Seattle: Top Attractions
Superbly located in the greenery of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is surrounded by mountains, evergreen forests, Lake Washington, and the enduring calm of Puget Sound. A city of cultural evolution, in recent years Seattle has become one of the more popular metropolitan areas in the United States, particularly among the youngsters. On the rare sunny day, take in the panorama from the observation deck of the Space Needle, or for great views rain or shine, board an Argosy Harbor cruise. And don't forget the coffee as there's much to do in this townand your family will want to do everything.
Experience Music Project
At this interactive music museum, learn about the roots, legends, and trends in American popular music by listening to blues, gospel, jazz, pop, hip-hop, and other contemporary sounds. The Songcraft exhibit simplifies music creation into seven steps and offers guests a try at making their own music. For inspiration, watch performers rock on the huge Sky Church video screen.
Experience Music Project: 206.EMP.LIVE, www.emplive.com
Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
Located at the same site as Experience Music Project, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame honors this genre's writers and explores how their visions of space and the future affects our culture. In Brave New World, view computer generated images of futuristic cities found in The Jetsons, Blade Runner, and The Matrix. Other exhibits explore how Mars and aliens have been portrayed in fiction and film. For sci-fi fans, this is a must-see.
Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame: 206.724.3428, www.sciencefictionexperience.com
Bill Spiedel's Underground Tour
This tour through the subterranean passages that once served as the city's main roadways is a light-hearted look at Seattle's gold rush past. The good-natured bawdiness and bathroom humor is best appreciated by grade-schoolers and teens. What you see is a warren of tunnels and storage houses, and the guide's humorous anecdotes make the history slide down easily.
Bill Spiedel's Underground Tour: 206.682.4646, www.undergroundtour.com
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
Although the Seattle area had no gold, it had plenty of gold-seekers during the late 1890s and early 1900s. The city served as a gateway to the Yukon for those seeking their fortunes. The park's small museum displays photographs, slideshows, a pile of tools, food, and gear, offering a perspective on the daring dreamers. Check the schedule for ranger led gold-panning demonstrations and talks. Check the website or call for information as the museum is scheduled to move to another downtown site in the near future.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park: 206.553.7220, www.nps.gov/klse/
Pike Place Market
People have been flocking to Pike Place Market since 1907 to explore the stalls in this colorful nine-acre facility. Cheese, vegetables, fish, flowers, baked goods, and crafts are all sold here, creating a fun, vibrant, and entertaining atmosphere. Don't miss Pike Place Fish, near the market clock, where the staff put on a show by hurling huge fish over customers' heads. Because the market is so popular, arrive early to avoid crowds.
Pike Place Market: 206.682.7453, www.pikeplacemarket.com
Pacific Science Center
Flanked by a water-play courtyard and a High Rail Bicycle that's pedaled 15-feet above the ground, the Pacific Science Center interests kids with more than 200 hands-on exhibits. Large-scale robotic insects mix with real bugs at the Insect Village and hundreds of butterflies inhabit the walk-through Tropical Butterfly House. At Kids Work, budding meteorologists can report the weather on camera.
Pacific Science Center: 206.443.2001, www.pacsci.org
Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field
Root, root, root for the home team at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. If you can't get game tickets, tour the stadium. On the one-hour guided tour, visitors see the press box, the dugout, and the visitor's clubhouse.
Seattle Mariners: 206.346.4001; For tickets: 206.622.HITS, seattle.mariners.mlb.com
Pioneer Square Historic District
The Pioneer Square Historic District is a 30-block stretch of art galleries, shops, eateries, and small parks alive with energy and things to do. A Tlingit totem pole rises in Pioneer Square Park and a waterfall transforms a portion of Pioneer Square into a city oasis. If the kids are tired, hop aboard the vintage streetcars running through the historic district and head towards Pike Place Market and the waterfront.
Pioneer Square Historic District: 206.667.0687, www.pioneersquare.org
Seattle Art Museum
The 40-foot-high black steel kinetic sculpture, Hammering Man, stands right outside this downtown museum and immediately captures kids' attention. Inside, children are drawn to the sculptures and textiles of Africa and the dramatic red and black Tlingit robes and carvings. The modern art collection features works by Pacific Northwest artists such as Jacob Lawrence and Dale Chihuly.
Seattle Art Museum: 206.654.3100, www.seattleartmuseum.org
San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands are popular destinations for hiking, kayaking, bicycling, and whale-watching. Automobile ferries depart from Anacortes, 90 miles north of Seattle, to four of the islands, but it might be easier with kids to take an airplane or seaplane. Know that while scenic, San Juan Island's Friday Harbor gets crowded. Less busy Orcas Island has a quaint harbor town and Moran State Park, a 5,175-acre enclave with hiking trails, lakes, and a lookout tower atop Mount Constitution.
San Juan Islands: (888)- 468-3701, www.guidetosanjuans.com
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication