Five For Fun In Seattle

Five For Fun In Seattle
Seattle is a major embarkation port for Alaska cruises. It's also an exciting vacation destination in its own right with much to see and do. If your Alaska cruise departs from Seattle, plan to arrive a few days early to explore some of the city's many attractions.

The greater Seattle region contains a number of popular places to visit. Public transportation in this area is excellent, including light rail transit from the airport to downtown and an extensive ferry system. Rental cars are also readily available. Travelers to this area often enjoy visiting Mount Rainier National Park, taking the Washington State Ferries to Bainbridge Island, or even going to the San Juan Islands by ferry for a few days. Others prefer to keep their explorations closer to Seattle's downtown area. No matter what you choose to do, you will be glad you spent some extra time in this beautiful area.

Here are five of the best things to do in Seattle during your stay:

1. Admire Stunning Artwork. Chihuly Garden and Glass is one of the most popular attractions in Seattle. Located next to Seattle's Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass displays the breathtakingly beautiful artwork of Dale Chihuly, a famed fine glass artist. His stunning works of art are displayed in eight galleries, three drawing walls, and a 40-foot tall Glasshouse. The garden also features some of Chihuly's exquisite glass sculptures in a lovely area landscaped with flowers, plants and trees. Chihuly Garden's Collections Cafe is a convenient spot to enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner during your visit.

2. Learn About Aviation. The Seattle region is the home of Boeing Airplane Company and aviation has been a major part of Seattle's business landscape for many years. It is fitting, therefore, to have a world-class aviation museum here. The Museum of Flight is located on twelve acres about ten minutes from downtown Seattle. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum showcases over 85 exhibits, flight simulators, airplanes, spacecraft, and interactive activities. Some favorites include the supersonic Concorde, an Apollo Command Module and the cool Kid's Flight Zone area. Transportation from downtown Seattle is available by bus and there is plenty of free parking here as well.

3. Sample the Food. Seattle has a vibrant foodie scene, which is showcased on a number of popular culinary tours. Pike Place Market is a favorite destination on these excursions and it is a great stop for all kinds of travelers as well. There is always something new to see, sample or buy here. While Pike Place Market is very popular with foodies, it is also a fun place for tourists to take in a show. Don't miss the vendors throwing fish in the fish market, farmers displaying their wares, and the hundreds of craftspeople showcasing their work in the Main and North Arcades. With numerous bakeries and restaurants, Pike Place Market can be a perfect place to dine. Starbucks also got its start at Pike Place Market. Visitors can savor the coffee at Starbucks' "original" store across from Pike Place Market and sample a variety of brews at Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room.

4. Take In the Views. Built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, the towering Space Needle is a key part of Seattle's iconic skyline. It has been featured in blockbuster movies and television shows, too. Visitors can take a quick elevator ride to the Observation Deck and enjoy panoramic views of Mount Rainier and the city skyline from 520 feet above sea level. Another popular spot for 360-degree scenic views is the Sky View Observatory located downtown in Seattle's Columbia Center. Set high in the sky at over 900 feet above sea level, the Sky View Observatory is the tallest public viewing spot located west of the Mississippi River. On a clear day, observatory guests can see Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, the Olympic Mountains, the Cascade Mountains, Elliott Bay, the entire city of Seattle and much more.

5. Visit Mount Rainier National Park. Mount Rainier National Park is America's fifth-oldest national park, and it's also one of the most scenic. Located just a few hours' drive from downtown Seattle, it is quite easy for visitors to add a day trip to Mount Rainier National Park to their vacation. Some travelers prefer to stay here for several days to fully enjoy the park's scenic beauty. Rising to over 14,400 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier's glaciers and volcanic peak can often be seen by airline passengers as they fly into Seattle. Of the more than 235,000 acres that make up this national park, 97% have been designated as wilderness areas. There are beautiful lakes, rivers and an extensive trail system to explore here. Some of the most popular activities include hiking, fishing, bicycling, wildflower viewing, ranger-led programs, and taking in the park's spectacular vistas. For nature lovers who have access to a rental car, a visit to Mount Rainier National Park is highly worthwhile.

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