Favorite thing: Rem Koolhaas designed the new Seattle Public Library downtown, and it's a fascinating example of early 21st century "Starchitecture" - a consciously extravagant landmark building that is intended to showcase a community's local pride. Modern "celebrity" architects like the Dutch-born Koolhaas are the design equivalent of rockstars, and they are courted assiduously by the planners of major projects in urban areas around the world. This modern structure in downtown Seattle continues the grand traditon of public libraries in America - typified by the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue, and by Carnegie Libraries scattered across the country. After all,a library is more than just a depository for books, right?
Take bus number 510 or 513 and stop by the China Town.
If you have an Iphone, download the Onebusaway Application and this is very useful. It's a free application. You can seach the number of the bus, location, or Stop number and will tell you exactly which bus to take and what time the bus is coming. This application is only good for Seattle and other cities of King County and Snohomish County.
Favorite thing: I can imagine the summer is amazing in Seattle. But with such a mild climate, I would recommend the end of March and early April. It didn't hardly rain and it was plenty warm enough to walk around the city for sight seeing! But the best part is the cost of flights is one of the cheapest times of the year!
If you are looking for a place to take a great picture of the City of Seattle, you have to go to the Alki Point during the summer time.
Seattle's weather is great during the months of July, August and September and this is the best time to come to Seattle and to take great photography. You can go to the Lavender Farm, to the lakes and anywhere. There are so many places to take your best shots of Seattle.
The best time to visit Seattle is during the months of July, August and September when there is not a lot of rain.
August is the busiest month of Seattle because there are so many festivals downtown. Seattle also has the popular Torchlight Parade, Blue Angels' Airshow, Chinese Festival, Filipino Festival, Bon Odori Festival, Bite of Seattle, etc. Every week, there are so many events to see.
Also, it is best to just take the bus if you intend to go downtown because of the parking problems. There are parking available but they are expensive.
Favorite thing: The Smith Tower is perhaps only second to the Space Needle in terms of recognizable architectural landmarks in Seattle. With 42 floors, this building is one of the nations early skyscrapers and for a time, was the tallest building outside of New York City. It was completed in 1914 for the small sum of $1 million! The Smith Tower has an observation deck, which is much cheaper to visit than the Space Needle. And if you want to spend a few more bucks and throw a party, you can do so at the Chinese Room, 35th floor.
You gotta love a town that you can see a volcano from and Seattle has Mount Rainier looming in the distance. Actually, it looks closer than it is since it's so big and rises from such a lower plateau. Make sure to get into position if the weather is clear, it's not a sight you want to miss.
Fondest memory: “The laundry is over here, feel free,” just might be the sweetest words ever muttered to a couple on a six-month tent camping trip. The laundry was right across from “our room” and all of this was in the home of an old friend. Well, if it had been my old friend from childhood it would more expected. But I had met him only once at Munich's Oktoberfest no less and I had to be forgiven for a hazy at best recollection.
No, this was Doreen's friend that she had worked with in Munich and while they had been close at the time, that time was very much in the past. She really didn't know what to expect but we had made plans to stay with him and his wife in their new home in Seattle. He had married an American girl and had since relocated much as my wife had. So, they certainly had lots in common but when you have little contact for a long time, there are no guarantees that the friendships once shared will be the same.
We had been camping our way around the US National Parks for three and a half months. Though we had stayed in the occasional room and one friend had already spotted us a bed, most of those nights were spent in a tent. It had been an amazing experience especially on the occasions we had spent in the vast backcountry that make up the best part of our National Park system. Things had gone like clockwork through Yosemite but after a nice leisurely time in Northern California and Oregon, we were ready to get “back to work.” (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
We had come to Seattle from Mount Rainier National Park where heavy winter snow accumulation and late snow melt combined to thwart our best efforts to return to the wilderness. We managed only one night backpacking and left the park with our tails between our legs. The plan now was to soothe our bruised egos in Seattle and march into Olympic National Park ready to conquer. All we needed was a comfortable place from which to do it all. A cheap motel would do in a pinch but really there's no place like home.
The words “feel free” were uttered matter-of-factly and there was no doubt of their sincerity. For three days we did just that, soaking up Seattle's caffeine infused culture, sampling the city's fine brews, and getting reacquainted with friends over many great meals.
Olympic called us and with rejuvenated souls we went there to topple all that we had done so far in the backpacking world. It would have been hard to leave if we were not going home. It may not have been our real home but real friends have a way of making you feel that way and in Seattle, we know we have just that.
The Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) Airport was just recently renovated. It is one of the largest and busiest airport in the Northwest United States.
When getting out from your plane, you still have to ride to a subway train going to the baggage claim. The subway train is fast so, you might like to seat down and grab some handles as the train is really fast. There is a voice translation of the train in English, and Japanese. (Japanese is the second largest tourist group coming to Seattle).
After embarking the subway train, you follow sign to the baggage claim. If you have a lot of luggages, there are pushcarts that you have to pay for 25 cents (you get them back if you return the pushcart. If you don't return the pushcart, then you lose the 25 cents!).
If your plane is coming from a different country, you still take the subway. Then you take the escalator that leads you to the main entrance of the Immigration Department. There are many booths in there separated from US citizens and Non-U.S citizens. The Immigration officers are usually polite, very formal but friendly. You must show your passport and sign a form of declaration - how much money you are bringing to the United States, How long you are visiting, Your address while in the United States and if you are bringing taxable items.
If you already have a visa prior to coming to the United States, then you proceed to the baggage claim. There are security personnel with sniffing dogs. These dogs sniff bags containing contravand goods. Make sure that you don't bring this to the country!
After that, then you can freely get out from the airport. There are no scammers at the airport. You are safe and your luggages are safe.
The airport taxi, shuttle and bus are located close to the airport. Taxis are usually charging $25.00 minimum going to downtown Seattle. The bus is $2.00 with a transfer ticket.
Fondest memory: The airport has been renovated and there are now nice artworks on display at every corner of the airport. There is also a kiosk put it with nice lightings.
Some vintage airplanes are also on display hanging at the ceiling at the exit of the domestic terminal. It is very pleasant to see. They also put in some nice areas to relax with nice black leather couches.
If you are planning to visit Seattle, make sure to buy a City Pass. With the City Pass, you can visit 5 famous Seattle attractions for one low price. You can visit the Museum of Flight, Argosy Harbor Tours Cruise, Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center and Seattle Aquarium. You actually save about $53.25 if you buy the City Pass which only cost $39.50. The City Pass is good for nine days fromt the first use./
Call this number: 707-256-0490
The website is www.citypass.com
Here's the price of the City Pass:
Adults $49.50 (a savings of $54.35)
Youth: 3-12 years old: $24.00 (a savings of $24.00)
Fondest memory: There is nothing like going to the Space Needle and visiting the Pike Place Market.
Favorite thing: I'm originally from AR myself and found some dramatic differences. Cost is the big one, it is mucho expensive compared to AR, but given that, your survival skills from living in AR are good ones to survive in Seattle. Rents are from $750+ for one bedroom in suburbs to over $1000/mo in prime areas. But you can find suburban areas and college area housing which can be reasonable. You can survive because wages are much higher here. Minimum wage is one of highest in country, even service economy wages are $10-$15/hour or higher. Lots of jobs in health care, computers, social services, etc. Transportation can be easily done by buses here, which save costs; some employers pay for the buspass. Traffic is a hassle, though. Great resale shops - Goodwill rocks, so leave the furniture and stuff behind - it's easy to replace here cheaply. November will be somewhat dark and wet, and the first year you will miss the sunshine brightness you were used to. But it is still light during the day and you have to get past staying inside in the rain-just get out and hike, travel, live life. The ocean on one side and mountains on the other are beauties that can't be missed, and summer will totally win you over. Remember, no tornados, mosquitoes, heatstroke or poisonous snakes (on this side of the mt). For hotels, I would try the travel sites and also look for residence hotels around the airport or South Center Mall area for weekly rates. Eat somewhere in the International District/Chinatown (House of Hong for dim sum due to free parking)or U-District for diversity of choices in college area. Lots of seafood choices along the waterfront; the Crab Pot allows you to eat family style with a mix of seafood. Little expensive, but our visitors have liked the experience. It is easy to reach downtown where you can walk from Pike Place Market to the waterfront (Aquarium) or uphill to a Monorail stop to go to Seattle Center where the Space Needle and Pacific Science Center is. Bring a good raincoat with a hood and brim and fleecewear, plus comfortable shoes, and clothes you can layer (warms up in middle of day, cooler during other hours). Go to the local beaches like Golden Gardens or drive up north to Camano Island or San Juan Islands. Take a ferry ride, even in Nov. it will be enjoyable from inside a ferry. You can drive to the mt's for a day of skiing or snowboarding also, although without snow-wear it might be hard. All in all, it is doable in rainy Nov and livable if you give it a try.
Favorite thing: If you are arriving in Seattle by car, there are several ways you may be driving in. The largest freeway is Interstate 5 (I-5), which runs up the middle of Seattle, north-south. If you are coming from the east, you may be headed in via Interstate-90 or Freeway 520. All routes from the west are going to be by ferry. There are only two roads that run all the way through Seattle from north to south -- Interstate 5 and State Route 99 (which is also known as Aurora Avenue within the city limits, and which becomes the Alaska Way Viaduct while running through downtown Seattle). Thus they are natural traffic magnets. The only east-west street to run directly from the waterfront area of downtown Seattle to the shore of Lake Washington to the east is Madison Street.
Airport baggage handlers: $1 per bag, more for heavier bags.
Baby-sitter: Equal an average evening's pay, plus a small gift.
Bartender: $1 to $2 per drink is customary, or 15 to 20 percent if you run a tab.
Beauty: In a salon, tip 15 to 20 percent for haircuts, nail care, facials, waxing.
Cabs: Fares below $10, $1-$3. Over $10, 10 percent.
Dining: 15 to 20 percent tip is the going rate for meals, on the pre-tax total.
Tipping at coffee shops is highly contentious. Some won't tip at chains. Others only tip for drinks made by a barista, not just for a cup of joe. Tips range from change to $1 per beverage.
Hotels: At least $1 or $2 per bag for the bellhop when you arrive and when you leave, and $2 to $3 a night for the hotel maid (just leave the cash daily in your room).
Parking: In garages, $1 for someone who retrieves your car. A valet, $2 to $3.
A very nice hotel half a block away from Pike's Place Market and a convenient walk to many of the...more
We stayed at this hotel from July 5 - 9th, 2010 as a family of four with 2 adults and 2 children...more
I booked this hotel to stay the night before the cruise because it was within a distance that I...more