Walking through downtown Seattle is much like walking through any other city in America: it possesses the hustling and bustling that comes with enterprise and business. Yet it also maintains a level of serenity. Due to Seattle’s prime location, you are never more than a few blocks away from a body of water. The rush of cars and the dull-roar of people passing are nicely accented with the screeches of seagulls and crashing of the waves. In fact, because of the slope that Seattle is built on, the city acts as a giant auditorium for the harbor, echoing the sounds of the sea through the streets. This design also offers a water-front view to almost every building. If you stand on the observation deck of Columbia Center, when it’s not raining, looking westwards you can see over Puget Sound to the snow-caped Olympic Mountains. Southward, you can look across rolling hills, coated in Douglas firs, and spot the solitary peak of Mt. Rainer. Looking east, you are able to see across Lake Washington to the Cascade Mountains, a colossal wall of snow and stone that stretches as far north and south as the eye can see. This mixture of natural beauty and the city’s busy nature sets the scene for one of the most wonderful towns in the northwest.
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Along with Seattle’s ecological attractiveness, it’s also home to some of the most magnificent architecture west of Chicago. Columbia Center is the city’s tallest building, measuring up to 932 feet, and provides a truly breathtaking vista of the city and surroundings. Traveling west five blocks from the tower, is Waterfront Park, consisting of a long line of unique shops selling the tackiest tourist t-shirts and handmade artwork, all of which are walking distance to the ferry terminal. My personal favorite among these is the Ye Old Curiosity Shop, which offers the most impractical items, such as vampire slaying kits and shrunken heads. Much like a Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the store has some of the most outlandish assortment of souvenirs and is the perfect place to kill time whilst waiting for a ferry.
Walking north along the waterfront, visitors will pass attractions such as the Seattle Aquarium, Ivar’s Seafood Restaurant, and eventually stumble into the locally renowned Pike Place Market. The hustle and bustle of vendors selling the freshest fish is mixed with the intoxicating aroma of spices and floral arrangements. The sound and excitement of commerce is only amplified by the bright colors and exotic tastes. However, if food and flowers aren’t your cup of tea; by following the ramps and stairs underground, you are opened up into a new network of tunnels lined with odd-ball stores. Some of which include: Golden Age Collectables, housing a monstrous collection of vintage comics and fandom apparel, and the Market Magic Shop, home to some of the strangest and most mystical artifacts.
Finally, as you exit the market, you can walk a few blocks northeast and find yourself at the foot of the Space Needle, the most iconic sight in Seattle. At 604 feet, it’s not the tallest structure in the city, but it certainly is the most elegant. If there is time to spare, visitors can tour to grounds around Seattle Center and visit the National Science Fiction Museum, accommodating suits and ships from some of the most popular movies in America. A four-star restaurant sits on top of the Space Needle and, despite the absurd price; it is the perfect way to finish off a day in the Emerald City.
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