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Visit Seattle: The Emerald City

Great things to see and do in Seattle.
Great things to see and do in Seattle.
Sandra Scott

Great things to do in Seattle, the “Emerald City”

Seattle has been on my destination wish list for years and I finally made it to the “Emerald City” with its impressive location on the Puget Sound backed by the mountains and surrounded by evergreen forest. It is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest. Many see it as one of the “Gateway to Alaska.” Regardless, there is plenty to see and do. I was impressed with the diversity of attractions, especially in the Seattle Center area. Seattle CityPASS is a great way to save big on admission tickets to the most popular attractions.

1. Space Needle: Fifty years old in 2012, the 605-foot Space Needle is the iconic image of Seattle. When it was completed for the World’s Fair it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. It is the best place to get a view of the area. An elevator whisked me to the observation deck with viewing from both the inside and outside plus there is a snack bar, gift shop and a revolving restaurant.
2. Chihuly Garden of Glass: The works of Dale Chihuly make up an eye-popping, magical display of color. The newest attraction at Seattle Center is truly amazing and my favorite. I think of Chihuly as the “Willy Wonka” of glass – so imaginative and beautiful. The large, colorful artwork in the Exhibition Hall, the 40-foot tall Glasshouse, and the Garden creates an enchanting experience. The unique Garden has four monumental glass sculptures amid the trees and plants.
3. Pacific Science Center: I always learn something at a science museum. This time I learned about the tiniest creatures including one of my favorites – the lightening bug. The butterfly house creates a surreal experience. There are more than 300 interactive exhibits, two IMAX theaters, and a plethora of hands-on activities along with scheduled demonstrations.
4. EMP Museum: The unique free-flowing design of the building is comprised of 3,000 panels made of 21 thousand pieces of stainless steel and aluminum. Exhibits explore the most definitive aspects of rock music, science fiction, and popular culture. It was great fun watching people perform at On Stage. It is an interactive experience with guitar, drums, and keyboard just waiting for people to create their own music video complete with hot lights and screaming fans.
5. Museum of Flight: Hands down this was my husband’s favorite but I liked checking out Air Force One which is only one of 150 planes on exhibit at the world’s largest private air and space museum. He loved the simulators which allowed him to experience an aerial dogfight and what it was like to operate a glider and to match skills with an astronaut trying to link up with the Hubble Space Telescope. Check the schedule for free docent guided tours and informational talks by veterans.