Seattle offers the best of both worlds, mixing outdoor adventure and cosmopolitan charm.
It’s not uncommon for first-time visitors to Seattle to express surprise at the European feel of this hilly city on the shores of Puget Sound. Flowering baskets hang from street corners, and locals cherish their outdoor cafes, where they sip lattes, chat with neighbors and enjoy bursts of sunshine.
The city is built on seven hills that rise and dip into the winding pools of vast blue waters. Atop and within these hills, small, unique neighborhoods thrive, each offering its own take on dining theater, shopping and the arts. The flat downtown basin offers a wealth of sites, restaurants and shopping, and it makes a good central launch pad during a short stay.
A Perfect Day in the Emerald City
After the Space Needle
, Pike Place Market
is the city’s most well known landmark, and deservedly so. In the morning when the food, flower and art vendors are unloading their wares, explore the market’s three floors of one-of-a-kind shops and stalls. Down lively Post Alley, visit the bohemian environs of Café Campagne
. The inexpensive bistro on the ground floor is a relaxed hideout for recharging with a cappuccino or French bistro fare.
Next walk over to Olympic Sculpture Park
, a new addition to the city’s waterfront, approximately 10 blocks north of the market. Acres of green grass frame more than 20 modern artworks, underscoring spectacular views of Puget Sound and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains. Continue your art walk to the Seattle Art Museum
(SAM), which doubled in size last year after an 18-month renovation.
Round out the day with a performance by the marvelous Pacific Northwest Ballet
. Insiders have long showered the company with accolades, but until the 2005 appointment of artistic director Peter Boal, formerly principle dancer with the New York City Ballet, many Americans were in the dark.
Twinkling urban views and swank ambience are but two reasons the W Seattle
hotel makes the ideal place to lay your head at night. Downstairs, Earth & Ocean
, the hotel restaurant, elevates contemporary American dining while maintaining wit and adventure. Best of all, the kitchen serves food late. If you’re wiped out from sightseeing, order in.
This article has been adapted from the original, which was published in April 2008 by MSP Communications.