You can’t go to Paris without stopping by the Eiffel Tower. And you can’t visit Seattle without checking out the view from the world-famous Space Needle. Here’s a handy “must do” list for first-time visitors and those who want to be sure they’ve done everything (it may take more than one trip).
University of Washington Seattle Main Campus
The University of Washington is located about 5 miles from the Downtown Seattle area, it is home to many of its faculty and administrators and is an ideal place for visiting faculty to fulfill their temporary housing needs.
Washington State Convention Center
800 Convention Place, Seattle, WA 98101
Tel: 206 447 5000
Whether you are coming to Seattle for work or play, there is plenty to do. The downtown area offers shopping, arts and culture, and restaurants. Leave the city for a more Northwest experience, into the mountains or on the water. Enjoy your stay!
Pioneer Square features over 20 city blocks of Victorian Romanesque architecture, more than 30 fine art galleries, over 200 unique and independently-owned shops, and the entertainment epicenter of Seattle’s nightlife.
There is no state capitol on Capitol Hill despite the dreams of early Seattle leaders. However, no neighborhood in the city has a more active sidewalk scene, day or night, than Broadway, Capitol Hill’s believe-it-or-not version of Main Street. And no neighborhood in the city has a more diverse population.
911 Pine Street Seattle, WA 98101
Located on the corner of 9th Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle, one block North of the Washington State Convention Center.The Paramount is a fabulous restored theatre with a variety of shows, ranging from rock to soul music and Broadway musicals. The auditorium (also turns into a ballroom) is very ornate with a lot of beautiful lighting and gold touches with plush velvet everywhere.
The Space Needle
Seattle Center, 400 Broad St.
A 41-second elevator ride takes you up 520 feet to the observation deck of the Space Needle, built for the 1962 World’s Fair. Enjoy a meal at SkyCity, the restaurant at the top that revolves 360 degrees while you dine.
www.seattlecenter.com / www.spaceneedle.com
Pike Place Market
Between First Ave. and Western, from Pike to Virginia streets
Born in 1907, Seattle’s Pike Place Market is the granddaddy of farmers’ markets. Today, it’s a major tourist attraction with 200 businesses operating year-round, 190 craftspeople and 120 farmer booths – plus street performers and musicians. Flowers by the bucketful, flying fish, fresh pastries and fruit, handmade cheeses, local honey, wine, an assortment of restaurants, import goods, antiques, collectibles and lots of surprises are around every corner.
Traveling by ferry is a state of mind as much as a means of transportation to some of the Puget Sound’s most historic and scenic sites. Views of the Olympic and Cascade mountains, the Seattle cityscape and the green shorelines will draw you out onto the deck to feel the salt breeze on your face. The state ferry system takes passengers and their vehicles from Seattle and nearby departure points to Vashon Island, the Kitsap Peninsula, the San Juan Islands and Canada. For privately operated ferries, see the Sightseeing & Tours (page 35) and Visitors Services/Travel & Transportation (page 120) listings in this guide.
Meet Alki, the sea otter pup born at the Aquarium. Walk under the water in a glass dome as bluntnose sixgill sharks and other Elliott Bay creatures swim all around you. Touch a sea anemone. Learn about the lives of salmon at the world’s first aquarium-based salmon ladder. Marvel at the impossibly bright-colored coral reef fish. And don’t forget to wave to the giant Pacific octopus.
The Seattle Waterfront
Piers 52 to 70 on Alaskan Way
A bustling collection of attractions, restaurants and shopping, as well as starting points for ferries, cruise ships, the Victoria Clipper and Argosy boat tours are located here. Feed the seagulls at the statue of Ivar Haglund in front of Ivar’s Acres of Clams, stroll by the fountains on the wooden piers of Waterfront Park, admire the view or shop for souvenirs.
Woodland Park Zoo
South Gate: 750 N. 50th St
See more than 1,000 animals of 300 different species, from elephants and gorillas to piranhas and penguins, in naturalistic exhibits at the Woodland Park Zoo. Drop by at scheduled feeding times and talk with the people who care for the animals.
Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour
608 First Ave.
After the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the city was rebuilt over the top of the ruins. This guided tour takes visitors through the hidden subterranean passages that once were the main roadways and storefronts of old downtown Seattle and tells stories of the frontier people who lived and worked there.
The Seattle Public Library
1000 Fourth Ave.
Designed by world-renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the award-winning glass and steel structure of the new Central Library makes the building seem a little off-kilter and translucent – allowing passersby on the street to look in.
A short, narrated cruise takes you to an island village, where you’ll feast on salmon cooked in the authentic Native American way. A stage show of traditional dances and stories entertains and teaches you about the people who lived in the Northwest first.
In addition to lunch and dinner cruises on Elliott Bay, as well as cruises through the Chittenden Locks in Ballard, on the lakes (including a cruise by Bill Gates’ estate,) and to Tillicum Village, Argosy offers some theme cruises. One of the most popular is the annual Beatles cruise, where fans of all ages gather to twist and shout to the songs of local cover band The Nowhere Men. Special cruises for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July fireworks, live jazz and other excuses to float around on the water are listed on Argosy’s website.
Ride the Ducks of Seattle
Tour Seattle by land and sea in an amphibious World War II vehicle. The popular tour includes downtown attractions and then takes to the waters of Lake Union for a look at those famous houseboats, yachts and the city skyline.
Private Eye on Seattle – “Jake” (probably an alias) reveals all the gory details for true-crime fans on her two tours of Seattle crime scenes. She revisits the peculiar cases of Ted Bundy, Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendrix. Her Haunted Happenings Tour makes the rounds of Seattle’s creepiest places, including an elegant hotel, the mortuary and a haunted theater, in search of the city’s resident ghosts.
5th Avenue Theatre Tour
Take a free tour of this Seattle landmark, built in 1926 for vaudeville and silent movies and restored to its former splendor in 1980. The theater’s opulent design was inspired by the Forbidden City and other palaces of Imperial China.
Kenmore Air Scenic Flights
See Seattle from a new angle – 1,000 feet up. Daily scenic flights by seaplane from Lake Union carry you past the Space Needle, the downtown waterfront, Green Lake and more.
Qwest Field Tours
Sports fans, don’t miss this behind-the-scenes look at the home of the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks. The tour takes you through the open-air stadium, including a luxury suite, the visitors’ locker room and the field.
Safeco Field Tours
For baseball fans, a visit to Seattle would not be complete without a tour of Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, where you can get a look at the famous retractable roof. You’ll visit the press box and luxury suites, the dugout, the field and visitors’ clubhouse.
Chinatown Discovery Tours
Customize your tour of one of Seattle’s most fascinating neighborhoods to focus on music, art, herbal medicine, acupuncture or shopping. Be sure to sign up for a tour that includes dim sum at lunchtime, or choose “Nibble Your Way Through Chinatown.”
Classic Biplane from Olde Thyme Aviation –
Suit up in old-fashioned barnstorming regalia, including a leather jacket and goggles, for your flight in a restored, open-cockpit biplane over Seattle and the region. You’ll take off from the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in South Seattle.
Seattle Architecture Tours
The nonprofit Seattle Architecture Foundation offers a number of guided tours, exploring downtown buildings, skyscrapers, historic theaters, public art and other fascinating aspects of Seattle’s architecture.
Seattle City Tours
Orient yourself on a three-hour premier city tour. Local guides share their knowledge on this scenic narrated drive to Seattle’s most popular attractions and neighborhoods. Small groups with stops along the way. Pick up from most hotels.