What to see and what to do in Seattle, what not to miss to see the beautiful American city, where to eat and above all what and why not miss the first Starbucks in history.
The first time I heard of Seattle I was not even eighteen: at the time it was not so easy to search for information on Google if you were interested in a place, or to read travel blog posts with advice from those who had already been there. It was the mid-XNUMXs, and if I had a smartphone, I would have read on the internet that Seattle is the main city in Washington state, on the west coast of the United States, not far from Canada.
Only years later did I finally set foot in the city made famous by Sleepless in Seattle before, and from Grey's Anatomy after. And as soon as I arrived I realized that the air you breathe here has something special.
It is the beginning of March, during the night it rained and the sky is still full of clouds. You breathe that smell that exists in places halfway between the ocean and the mountains: a mixture of fir resin, which comes from the Olympic Mountaints, and the saltiness of the Strait of Puget.
How to get there and how to move around Seattle
The airport of Seattle-Tacoma it is connected to most of the American and Canadian airports. Seattle can be reached with several airlines, including Lufthansa, Air France and KLM which fly to Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam respectively. In my case, I was already in the United States on business, so the cost of a direct flight from San Francisco was around 80 euros.
From the airport you can reach the center with the Light Rail: trains have a frequency of 10-15 minutes and the single ticket has a cost maximum of 3 dollars.
I stopped for a few days so I didn't need to rent a car, also because you can easily move around in Seattle on foot: there are several ups and downs, especially around the port area, so it is essential to have a pair of comfortable shoes and a waterproof jacket, as it often rains and the air is cold. For those unwilling to walk miles, public transport is a great alternative. The King County Metro bus they cover the entire Seattle urban area, at a cost of eight dollars a day.
Where to sleep in Seattle
I spent two nights in Seattle, in two different properties. The first evening I was hosted at Talaris Conference Center which, as the name implies, is a conference center. Excellent for meetings and seminars, as it has several meeting rooms and about thirty double rooms available. It is located in a huge park, not far from Washington State University. It is certainly inconvenient to explore the city, as it takes nearly an hour by public transport to get to downtown, but it is in an excellent location for getting to know the suburbs a little. On the day of my arrival, after business meetings, I walked the road that separated the conference center from Jak's Grill, the restaurant where I had dinner. There won't be much to see in the area, but it feels like a local. You meet people running in parks or cycling, kids returning home after school and mothers pushing strollers along the paths of wooden houses painted in soft colors, from green to gray, which reflect the tones of fir trees , the mountains and the sky.
The second night I moved to the center, al Warwick Hotel, at the intersection of central Lenora Street and 4th Avenue. It is not a budget hotel but the location is very central, the rooms are spacious and modern. And the view from my bedroom window over the rooftops of the city and the Space Needle is priceless.
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Where to eat in Seattle
Seattle is not only known for being there homeland of grunge, but it is also famous for its market, one of the oldest in the whole country. The written Public Market in red lettering is probably one of the most photographed in the world, and Pike Place Market is perhaps one of the most visited. Located between the Alaskan Way and Pike Place, is open for 363 days a year: inside it the time expands, as in wonderland, to the point that I realized I spent hours there, and not just twenty minutes as it was my intention. There are countless great restaurants in Seattle, but my advice is to eat here at the market. This is where Northeastern Pacific and Alaskan fishermen bring their catch: impossible to say no to a crab sandwich, or to clam chowder. clam chowder. You can eat directly from the stands, or you can sit for a full meal at one of the restaurants inside the market. I tried theEmmett Watson Oyster Bar, great for both oysters and local beers. Seattle is also known for its independent micro-breweries, which have sprung up everywhere in the city and suburbs in recent years. If you stay downtown you can try the Pike Brewing Company, where you can also try dishes paired with beers, and the Outer Planet Craft Brewing, in the Capitol Hill area.
What to do in Seattle
The first thing I did, as soon as I had some time, was to go to Pike Place Market and explore it while eating, one stall after another. After the market, I strolled back and forth through the narrow streets leading to the harbor. I peeked into independent stores, took photos at grocery stores, and looked at the Starbuck's first store, the one that opened in 1971 right in front of the market. One of the people who was with me in Seattle told me that according to legend, coffee was invented here. I doubt it, but I can hardly believe that the number of coffee shops in the city is ten times higher than in other metropolises in the country. In fact there are little ones independent cafes at every street corner, almost 700: one of the best known is the Lighthouse Roasters, in the Fremont area, a bit far from the center. If you don't have time to get away from Pike Place, you can stop by Beecher's, great for both coffee and cheese selection. Unfortunately I discovered too late about the existence of Seattle by Foot and the Coffee Crawl: it is a two and a half hour walking tour that allows you to discover the fundamental stages of coffee culture in the city.
Not having enough time, I gave up on the coffee tour and walked to Seattle's landmark, the Space needle. Sure, it's a tourist attraction, but I would never forgive myself for making it to the western edge of the United States and missing my view from the tower. The ticket is not cheap - almost twenty dollars - but it is money well spent. The elevator takes one minute to go up to theObservation Desk, 160 meters high. The structure was built in 1962 for the World's Fair that took place that year in Seattle: it was then the tallest building west of the Mississippi. The view from the top of the Space Needle is indescribable: the city below, Mount Rainier in front and Elliott Bay in the distance.