Seattle has a lot going for it in terms of atmosphere, shopping and culture, but we also found time to enjoy the tourist attractions in the city. The following is my top five list, based on the places I visited. There are loads more things I’d like to see one day, but these are the ones which won out based on the time we had.
This is also my final post about Seattle! Next in the backlog we’ve got Tokyo, but I’ve also got a lot of other fun post ideas, so stay tuned!
The iconic Space Needle is probably one of the first things which comes to mind when you think about Seattle, and rightly so! Built in 1962 for the World’s Fair, it was built to stand the test of time, being able to withstand winds of up to 200 mph, earthquakes of up to 9.1 magnitude and having 25 lightning rods. It’s been standing for over fifty years now – so far so good! It also looks wicked cool.
We arrived early in the morning for our visit (the story of our trip to Seattle, really), and were able to catch the first lift of the day to the observation deck. After our trip to the Empire State Building, I assumed this would be a stressful experience, but it was a lot more relaxed. We had time to enjoy the view from the top in the peace and take some more arty pictures without people’s heads getting in the shot. Shadows and reflections are always popular with Ben, and he found some great ones here.
One of my favourite things about the Space Needle is that you can have your horrific tourist picture taken, superimposed on the mad background of your choice, and then have the derp emailed directly to your inbox! No need to take a screenshot of their website! It’s definitely in the top ten worst pictures ever taken of us, so I’m sorry, but it’s not getting shared.
Tickets start at $14, but there are multiple options including joint entry for Chihuly or two visits in 24 hours to see the view by day and night. Opening hours vary, but getting there between 10am and 9pm is safe.
The Experience Music Project Museum is located right next door to the Space Needle, which makes it convenient to see on the same trip. It’s not just a music museum, it’s dedicated to popular culture, and they have a lot of exhibitions about popular or cult TV shows. A Star Trek one opens on May 20th, but when we visited, it was Game of Thrones.
We visited the music section first, where you can find a cool guitar sculpture, as well as permanent exhibitions celebrating Seattle legends Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix (complete with some of his amazing suits). There’s also a room where you can try playing loads of different instruments. The muse was not with us that day, so we decided that for the sake of everyone’s eardrums, we should move on.
We probably enjoyed the sci-fi section a bit more, because we are low-key geeks and it was fairly interactive. I got to sit on the iron throne, pretend to be a raccoon and punch a dinosaur in the face!
Tickets start from $22 for adults, but you have to pay extra for some exhibitions. Opening hours are 10am-5pm during the winter, and 10am-7pm during the summer.
You can read more about the monorail in my previous post, but it deserves a mention here because it is awesome. Also, the other items on this list are at either end, so it’s useful!
A one way fare is $2.25 for adults, with departures every ten minutes from 7.30am or 8.30am, and up to 9pm or 11pm, depending on the day.
It took us a while to find the Seattle Aquarium, but it was worth it. In the first section, you can touch some creatures of the deep, but they all looked a bit minging, so we decided to leave well alone. There were also some grumpy looking octopi glooping around their tanks in a pleasing manner. Further round, we watched the feeding of the harbour seals, and fell in love with the sea otters.
The aquarium’s mission is Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, which struck a chord with us. I’m always a bit uncertain about visiting zoos and aquariums, but the focus on conservation and education here was reassuring.
Tickets are $22.95 for adults and it’s open from 9.30am to 5pm daily.
Pike Place Market
Built in 1907 to connect citizens and farmers, the market has a ridiculous amount to tempt you. There’s a farmer’s market, crafts market, permanent greengrocer’s stalls, fish markets, specialty foods, collectibles, restaurants, buskers and a piggy bank. Basically, if you can’t find it in Pike Place, it might not exist.
Pike Place Market is the perfect place to get lost wandering around for a couple of hours, watch stall holders flinging fish around, and find something you never knew you needed.
Entry is free, and opening hours are from 6am to 6pm, but the restaurants are open into the night.