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Seattle Holidays

A steaming brew of cultural treats

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From waterfront larks to foodie adventures

Funky, fun and forward-thinking Seattle is a city that refuses to sit still. It’s home to a burgeoning arts scene and a broad culinary palate bursting with local flavours – ‘meet the producer’ is the city’s mantra, best exemplified by the fish tossing vendors at Pike Place Market. The city that spawned Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks is actually awash with thriving micro-businesses pumping out third-wave coffee, craft cider, gourmet doughnuts and more besides.

Call in at the recently expanded Seattle Asian Art Museum to take in immersive exhibitions and wander around its Capitol Hill neighbourhood awash with cool coffeehouses and restaurants such as Overcast Coffee and Karachi Cowboys, serving up Pakistani street food, Texas barbecue and soul food classics. In the Ballard neighbourhood check out the dazzling new home of the National Nordic Museum before refuelling at Spice Waala. Watch the boats come and go from Ballard Locks, the country’s busiest, or spy the salmon migrating from June to September at the Fish Ladder Viewing Gallery and visit the free aquaculture museum.

Explore Pioneer Square with its red-brick Romanesque Revival buildings and pedestrian malls, currently being revitalised by a major new waterfront development. Join a First Thursday Art Walk from the Foster/White Gallery and indulge in a cocktail from the 35th floor and observatory of Smith Tower, Seattle’s first skyscraper. Stretch out on the 2.5-mile-long Alki Beach where you can watch the cruise ships pass by, tour the lighthouse and enjoy a bite at an oceanfront restaurant. Hit Hing Hay Park and watch the chess players or take part in some morning Tai Chi. For a different perspective follow the Seattle Underground Tour, which takes you past subterranean storefronts and sidewalks. Finally zoom up to the 605-foot Space Needle’s observation deck before 12pm when tickets are at their cheapest. Get your flights to Seattle today and start exploring.

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Seattle holiday FAQs

Make the most of your Seattle holiday

Every Sunday volunteers from the Center for Wooden Boats take visitors out onto Lake Union for a free boat ride. Rides start at 11am and are offered on a strictly first come, first served basis. Additionally, you can hire a rowing boat on the lake for free for one hour from Wednesdays to Sundays.

What are the best things to do in Seattle?

  1. The Museum of Flight is the world’s largest independent museum of its kind delivering an evocative rundown of the history of aviation. Housed in a former Boeing factory the museum features over 175 aircraft and spacecraft including a gigantic Boeing 747, a decommissioned Concorde and the tiny Caproni Ca 20, the very first fighter plane. Look out for curios such as the Gossamer Albatross, which was pedalled across the English Channel in 1979, and the Aerocar – designed to take to both the air and road.
  2. Pike Place Market is Seattle’s original farmers’ market housing over 500 artisan food stalls, restaurants, farmers, craftspeople and buskers across nine acres of downtown real estate. Established in 1907 and open 363 days a year the market is seen by many as the soul of the city. It’s where locals and visitors gather to shop, eat and rejuvenate. Don’t forget to rub the bronze snout of Rachel the Market Pig at the entrance before diving into the sensory onslaught that is the Main and North Arcades with stalls heaving with fresh, local produce.
  3. The Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP, is a striking building. This shimmering wall of sheet metal designed by Frank Gehry and resembling a giant wrecked electric guitar houses an eclectic mix of exhibits dedicated to exploring science fiction, fantasy, horror, fashion, sport, video games and music. Tune into grunge, Hendrix and the famous music of Seattle before trying your hand at jamming in the interactive Sound Lab.
  4. Centring around the work of local sculptor Dale Chihuly, Chihuly Garden and Glass greatly enlivened Seattle’s art scene when it opened in 2012 and continues to enthral visitors today. It contains perhaps the world’s most impressive collection of curated glass art. Chihuly’s elaborate creations are showcased by a series of interconnected light and dark suites leading to a vast glass atrium and landscaped gardens in the shadow of the Space Needle. Don’t miss the regular programme of glassblowing demonstrations.
  5. You can still visit the original branch of Starbucks, where the global coffee chain began its journey in 1971 from humble beginnings at 1912 Pike Place in the busy cobblestone alleyways of the market. Everything in the store is original, from the floor to the fixtures and counters, even down to the brass labels used for the coffee bean bins. Expect a long queue for your cup of Joe and look out for Pork n’ Beans, a statue created locally for the 2001 Pigs on Parade competition that raised funds for the Pike Place Market Foundation.
  6. Take an immersive tour of T-Mobile Park, the home of the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball team. Tours are available on both match days and non-match days and take you behind the scenes of this state-of-the-art stadium. Expect to be shown around exclusive areas of the ballpark including the Press Box, Owners’ Suite, Field, Visitors’ Clubhouse and the All-Star Club. Special pre-game tours even let you watch the squad take its batting practice in the Right Field.
  7. Kerry Park may not be the largest park in the city but it’s certainly one of the most famous. That’s mostly due to its stellar views of the Seattle skyline, which is best experienced at sunset when the lights go on and the buildings sparkle and shine. Similarly epic views of Elliott Bay and Mount Rainier can be enjoyed. Check out the park’s centrepiece too – Doris Chase’s 15-foot-tall Changing Form sculpture.

Where to visit in Seattle

Once a separate city, the quirky neighbourhood of Fremont is now annexed to Seattle. Look out for the statue of the Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge among other unique landmarks such as the Fremont Rocket, a statue of Lenin and the ‘center of the Universe’ sign. Elsewhere stop for a sweet treat at Theo Chocolate, catch a show at Fremont Abbey, browse its indie shops, frequent the Sunday street market and call in at one of the area’s many craft brewpubs and great restaurants.

Covering an area of over 922,000 acres the Olympic Mountain Range sits in a national park of the same name offering a diverse mix of landscapes taking in rugged wild Pacific coastline that’s perfect for storm watching or surfing, lush rain forests, luminous glacier-topped peaks, hot springs, lakes and dense river valleys. All this is just 2.5 hours from Seattle on a peninsula just across the water, where a vast array outdoor adventures await.

What food is Seattle known for?

Seattle is famous for its seafood, especially salmon, clam chowder and oysters, sourced from the Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean. There’s also a rich pantry of Asian food including sushi, teriyaki and regional Chinese dishes.

How to get around Seattle

Seattle is a very walkable city, but there are many public transport options available including streetcars, buses, light rail, ferries, water taxis and of course the famous Monorail.

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