Seattle Tourist Attractions
Seattle, an important Pacific port and industrial centre and the largest city in Washington State, lies on a narrow strip of land between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, some 140 mi.
from the open Pacific, with which it is linked by the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The port on Elliot Bay is the principal supply base for Alaska, plays an important part in American trade with Asia and is the most important fishing port in the United States. As for industry, simply naming the city's two largest companies - Boeing and Microsoft - is enough to indicate the significance of its role.From being a rather dull port and industrial centre, Seattle has undergone an astonishing transformation. Driven only in part by its flourishing economy - for which Microsoft in particular provides the natural base - it is today an energetic, forward-looking city at the forefront of innovation technologically, culturally and in terms of its easy going lifestyle. It is no accident that Seattle is the "Coffee Capital" of the United States, with an espresso bar on almost every corner - quite something for a country brought up with a rather different idea of coffee. Then in addition there is the city's magnificent mountain setting: to the east is the ice pyramid of Mount Rainier National Park, rising out of the Cascade Mountains, to the west the partly snow-capped peaks of the Olympic National Park, towering backcloths to a series of ocean inlets and lakes.History The first white settlers in this area were given a friendly welcome in November 1851 by the famous Chief Seattle, and soon after being incorporated as a town Seattle had a population of over 1000. In the early days logging and fishing formed the basis of the town's economy. In 1889 the town was destroyed in a great fire but was quick to recover. In 1893 the transcontinental railroad reached Seattle. In 1896 the first ocean-going vessel from Japan put in at the port, and in that year also the gold rush in Alaska brought a great flood of immigrants to the town. By the turn of the 19th c. the population had risen to 80,000.The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 and the two world wars gave further boosts to the town's economy, and shipbuilding and aircraft construction developed on a tremendous scale. In 1962 a very successful World Fair was held in Seattle. Since the 1990s Seattle has increasingly led the way in expanding American trade with the Asian countries of the Pacific Rim.Seattle is a resilient city that has weathered many economic and natural disasters but still stands strong. It has also become the home of several biotechnology companies and research institutes as well as aerospace and computing. The city is well-known for annual cultural events such as the Seattle International Film Festival, Seafair, Northwest Folklife, Hempfest and Independence Day celebrations. Seattle is also home to a thriving art scene and the Woodland Park Zoo that underwent renovations in 2006.
Seattle Center & the Space Needle
Seattle Center was originally built for the 1962 World Fair but has been turned into an entertainment complex and park area. Main attractions in this area are the Space Needle, a number of museums, and the Seattle Central Library.
Pioneer Square Historic District
Woodland Park Zoo
Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo is a 92 acre facility with animals from around the globe, including threatened species. The zoo was the first to create naturalistic exhibits, nearly 300 different species are represented from Asian and African elephants to snow leopards, jaguars, lemurs and grizzly bears. The Woodland Park Zoo has the largest animals collection in Washington and some of the most endangered animals in the world.
Official site: www.zoo.org
Address: 601 North 59th Street, Seattle, WA 98103-5897, United States
To the east of Pioneer Square is the colourful International District, in which the street scene is dominated by immigrants from the Far East (mainly Japanese and Chinese) with their shops and restaurants. At 407 7th Avenue are the Wing Luke Museum, which charts the history of Asian immigration, and the Hing Hay Park with a vast mural and a pagoda.
Wing Luke Asian Museum
The Wing Luke Asian Museum focuses on the history and culture of Asian Pacific Americans, with a permanent collection and temporary exhibits. The museum is named for Wing Luke, a Chinese American known for being the first Asian American elected official in Washington.
Official site: www.wingluke.org
Address: 407 7th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104, United States
Pike Place Market
On the two floors of picturesque Pike Place Market a wide range of wares are offered for sale - fish, fruit, vegetables and all sorts of odds and ends. Here too are a number of cheerful little bars.
Official site: www.pikeplacemarket.org
Address: 85 Pike Street, Room 500, Seattle, WA 98101, United States
Discovery Park covers 550 acres and is the largest park in Seattle. Parts of the park lookout over Puget Sound and there are also great views of the mountains. Discovery Park encompasses coastline, forest, and meadows, offering a nice escape from the city and providing a habitat for wildlife.There is an environmental learning center with interactive exhibits and information about the park as well as environmental education programs including urban campfire programs and natural history programs for all ages.
Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum
The Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Seattle focuses on powerboat racing, with displays that include vintage hydroplanes spanning seven decades, the history of the sport, as well as artifacts and memorabilia related to powerboat racing. The museum also has a section devoted to the restoration of hydroplanes.Nearly 250,000 hydroplane fans crowd the shores of Lake Washington each August to watch the annual Seafair Hydroplane Race. This event rivals the Indy 500 as one of the largest single-day sporting events in the world.
Official site: www.thunderboats.org
Address: 5917 South 196th Street, Seattle, WA 98032, United States
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Since 1899, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle began as a trading post for Native American artists. It is also a souvenir shop for Northwest art and collectibles, and a museum bursting with natural exotica such as authentic shrunken heads, narwhal tusks, and two-headed calves. The star attraction is desert mummy Sylvester and visitors will marvel at the full-size mermaid. Old-time arcade machines and coin-op player pianos fill the shop with the sounds of yesteryear.
Official site: www.yeoldecuriosityshop.com
Address: 1001 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98104, United States
Central Business District
To the north of Pioneer Square is the Central Business District, with City Hall and a number of eye-catching skyscrapers. Among them are the 42-storey Bank of California, the 50-storey First National Bank, the 40-storey circular Washington Plaza Hotel, the two postmodern structures Pacific First Center and Westlake Center, and the Rainier Square Shopping Center.
Seattle Art Museum
On University Street is the Seattle Art Museum, with a collection covering the art of many countries round the world. The Palace of Culture, in postmodern style, was designed by Robert Venturi.
Address: 1300 First Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101-2003, United States
Nordic Heritage Museum
The Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle features both historical displays and an art gallery. The history focuses on immigrants from Scandinavian countries, with individual rooms dedicated to Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.Temporary art and heritage exhibits are also presented.The Nordic Heritage Museum is housed in a former brick school house dating to the early 20th Century.
Official site: www.nordicmuseum.org
Address: 3014 NW 67th Street, Seattle, WA 98117, United States
Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center
The Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center in Seattle focuses on the maritime heritage of Puget Sound the Washington coast, preserving historical vessels and artifacts, and offering educational programs to the public. Among the museum's collection are a number of historical vessels, including the Arthur Foss Tugboat, listed as a National Historic Landmark.
Address: 1002 Valley Street, Box 9744, Seattle, WA 98109, United States
Center for Wooden Boats
The Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle features restored wooden sail boats and row boats that visitors can see and explore close up. The center offers a range of activities, from sailing lessons to boat building, and welcomes all ages.
Official site: www.cwb.org
Address: 1010 Valley Street, Seattle, WA 98109-4468, United States
The Northwest Seaport manages a fleet of historical ships, presents education programs for the public, and offers entertainment, including musical performances.
Address: 1002 Valley Street, Box 9744, Seattle, WA 98109, United States
Beyond Portage Bay is the campus of the University of Seattle, which was founded in 1891, with the Thomas Burke Memorial Museum (natural history) and the Henry Art Gallery (mainly modern art). To the south are McCurdy Park, with the Museum of History and Industry, and Washington Park, with the Arboretum and a Japanese tea garden.
Official site: www.seattleu.edu
Address: 900 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122-4340, United States
Henry Art Gallery
The Henry Art Gallery features art exhibits from around the world and also maintains a large permanent collection. The permanent collection offers a range of pieces with paintings, photography, textiles, and new media. The Henry Art Gallery expanded in 1997 to increase it's size considerably and add an auditorium, cafe, bookstore, and additional gallery space.
Official site: www.henryart.org
Address: 15th Avenue NE and NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98195-1410, United States
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, known more commonly as "The Burke", is one of the best natural history museums along the West Coast. Changing exhibits cover a wide range of topics and incorporate the most up to date information on the given topics. The Burke Museum of Natural History is definitely worth a stop.
Official site: www.washington.edu/burkemuseum
Address: University of Washington, Box 353010, Seattle, WA 98195-3010, United States
Museum of History and Industry
The Museum of History and Industry in Seattle features changing exhibits in addition to its own permanent collections. Permanent exhibits cover several different periods of Seattle and the region's history. The museum has a huge photo collection as well as an audio/visual archive.
Official site: www.seattlehistory.org
Address: 2700 24th Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112-2099, United States
To the west, on Elliot Bay, is Waterfront Park, from which there are wide views of the habour and bay. An old-fashioned streetcar shuttles back and forth along the waterfront between Piers 48 and 70. Harbour tours depart from Pier 57. On "Gold Rush Strip" are a number of old buildings, now occupied by souvenir shops (fine craft products of the Northwest Indians) and attractive restaurants.
Official site: www.seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=3973
Address: 1301 Alaskan Way, United States
Frye Art Museum
The Frye Art Museum in Seattle features changing exhibits throughout the year. The museum was made possible by Charles Frye, who along with his wife collected art throughout their life and upon Charles' death, willed their collection and funds for the creation of a public art gallery.
Official site: www.fryeart.org
Address: 704 Terry Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104, United States
Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge (Mercer Island Floating Bridge)
Originally named the Lake Washington Floating Bridge and later renamed the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge, the bridge is also commonly referred to as the Mercer Island Bridge. It carries Interstate 90 across Lake Washington and is the second largest floating bridge in the world.
Log House Museum
Seattle's Log House Museum features changing exhibits, along with programs and cultural events that focus on the history of the Duwamish Peninsula. This is a self guided tour.The museum also serves as a research and interpretive center. To find out about current exhibits call ahead or visit the Log House Museum website.
Official site: www.loghousemuseum.info
Address: 3003 61st Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98116, United States
Fishermen's Terminal on Salmon Bay in Seattle is an important facility in the boating community. The docks are upgraded. In addition to mooring space, visitors will find fine dining options and the Fisherman's Memorial.
Address: 3919 18th Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119-1679, United States
Lake Washington Ship Canal
See the Lake Washington Ship Canal at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. There is a visitors center on site, along with a botanical garden, fish ladder, and more. The area is particularly popular in summer.
Address: 3015 NW 54th Street, Seattle, WA 98107-4299, United States
Pier 59 is one of Seattle's waterfront attractions, where visitors will find the Seattle Aquarium. The Pier 59 area has undergone some expansion, including the remodeling of the Aquarium.
On Pier 59 is the Seattle Aquarium, in whose Underwater Dome a variety of Pacific marine creatures (including sea otters, octopuses and dwarf sharks) can be observed.
Official site: www.seattleaquarium.org
Address: 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101, United States
Seattle Center Opera House
The Seattle Opera presents a full season of opera performances at the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. The building underwent extensive renovations in 2003 that saw some of the outer walls replaced by glass and the interior completely upgraded.
Official site: www.seattleopera.org
Address: 1020 John Street, Seattle, WA 98109-5319, United States
Shoreline Historical Museum
The Shoreline Historical Museum in Seattle is housed in the 1906 Ronald Elementary School. The museum features changing exhibits as well as the permanent collection covering a wide range of themes related to the history of the area.
Official site: www.shorelinehistoricalmuseum.org
Address: 18501 Linden Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98133-4801, United States
Volunteer Park in central Seattle encompasses the Asian Art Museum and Volunteer Park Conservatory. The park also features walking trails, sports areas, a children's play area, as well as picnic facilities.
Seattle Asian Art Museum
The Seattle Asian Art Museum features Chinese, South Asian and Southeast Asian art, decorative arts and textiles.
Address: 1400 East Prospect Street, Volunteer Park, Seattle, WA 98112-3303, United States
Coast Guard Museum Northwest
The Coast Guard Museum Northwest has Coast Guard memorabilia, nautical items and over 15,000 photographs from as early as the 1800's on display.
Official site: www.rexmwess.com/cgpatchs/cogardmuseum.html
Address: 1519 Alaskan Way South, Seattle, WA 98134, United States
Evergreen Point Floating Bridge
The longest floating bridge in the world, Evergreen Point Floating Bridge runs across Lake Washington between Seattle and Medina. SR 520 crosses the bridge.
Maritime Event Center (formerly Odyssey, Maritime Discovery Center)
The Maritime Event Center is an interactive nautical museum with exhibits that provide a distinctive setting for events on the waterfront.
Official site: www.maritimeeventcenter.com
Address: 2205 Alaskan Way, Pier 66, Seattle, WA 98121, United States
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is more commonly referred to as Sea-Tac International Airport services in the Greater Seattle Area.
Address: 17801 Pacific Highway South, Box 68727, Seattle, WA 98158, United States
Teatro ZinZanni offers fast-paced shows, improv comedy, vaudeville dance and music.
Official site: dreams.zinzanni.org
Address: 222 Mercer Street, Seattle, WA 98109, United States
Washington State Convention and Trade Center
The Washington State Convention and Trade Center is located in downtown Seattle. The center hosts a number of large exhibitions throughout the year.
Official site: www.wsctc.com
Address: 800 Convention Place, Seattle, WA 98101-2350, United States
Central Freeway Park
Seattle's Central Freeway Park is a large connecting green space in the downtown area. Central Freeway Park is most noteworthy for spanning Interstate 5.
The Kingdome was imploded and no longer stands.
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