What Not to Miss: Seattle Edition
Seattle has something to offer for everyone no matter what your interests. It’s just one of those diverse cities that can cater to all walks of life. Although everything listed below doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all this beautiful city has to offer, I definitely think these are some of the highlights.
Pike Place Market – Pike Place Market first opened in August of 1907 and is one of the country’s longest running farmer’s markets. Overlooking Elliott Bay this market covers nearly 9 acres and offers hours of exploration. You will find fresh produce, restaurants, collectibles, crafts and many other independent businesses. With over 10 million visitors a year Pike Place Market has grown to be the 33rd most visited landmark in all of the world. For my article that features the best of Pike Place Market click here The Best of Pike’s Place Market.
Snoqualmie Falls – Leave the hustle and bustle of the city and head out into the gorgeous scenery mother nature has provided in Washington. Located about 40 minutes from downtown Seattle you will find Snoqualmie Falls. This 270 foot waterfall was named after the Snoqualmie people who believed the mists of these falls carried up prayers to the Creator and connected Heaven and Earth. You can definitely feel something spiritual at these falls. While there admiring their beauty on the observation deck you can also explore and hike in a 2 acre park, visit the gift shop or stay the night at the elegant Salish Lodge. Fun fact: Some people will remember Snoqualmie Falls from the 1990s show entitled Twin Peaks as it was frequently featured in the series.
Ferry Rides – This a fun and affordable way to get some awesome views of Seattle and the surrounding area. You can hop a ferry from downtown and head out to Bainbridge Island. Spend the afternoon there visiting beaches, browsing art galleries, shopping, hiking and visiting historic places. There are also some wineries on the island where you can do some wine tasting, you know, just to make sure they know what they’re doing. For a list of ferry destinations and schedules click here Seattle Ferry Schedule.
The Seattle Aquarium – Located on Pier 59 at Elliott Bay is the famous Seattle Aquarium. This is the 9th largest aquarium in the United States. Housing more than 10 exhibits you will find a variety of sea life ranging from starfish to sea otters. Be sure to check out the daily activities here Seattle Aquarium Schedule so you don’t miss out on the diver show or daily feedings of the otters.
The Seattle Great Wheel – The Seattle Great Wheel is at Pier 57 on Elliott Bay. It is 175 feet tall and extends 40 feet out over the water. The entire ride takes about 15-20 minutes and offers stunning views of the Seattle skyline and water. For more info click here Seattle Great Wheel.
Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park – This park is one of my favorite parks out of all of our travels. It sits on 57 acres near Lake Washington and has everything anyone could want in a park. Take a boat out on the lake or jump in for some swimming and kayaking. Stroll along the water walk and enjoy the adorable lounging pods off of it where you can have a picnic, fish or relax. Various walking trails and a botanical walk will take you through some beautiful vegetation as you soak up the day. On the opposite end of the park you will find a shoreline with a small beach to set up on, a large playground area and tennis courts.
Kerry Park – Kerry Park isn’t a typical park in the sense of there is no playground and no green grass to run in but it has the most astonishing view of the Seattle skyline. It is more than worth making your way there as you will not find this view anywhere else. From this vantage point you will see all of downtown Seattle, Elliot Bay, Bainbridge Island and occasionally Mount Rainier. Fun fact: This view was featured in the long running show Fraiser, next time you watch pay attention to the scene outside his apartment window. It was actually a photo of Seattle taken from Kerry Park.
Space Needle – Probably one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, the Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. It stands 605 feet tall with an observation deck and the acclaimed rotating SkyCity restaurant around the 500 foot mark. With 360 degree views of Seattle you will be amazed at what you see.
Explore the Underground – Did you know that there is an entire subterranean city under a portion of downtown? There was a great fire in 1889 that burned through 31 blocks of the original wood buildings of Seattle. Instead of wiping it clear and rebuilding the storefronts, it was decided that the street grade would be elevated above these original structures 1-2 stories high and new buildings would be built out of stone or brick. Take a 75 minute tour of all that remains of the original city under the streets we now walk today. For pricing and schedule click here Undergroud Tour.
Visit the First Starbucks – Starbucks is one of the most recognizable names in the entire world and you have the opportunity to see where it all began. Visit the first store at Pike Place Market and get thrown back into 1971. The store is still in its original state from when the doors first opened thanks to it being built in a historical district that makes it subject to certain guidelines to preserve it.
See a SeaHawk’s Football Game – Head over to the Century Link Field and watch a live NFL game under the Seattle sky. For a season schedule click here SeaHawk Schedule.
Mount Rainier – Sadly, we didn’t get to experience the magnificent Mount Rainier on our vacation but as a major icon of the Seattle area I must include it. The main reason we didn’t get to visit was because we didn’t realize it is a 2 hour drive each way to get there. Plan to make at least a day trip to experience it. Besides the breathtaking scenery there is plenty to do year round including skiing, camping, hiking and rock climbing. There are also 2 lodges to stay in a few places to eat should you choose to stay overnight. One of my biggest regrets regarding Seattle is that we didn’t get to visit this masterpiece.
Take a Scenic Drive – There’s no better way to see a vast amount of beauty in a short amount of time than by doing a scenic drive and Seattle has endless options. Whether you want to see waterfalls, mountains or a valley filled with flowers the surrounding area has it. For a list of scenic drives click here Seattle Scenic Drives.
Seattle is the city that just keeps on giving. Everything from natural beauty to historic sites and everything in between. It’s one of those special places where no matter how many times you go you will always find something new. What have you discovered while visiting Seattle?