Seattle’s Charms: Let Me Count the Ways
A Whole Bunch of Reasons to Visit the Emerald City
By Oscar Davis
There are many great reasons why you should head to the Emerald City of Seattle, Washington, the superb seaport city in Washington that attracts more than 19 million tourists every year (with good reason).
Want to be convinced? Settle down and take in these nine key reasons, which are bound to make you want to look online for somewhere to stay in Seattle and book your visit right away.
Hey, good lookin’
Seattle sure is a good looking city. If you want proof of that -– and photos to prove it – then head to Kerry Park and soak in the view.
From here you’ll see the city skyline, with Mount Rainer in the background and the Space Needle (more of that later). This is THE view that you’ll see in TV and films and on postcards.
The spiritual home of coffee
There are 400 million cups of coffee consumed across America every single day and the spiritual home of this national obsession is Seattle. There are more coffee shops per head here than anywhere else, by some distance, so prepare for plenty of breaks as you make your way around.
Pike Place was the birthplace of the ubiquitous Starbucks brand, with its first shop in 1971 proving the launchpad for its 13,000-plus chain that we all enjoy everywhere today.
Yet don’t worry, we’re not asking you to go all of that way for a Starbucks. Instead, explore for yourself and find your new favorite cup from one of the many shops that line the streets of Seattle. Put Espresso Vivace, Analog Coffee and La Marzocco on your hit list.
As seen on screen
A fan of Frasier? Hooked on Grey’s Anatomy? Swept away by Sleepless in Seattle? This is a city that has proven its star power on TV and film. Whether it’s Dr Crane, Meredith Grey or Sam Baldwin, follow in the footsteps of your on-screen heroes.
The high life
If you’ve ever watched any of the above shows then you’re bound to have seen the Space Needle. One of the most iconic landmarks in America, this tower was built in time for the World’s Fair in 1962 and has remained a top attraction ever since.
Its futuristic look gives it a timeless quality and from the observation deck, you get a stunning view of the cityscape and the Cascade Mountains and Elliott Bay. The SkyCity restaurant offers fine views and food at 500 feet.
Celebrate sci-fi and fantasy at the MoPOP
The Museum of Pop Culture has to be one of the most unusual looking museums out there. It’s said that when Frank O. Gehry began designing it, he wanted to evoke a rock’n’roll feel so bought a couple of electric guitars, sliced them into pieces and used this as the building blocks for his early model design.
The results are certainly pretty impressive.
This year, it’s set to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, which makes its home at the MoPOP.
Highlights among the exhibits include Luke Skywalker’s severed hand from The Empire Strikes Back, the Staff of Ra headpiece from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Isaac Asimov’s typewriter, and the ‘Right Hand of Doom’ from Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy.
Chinese history takeaway
The first imperial dynasty of China is one of the most fascinating periods of history, brought alive by the magnificent life-sized Terracotta Warriors.
What’s that got to do with Seattle? Well, since you ask, an exhibition displaying these items comes to the Pacific Science Center from April to September.
It’s a great opportunity to see some rare and sought-after exhibits while you’re in town. If that doesn’t do it for you, how about the same venue’s Laser Beyonce show? The center’s light display, set to the Queen Bey’s bootylicious best hits, will be some experience.
Music, sweet music
Few cities can claim the musical pedigree of Seattle. Its famed jazz scene fostered the talents of legends such as Ray Charles and Quincy Jones while the city is also the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix and the home of grunge.
That heritage lives on today in venues such as The Crocodile, Vera Project, The Showbox at The Market, Columbia City Theater and more. There’s a musical treat for every taste to be found among the Seattle scene.
Food and drink
In a cosmopolitan coastal city such as this, you’d expect a variety of types of food and drink to enjoy. Seattle certainly deliver on this score. No trip here is complete without a snack from one of the city’s famed food trucks.
These travel around from location to location so it’s well worth visiting seattlefoodtruck.com to find the one that you’re after. From the hipster Nosh to the vegan Plum Burgers, there is bound to be a truck with your name on it.
On top of that, head down to Pike Place Market and be prepared to be spoiled for choice or tuck into a tasty hamburger at Seattle’s own Dick’s Drive-In. Restaurants embrace the fresh local Pacific Northwest’s produce and are also good for seafood and Asian cuisine.
Then there’s the drink. A recent explosion in the number of microbreweries means that this is a great city for beer.
The Pike Space Needle Golden IPA is a typical West Coast IPA that won an award in 2012 as the beer that best sums up the Northwest.
A warm welcome
You know what else sums up Seattle? No, not rain. Forget what you’ve heard about that – there’s more rain in Chicago, Dallas, and Miami for a start. Seattle is a super-friendly city that opens its arms to everyone.
It has been named the most gay-friendly city in America – and its annual pride parade – this year on June 25 – is one of the best of its kind anywhere.
The Seattle Freeze is a total myth, this is a place where you’ll be made to feel welcome and part of the family.
So there you go. Nine big reasons to book a trip to Seattle. And we’ve not even really touched on the beautiful parks, Pier 55, the Seahawks or the silent reading parties hosted by The Stranger.
I’ll let you discover all that and more for yourselves…
Oscar Davis has been a proud Seattleite since moving there from the East Coast in 2000.
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