Seattle: exploring the city of complexities

Many of you have certainly seen ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, the romantic movie back in the 90’s, where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were falling in love, with destiny’s blessings. One of the film’s highlights was picturing Tom Hanks living in a boathouse situated in Lake Union, one of the most beautiful spots in Seattle, looking at the fireworks on the 4th of July. Whether you remember it or not, I have to say Seattle is a wonderful city in every sense: diverse, unpredictable, lively and magnetic.

Situated in the Pacific Northwest and being the largest city in the west coast north of San Francisco, with a population of 3.5 million people, Seattle has something about it that distinguishes it from other major North American cities. It is electric, colourful and straight away attracts the visitor to explore its complexity. Its attractive combination of a big metropolitan city and an escape to wilderness and breathtaking nature vistas, makes it a highly sought travel destination.  What makes it particularly unique is water. Water shapes Seattle’s character. Whether it is a lake, a bay or a riverbank, you will find water in every turn. Seattle would not be the city it is without its beautiful waterways. That is also the reason why seafood is always preferred and always tastes great, especially if you have a chance to enjoy some oysters at one of the Waterfront restaurants.

Known as the hometown of Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, Seattle remains a notable city for music achievements. It is also closely linked with technology and science, since William Boeing –yes, as you may guess, the founder of the Boeing Company- was a Seattle resident, and launched its first floatplane in Lake Union, one of the most remarkable lakes inside the city. Besides, how could not Seattle be the temple of technology when it is home to one of the biggest technology companies in the world, Microsoft? It also hosts major companies such as Amazon, T-Mobile and Expedia. I feel like I forgot something…Oh, yes. What else? Starbucks! Starbucks pops out literally in every block. Why? Because Starbucks was born in Seattle, and Seattle can proudly claim itself to be the ‘coffee capital of America’.

Think of a city that has all the components of a big, modern metropolis, with its high office buildings, a crowded noisy city centre, big streets, shopping malls, traffic, squares, historic districts, with its urban, cultural and artistic elements. At the same time, think of a city with direct access to lakes, forests, unlimited green space, beautiful parks, hills, and bays, where outdoor recreation has become a way of life. There you go. You have Seattle.

Here is a list of the ten best Seattle experiences-prospective visitors, please take them into account. The numbers don’t signify any preference between the sights-attractions listed, as all ten are equally fascinating. I could not easily rank Seattle’s attractions, all of the places are extremely interesting and it would be unfair to give more credits to some over others!

1. Downtown Seattle and Pike Place Market: Downtown Seattle is the area between the 1st and 8th avenue and extends from Pioneer Square in the south to Pike Place Market in the North. Defined by steep, sometimes narrow streets framed by high-rise, imposing office buildings, comprising some of the most luxury hotels in town, shopping malls and retail shops, restaurants, bars, and cultural attractions, the downtown is very impressive and easily walkable. Its peak- spot is the famous Pike Place Market, one of Seattle’s landmarks and top tourist destinations. Originally a farmers market, it has turned into one of the most vibrant markets of the whole Washington State, if not of America. In Pike Place Market, you will come across a huge variety of stalls, selling from seafood and local products to fine paintings, pottery, glass and beautiful buckets of flowers. Its atmosphere is incredibly enjoyable, with sounds, colours, different people chatting, laughing, walking, music and thousands of different smells.

2. Seattle Waterfront and a cruise at the Puget Sound: The Seattle Waterfront is also one of the most iconic places of the city. Marked by yaughts, cruise ships, restaurants, candy stores, gift stores and coffee shops on the water, the Waterfront walk is a walk not to be missed. On your way, you will find many piers, where boats sail for different destinations, Seattle Aquarium and the famous ‘ Ye Olde Curiosity Shop’. If the weather permits, a cruise on the Elliot Bay and Puget Sound is one of those unforgettable experiences, where you sit on the deck of the ship and gaze at the magical Seattle skyline which spreads around you, sometimes smaller, sometimes bigger, sometimes threatening,  but always equally fascinating.

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