Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific North West region of the USA and is a busy seaport. But it is also a great tourist destination, with a whole host of things to do for all the family. Here are our ten must-see attractions to visit.
1 Seattle Space Needle
If you are not afraid of heights then make sure you take a trip to the top of this great tourist attraction. The elevator travels at ten miles per hour and it only takes 41 seconds to get from bottom to top.
The Space Needle does not close for wind or earthquakes but when it is windy the lift speed is reduced to five miles per hour.
Built for the 1962 Seattle World Fair it will withstand winds up to two hundred miles an hour and earthquakes up to 9.1 on the Richter Scale.
The views from the Observation Deck give you a 360 degree perspective of Seattle, and is the best view you’ll get in the city. Also make sure to catch a bite to eat at 500ft in the Skycity restaurant.
2 Museum of Flight
If you love planes and spacecraft you will love Seattle’s Museum of Flight, situated at King County International Airport south of downtown Seattle.
This private air and space museum has more than 150 exhibits relating to air and space travel.
There is even a reproduction of the 1903 Wright Brothers plane, a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane and a genuine German Messerschmitt aircraft.
The Boeing plane collection ranges from an old bi-plane to the latest Boeing 747 and the magnificent Concorde is also on display here. This is an attraction that will appeal to all the family.
3 Whale-watching day trip
Join your Victoria Clipper in downtown Seattle and cruise gently through Puget Sound with a commentary from an on-board naturalist.
Your destination is an area known for pods of Orca whales who live there. On the cruise you are likely to see Orca, Minke and Humpback whales, Dall’s porpoise, otters and seals.
You will also see birds and wildlife including the Bald Eagle. Your cruise includes a two-hour stop at the seaside village of Friday Harbor which is situated on San Juan Island.
Those who would like to explore the island without going whale-watching can get a ferry from downtown Seattle.
4 Pike Place Market
This is the best free tourist attraction in Seattle — although if this is your first visit to the market it is probably best to buy a ticket for an hour-long guided tour as it is a huge place situated on two levels.
It is in downtown Seattle and you can buy anything there from works of art to puppies and it is a great place to find souvenirs to take back home.
When you get tired of walking around there are a number of restaurants or coffee shops where you can relax over a cup of coffee or a meal.
The market is always bustling and there is also a magnificent flower market. The aroma and colors are worth the experience even if you do not want to buy any blossoms.
5 Olympic Sculpture Park
This former industrial site is a great place to visit as it is now a nine-acre park filled with great examples of modern and abstract sculptures.
One of the highlights is The Eagle created by one of the world’s greatest sculptors, the American Alexander Calder. It is bright red painted steel with curved wings and a pointed beak and immediately catches the eye.
Talking of eyes, there are also three disturbing benches in the park know as Eye Benches I, II and III which were created by Italian stonemasons out of granite and look like giant eyes just staring at you.
The Olympic Sculpture Park is free to visit.
6 Columbia Winery
Situated just outside Seattle this winery, which has been in existence for more than half a century, is well worth a visit to enjoy a wine-tasting experience in their magnificent tasting room — the largest in Washington State.
With a magnificent polished wooden floor and wood-paneled bar you get the chance to taste six wines guided by resident wine experts.
All the wines are from the state of Washington and have a fruity taste. The winery is open for tastings every day of the week between 11am and 6pm.
You can book a private tasting for you and your party or join the general tastings where you choose from either the reserve or premium menu.
7 The Seattle Great Wheel
An icon in Seattle since it first opened in June 2012, the Great Wheel is one of the biggest in the whole of the United States.
Weighing a massive 280,300 pounds it stands at 175ft tall. It can carry up to eight passengers in each of the 42 gondolas which means it has the capacity to carry 300 passengers on every rotation.
The giant wheel is as popular with the locals as it is with tourists and it operates every day of the year. You can ride the wheel from 11am to Midnight on Friday and Saturday nights and from 11am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday.
8 Seattle Pinball Museum
The older generation will remember playing pinball machines but today’s youngsters may not have even seen one. That is why a trip to this fascinating museum the heart of Chinatown should be on your list of things to do in Seattle.
Step through the door into a world of color and illumination. Pay an admission fee of $10 and you can play to your heart’s content on any or all of the fifty pinball machines free of charge.
There are no video games here, they are all 100 percent genuine pinball and it is like stepping back in time to a bygone age when people went on piers around the world to play these machines.
It is an attraction the whole family will enjoy as it is nostalgic for those who remember playing them in their youth and something new for the youngsters.
9 Chihuly Gardens and Glass
If you want a completely new experience in glass sculpture you should visit the renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly’s magnificent exhibition hall and gardens in Harrison Street.
The Exhibition Hall has eight galleries but the centerpiece is a 40ft-high glass and steel glasshouse.
It was inspired by two of Chihuly’s favorite buildings, London’s Crystal Palace and Saint-Chapelle in Paris. But it is what is inside that will amaze you, a 1,400 piece suspended glass sculpture that is 100ft long and a mass of color and light.
The tree and flower-filled garden houses more of Chihuly’s magnificent glass sculptures.
10 Washington Park Arboretum
This is a beautiful place to go and walk the trails or relax watching the various waterfowl that live happily on the wetlands. It is one of Seattle’s hidden gems and sits over 230 acres of land.
The park is owned jointly by the City of Seattle and the University of Washington, and parties come over from the university regularly to make sure it is kept in tip top shape.
You can stroll around on your own or with guidance from an audio tape which will tell you the history of each plant you see. After a hard day’s sightseeing or shopping it is a haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city.