The Big Picture is jsut about the only movie theatre I know of in Seattle that serves you drinks while you watch your movie. With huge comfortable seats this is no ordinary theatre. give it a try if you happen to be in seattle and the weather is..well...usual.
This Seattle Public Library is one of the nicest (and newest) additions to the downtown Seattle area. Wonderful architecture makes people want to come in and read books.... and this is very well architected!
Lots of sun soaks through the glass enclosures, which makes it a wonderful place to read!
Despite Seattle's fantastic scenery, my favorite tour of Seattle had no mountain scenery and no Space Needle. It was actually the Seattle Underground Tour in Pioneer Square and the only light of day we saw was looking up through those little glass squares in the sidewalk that you probably won't even notice until you are under them.
Like pretty much any modern city, Seattle had its very own 'great fire.' In 1889 much of the downtown was leveled. Rather than rebuild like most normal people would do, the city of Seattle decided to use the fire to its advantage and rebuild in a way that would eliminate many of the city's problems including a very stinky sewer system. They built everything one floor up! The new street level was at the level of the previous first floor, and the old street level ended up below ground.
The guide was funny enough to keep my attention, but not so comical that the message got lost in the jokes, as he told us about Seattle's less than clean history and how ground level came to be where it is today.
Tours start in Doc Maynards at 610 1st Ave.
Behind St. Mark's Cathedral, there is a bench on the edge of a bluff that overlooks Lake Union, Queen Anne Hill, and pretty much the entire western part of Seattle. This bench is usually empty, but it has some of the best views of the city and the Olympic Mountains.
Grab something to eat along Broadway or bring a lunch to this peaceful spot and just enjoy looking at this remarkable city. It is a great place to get your bearings, too - you can see the Locks, downtown, the Stadiums, the ferries, and I-5 for miles.
Saint Mark's is located at 1022 E Tenth Ave, just north of the Broadway neighborhood. You can see the huge cathedral from I-5 on the hill near the Mercer St exit. Drive into the parking lot and around behind the cathedral. Go to the farthest corner of the lot and you'll see the bench.
(And be sure to check out the Cathedral Shop if you have a minute - they always have beautiful and interesting objects there!)
Located in Pioneer Square Park at Yesler Way and James Street, this small bust and signs are a monument to the man after whom Seattle is named.
The bust faces approximately northwest, down 1st Avenue.
To the back of the bust there are two signs. The northwest side of the signs have a message written in the Chinook language, and the southeast side of the sign have the message written in English.
The sign on the left side of the bust reads "Chief Seattle now the streets are our home"
The sign on the right side of the bust reads "Far away brothers and sisters we still remember you"
The bust sits on a pedestal which is located in the center of an approximately 3 foot (1 meter) diameter basin of water. The basin sits on a second pedestal.
The plaque under the pedestal reads:
Cheif Seattle Fountain
Comissioned by the City of Seattle Board of Parks Commissioners
Today the Space Needle is far more famous, and the Columbia Center is far more famous, but you will notice a much smaller, much older tower on the south side of downtown Seattle, which is still an active office building. It has a central tower that sticks up well above the immediately surrounding buildings, and so is still a little bit of a landmark.
Smith Tower was constructed in 1914, and when it was completed it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. 38 stories makes it taller than almost all structures in Portland, Oregon, and so even though it is dwarfed by modern Seattle it is still even today a fairly significant tower.
The tower has an observation deck that is open all days during the busier months, and during the rest of the year the observation deck is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 to 4. These hours are open to variance for an assortment of reasons, especially private events, and it is recommended that you call ahead. The entrance price is $7.50. The hours are posted on the web site, and it should be noted that the operating hours change on a month to month basis depending on the month - that listed here is only a simplification of the operating hours.
It should be noted that the observation deck is a wrap-around outdoor deck, and thus you need to dress for the weather. There is always a fairly cold wind blowing off Puget Sound in this part of downtown, and even in summer it would not hurt to take a few warmer clothes with you to the top of the tower just in case you have trouble with this cold wind.
Unfortunately the views offered from the top of the tower are no longer quite as spectacular as they once were, as Seattle has grown much taller and obstructs the view to the north now. However, it is still possible to see south to Mount Rainier, the various lesser Cascades peaks, and the Olympic Mountains. This is still quite a bit more scenery that what you get in observation platforms in a number of other cities.
Supposedly, the elevators that bring passengers from the ground floor to the observation deck are the last manually operated ones on the west coast.
How to Get Here: The tower is located at 506 Second Avenue, at the southern end of downtown, in the Pioneer Square area. A vast number of bus routes and several train routes serve this area, it is located in the "Ride Free Zone", and so it is easy to get to by public transit. Parking in downtown Seattle can be difficult, but there are scattered parking garages around the area including one by King Street Station.
If you happen to go to the Seattle Trade Center, get on the monorail and it'll take you to the Seattle shopping district where there are HUGE Flagship stores of Nordstroms, The Bon, Old Navy, Gap, Abercrombie and Fitch, and so on and so forth. It was great fun, and unexpected.
Every year, thousands of pilgrims visit a sleepy Seattle cemetery on upper Capitol Hill. The reason? a chance to pay homage to the one and only martial arts icon, Bruce Lee. His gravesite is marked by a four-foot, red marble headstone inscribed with the words, 'Your inspiration continues to guide us toward our personal liberation.' I am a huge fan of his, so I had to include it here. Any martial arts fan would need to check it out!
Fremont Sunday Market is another place often missed by tourists. Located in Fremont. It is full of artists, writers, dreamers, poets and yuppies. They all seem to converge on a small parking lot near the Fremont Bridge every Sunday, May through October. A large selection of arts and crafts await you here, plus a lively flea market where you can find just about anything (quite literally)under the sun, from hemp hats to handmade candles, from natural milk soaps to fresh-picked corn. Also an excellent place to people-watch :)
Pike Place Market is a huge three story market. An excellent place for fresh vegetables,baked bread, fresh fish, spices and fruit, handmade jewelry and beautiful paintings. Also a good place to get a the perfect cup of coffee and head outside to watch the ferries go in and out while soaking in the sun and smelling the sweet wonderful mixed aroma! Bring your camera!
FInally, you have to visit the East Side of Washington. Namely the communities of Bellvue, Kirkland and Redmond. This is where Microsoft is located. It is also where many upscale neighborhoods with many beautiful homes can be seen! One day I will be living there :)
SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
oooh. ahhh. cannes, sundance, seattle....
It generally runs right when the weather is getting beautiful in May. You could do a lot worse than to schedule your trip to Seattle around SIFF.
Take the monorail from the center of town to the Space needle. It cost $1 when we were there. It was built for a World's Fair, I think, many years ago. It only goes about 1 mile, but is a fun little ride.
A good way to save a few bucks if you're planning to see a lot of stuff is to get a City Pass. It included the zoo, space needle, aquarium, art museum and a couple other things that we didn't make it to and I don't recall now. It was $25/person back in 98.
If you can make your way to the grave site of Bruce Lee (I took a nice bus ride) you can view the site of a martial arts legend, have a walk in peaceful surroundings, and get magnificent views of the rivers surrounding the city of Seattle.
The Northwest Folklife Festival is every year on Memorial Day weekend, all across Seattle Center. Tons of interesting things to see and do, and bst of all is the nonstop, super-ecclectic live music.
There are dozens of food booths from many different cultures -- try something you've never eaten before!
The picture is from what's generally called 'Drummer's Cove' -- an unofficial gathering of drums and dancing of all kinds. It's an exciting atmosphere, but without exception strong smelling from smoke of several types.
Lots more information on the website:
Go and look down on Seattle from the observation room in the Columbia Centre Building. This is at 5Av and Columbia Street. It's a normal office building but you can go up to the obersvation deck. It is open during normal office hours and costs about $5.
Around Alaskan Way, just down from the waterfront piers and the Pike Place Market, there was an amazing 'garden' of metallic flowers located in the back alley of an apartment building. It was, in essence, a very unique, artistic fence. The great thing about Seattle are the little pockets of art in the most unlikely places. It definitely gives the city character.