Seattle is home to global giants Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon and Starbucks.  The city is intelligent and hospitable and you’ll never have to look too far for your next cup of coffee. 

You’ll notice lots of construction work as Seattle struggles with the tunnel due to replace the unsightly Alaskan Way Viaduct. However, there’s an upside: 1% of all construction costs in Seattle goes to public art.  You’ll come across more than 400 pieces of art all over the city including the 48ft Hammering Man outside the Seattle Art Museum and Parking Squid on Alaskan Way, whose tentacles are also a bicycle rack.

Seattle is a compact city to explore with hilly streets running down to the waterfront.

1 PIKE PLACE MARKET

Pike Place fish Market
Pike Place Fish Market

Perhaps Seattle’s best-known attraction is Pike Place Market. The nine-acre National Historic District has hundreds of owner-operated and farmers’ stalls. Fresh produce is beautifully displayed; try a good selection on a Savour Seattle tasting tour. Have lunch in one of restaurants overlooking Elliott Bay and shop at the arts and gift stalls. Don’t miss the famous fi sh-throwing guys at Pike Place Fish Market. The only chain store you’ll fi nd here is the original Starbucks at 1912 Pike Place (there’s usually a queue outside), which opened in 1971.

2 SEATTLE CENTRE

Get the monorail from Downtown to Seattle Centre, the location of many of the city’s attractions. The EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum looks at pop culture, including the impact of local legends Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana. At Chihuly Gardens and Glass each of the giant glass sculptures, indoors and out, will instantly become your favourite.

Families will love the Children’s Museum and the giant IMAX theatre at the Pacifi c Science Centre. Looking down on it all is Seattle’s landmark, the Space Needle. Step out onto the 520 ft viewing platform for 360-degree views over the city, the sea and the mountains.

Cross 5th Avenue North to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Centre and see why and how they’ve donated over $34,959,802,107 (try saying that in a hurry) to nearly 11,500 worthy causes.

3 TROLLEY TOUR

The Emerald City Trolley tour commentary is informative and funny. There are 16 stops including the major sites such as the Aquarium, Chinatown (where Bruce Lee learned martial arts) and the Olympic Sculpture Park – dramatic pieces of artwork leading down to the sea. At the huge new Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room the aroma alone will supply your caffeine hit for the day.

4 WHALE WATCHING

Eagle Sculpture
Eagle Sculpture

Sail north on a Whale Watching and Sealife Search cruise to see bald eagles, sea lions, seals and, with luck, orcas, minkes and humpback whales.  The full-day cruise takes you through places so colourfully named you’ll wonder at the story behind them: Double Bluff ,  Possession Point, Useless Bay,  Foulweather Bluff, Point no Point and Deception Pass. You get a couple of hours ashore at Friday Harbour on San Juan Island for lunch and to explore.

5 TAKE FLIGHT!

See the new addition to the Museum of Flight, a 3-acre £16 million Pavilion with the world’s only full-scale NASA Space Shuttle Trainer, Air Force One and the B-17, B-29 and B47 bombers. Continue the fl ight theme with a tour of Boeing’s Everett Factory and see how the huge 747, 767, 777 and 787 aeroplanes are constructed in the largest building in the world.
Seattle-WashingtonState.co.uk

WHERE TO STAY

6 INN AT THE MARKET

Chihuly Glasshouse
Chihuly Glasshouse

Overlooking Pikes Place Market, the Inn at the Market manages to feel secluded, although it couldn’t be closer to the market, restaurants, shopping and entertainment. The boutique rooms were recently renovated, the furniture is stylish, the linens luxurious and you’ll want to linger in the modern bathrooms. Ask for a room overlooking Elliott Bay for great views; there’s also a rooftop lounge and bar.

7 THE FAIRMONT OLYMPIC

Dating from 1924, the Olympic is quiet in spite of the central location. As soon as you step into the huge lobby you know you are somewhere special; it’s hard to decide which is the most striking feature – the ornate woodwork, the chandeliers, the marble desks, the cosy seating arrangements, carpet so thick you almost leave footprints, or the grand staircase. The rooms have been recently renovated with an effortlessly elegant and classic style that never dates. Eat in the Georgian restaurant for wonderful food served by attentive staff .
fairmont.com

8 THE MAYFLOWER PARK HOTEL

A calm presence in busy downtown, the Mayflower’s location couldn’t be better. It’s close to the Westlake Shopping Centre, across the street from Macy’s, a short walk from the monorail and about ten minutes from Pikes Place Market. Everything is high-quality in this 1927 art deco hotel; the rooms are traditionally furnished in a style described as Queen Anne. Pop into Oliver’s Lounge, with dark wood, high-ceilings, lots of brass and corner windows; it’s very stylish and you can’t help but feel sophisticated as you sip your excellently mixed cocktail(s).

TWIN PEAKS RETURNS TO SEATTLE

Twin Peaks, a psychological TV thriller about an FBI agent investigating the murder of teenager Laura Palmer, gained a cult following when it was aired in 1990.

It was filmed in the towns of Sno-qualmie and North Bend just north of Seattle, where an annual Twin Peaks Festival is held (July 20 – 30).   Take a tour of the locations. They include the luxury Salish Lodge and Spa in Snoqualmie (www.salishlodge.com) aka the Great Northern Hotel in the series, Snoqualmie Falls and Ronette’s Bridge nearby. The UK Seattle and Washington State tourism office will be producing a Twin Peaks itinerary for its website.

In October 2014 it was announced that a new series would be made; it is due to be shown this spring.  Filming began in September 2015.

Many of the original cast members will be returning for the new series, which will continue the story 25 years on.  No details of the plot have yet been released – and so the tension builds …

SELL IT

• Be a rock star at the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum
• Visit the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation visitors’ centre
• See glass artist Dale Chihuly’s work in three-acre gardens
• In October the Port of Seattle was named by on-line cruise review and cruise community site Cruise Critic as the Best North American Homeport 2016
• Each ship brings in $2.6 million to the local economy and the city’s cruise industry generates 3,647 jobs and $3441 million in
annual business revenue
• The 2017 cruise season begins at the end of April with a projected 217 ships and 1,043,000 passengers

WHO SAILS THERE

Seven international cruise lines sail from Seattle: Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America
Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean

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