Did you know that citizens of Seattle buy more sunglasses per capita than any other city in the United States? Or that you can watch the landscape change from lush green to desert simply by driving to the eastern part of Washington? If you’ve never been to Seattle, coming to ISHI is the perfect time to challenge any pre-conceived notions you may have. Read on for the top 10 reasons to visit the Emerald City!
Written by: Tara Luther, Promega
1) Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market began with just eight farmers in August of 1907. Three months later, the market had grown to 76 farmers, and is now one of the oldest continuously operating farmer’s markets in the United States. Today, Pike Place Market spans nine acres with 500 shops, restaurants, and vendor stalls.
Seattle offers a wide range of museums, no matter what you’re interested in. Learn about the local history by visiting the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) or the Klondike Gold Rush Museum. There are also many art and culture museums, and even the Museum of Popular Culture (MoPOP) where you can learn to play an instrument and view the structure below (composed of nearly 700 instruments). Of course, there is also the Museum of Flight, which is one of the largest air and space museums in the world.
As of 2/18/16 there are 3,358 restaurants in Seattle, WA. That’s about 25 restaurants per 10,000 people. In fact, Seattle comes in 5th in the U.S. in respects to restaurants per capita, just barely under New York City!
4) Space Needle
The Space Needle was designed for the 1962 World’s Fair, whose theme was the 21st Century. Surprisingly, the concept was first sketched on a coffee house napkin by Edward E. Carlson, who was inspired by the Struttgart Tower in Germany. The Space Needle is 605 feet tall, and built to withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour.
5) Live Music
Seattle has the second-highest per capita rate of live music performances in the United States. New York City is first.
6) Gum Wall
The Market Theater Gum Wall is located in Post Alley under the Pike Place Market. The tradition began around 1993 when the Market Theater asked patrons to leave their gum outside. Though workers scraped the gum off twice, they eventually gave up in 1999 when the wall was deemed to be a tourist attraction by market officials. Today, the gum is several inches thick, about 15 feet high and 50 feet wide.
The Washington State Ferry System is the largest in the country and the third largest in the world, carrying more than 25 million passengers each year. Currently, 22 vessels travel 10 routes between 20 terminals.
8) Underground Tour
Seattle might be the only city that can claim to be built on top of another city. After the Great Fire of 1889, citizens raised the street level and started over – you can tour parts of old Seattle thanks to the city’s Underground Tour.⠀
9) Mt. Rainier
Mt. Rainier is an active volcano which reaches a height of 14,410 feet. It is also the most glaciated peak in the contiguous United States, spawning six major rivers. While you can view the mountain from the Space Needle, it’s even more breathtaking up close, as many adventurous hikers discover each year.
As of November, 2016, there were over 23,000 Starbucks locations worldwide, but the very first Starbucks opened in Seattle in 1971 in the Pike Place Market. You are still able to grab your favorite concoction from this location today, but plan ahead as the lines will be long. For an entirely different experience, visit the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, where you can see how the coffee is roasted, and sample select Starbucks Reserve coffees.