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SEATTLE

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Seattle skyline
Seattle, © Can Stock Photo / jaymudaliar

Seattle, Washington is a city in the northwestern most corner of the continental United States.  It is situated on Puget Sound and is an important international shipping location.  The city has a metropolitan population of more than 3 million people.  Native American's had been in the area for about 4,000 years prior to the arrival of European explorers in the mid 1800s.   Today the city has a strong economy and is headquarters for Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon.com, T-Mobile USA and Nordstrom.

Weather:

Seattle's weather is influenced by the Pacific Ocean and also a rain shadow from the Olympic mountains.  The rainy season extends from November to February.  During this period temperatures can reach highs of 50 F or 10 C with heavy rainfall.  If the skies clear, temporarily, temperatures can drop slightly below freezing.  Snowfall is extremely rare.  The dry season extends from May to September with ideal weather occurring in July and August.   Summer highs average around 75 F.  Many residents from the southern United States choose to summer in the Pacific Northwest.

   

Transportation:

The popularity of Alaska cruises has prompted several cruise lines to offer regular weekly service during the summer.  Some ships dock at Pier 66 in the heart of downtown, while others tie up at Pier 90/91 about 10 minutes north.  Similar to San Francisco, the pier numbers are your best indication of addresses on the waterfront.  The airport, known as SEA-TAC, is located about a half hour south of town.  Take the Central Link light rail from the airport to Westlake in downtown Seattle, which is the transportation hub of the city.  From there you can walk to Pike Place Market, use local transit, take the Seattle Center Monorail to Seattle Center or ride the South Lake Union Street Car to Lake Union Park.

Things to see and do in Seattle:

Consider a Seattle City Pass for savings on admission to many of the fee based Seattle attractions.

  • Pike Place Market - the most popular tourist attraction in Seattle and it's free.  Head down to the waterfront and watch fresh salmon being tossed about at Pike Place Fish Market.  Find out how hard they are to catch with your bare hands.  Have a seafood meal on Pier 54 at Ivars, renowned for its clams since the 1930s.  Have a coffee at the original first location for the Starbucks coffee empire.  See the Seattle Art Museum.  Stay overnight at the Inn at the Market.  On the waterfront at Pier 57, the Seattle Great Wheel was built in 2012.  It has 42 gondolas that take you 170 feet high.  Miners Landing is also part of Pier 57.  The Seattle Aquarium is located on the waterfront at the next pier north of the Great Wheel (Pier 59).  Pass through the Waterfront Park to reach it.

  • Seattle Center - Ride the glass elevator up over 500 feet at the Space Needle for views over the city.  Directly beside the Space Needle is the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit and the EMP (Experience Music Project) with tributes to Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana.  The Science Fiction Museum and the Pacific Science Center are located at the Seattle Center.  The Pacific Science Center has interactive science exhibits, a butterfly house, tide pools, a planetarium and an IMAX theater.  Get wet at the International Fountain.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Seattle Children's Museum are here too.  Take a short ride on the Seattle Center Monorail that was built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.  It connects Westlake in the downtown core with Seattle Center.

Seattle and Mt. Rainier

Seattle and Mt. Rainier © Can Stock Photo / corepics

Space Needle,  Seattle

© Can Stock Photo / HdcPhoto

Things to see and do near Seattle:

Hurricane Ridge, Seattle

Hurricane Ridge © Can Stock Photo / billperry

  • Olympic National Park - head out to the mountains and rainforests of the Northwest.  There are 7 major routes into the wilderness of this gigantic 1,500 square mile national park, but none of the routes interconnect because there are no roads through the center of the park.  Hurricane Ridge is an exciting drive with great views at the top.  The drive starts near Port Angeles, about 3.5 hours from Seattle.

  • Leavenworth - a replicated Bavarian village along the Wenatchee River in the Cascade Mountains about 3 hours east of Seattle

  • Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument - Travel about 4 hours to see the effects of the 1980 eruption from the Johnston Ridge Observatory.

Seattle Tours:

Hotels in Seattle:

Sleep Inn SeaTac

In the downtown area, we enjoy the water views, central location and great rates at the Motif Seattle on 5th Ave.

SEA-TAC Airport, Seattle - includes list of hotels with a shuttle.


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