North America > United States > Washington
New Page 1
A visit to Seattle creates a
mosaic of colorful impressions that shimmer in the imagination long after the
visit ends. Seattle is the Emerald City. Its greenness stems from its abundant
rainfall, which encourages the growth of lush vegetation, and also from its
reflection in the clear blue/green waters of the Puget Sound.
Mt. Ranier looks down on
Seattle from its majestic heights. Driving through Seattle on a clear day has
been compared to floating on a cloud in an emerald sky. From the dining room
atop the Space Needle, a meal can be enjoyed along with a panoramic view of the
Pike Street Market is a medley
of fresh fish, fruit, vegetable and flower shops right on the water. Sitting
at a sidewalk cafĂ©, one can watch the men who work in the fish markets throwing
the fish from back to front. As a customer asks to purchase a fresh fish of a
certain size, one man selects a fish from the barrel of ice, throws it to the
weigher who is positioned in front of him, who in turn calls out the weight and
throws it expertly to the wrapper who packages it and hands it to the customer.
It is not unusual to see huge tubs of Alaskan salmon, king crab legs, and
Dungeness crab awaiting this process in the market.
The old fishing village of
Ballard sits on the locks. Relax for a while and watch the ships go from Lake
Union to the Puget Sound. A short drive north of Ballard leads to the Woodland
Park zoo. It is a distinct pleasure to stroll through the acres of well-kept
grounds and to watch the animals enjoying their spacious natural habitats.
When visiting a city, there is
always the decision to be made as to whether to have a car available or to rely
on public transportation. A car is not necessary in Seattle as there are
several choices of bus, trolley and monorail routes. There are even convertible
buses dually equipped with gasoline and electrical systems that go underground
to double as subway cars! It is easy to drive in Seattle, however, and there is
ample parking. An automobile is handy for exploring the sights beyond the
city. Walking is another alternative. There are many interesting and beautiful
walking tours. Remember, though, that Seattle, like Rome, was constructed on
seven hills. Downtown is built
on a slant, so a walk will provide a good workout and may be tiring to small
Family attractions are
everywhere in the city and suburbs. Seattle Center has a childrenâ€™s museum and
interactive science center; Imax theater and several buildings with hands on
exhibits. Around Green Lake in the center of Seattle children can roller blade,
ride a bicycle or jog. Nearby at the University of Washington, which sits on
tranquil Lake Washington, is a beautiful arboretum. There are parks everywhere.
Venture back in time to the days
of the original settlers and take a ferry ride on Puget Sound to Blake Island.
Arriving at the Island, visitors are greeted with the offering of steaming cups
of clams and broth prepared and served by Native American merchants. A delicious
fresh salmon feast is then brought to the table after being cooked
authentically in the traditional style in a Longhouse on the island. During
dinner, Native American dancers perform.
The Seattle Symphony, Seattle
Opera and the Pacific Northwest ballet are world class. Their performances are
rated as â€śfabulousâ€ť.
Sports fans enjoy the Seattle
Mariners, Sea Hawks, Thunderbirds and Supersonics (NBA Basketball). A new
indoor stadium hosts baseball and football teams.
Each of Seattleâ€™s hills has its
own history and special character. Queen Anne Hill is a charming little
village within the city with theater, restaurants and shopping. Capitol Hill is
similar. First Hill is the site of hospitals professional and medical office
Beautiful magnolias grace the
yards and gardens of the stately landmark homes on Puget Sound. The beauty of
the lush green expanses in and around Seattle is assured because of the
approximately 38 inches of rainfall per year. The best time of year to visit
is July 15-October 1. That is when the area experiences mostly sunny days. The
climate is temperate, however, with moderate temperatures throughout the year.
During the winter, there is skiing in the nearby Cascade Mountains, but very
seldom is there snow in Seattle.
Seattle hosts several
festivals each year. Among the most popular with all members of the family are:
Bumbershoot Arts Festival featuring artists and performers from around the world
which is held toward the end of summer around the time of Labor Day; and the
summer food festival called Bite of Seattle which offers samplings of the best
of over 50 restaurants. Another favorite is the two-week long Maritime Sea Fair
in mid-May, which opens with the arrival of pirate ships approaching on Puget
Sound, and ends with a display of fast speed boats with many maritime
competitions and concerts in between.
Seattle is a city of great
beginnings. Nordstromâ€™s, Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon.com and Eddie Bauer all
started there. Seattle is the largest city in the
Northwest with more than a half a million residents in the city itself and
another two and a half million in the surrounding suburbs, yet it is very
clean and beautiful. It is a memorable place to visit, and one to which the
visitor will never tire of returning.