I visit Seattle all the time, and my first novel is (mostly) set in Seattle, so I obviously love the city.
If you’re going to Seattle for the first time, there are a few things you absolutely can’t miss. Granted, every other tourist in the city will be at these places, too, but there’s good reason for that. In a future post, I’ll write about some of the off-the-beaten-path sights, but for today, here are my picks for the top five places to visit in the Emerald City:
Pike Place market is a jumble of farmer’s markets, food shops, restaurants, quirky craft stalls, and curiosity shops. It’s foodie heaven. Watch the fishmongers hurl fish (yes, they throw them several feet through the air, across the market), and then explore. The “Downunder” is a labyrinth of antiques merchants, galleries, comic and collectible shops. When you get hungry, head into DeLaurenti (fab Italian deli & market) and pick something delicious to take away, or go to the Athenian Inn for seafood–the restaurant where Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner filmed a scene in Sleepless In Seattle. And when you need coffee, just pop across the street to…
Yes, this is where the caffeinated giant got its humble start in 1971. They’ve maintained a heritage interior–it looks nothing like the slick and modern Starbucks in your neighborhood. Or the other one in your neighborhood. Or the other one. Of course, the line up to purchase an actual coffee in the original Starbucks can get a little long. Many people, on travel sites, will tell you not to bother. But it’s a pilgrimage thing. If you’re a coffee lover like me, you get it.
Things I love about the Space Needle: the fabulous views, the monorail to get there (fun, fast, and easy), and the way they’ve embraced a retro, Jetson-esque space age styling in all their marketing and gift-shop treasures…and in the fabulous cocktail-party jazz (think Sinatra and Fitzgerald) they play up in the observation deck. Things I don’t love about the Space Needle: on a windy day, it moves a little under your feet.
This is right next to The Space Needle, in Seattle Center, making for an easy day out. There’s so much for kids to do here, so if you’re traveling to Seattle en famille, you’re going to love this one. Because when kids are busy and happy…parents are happy. And sipping coffee.
Pioneer Square, where Seattle’s founders settled in 1852, is a wonderful neighborhood in which to browse and wander. You’ve got your picturesque historic architecture, cool west-coast vibe, funky boutiques, bookstores, art galleries, and…yes, coffee shops.
So, have you been to Seattle? What are your favorite things to do there?
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