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Downtown Seattle promises top attractions like Pike Place Market and the Seattle Art Museum. The artsy, offbeat Fremont neighborhood features public murals and sculptures, topiaries trimmed to resemble dinosaurs, and a troll under a bridge, while Montlake overlooks Lake Washington and is wooded, sedate and inviting. Capitol Hill, just to the southwest, is the entertainment and counter-culture haven – and that’s just a sampling.

Iconic Attractions

The view is spectacular from the observation deck atop the world-famous Space Needle. A legacy of the 1962 World’s Fair, the 185.5-meter-high Needle has become the symbol of the city. Locals and visitors alike flock to Pike Place Market on the waterfront, the oldest continuously operating farmer’s market in the U.S. Visit the historic market and wander among the stalls teeming with artisanal cheeses, fresh-baked bread and the catch of the day.

Pioneer Square on the waterfront is where the city’s sawmills were located until the fire of 1889 destroyed them. Tours examining Seattle’s past are available from the square.

Coffee Culture

Seattle isn’t just a wine or craft beer town, it’s the home of Starbucks. You can still visit the original storefront adjacent to Pike Place Market. This city is fueled by caffeine; there are 2.5 coffee shops per every 1,000 citizens, making it the greatest concentration of coffee houses of any U.S. city. Among them are the Seattle’s Best and Tully’s brands, boutique roaster Victrola Coffee, and Cloud City Coffee and its $1 a cup honor system.

Natural Beauty

Both within the city and surrounding it, you’ll be in awe of the natural beauty and outdoor adventures at your fingertips. Visitors can paddle, boat, sail and fish on some of the most welcoming waters in the nation, or take a whale watching tour along the Pacific coastline for your chance to catch a glimpse of these giants in action.

You’ll also find three national parks within a few hours’ drive from Seattle – North Cascades National Park, with its 300 glaciers; the temperate rainforests of Olympic National Park; and the majesty of Mount Rainier National Park. You may hear Seattle locals say, “The mountain is out,” meaning the snow-capped, 4,392-meter Mount Rainier 161 kilometers to the south is visible.

Iconic Music Scene

Seattle’s music history is long and storied; the city is home to such legends as Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana, as well as more modern acts including Macklemore. You can try your hand at playing the electric guitar at the Experience Music Project, an interactive museum dedicated to the preservation of pop culture. Plus, a range of live music venues means on any given night you might catch the next great band, a national star or the best in progressive and alternative.

Hot Air Balloon over Asheville, North Carolina
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The city skyline with Mount Rainier in the distance
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