The Best Seattle Attractions
Seattle is a wonderful scenic city with lots to see and do. Originally founded in 1853 as a fishing and logging town, Seattle became a center of the air industry after Boeing set up shop here. Lying in sight of Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains, the city is now home to software giant Microsoft. The history and setting of the city provides the visitor with many fascinating and delightful opportunities to learn and explore.
Fremont was once a separate town from Seattle, and still strives to maintain its own quirky atmosphere. Visitors here can tour the Theo Chocolate Factory, an organic “bean to bar” chocolate confections manufacturer. After pleasing their taste buds, they can tour the district and climb on the statue of the giant troll crushing a life-size Volkswagen Beetle, or ponder how the district acquired a 16 foot tall statue of Lenin!!
University of Washington
One of the landmarks of Seattle is the University of Washington campus. This university, with some of the strongest PhD and masters degree programs in the world, boasts beautiful scenery (visit in spring for a view of the cherry trees!) and stunning architecture. Burke Museum, a natural science and archaeology museum located on the campus, is not to be missed. The University of Washington Arboretum is also worth visiting, with its vast acreage of conifers and hardwoods, hollies and camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. The arboretum is also home to a formal Japanese tea garden.
Everyone is familiar with the Space Needle, but if you go to visit it, be sure to see some of the surrounding museums as well. The Experience Music Project is a museum dedicated to rock and roll, with a special exhibit focusing on Seattle native Jimi Hendrix. The building is designed to look like a smashed guitar, and houses archival interviews, multi-sensory exhibits, and interactive activities designed to teach the visitor all there is to know about the American music scene.
Science Fiction Museum
Sharing the same building as the EMP is the Science Fiction Museum, home of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. This museum is dedicated to the entire history of science fiction in literary and visual arts, ranging from the novels of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, to the original television series Star Trek, to the movie Avatar.
Pacific Science Center
Also located near the Needle is the Pacific Science Center. This facility is an interactive science museum that provides exhibits on the natural and physical sciences. Visitors can see robotic dinosaurs, walk through a tropical butterfly house, touch living creatures from a Puget Sound tidal pool, or learn about any number of other subjects in their IMAX theater.
Much of Seattle was destroyed in a fire in 1889. In order to avoid flooding and sewer problems, city designers decided to create a new downtown area one story over the old one, creating an underground Seattle. Now this underground section is host to Bill Spiedel’s Underground Tour, a guided walking tour through the streets and storefronts of old Seattle. The tour begins in a restored saloon and ends in the Rogues Gallery, the gift shop of the tour.
Klondike Gold Rush
After the 1889 fire, one of the events that led to the revitalization of Seattle was the Klondike gold rush in Alaska and Canada in 1897. Many of the prospectors who left the United States for the Klondike region of Canada used Seattle as a jumping off point. Now the Seattle Unit of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park offers educational programs that enlighten visitors about the history and the science of the stampede for gold ore.
Woodland Park Zoo
The Woodland Park Zoo is a zoological park that provides viewing experiences of many animals the world over, in simulations of their natural environment. In addition to their many animal exhibits, the zoo offers a Zoomazium play area, an old style carousel and a petting zoo area for children to have fun while their parents relax. For a low-key relaxing stroll, there is also the Woodland Park Rose Garden, just outside the zoo’s south gate.
Seattle has much to offer the visitor, regardless of their age. This is just a sampling of the many attractions in Seattle that the uninformed tourist might miss. Be sure to come and spend a few days here, and do more than just take pictures of the Needle.
This is a guest post by Emily Matthews. Emily is currently applying to masters degree programs across the U.S., and loves to read about new research into health care, gender issues, and literature. She lives and writes in Seattle, Washington