I come from the land of coffee addicted hipsters and computer geeks. Locals have dubbed it “The 206”, but it is more commonly referred to as Seattle, Washington. It is the gem of the Pacific Northwest, with a down-to-earth vibe that inspires a deep sense of pride in those who call themselves Seattleites. It is the spirit of these people that makes a visit to Seattle such a unique experience. As Macklemore, a local Seattle rapper, put it, “The skyline is etched in my veins, you can never put that out, no matter how hard it rains.”
Pike Place Market and the Space Needle are what come to mind when one pictures the intricate Seattle skyline. The perspective of a tourist entering “The Emerald City” is limited to the constraints placed upon them by downtown. Of course these are essential elements, but my view of the city encompasses the broader spectrum that every visitor should experience. My Seattle is different.
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The true beauty of the city arises when you get out of downtown. The neighborhoods of Seattle have unique ambiances that draw people from all over. Fremont is a hub of small businesses which thrive off of foot and bike traffic. Capitol Hill is the prime people watching destination with the best nightlife. Ballard gives you the opportunity to behold the majesty of the Olympic Mountain Range. The beaches of West Seattle are beautiful on sunny days, but beware of the hoards of pale Seattleites who chase after every bit of Vitamin D when the clouds clear.
When all these neighborhoods come together, they form a beautiful patchwork of a city that is based around one concept: art. Evidence of this claim is demonstrated on every corner. Street musicians fill the air with an eclectic sound that is defined by the rich musical history of Seattle. This history is on display at the Experience Music Project which resides at the base of the Space Needle. However, art in Seattle encompasses much more than just music. Upon arrival at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), you are greeted by a 50 foot aluminum man who slowly hammers every day. The first exhibit of SAM is dominated by multiple cars hanging from the ceiling, their bodies punctured by tubes of light that extend throughout the whole display. The brilliant array of pieces at SAM are awe-inspiring, but art cannot be confined to a museum. In North Seattle an abandoned hot tub shop called TUBS has turned into an outlet for creativity and an expression of the artistic character present in every Seattleite. The walls are adorned with intricate “graffiti”, if it can even be called that. Locals spray paint the building with portraits and exquisite lettering. The artistic diversity that dominates this city has a direct correlation to the unbreakable spirit of the people and the aura that surrounds Seattle.
There is no definition that can capture the complexity of a city like this. Every morning, the streets unite to create a symphony of beautiful chaos that inspires creativity and diversity, which is best experienced through a visit to Seattle. Tourism here encompasses the city as a whole, from the quirky nature of the people to the abstract skyline that still astonishes those who have lived here their whole lives. Seattle may be in the same timezone as California, and we may watch the same television programs as New Yorkers do, but my city is worlds away. The unique nature that surrounds the city is what makes a trip to Seattle well worth the miles it may take to get here.
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