Seattle that I love so much!
I live in Queen Anne in Seattle and was very hurt in the crusifying reviews of my city when I got on this website. I have been to almost every state in the US and many outside and Seattle is by far the most beautiful that I have ever seen. I think that the most important thing to do when you visit my city is to take a moment and absorb the pulse. Observe the people, the lifestyle, the huge variety of population genre, and the energy that roars in Seattle. It is this connection to the people that sets Seattle apart from most other cities. Naturally we have our highrises, skyscrapers, traffic, and chaos, but out of all the cities I have ever been to there is none that are so flavored by the people as Seattle. When I was reading I saw a lot of complaints about the homeless, parking costs, and overpriced tourist traps. Here is my advice on all of the above: The homeless are harmless, give them a dollar or don't they are just as greatful for a smile. In Seattle we do our best to solve homelessness, not shun those who happen to fall into that trap. Parking costs are inevitable and ridiculous, but there is a free busline that goes from end to end of the city, if you ever get confused ask anyone on the street and they will happily help you find your way (the only city I have ever had anyone offer their assistance without asking for it). Or better yet, give a homeless guy a dollar and they will give you directions anywhere in the city. If nothing else, there are practically no areas in Seattle that are not sneaker safe, and it is a compact city, walk a little, you will get the best views in the city. As far as tourist traps go, sure there are some, but most of Seattle can be enjoyed for free or very little cost. I think that all of the things that people complained about: the Space Needle, Chinatown, Pike's Place, and EMP have easy solutions. The Space Needle is best enjoyed from the top of the South Slope of Queen Anne, take it for what it is (an architectural masterpeice), but don't try to make it something more. Chinatown, I was shocked to hear someone say that all of the Asian Americans in our community must have moved to the suburbs to join the political force. Seattle is a very liberal city and the Asian Americans in our community are not confined to owning shops in the international district, but nor are they confined to political careers. Pike's Place translates a great amount of Seattle's energy and no matter what you think of it in the end, it is free, and an experience unlike any other. The market is chaotic at times, a little bit of everything, and often noisy, but it really allows you to indulge in the pace of Seattle. Many people (my self included) shop there for their daily groceries and can never get enough. EMP is always worth the money, granted you will get more out of it with musical background and a little bit of pop history know how. It is one of those things that is great to look at even if you don't want to drop the cash, go to city center and just walk around. Seattle breathes innovation, hope, and refreshment into every one of its residents, I would hope that you as guests would give the city the same oppurtunity. If nothing else, buy a Starbucks (which is completely environmentally and culturally coherent) and walk the waterfront, up through Belltown, hit Queen Anne, back through City Center, and on to Downtown, and back up through the crazy, liberal, old school punk (but very safe) Capitol Hill. Above all enjoy your visit to the lovely Seattle, Washington.