Seattle. It may own a reputation for always raining but it’s impossible to have a gloomy day in Washington’s largest city, especially if you follow our 8 must-do tips if it’s your first time visiting.
The Space Needle
Undoubtedly Seattle’s best-known landmark, this observation tower was built for the ‘Century 21’ World Fair in 1962. The event was space-themed and the Space Needle was the centerpiece of the event, attracting over 2 million visitors during the Fair. The tower still attracts over 1 million visitors per year.
The top floor viewing deck offers a panoramic view of Seattle from around 518 feet, and a renovation in 2018 means it now offers the world’s first glass revolving floor. Surprisingly, it’s only the 6th tallest building in Seattle, but it’s still a must-see due to its iconic status and history.
Woodland Park Zoo
Checking out the Woodland Park Zoo is a great way to spend the day in Seattle. The 92-acre space is home to over 1100 animals and 300 species, with dedicated habitats such as an African savannah, rhino reserve and tropical rainforest.
The zoo also hosts special events such as wine and beer tastings, concerts and private tours. There are dining facilities and if you’re visiting with kids aged 8 and under, they’ll love the ‘zoomazium’. It’s an interactive, nature-themed experience that will add to their enjoyment of the visit.
If you don’t fancy a day at the zoo, but still want to get in touch with nature, then a visit to the Seattle Aquarium is recommended. The 9th largest Aquarium in the US by visitor numbers, it recently underwent a major expansion, adding 18000 sq. feet of space to the facility. An impressive 120,000-gallon exhibit was also added. ‘Window on Washington Waters’ is a replica of the coastal waters of Washington from 5 to 60 feet and features native marine life such as salmon, rockfish and sea anemones. Check out one of the daily dive shows, where divers wearing special masks can converse with visitors.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Dale Chihuly pioneered the development of glass as fine art in the mid-20th century. Opened in 2012 as a long-term exhibition at the Seattle Centre, this showcase of the Washington native’s work includes 8 galleries, and a stunning centerpiece garden and glasshouse.
If you’re looking to explore a city that takes things a little slower than Seattle, hop on the ferry to Bainbridge Island. Steeped in nature and cultural heritage, it makes a stunning setting for a relaxing day trip.
Bursting with glorious gardens and wonderful woodland trails, it’s completely understandable why Bloedel Reserve is one of Bainbridge Island’s top visitor attractions. Soak up the serenity by visiting the Japanese Garden, pause and take a breath at the Reflection Pool or take one of the guided well-being strolls.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is one of America’s oldest operating markets and comes highly recommended by visitors – it’s the most popular tourist attraction in the city - and Seattle natives alike. Overlooking the Seattle waterfront, the market hosts an array of stalls selling everything from fish and local produce to antiques and comic books.
If you’re looking for somewhere local and authentic to eat, stop by Von’s. Mostly American fare, Von’s prides itself on homemade sourdough. They also craft their own spirits, and when you visit, you’ll be welcomed by a huge backdrop of their impressive drink’s selection. For extra fun, they spin a wheel every hour to determine the drinks special from their large, well-stocked bar. We like their spirit!
Pop Culture Museum
The Museum of Pop Culture celebrates contemporary popular culture through a variety of exhibits and interactive experiences. The building itself is something of a must-see; the architect used the electric guitar as inspiration for his design, resulting in an unconventional use of shape and colour (above). The Sound Lab is where you can try out a variety of musical instruments and even test your skills as a DJ or check out the Camp Out Cinema showing legendary pop-culture movie favorites (sleeping bags encouraged). There are various exhibits featuring paraphernalia from artists such as Prince, Nirvana and Pearl Jam, too. And if you’re hungry, grab a bite at the Culture Kitchen by chef Wolfgang Puck.