Wake up and smell the coffee. That's what you'll be doing on holidays in Seattle, where the alluring aroma of the city's favourite drink hangs over it like the clouds atop Mount Rainier to the south. The home of Starbucks and the coffee revolution is a vibrant, quirky city filled with hundreds of buzzing cafés and bars, plus cool buildings, hip and historic neighbourhoods, and some stellar attractions.
But not all Seattle's attractions are man-made, since its setting is nothing short of spectacular. Wedged between the coastal inlet of Puget Sound and scenic Lake Washington, and ringed by mountains, the views are breathtaking. Watching the boats come and go on Elliott Bay with the peaks of the Olympic Mountains in the distance, or catching the sunset across the water from the Olympic Sculpture Park are sights you'll never forget.
All that access to the great outdoors makes for some fantastic activities on holidays in Seattle, which isn't known as the 'Emerald City' for nothing. There's a green space most places you look - and if it's not green, it's blue, with so much water around. That makes for great hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, cycling or any other activity you can think of, and you can be in one of the State Parks that surround the city in no time. Plus there's skiing in winter.
Back on the urban trail, there's lots to see and do in the city too. There's fantastic museums, while the assortment of animals at the aquarium, the Northwest Wildlife Park, and the Woodland Park Zoo will keep the kids happy. Shopping is pure pleasure, with iconic Pike Place Market unmissable, and once the sun is down, there's a fizzing music, bar and restaurant scene to explore. Never mind emerald; this city deserves gold-star status.
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The Space Needle
Instantly recognisable from the opening credits of Frasier, this Seattle icon stands 184-metres high. Take the lift up to the observation platform and drink in stupendous 360-degree views over the city and its surrounding bays, lakes and mountains. You can eat in the gently revolving Sky City Restaurant too.
Water, Water Everywhere
With two lakes and a coastal inlet, it would almost be a crime not to take to the water during holidays in Seattle. One of the easiest ways is to board a Washington State Ferry and take a day-trip to one of the islands across the bay, like buzzy Bainbridge Island or scenic San Juan. Or rent a sea kayak and paddle your own way around Lake Union or Lake Washington.
There's a whole bunch of high-quality museums to check out, including the Art Museum, the Asian Art Museum and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Two more unusual ones are the striking Frank-Gehry designed EMP Museum, which celebrates music and pop culture; and the Museum of Flight, with planes past and present (including an early Air Force One presidential plane) and hands-on flying simulators.
Pike Place Market
Open 365 days a year, Seattle's farmer's market is a whirlwind of activity: a galleried orgy of food carts, flower stalls and artisan concessions, where fishmongers famously make fresh salmon 'fly' by throwing and catching them. There's also great dining and coffee here - including the very first Starbucks.
Once you've eaten in one of the city's multiple fine restaurants, there's no need to head home. Hit a microbrewery or bar, or check out the music scene. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Fleet Foxes all came out of Seattle, and there's always a new act to discover in the local clubs.
Seattle City Tour
This tour is a superb introduction to see the highlights of Seattle. During your three-hour bus tour, you'll take in downtown Seattle, the Seattle Waterfront and Pioneer Square, whilst witnessing some outstanding views of the city. Additionally you’ll pass through quirky neighbourhoods, visit the Ballard Locks with ladders for the spawning salmon, The Giant Bridge Troll, and the famous "Sleepless in Seattle" floating home. From £25 per person.
This great value pass includes discounted entry to some of Seattle’s premier attractions, including the Space Needle, Pacific Space Center, Seattle Aquarium, a 1-hour Argosy Harbour Cruise and many more – saving you time and money! From £35 per person
Seattle Harbour Cruise
Learn about Seattle's historic waterfront on this live narrated cruise of Elliott Bay and Seattle Harbour. View the spectacular panoramic background of the majestic Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, the unique city skyline and while enjoying a first-hand look at one of the world's largest shipping terminals. From £13 per person
Food and Cultural Walking Tour of Pike Place Market
Eat your way through Seattle's most celebrated culinary landmark with this 2 hour tour. Taste locally made foods and beverages, many of which reflect the Northwest cuisine or are quintessential Seattle treats, and meet the exceptional people that make Pike Place Market the fabulous place it is. From £23 per person
Mt Rainier Full Day Tour
Breathtaking vistas await you on Mt Rainier, whose rocky peak stands more than 14,000 feet tall! On this full-day tour to Mt Rainier from Seattle, you'll get to appreciate the beauty of this stunning mountain up close. Enjoy unobstructed views of the Seattle area from the mountain and make sure you don’t forget your camera! From £62 per person.
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