Seattle is known for its forward-thinking, hipster culture when it comes to healthy, organic foods. See the best of the best of what this city has to offer at Pike Market. Here you can sample and buy from the many craftsmen, farmers, and merchants, and don't forget to stop between these and check out the small collectibles stores, family-owned restaurants, and one of the oldest head shops in Seattle. Perched atop a steep hill overlooking Elliot Bay, this area is truly a special tribute to the supporting of local, small-time businesses that Seattle represents.
Seattle is known for its farmers' markets and for its (live) music scene, so it would be wise to experience it while you're in town. This venue has seen Seattle through many of the popular musical eras, including jazz and grunge, with the likes of Pearl Jam and Duke Ellington performing behind its doors. It is still an active contributor to the city's music scene, hosting around 200 acts a year. The Showbox has an impressive variety of genres and talents performing, ranging from Modest Mouse, Coldplay, and Ice Cube, to Lady Gaga, Dave Matthews, and Kanye West. Be sure to book tickets or at least check out the venue and stay for drinks!
Seattle's location adjacent to the ocean, with little islands spattered around close to shore, makes it a great opportunity to take a ferry ride. Ferry schedules to the islands of Puget Sound can be found online and leave regularly throughout the day. Pick an island such as Bainbridge, Vashon, or Whidbey, and have yourself a wonderful day trip. Some of the islands boast some charming little farms to peruse, and others have excellent restaurants and seafood joints that are worth the visit.
One of Seattle's most alluring aspects is the fact that part of it sits right on the ocean. Waterfront Park allows you to get some of the best views of the shore and beyond with its many viewing platforms and telescopes located along the pier. On the south end you can find the large statue of Christopher Columbus gazing out at the ocean. Waterfront fountain is also a quite the site to see, with its welded bronze look. Take part of a lazy afternoon to snap some pictures with friends or family with the pier and ocean in the background and rest at a picnic table to plan your evening together.
This enchanting zoological garden is home to much more than your average animal. The zoo has more than 1,000 plant species, over 50,000 shrubs and herbs, and roughly 7,000 different kinds of trees to read about and explore. In addition to its 300 animal species, it is important to note that there are also 35 endangered and 5 threatened species on the premises. It has won awards for its world-class exhibits which includes an immersion exhibit of gorillas, a tropical rainforest with everything from jaguars to lemurs and poison arrow frogs, and a northern trail, housing gray wolves, foxes, mountain goats, grizzly bears, and bald eagles.
This lake's unique location entirely within Seattle's city limits makes it a reason to go in itself. We have the Vashon Glacier to thank for its existence, which carved it out into the oasis it is today roughly 12,000 years ago. The lake also holds a yearly wooden boat festival and the largest park on the lake, Gas Works Park. Spend your day kayaking, exploring the park, and taking in the unforgettable view it offers of the Seattle skyline.
Everyone knows of Seattle's space needle, and it is definitely an icon of the Northwestern United States. So why not take part of your afternoon to enjoy the city the aerial way? Even if you're not up for lunch or dinner at the Skycity Restaurant at the top, the observation deck is free and a breathtaking, 360-degree experience that you won't forget or regret stopping by the needle to have!
The original Starbucks opened here in 1971, sitting right at the entrance to Seattle's historic Pike Place Market. Much of the construction, especially the interior, comes from local locations in Seattle, so it's worth a stop here to learn where each detail in the store came from. The walnut tables, bars, and bar top, for example, come from a nearby farm, and the leather on the bar was taken from scrap from shoe and automobile factories from Seattle. This original store is a perfect homage to Seattle's love for the reduce, reuse, recycle ideology.
Seattle Aquarium has a unique approach to the way it has chosen to organize itself: some of its many exhibits attempt to mimic the waters off the coast of Washington from a certain amount of feet out. For instance, Window on Washington waters shows us what the wildlife looks like 5 - 60 feet off the shores of Washington's coast. Another popular exhibit includes one called "Marine Mammals" showcasing harbor seals, sea otters, northern fur seals, and river otters.
You have the Seattle Art Museum to thank for this beauty of a park, which transformed it from an industrial area to what it is now, with its contemporary sculptures, green grassy areas, and beach. Go to Olympic Sculpture Beach to appreciate and enjoy what has been a marvelous environmental restoration. Bring a lunch, walk the beach, and admire the sculptures one sunny afternoon while you're in Seattle!