Popular for coffee and renowned for the architectural marvel that is the Space Needle, Seattle is a city that attracts tourists of all kinds, and for different reasons. It is in the western part of the USA and is surrounded by water, mountains, evergreen forests and acres of parkland.
One fall evening, I found myself waiting on the tarmac of Starbucks' hometown. We were taking a Light Rail from Seatac Airport, which is the easiest way to the downtown, and then we caught a monorail to Westlake or Seattle Center.
The Space Needle was built in 1962 for the World's Fair and is located within the Center. Our hotel was close to the structure and had a view of it in the background.
The 520 feet high Observation Deck of the Space Needle allows a grand view of the city. The Seattle Center has a Science Fiction Museum, The Children's Museum, The Seattle Opera, Exhibition Hall, the International Fountain and many more attractions.
The Monorail Terminal connects the Needle to the “Westlake Center”, which has shopping places, and food courts. “Monorail Espresso” is a popular coffee place, which started as a cart, and is now located in Pike Place, one of the major tourist attractions. Starbucks Coffee is located here, but we were unable to get inside as it was swarming with tourists. Coffee is not just a morning eye-opener in the city; Seattleites can be seen cup-in-hand all hours of the day!
Walking all the way up to the Waterfront and watching the big and small ferry-boats at the harbour was our idea of exploring. With an adventure in mind, we were off to Pier 52 to take a ferry ride across Puget Sound to the beautiful “Bainbridge Island.”
The Island has its own quiet and rustic charm, full of quaint shops, cafes and possibly one of the best places for a leisurely walk. Bainbridge Island Arts & Crafts (BAC) is a visual arts organisation promoting local talents.
Seattleites are art lovers and the city has a reputation for welcoming, engaging and accepting arts community. The newly remodeled Seattle Art Museum (SAM) with Jonathan Borofsky's “Hammering Man” sculpture enhances the charm of SAM and shows the cultural sophistication of the city dwellers.
Its 48 feet tall labourer acts as the guardian-greeter. The museum has a wide collection of ancient arts of the Mediterranean and the Near East, Art of Africa, Art of Japan, Art of China, Arts of India and South East Asia. I was especially drawn to the Porcelain Room.
One of the architectural gems of Seattle is the Seattle Public Library — a steel-and-glass built structure. Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaus' geometric lines of its translucent exterior and the interior has its own grandeur. Exploring the library itself takes you to a different world.
The third floor is “Red Coloured” from top to bottom, which consists of conference rooms and other staff areas. The fourth floor of the library provides a notable collection of books and materials.
Seattle Public Library Passport has over two dozen libraries listed. The idea is to get each of them “Stamped” while visiting them. We could see why Seattleites have such a reputation of being one of the most literate and cultured people in the country.
Seattle also earned its nickname, Emerald City, because of its abundance of greenery. Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) manages more than 400 parks and open spaces. The Olympic Sculpture Park Area is next to the waterfront. This Sculpture Park is a project of the Seattle Art Museum and has received rave reviews for its small and large sculptures.
In Seattle, arts are embraced whether in museums, galleries, cafes, coffee shops, or the parks. A stop at “Chihuly Garden and Glass” at 305 Harrison Street, showcasing Dale Chihuly's small and large glass installations will fascinate anyone.
Glasshouse Studio at Pioneer Square is the oldest glass-blown studio; it holds regular demonstrations and weekly group tours. Pioneer Square has all types of shops and restaurants to hang-out and eat-out.
Truly, you can discover Seattle in many ways!
By Aeman T Rasul