March, 2012 – Seattle . . . Something for Everyone
Travel with Terri
Seattle: Something for everyone
By Terri Marshall, Photos by Gregory Holder
Situated on Puget Sound surrounded by mountain ranges, Seattle’s beauty is unattested but Seattle is not just a pretty face! This vibrant city was formerly a place filled with rough and rugged pioneers and saw plenty of brothels in its day. Seattle was also the birthplace of alternative music in the 1980’s through popular grunge bands, Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Experiencing Seattle means experiencing both the customary and the alternative. Let’s compare your options!
Visitors looking for the customary – although anything but ordinary – top rated tourist attractions in Seattle will benefit economically by purchasing a Seattle CityPASS. For $59 (adult) and $39 (child) visitors are granted admission to six of the top Seattle attractions – a savings of over 50%. www.citypass.com
Seattle’s skyline centerpiece was designed in a space-age mode (think
Pacific Science Center
Explore hundreds of interactive exhibits, wander among fluttering tropical butterflies, touch live marine animals and explore distant galaxies. Seattle’s Pacific Science Center is Washington’s leading institution for fun and engaging learning for children of all ages. http://pacificsciencecenter.org/
Experience Music Project & Science Fiction Museum
Check out never displayed artwork, smashed guitars, signed lyrics and candid snapshots in the special exhibition Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses. In the Science Fiction Museum explore full-size prop spaceships and iconic costumes from the original Battlestar Galactica series! www.empmuseum.org
Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
Get out on the water of Elliott Bay aboard the Spirit of Seattle cruise ship for a narrated tour of the sights and sounds of the waterfront. Guides provide interesting anecdotes about all things Seattle – including recommendations for the favorite restaurants and bars of the locals – that means Ivar’s Clam House for seafood! Enjoy a snack and beverage on board while cruising past Seattle’s major shipyards and historic waterfront sights like Pike’s Place Market. Keep a lookout for seals who enjoy playing alongside the boat!
Maybe you have visited aquariums before, but have you been to Seattle’s? The waters of the Pacific Northwest differ greatly from the waters of the Atlantic and Seattle’s Aquarium is the place to go to learn about the fish and mammals indigenous to the area. The Undersea Room accessible by tunnels provides a 360 degree view of Puget Sound life beneath the water in a 400,000 gallon tank. View colorful Pacific Coral and check out the adorable and frisky sea otters. www.seattleaquarium.org
The Museum of Flight or Woodland Park Zoo
The history of aviation comes to life at The Museum of Flight where visitors walk the aisles of Air Force One and the Concorde, stand beneath the Blackbird spy plane and check out flight simulators. If your preference runs toward animals rather than aviation, choose the Woodland Park Zoo where Humboldt penguins “fly” underwater and orangutans from tropical Asia munch on leaves while keeping an eye on you! Check out the Northern Trail which mimics Alaska’s tundra region and features animals of the rugged north including brown bears, Roosevelt elk, snowy owls, river otters and Arctic foxes. www.zoo.org
Seattle’s CityPASS will certainly keep you busy but if your travel style begs the exploration of the unusual, choose an alternative to the customary with an Underground Tour. The Seattle Underground is a network of underground passageways and basements in downtown Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square.
As mentioned before, Seattle has alternatives to the ordinary and no place is this more evident than at the Market Theater Gum Wall. Located in Post Alley adjacent to Pikes Place Market, the Gum Wall is exactly what it says, a wall covered with gum…already been chewed gum! The wall is by the box office for the Market Theater and started around 1993 when patrons of ”Unexpected Productions’ Seattle Theatresports” stuck gum to the wall and placed coins in the gum blobs. Theater workers scraped the gum away twice but eventually gave up. Today parts of the wall are covered several inches thick, 15 feet high for 50 feet. Some people are very artistic with their gum placement. Mine? Well, I basically just chewed it, stuck it on the wall and went for my hand sanitizer!
And finally, after all this exploring and gum chewing, you will need a comfortable place to stay. An alternative to the big hotels, the Inn at Harbor Steps provides the perfect home base for your explorations. Located at the base of an apartment building in downtown Seattle, the Inn at Harbor Steps feels more like a residence than a hotel room. As part of the Four Sisters Inns, lodging comes bed and breakfast style with a delicious full breakfast each morning and wine and cheese in the evening. www.innatharborsteps.com
Oh and one more thing – before you get comfortable in your room, pick up a little comfort food at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Pike’s Place market – specifically pick up the macaroni and cheese. Seriously, you do not want to miss this – it’s perfect for any style of traveler – customary, alternative or a blend of the two! beechershandmadecheese.com
Terri is a freelance writer with regular columns on travel, chocolate and bar reviews. She is busy each month visiting new places to bring unique travel destinations and events to you. Yes, it is a sacrifice – but she is willing to do that for her readers! You can see more of Terri’s writing at www.examiner.com where she is the National Chocolate Examiner and at www.barzz.net. You can contact Terri at firstname.lastname@example.org.