Seattle

On a good day one of the most enjoyable cities in America, Seattle has much in common with it’s near neighbour Vancouver (three hours away), and while it’s natural setting isn’t as impressive, it makes up it with some wonderful architectures, sights and things to do.

One of the most prominent of which is the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum, housed in the same super funky and colourful Frank Gehry building.

The Experience Music Project has plenty on local stars including Jimmy Hendrix, Nirvana and Soundgarden, while the Science Fiction Museum houses an amazing collection, one of my favourites being the original manuscript for Neal Stephenson’s epic Baroque Cycle trilogy and the quails he wrote it with.

The Space Needle is an understandable icon of the city, with a great design and no doubt great views but I went for the free and higher ones from the Columbia Tower instead.

Kerry Park was also a great spot for views of the city, with Mount Washington in the distance behind.

There are some lovely green spaces in the city in Washington Park Arboretum and Gasworks Park, both next to water, with the later home to striking views of the city skyline.

There are some wonderful heritage buildings, with some real quirky decorative features like walruses!

There are plenty of cool skyscrapers and a very funky public library. I visited Seattle back in 2008, would be interesting to see what has been built since, particularly the new Amazon HQ downtown.

The Seattle Art Museum was an interesting building, though I don’t remember much of the contents.

Pike Place Market is home to probably the most famous fishmongers in the world, with their own catchwords and fish throwing antics. It plays well to a crowd, but is slightly tarred when you understand that it was all part of a deliberate business strategy to become famous fishmongers.

Seattle is the home of Boeing, if not their HQ after it moved to Chicago. Anyone interested in planes shouldn’t miss a great day trip to their factory in Everett, one of the largest buildings in the world, where 747, 777 and the Dreamliner are assembled, using notable different approaches, illustrating nicely the development of manufacturing over the past forty years.

No photos are allowed inside understandably but take your cameras to the Museum of Flight next door for a phenomenal collection of planes, including a modified SR71 Blackbird, Concorde and Eisenhower’s Air Force One.

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