I was around visiting the Emerald City over the past week and got an opportunity to explore downtown Seattle there. Seattle is often touted as the silicon valley of America’s North West, being home to Microsoft, Amazon, T-Mobile, Boeing and the birthplace of Starbucks. Located in Washington state, north of California (and not to be confused with Washington, DC), Seattle in my opinion is possibly one of the few most inclusive and cosmopolitan cities of the United States, with a rich tech and arts scene to boot too. Iconic landmarks include the Seattle skyline and the Space Needle.
Seattle is well served by public transport with the Sounder electric trains connecting you from downtown Seattle straight from Seattle Airport (SEA) via viaducts and underground tunnels downtown, brining you through University town and Chinatown. Rapid-ride buses serve the outskirts and connects you to the Sounder lines. Downtown Seattle was also host to the Century 21 Exposition, a world’s fair (Seattle World’s Fair) held on 1962, from April 21 to October 21, with that you get hints of old-school retro-ness littered around town, which strangely gives you a feeling of Disneyland. A retro monorail serves a line from the Seattle Center station (Adjacent to Space needle) to the Westlake Center Mall station at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street, blazing you across these two destinations at 15 minute intervals at $4.50 a pop. Westlake Center is a short 10min walk to Pikes Market.
Pikes Place Market
The Pikes place market is an open public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront. It opened on August 17, 1907 and is one of the oldest public farmers’ markets in the US. “Fish throwing” between fish mongers is a classic here, much to the delight to visitors here, Alaskan king crab is a common sight at the seafood stores here too. In addition to food stores are regular farmer’s market stores, selling wares, provisions.
Pike’s place is also home to the original Starbucks which opened in 1971, you can easily find it by the long queues in front of the store. Seattle is known for their good coffee and Starbucks is not the only kid on the block doing coffee, in fact you can get a better quality of cuppa at the various cafes along Pike’s place at half the price you pay at Starbucks.
Pike’s Place Market Panorama in front of the Original Starbucks
A short walk from Pikes Market will bring you to the Seattle Elliott Bay waterfront. This harbour front pier runs along Alaskan way waterfront road. Pier 57 here is home to event spaces, the Seattle great wheel and Seattle aquarium. Musings here will include the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop (there are real shrunken heads and mummies in there) and shops selling very authentic (really chunky) Clam chowder, where you get more soupy clam bits than soup itself. Other musings in town are sights on the outskirts of town, such as the popular Dicks Drive-in (115 Broadway E), a traditional fast food drive-in.
The Woodland park zoo is also a place worth visiting, and is one of the better zoos in the region, with a variety of from the tropics, north and Africa. They were also showcasing their newest Tiger installation new for 2015. There is also a large Nordic animal section showcasing a variety of Bears, Ungulates and Wolves. The lack of green spaces in downtown Seattle makes the zoo a nice retreat from the buzzing and congested downtown.