With so much to see and do it’s no wonder that Seattle is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States. However, for those visitors who may have just a few hours to spend in this lovely city, there are several ways to see some of the most interesting and beautiful areas.
Pike Place Market
One of the most iconic Seattle attractions, Pike Place Market offers visitors a wealth of shopping and dining choices all under one roof. The original Starbucks location is here, as is the fish market.
Pike Place Market is the perfect spot to look for souvenirs, as many of the shops are run by local artists and craftspeople who offer crafts and goods unique to the Pacific Northwest. Local farmers ply their organically grown produce, seafood and meats, and many of the restaurants and cafes offer the same organic ingredients.
The Fremont District
Located just to the north of the downtown area is the neighborhood known as the Fremont District. This eclectic and artsy area is one of the most-loved neighborhoods in the city and is the perfect place to while away a few hours in its many shops, cafes and galleries.
With art installations scattered throughout the area, Fremont is a photographer’s dream. The Fremont Troll, a large concrete sculpture of a monster preparing to eat a Volkswagen, is wildly popular with both visitors and locals. The statue of Lenin, which was installed in Fremont after it made a long journey from Slovakia in the early 1990s, is another of the quirky sites this area boasts, as is the decommissioned Cold War–era rocket.
The Space Needle
The most easily identifiable of the Seattle landmarks, the Space Needle is also its most visited. This 520-foot-tall creation holds a viewing deck at its peak, and on a clear day, the views across the city to Mount Rainier are breathtaking.
The Space Needle is also home to the Sky City restaurant. Visit this restaurant for brunch or lunch and admire the incredible vista as you dine on some of the best food that the city has to offer.
The EMP Museum
Located at the foot of the Space Needle, the EMP Museum is an interactive museum celebrating music, science fiction and pop culture. The building, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, is constructed in an incredible free flowing style, and is worth a look even if you don’t go inside.
With exhibits that rotate throughout the year, as well as permanent collections, the EMP Museum appeals to people of all ages and interests. Current exhibits include one dedicated to the art and music of the local Seattle band Nirvana, a study devoted to the ways that musician Jimi Hendrix impacted London during the 1960s and a collection of famous works of architecture recreated using only LEGO blocks.
The Seattle Art Museum
The Seattle Art Museum is a collection of art spaces scattered throughout the city. This allows visitors to choose one or more locations to explore as they embark on a world class art experience.
The museum's main downtown location is referred to simply as the Seattle Art Museum and contains most of the collections. Current displays include a number of pieces of ancient Peruvian art and an exhibition of the Spanish artist Joan Miró
The Seattle Asian Art Museum, located near Volunteer Park, has an impressive collection of art and artifacts from Japan, China, Korea and other areas throughout Asia. It also displays work by local artists and does a great deal to promote art among the local Asian community in Seattle.
The waterfront location of the Olympic Sculpture Park is a great way to experience the beauty of sculpture in a tranquil and serene outdoor location. The park offers special events and displays throughout the year.
With so many choices and so little time, it can seem daunting to plan a city tour before boarding a cruise to Alaska. However, as we’ve shown, Seattle is an easy city to navigate and has a number of incredible things to see and do that will have you back to the ship with plenty of time to spare.
(Photo by jcolman via Flickr)