Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Seattle Attractions

Everyone has heard of the Space Needle, right? It was designed and built for the 1962 World Fair as a futuristic icon and still today looks absolutely modern. It sits in the middle of what is now called the Seattle Center, the old fairgrounds that were converted to a public park and event place. It prides itself as being the nation's best gathering place. On a hot day (yes, we do have those here!) the International Fountain at the Seattle Center provides a refreshing and entertaining break. The Seattle Center also hosts free Movies at the Mural on the weekend of the wedding. Maybe something to do for Friday or Saturday night if you're not into the club scene or before you hit the latter.
If you're interested in learning more about the history and trends of American Popular Music, check out the Experience Music Project. It was founded by ex-Microsoftie Paul Allen, Seattle's resident billionaire investor, and is housed in a sparkling and unique architecture designed by Frank Gehry. It presents 80,000 artefacts of pop culture (Seattle grunge features prominently of course) along with plenty of interactive exhibits. Admission is not cheap, though.
At the south end of the Seattle Center is the Pacific Science Center. Recommended for anyone wanting to explore the science behind many every-day phenomena. They also have special exhibits and two fabulous IMAX movie theaters.

No stay in Seattle is complete without a trip to the Pike Place Market. A huge farmers' market, crafts, antiques, and exotic goods from around the world are to be found in the ecclectic collection of stalls, shops, and businesses. And you can find any (sea-)food you might imagine right there. Many places have seating areas with gorgeous views of Elliot Bay and Puget Sound. Go explore! And if you're a Starbucks-addict (or not) check out where it all began at the original Starbucks in the market.

A steep climb below the market is the Seattle Waterfront with ferry terminals to the islands in the Sound, cruise ship terminals for small Harbor cruises or City-on-a-Ship tours to Alaska. The waterfront also hosts the Seattle Aquarium and plenty of touristy shops and eateries.

There is a bunch of construction going on downtown Seattle. They tell us it will all be for the better when it's done. We'll get a light rail to the airport, a larger Seattle Art Museum (SAM), more bank buildings etc. However, there is still plenty to see and do downtown. One recently completed project is the new Seattle Public Library. Designed by Rem Kolhaas this is a gem that delights both Seattlelites and visitors with it's dazzling outside and innovative interior that's not just cool-looking but truely well-designed for its purpose - no staircase in the collections over 8 levels!

Seattle's old-town is in the Pioneer Square area. It's a great part of town with an original feel that offers everything from art galleries, bookstores, antiques, a viewing platform, and gold. Plus, when you find sidewalks with purple glass inserts in them you're close to the Underground Tour.

Just south of Pinoneer Square is Seattle's modern Stadium district. The Seattle Seahawks have the newest digs, and you can catch their first preseason game on Saturday 8/12 against the Dallas Cowboys. Further south, a relatively new Safeco Field, with a completely movable roof (cool!) is home to the Seattle Mariners, who will be playing out-of-town on the weekend of the wedding.

Seattle joins Boston, New York, Chicago and others in offering a City Pass. It gets you prepaid and reduced admission to the following five sights: Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Harbor Cruise, and the Museum of Flight (Boeing still has two huge plants right outside of Seattle, even though headquarters moved away).

There are tons more things to see and explore in Seattle's other neighborhoods, or just to hang out and have a latte somewhere.

We hope you'll find all sorts of entertainment outside of the wedding while you're in town.


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