About This Place
Spanning 84 miles, Seattle lies between Puget Sound and Lake Washington in northwestern Washington state. Elliott Bay, the city’s central harbor, feeds into the Sound and then into the Pacific Ocean. As such, this port city has the advantages of generous water views and abundant fresh seafood.
The surrounding mountains, notably majestic Mount Rainier, add to the visual splendor and influence the local commerce, culture and lifestyle. The result is a city that emphasizes the good life, including outdoor activities, fresh cuisine, intriguing culture and historical attractions.
Seattle’s urban-meets-the-outdoors lifestyle is reflected in its many natural destinations. Discovery Park, the largest public recreation area in Seattle, offers a broad sampling of natural wonders, including tidal beaches, sea cliffs, meadows, forest groves and streams. A trek along the park’s Magnolia Bluff yields optimal views of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges.
Those who prefer to experience the city on water can rent a kayak at Lake Union. The popular place to paddle has calm waters and a scenic shoreline, dotted with shipyards and easy-to-access eateries and shops. Alternately, kayakers can launch from scenic Portage Bay and head to the Washington Park Arboretum to watch birds and explore water trails.
A city of distinct neighborhoods, Seattle enables visitors to experience diverse subcultures. Bohemian-leaning Fremont is filled with independent boutiques, funky watering holes and restaurants. The area is home to public art displays, including the Fremont Troll, a gargantuan sculpture lurking under the Aurora Bridge.
Capitol Hill is one of Seattle’s more affluent neighborhoods, known for shopping and fine dining. Pioneer Square, the city’s first neighborhood, is a great place to learn about local history. Considered the birthplace of Seattle, the area is the starting point for the Underground Tour, a subterranean walk through ruins found after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889. While in the area, browse the lineup of quirky and traditional shops, or order takeout from a local cafe and duck into Waterfall Garden, a secluded “pocket park” with cozy tables and 22 feet of tumbling water.
Not to be missed is the iconic Space Needle. Located in Seattle Center, a popular park and entertainment complex, this recognizable landmark is the best place to go for panoramic views of the city and surrounding areas, enhanced by complimentary Swarovski telescopes.
Another attraction in Seattle is a thorough exploration of Pacific Northwest cuisine. Many area restaurants distinguish themselves by serving locally sourced ingredients, seasonal produce and fresh-from-the-water seafood. These features, plus an ever-expanding list of regional wineries and breweries, have established Seattle as an epicurean destination.
At the popular Pike Place Market, chefs commonly walk among the cobblestoned thoroughfare in search of food vendors. From truffle farmers to purveyors of smoked salmon and chocolate-coated fruit, entrepreneurs have kept up commerce here for more than a century.