there’s a lot more packed onto the site, from museums to performing arts venues and the 18,600-seater KeyArena. Get there on the elevated Seattle Center Monorail, which is full of space age charm.
• Space Needle: A defining feature of Seattle’s silhouette for almost 60 years, the Space Needle is a timeless symbol for the city. When it went up in 1962, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi, standing at 605 feet. Visitors can ascend the tower in a glass elevator to the observation deck, where they can ponder Seattle’s towers, Mount Rainier, the islands on Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Mountains. Wall panels help identify more than 60 landmarks on this panorama. A recent renovation installed the Loupe, the world’s first and only rotating glass floor.
• Chihuly Garden and Glass: Tacoma-born glass artist Dale Chihuly has earned worldwide acclaim for his colorful and logic-defying glass sculptures. Established at the Seattle Center in 2012, Chihuly Garden and Glass is a dazzling museum dedicated to his work. The exhibition comprises eight galleries, a lush garden and the Glasshouse, the attraction’s astounding mainstay. This glass and steel structure was inspired by Chihuly’s fascination for conservatories, and suspended from the ceiling is a 98-foot work in yellow, red, orange and amber that seems to change with the light throughout the day.
• Museum of Pop Culture: Since 2000, the Seattle Center Monorail has zipped through this outlandish sheet-metal building by Frank Gehry. Established by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, the museum now stages changing exhibitions tackling all aspects of popular culture, be it video games, horror movies, sci-fi literature or music of all genres. In 2019, “Scared to Death” featured more than 50 props and costumes from A Nightmare on Elm Street, Buffy, The Walking Dead and many more. “Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction” had 150 artefacts that you’ll have seen in Blade Runner, Star Trek or Men in Black.
• Seattle Art Museum: Anchored in downtown Seattle, the SAM’s inventory is wide-ranging, but has an exceptional collection of Native American art from the Pacific Northwest, including basketry, textiles, masks, totem poles and other delicate carvings in stone and wood. Gothic and early-Renaissance Italian painting is also well-represented, with works by Giovanni di Paolo, Puccio di Simone and Paolo Uccello. Also in the collection is painting, decorative art and furniture from the Northwest, and 20th-century American art by the likes of Mark Tobey and Jacob Lawrence.
• Pacific Science Center: In a Minoru Yamasaki building dating from the World’s Fair, the Pacific Science Center is a family-oriented museum bringing scientific concepts to life through hundreds of hands-on exhibits. For a brief example, at the Insect Village, guests discover the almost supernatural feats that insects are capable of, from carrying air in bubbles on underwater dives to lifting objects many times their weight. “What is Reality” is a window on immersive technologies, confronting the mind-bending questions that are shaping our future.
From one side of town to the other, Seattle is packed full of attractions guaranteed to enchant any and all visitors.
© 2019 Silver Disobedience Inc.