|Seattle Quick Facts|
|Area||142.5 sq miles|
|Population||602,778 (2011 estimate)|
|Time Zone||PST (UTC-8)|
The city of Seattle is the administrative center of the King County of the state of Washington. It is named after the Duwamish tribe's Chief Seattle. This is the largest city in the Pacific Northwestern region of North America and the 15th largest metropolitan area in the United States. Seattle is also a major port and an important gateway for trade, particularly with Asia.
Seattle has a hilly topography and is home to a number of lakes and creeks. As it is a coastal city, it enjoys a temperate maritime climate with warm dry summer and mild winters. Rain is quite frequent in Seattle and hence it is also known as the "Rain City". Due its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Seattle is an earthquake prone zone.
When the city was incorporated, lumbering was a major industry. Today, Seattle is a major hub of technology, particularly biotechnology and computers. Aircraft building is also an important industry with Boeing being the largest private employer. The city has also emerged as a model for sustainable development with the city government declaring to cut down greenhouse gas emission to zero by 2030, thus making Seattle North America's first "climate neutral city".
For music lovers, Seattle is home to the grunge and patron of jazz. Several famous artists like Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, and Ernestine Anderson started their careers in this city while Jimi Hendrix was born here. The city is also a popular tourist destination and every year thousands of visitors flock to Seattle, attracted by its scenic landscape and pulsating cultural scene.
Which is the best season to visit Seattle?
June through September are the most popular months with tourists. The summer is good for sightseeing as well as cruising. These months are, however, very crowded and the accommodation costs can be really very high. A visit in May or October, or and even in winter can get you great discounts. Do not forget to carry your rain gear with you as winters in Seattle are quite wet.
Airport and Public Transport in Seattle
Seattle is served by the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The city has light rail service and a well connected network of buses including electric trolley buses. The Washington State Ferries manages the ferry network in the city. Seattle is also a pedestrian friendly city and according to Walk Score it is the fifth most walkable of the 50 largest cities in the United States.
Accommodations Options in Seattle
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, Inn at the Market, Hotel 1000, Pan Pacific Seattle, Alexis Hotel and Hotel Andra are some well known luxury hotels in Seattle. If you are looking for budget hotels, some good options are Georgetown Inn, University Inn, Moore Hotel, Best Western, Inn at Queen Anne and Travelodge Seattle University.
Things to do
Space Needle has been the most popular landmark of Seattle since 1962. Located at the Seattle Center, this building has an observation deck and a rotating Sky City Restaurant.A trip to top of the Needle via elevators takes approximately 41 seconds, but be prepared to wait in long queues as the building features prominently in the itinerary of any tourist visiting Seattle. Catch some action at The Seattle Center, the entertainment hub of the city. You can also take a stroll in the Pike Place Market and sip coffee at the first ever Starbucks store opened in 1971. Some other important landmarks of Seattle are the Smith Tower, the Fremont Troll, the Seattle Great Wheel, and the Seattle Central Library.
Explore Museums and Art Galleries
Go to the Henry Art Gallery, Washington's the first public art museum. The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is a prominent art museum and maintains the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) and the Olympic Sculpture Park as well. Unravel the history of Seattle in the Loghouse Museum in Alki, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Museum of History and Industry, and the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.Plan a visit to Nordic Heritage Museum, the Wing Luke Asian Museum, and the Northwest African American Museum and learn about the different ethnic groups who call Seattle their home. Take the young ones to the Museum of Flight and help them get acquainted with aviation history. Art lovers can spend some time amid beautiful paintings and sculptures in one of the many art galleries in the city like the Soil Art Gallery and Crawl Space Gallery.
Commune with Nature
Enjoy the greenery in the beautiful parks of Seattle. Some well known green spaces in the city are Washington Park Arboretum, Kubota Gardens, Seward Park, Japanese Tea Garden, Schmitz Park, and Sand Point Magnuson Park. Watch the sun set over the Leschi Park, Blake Island State Park, or the Golden Garden Park. Admire the expansive cityscape from the Kerry Park, the Hamilton Viewpoint Park, or the Victor Steinbrueck Park. Seattle has quite a few beach parks such as the Matthews Beach Park and the Richmond Beach Saltwater Park. Seattle is also known for its beautiful lakes including Green Lake, Halter Lake, Bitter Lake, and Lake Union. Take a walk around this beautiful city and experience the serenity it has to offer. You can also spend quality time with your kids in the Woodland Park Zoo and the Seattle Aquarium.
Indulge in some Entertainment
Seattle can be considered the mecca of performing arts. Head to the Benaroya Hall and hear the Seattle Symphony Orchestra perform. The city is also home to the largest symphony youth orchestra in the country-The Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras (SYSO). Catch the Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet in action in the McCaw Hall. The theatre scene is Seattle is quite happening. The city has dozen of theaters and theater companies and is well known for its broadways.
The music scene of Seattle is legendary. It is birthplace of grunge and jazz. Punk, and hip-hop are very popular here. The city also hosts the annual musical festival Bumbershoot and Chamber Music Festival. For the movie buffs, Seattle International Film Festival is a must-attend event. Other film festivals that the city hosts are Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival, Children's Film Festival Seattle and the Northwest Asian-American Film Festival.
Any trip to Seattle is incomplete without a ferry ride. So, hop into a ferry and enjoy a beautiful ride. If you are keen on swimming, then hit the wonderful beaches of the city. You can also enjoy boating in the lakes of Seattle or if are the adventurous kind, try rafting in the White Salmon River/Columbia River Gorge.
Dining options in Seattle
Some well known restaurants in Seattle are Art of the Table, Beecher's Handmade Cheese, Canlis Restaurant, Molly Moon and Bacco (for American food), Chinook's, Palisade, Etta's Seafood, SkyCity Restaurant and Cutter's Bayhouse (for sumptuous sea food), Shiro's, Wild Ginger, Wasabi Bistro, Revel and Bahn Thai Restaurant( for Asian cuisine) and Gojo Ethiopian Restaurant, Pan Africa Market and Caf Salem ( for African delicacies). There are also a number of restaurants serving French, Italian, and Indian food.
Where to shop in Seattle
Some popular shopping venues in Seattle are University Village, Bellevue Square, Pioneer Square, Westlake Center, Northgate Mall, South Center Mall, and Super Mall. You can also go shopping in the historic Pike Place Market or buy gifts from The Commons at Federal Way or look up records at Bud's Jazz Records. In case you are looking for antiques and souvenirs visit the Pioneer Square Antique Mall and Made in Washington.
Universities/Colleges in Seattle
According to the United States Census, Seattle has the highest percentage of college and university graduates in the any major city in the U.S. Both the University of Washington and the University of Washington Educational Outreach are located here. It is also home to private universities such as the Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, City University, and Antioch University. Some popular colleges in Seattle are South Seattle Community College, North Seattle Community College, and Seattle Central Community College. The city also has a number of institutions dedicated to the study of arts like Cornish College of the Arts, Pratt Fine Arts Center, and the Art Institute of Seattle.
Plan a visit to Seattle this year and emerge yourself in the effervescence of this beautiful coastal city.
Last Updated On : September 04, 2012