I had a hard time figuring out how to start writing this post and what to put in this post, because most of our trips involve a lot of outdoorsy stuff involving nature. So I thought the best approach of writing a blog on a city would be to make a list of prominent places that would attract tourists. When you visit a place for the first time, you probably look for the top things to do in that city. So here’s a quick highlight of our Seattle trip – suggestions for top things to do in Seattle, FROM a first time visitor FOR a first time visitor. A big thank you to family and friends who gave us some great suggestions so that we did not miss the absolute-must-see places. It indeed made our trip memorable.
1. Pike Place Market: Almost every visitor to Seattle visits Pike Place for a lot of reasons: To see the fishmongers sing while tossing fish into air, to eat , to shop at the local shops and stalls, to eat, to take a stroll by the Seattle Waterfront, to eat , for fresh seasonal produce/flowers, and oh did I mention – TO EAT!!! Of course, you won’t miss the first Starbucks if you go to Pike Place. Since I mentioned so much about eating, a few picks for us were Cinnamon Works (bakery) and Local Color (coffee shop) outside Pike Place. Beecher’s Cheese would be a good stop for cheese fanatics. To complete your Pike Place visit, go to the Gum Wall in Post Alley. Don’t know what to call it: colorful, yukky or a hidden gem. Don’t forget to take a chewing gum if you want to contribute to the gum wall 🙂
2. Space Needle: Although this is pretty high on everyone’s list, after climbing to the top of Empire State, Sears tower and a few other sky scrapers across the country, I felt that the hour-long wait to get to the top of the Space Needle wasn’t really worth it. It’s totally okay if you skip this if you are short on time. There are some other nice places to view the Seattle downtown skyline.
3. Ballard Locks: The Ballard Locks connect salt water Puget Sound with the fresh water of Lake Washington and Lake Union. A large lock is formed by closing two bridges and then ships/boats are raised and lowered as water on both sides levels out so that ships can pass through by opening the lock. I highly recommend visiting this place. I’d like to call it an engineering marvel.
4. Pioneer Square: A visit to this historic district and Seattle’s oldest neighborhood is worth. We opted for Bill Speidel’s Underground tour and we did not regret it. As they claim it, the tour is definitely unusual. Different, hilarious, and a great way to learn about Seattle’s history. If you are hungry, grab a bite at Merchant’s Cafe – Seattle’s first cafe.
5. Alki beach/West Seattle: This place undoubtedly offers one of the best views of downtown Seattle across Elliot Bay. Go there in the evening and hang out at Alki beach, have dinner at one of the restaurants on Alki beach and head out to Admiral Way to take night pictures of the lit Seattle downtown after it gets dark.
6. Mount Rainier National Park Day trip: A drive to view Washington’s highest peak Mt. Rainier. Unfortunately, we were hit by bad weather and had very low visibility when we drove to Mt. Rainier, but if you go in summer there are lots of hikes to view the wildflowers. We did a couple of hikes, viewed some waterfalls and lots of snow 🙂
7. Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill: (One of) the best places to photograph Seattle’s downtown with the Space Needle in front and Mt. Rainier behind.
8. Museum of Flight: A trip inside an old Air Force One and Concorde Plane made my trip to this museum worth while. Otherwise I don’t know what more to pen down since a museum full of airplanes is definitely not my cup of coffee! If you have someone with you who is fascinated by airplanes and flight exhibits, make sure you don’t miss it.
9. Lake Washington/Lake Union: Seattle is famous for the various water bodies that it is surrounded by. Lake Union might ring a bell if you have seen the movie “Sleepless in Seattle”.
10. Museum of Glass: I love art, especially glass art and if you do too, then you will enjoy a visit to this museum in Tacoma. They have sessions where artists demonstrate the art of glass blowing, which I found very interesting.
That said, we did miss the most famous thing in Seattle – Rain!!! Whether we were fortunate or unfortunate I can’t tell, but I hope I was able to put some pointers for all you Seattle visitors.