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March 30-April 2, 2008

Welcome to Seattle

Friday, March 28, 2008

Getting Around

Seattle is relatively car friendly (compared to San Francisco, New York, or Boston), but it is a city so you may have to put up with finding parking.

Downtown Seattle is pretty compact and pedestrian friendly. There is free downtown bus service and many of the hotels offer complimentary shuttles to several central locations. The monorail also runs ($3 round trip) between the shopping area and the Seattle Center where you can find the Space Needle and many museums. A trolley also runs along the waterfront for $1.25 with on and off privileges.

Things to Do

While you're here, enjoy some of our favorite things.

The Washington State ferries are an amazing and inexpensive way to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. See sparkling waters, snow-capped mountains, cityscapes, flying bald eagles, leaping Orca whales, and sea otters from the ferry decks. Take the 35-minute ferry to and from Bainbridge and debark to enjoy restaurants, galleries, and shops. Or take a 60-minute ferry (each way) to and from Bremmerton to just enjoy the journey.

Visit the Pike Place Market , a famous Seattle bazaar by the Seattle water front. More than 600 stalls and stores spread out over nine acres with offerings of fruits, vegetables, seafood, flowers, clothing, and more. Don't miss the the famous fish-flingers at the Fish Market!

The Space Needle is a fun Seattle landmark. It was built for the 1962 World's Fair and has the best views in the city from its circular observation deck, 520 feet up. There are free high-powered telescopes and colorful, detailed maps that will help you pinpoint all of the sights. (Try heading to this landmark in the morning or evening since lines for the observation deck are shorter before 11AM and after 7PM.)

If you want an interesting view into Seattle's history, check out the popular 90-minute Underground Tour These entertaining tours take visitors through the now-buried original sidewalks and storefronts of Pioneer Square, Seattle's original downtown. The guides' banter comprises a mix of anecdotes and jokes that bring the city's colorful past to life. You'll learn about the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, which burned down 33 city blocks, and the subsequent decision to rebuild the city one to two stories higher to avoid flooding and sewage problems. As a walking tour, be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard are an engineering wonder. You'll get an up-close look as gigantic fishing boats are raised and lowered through narrow locks (like an elevator for boats) between the freshwater of Lake Union and the saltwater of Salmon Bay. Then wander over to the fish ladder to watch spawning salmon swim up underwater steps on their annual migration (3015 N.W. 54th St., 206 783 7059).

Visit the expansive Elliot Bay Bookstore in Pioneer Square. Since Seattle is rainy during much of the year, we have amazing bookstores.

Fremont is a fun and quirky part of town with great shopping and restaurants. This area filled with artists and hippies, has many fun outdoor sculptures to see including the favorite Fremont Troll!

If you need more, check out See Seattle and CitySearch Seattle.

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posted by ICWSM at 11:06 PM


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