Known for its eclectic neighbourhoods, waterfront views and easy access to mountains and green spaces, Seattle has forged an identity that capitalizes on its unusual juncture of outdoor and urban pleasures.
Visit Pike Place Market , the oldest farmers market in the U.S. and site of the first Starbucks. The market also sells antiques and goods from around the world.
Photography Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
Explore the huge, daring and diverse collection at the Seattle Art Museum. You’ll find displays of Native American and modern Pacific Northwest art, an outdoor sculpture park, and a separate museum devoted entirely to Asian art.
Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle has become Seattle’s most famous icon. Equivalent in height to a 60-storey building, the tower gives 360-degree views of skyscrapers, mountains and sea. For a different perspective, visit the Space Needle at night to enjoy a virtual galaxy of lights. Also a part of the city’s skyline is the Seattle Great Wheel. Situated on the waterfront, the 175-foot (53-metre) observation wheel allows you to see across Elliot Bay on one side and downtown Seattle on the other.
It’s easy to get in touch with the rustic charm of the Pacific Northwest. Just take the 35-minute ferry across Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island, with its earthy arts community, trendy cafés and hiking trails that weave through the Bloedel Reserve.
Photography Wiskerke / Alamy Stock Photo
With imagination-stretching architecture by Frank O. Gehry, the Museum of Pop Culture showcases rare artefacts from pop music history and encourages visitors to create their own music with interactive displays such as Sound Lab and On Stage.
Many connoisseurs rate the wines of Washington state among the best in the world. Take a tour of boutique wineries, including the celebrated Chateau Ste. Michelle, in and around Woodinville, just 20 miles (32 kilometres) from Seattle. Beer lovers shouldn’t miss the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville.
Photography James Jeffrey Taylor / Alamy Stock Photo
Just 10 minutes from downtown Seattle is one of the world’s most innovative and distinguished zoos. Woodland Park Zoo’s mission is to save animals and their habitats through conservation leadership and engaging experiences.
In Seattle, not only can you appreciate the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, but you can see what’s going on beneath the waves. Get an up-close look at marine life found in Puget Sound—including harbour seals and Pacific spiny lumpsuckers—at the Seattle Aquarium.
Aircraft on display
The Museum of Flight holds a collection of more than 150 aircraft and spacecraft, including a retired Concorde and America’s first presidential jet, Air Force One (Special Air Missions 970). Venture into the future of aviation with a visit to Boeing’s manufacturing facility, just 25 miles (40 kilometres) north of Seattle. During the 90-minute tour you can see new aircraft under construction.
A nature adventure
Only about 45 minutes from Seattle by seaplane, the San Juan Islands consist of more than 170 named islands, where outdoor activities like biking, hiking and kayaking draw scores of visitors every year. The islands are home to bald eagles, harbour seals, river otters, orca whales and black-tailed deer.