Most of us know Seattle as the birthplace of Starbucks or as a nature-lover’s paradise. However, there is a lot more to The Emerald City than coffee and mountains. Here are some things that make Seattle a must-see vacation.
Eat at Pike Place Market
Famously known as the home to the “original” Starbucks, this legendary downtown farmers’ market is known for its local vegetables, fresh seafood and cornucopia of cheeses. Even if you’re not hungry, it’s worth stopping by just to see the famous flying fish, a tradition where vendors toss salmon to each other and crack jokes. It’s so entertaining it’ll (almost) make you forget about the smell.
Go to the top of the Space Needle
Sure, it’s touristy, but the view of the city from up top this 605-metre futuristic tower, built for the 1962 World’s Fair is absolutely breathtaking. Plus, you can take a fun trip on the Seattle Center Monorail to get there.
Watch the Ballard Locks
Get your quintessential Pacific Northwest experience by visiting Ballard Locks, where you’ll witness all types of watercraft from tug boats to kayaks to yachts being carried up and down as they travel between Puget Sound and Seattle’s freshwater waterways. You can also watch salmon make the trip through glass viewing windows as ladders allow salmon to swim up past the locks and enter their freshwater spawning area.
Take a Walk in Kubota Garden
This hidden Seattle gem started as a decades-long passion project of Japanese immigrant Fujitaro Kubota. This unique 20-acres natural reserve is a fusion of Japanese aesthetics and plants native to the northwest region. This is one of Seattle’s best spots for picnicking.
Enjoy a free boat ride
One of the best traditions in the city is the free Sunday Public Sails, offered by the Center for Wooden Boats. For the last 25 years, anyone wanting a free boat ride on Lake Union has been given an opportunity to ride the many varieties of water vessels in the Center’s collection. Just make sure to show up early as the rides are first-come-first-serve.
Explore Seattle’s underground
In the late 19th Century, Seattle began to develop an underground city as impatient business owners were quick to rebuild their properties after a fire hit the city in 1889. The problem was that the city had decided it was going to build Seattle on a higher elevation than it had been. In an era before building permits, this caused problems as the city began having to build on top of already built properties. To accommodate, the city built stairs leading to this underground marketplace consisting of shops, banks and saloons. This was all until it was eventually condemned in 1907 due to concerns surrounding disease, particularly the bubonic plague. These ruins were eventually rediscovered in the 1960s and the public can now tour some of these subterranean streets.
Take off to the Boeing Museum
Get a behind-the-scenes look at where some of the largest planes in the world are built. The 90-minute public tour of the Boeing factory in Everett (about 30-35 minutes outside downtown Seattle) gives participants a chance to see the world’s largest building (by volume) and learn more about Seattle’s rich aviation history.