Destination: Seattle

Tuesday, August 23, 2011  at 6:58 AM
Welcome to the first installment of my Destination: Home series!  In this series, guest bloggers will present the place they call home as a tourist destination.  We often overlook the most interesting places just because they happen to be nearby (I know that I'm guilty of this!), so hopefully this series will not only spark your travel lust but will also encourage you to look in your own backyard for fun and unusual experiences.

As this is the first of the series, I wanted to start off with my own post--Destination: Seattle!

Where is home for you?
Despite my current status as a nomad and despite having moved at least once a year for the past five years, I like to call the Pacific Northwest my home.  Seattle is the city that I tell people I’m from when I’m shaking hands and air-kissing new people ‘hello.’ 

What is this place known for?
Seattle is generally known for being a large city filled with evergreen trees, hippies, computer geeks and massive amounts of coffee.  In actuality…this is more or less true.

Seattle Space Needle by Danalynn C
The reflection of the Space Needle in the polished side of the EMP building (a music museum).

Which popular tourist destinations should I visit?
Tourists are generally recommended to visit Pikes Place Market, an open-air market on the waterfront in the heart of downtown Seattle, where you can buy everything from fresh-caught fish, to bouquets of sunflowers, to locally hand-blown glass. 

The city is best known for the Space Needle, an iconic tower built for the 1962 World Fair, now home to an over-priced restaurant and a stunning 360-degree view of the Puget Sound. 

However, I think the most unique tourist activity is the Seattle Underground Tour, where tourists are led through a tour of Old Seattle, which is underneath the streets of the current city.  How is this possible?  After the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the new buildings were built literally on top of the remains of the old buildings.  This raised the entire city, including the streets, up by at least one story, and the Seattle Underground Tour leads visitors through this abandoned underground.

Red Beach Crab
While beaches in Seattle don't boast gleaming white sand, they are home to a variety of fantastic sea life including a multitude of small rock crabs.

What should I do for the best non-traditional tourist experience?
If you are looking to avoid tourists, I highly recommend exploring the myriad of outdoors activities that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.  There is a wide-spanning trail system that connects cities and spreads into the mountains and National Parks. 

If you are an avid hiker, Mailbox Peak is a fantastic (although very challenging) climb, about 35 miles west of Seattle.  The top of Mailbox Peak yields a stunning panorama of the Puget Sound area, but, more unusually, the top of the peak is also the home to several mailboxes that were airlifted into place.  Inside these mailboxes are journals, log-books and, occasionally, beer or snacks that previous hikers have left behind.

Pacific Northwest Mushrooms by Danalynn C
Tiny mushrooms that I found on a hike in the Cascade mountain range.

Is there one event that I shouldn’t miss?
The one event that can’t be missed is the Puyallup State Fair, a huge fair that happens at the beginning of September.  At this fair you can gorge yourself on elephant ears (crispy pieces of fried dough, sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar), ogle the prize-winning livestock, see the demonstrations of all the new tech gizmos and made-for-TV inventions, plus ride the Ferris wheel.

What kitschy souvenirs should I walk away with?
When you leave Seattle, your suitcase should be heavier with a Space Needle snow globe, a box of smoked salmon and tote bag with a Native American-style raven emblazoned across the front.

Seattle Sunset
The end of a lovely Seattle day.

If you would like to be featured in the Destination: Home series, please send me an email!
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