What’s there to do in Seattle? Here are some of my favourite places to visit in the city.
Pike Place Market
I’ve visited Seattle a number of times and have ventured into its many neighbourhoods, but the first image that always comes to mind when I think of things to do in Seattle is Pike Place Market in winter. If you’ve known winter in the city, it’s often described as gloomy due to the Seattle weather bringing seemingly constant rainfall and overcast skies. It’s in Pike Place Market that I’ve found a dependable source of warmth for those cold winter days. There’s much to see and do in and around the farmers’ market. At around 10 am, it’s always packed and bustling with activity.
Besides the fresh seafood, there are flowers, other local produce, and plenty of handcrafted goods and snacks. Don’t miss the Chukar Cherries stand – their chocolates and delectable little treats make for great gifts and souvenirs for friends and family back home. The first ever Starbucks Coffee store and the infamous gum wall are also in the vicinity.
On a recent visit to the market with my parents, I took a chance and ordered the lobster noodle in Pike Place Chinese Cuisine, which turned out to be an absolute delight. It was so good that we had to come back for more another day
Seattle Central Library
I wish every city had a library like this. Located right in downtown Seattle, close to the main shopping district, the eleven-storey Seattle Central Library is a postmodern architectural marvel and one of the best Seattle attractions. Strolling through the top floors, I was amazed not only by the library’s collection of rare books but also its lofty glass walls and polycarbonate ceilings. I’ve spent many hours quietly reading and basking in the library’s many stunning spaces.
If you plan to spend most of your time downtown, I’d recommend staying at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. It’s a few minutes walk away from the library and the Seattle Art Museum, and you’ll be able to experience a bit of Seattle’s history as the hotel is housed in an Italian Renaissance-style heritage building.
Pioneer Square-Skid Road Historic District
You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy Seattle sightseeing at the Pioneer Square-Skid Road District. It was once the heart of this city in America, as evident by the late 19th century Romanesque Revival buildings. Pioneer Square now has the largest concentration of art galleries in the city, perfect for any art-lover to visit.
Pictured below is the historic Yesler Way, also known as Skid Road, where salmon oil once greased the streets so that workers could slide tree logs off First Hill to Seattle’s waterfront mills. Seattle’s oldest neighbourhood – the Chinatown-International District – is just around the corner.
South Lake Union
I decided to visit Lake Union Park after checking out the Amazon Spheres. Though public access to the Spheres is limited, you can still peer in and see the different plants and be inspired by the cool meeting spaces inside. The waterfront Lake Union Park is home to the Historic Ships Wharf, the Museum of History & Industry, Center for Wooden Boats, the famous “Sleepless in Seattle” houseboat, and a multitude of restaurants. In the summer, you can even rent a kayak in Moss Bay.
Befitting its newfound fame as the home of the Amazon headquarters, the South Lake Union neighbourhood recently witnessed the opening of the Moxy Seattle Downtown, an affordable and modern hotel with a lively bar.
The Rainbow Crosswalks at Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill boasts many hip eateries and laid-back coffee shops. Many of the boutiques offer vintage clothes and curated selections of home goods, including designer swimwear. The district’s most Instagram-famous spots are probably the vibrant rainbow-coloured crosswalks. The crosswalks symbolize the neighbourhood’s diversity and celebration of its LGBTQ community. Seattle’s historic mansion district is nearby, along with the Volunteer Park Conservatory and Asian Art Museum.
While in Capitol Hill, I dropped by Melrose Market for a quick lunch to sample some of the best Seattle food. I have to say, it really made an impression on me! The quality gourmet selection makes this place worth visiting. This indoor food and retail market are located in the Pike-Pine neighbourhood. Occupying a set of historic automotive buildings constructed between 1919 and 1926, it has everything from an oyster bar to stationery shops.
You may not have heard of this city across Lake Washington from Seattle, but it has been ranked one of the best places to live in America. Many renowned companies, including The Pokémon Company, are headquartered in Bellevue. The number of luxury brand boutiques make it a great place to do some Seattle shopping as well. You can even skip the shopping and head straight for Mercer Slough Nature Park and Bellevue Botanical Garden.
My favourite place in Bellevue to grab a bite has to be Facing East, a Taiwanese restaurant located in an unassuming strip mall. Their kung ba pao are simply unforgettable. The steamed pork buns are topped with pickled vegetables, ground peanuts, sugar, and Chinese parsley. Yum!