Once a rather dull port and industrial center, Seattle has undergone an astonishing transformation into the largest city in Washington State. Driven in part by its flourishing economy, it is today an energetic, forward-looking city at the forefront of innovation. The city is rich in culture and easy-going lifestyles, and it's no accident that Seattle is the "Coffee Capital" of the United States with an espresso bar on almost every corner.
In addition, the city boasts a magnificent mountain setting: to the east is the ice pyramid of Mount Rainier National Park, rising out of the Cascade Mountains, to the west, the partly snow-capped peaks of Olympic National Park.
Though it's worth spending a couple of days exploring Seattle, day trips beckon in the parks, beaches, and attractions outside of the city. Tempting nature lovers with moss-laden trees and winding trails, the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park is not to be missed. A rather different day trip is to the Future of Flight in Everett, where visitors tour Boeing's immense factory - the world's largest building.
Seattle Center, along with its iconic Space Needle and the Monorail, were originally built for the 1962 World's Fair but have since been turned into an entertainment complex and park area with theaters, sports facilities, and restaurants. Modern tourist attractions now proliferate the area, including musical adventures at the Experience Music Project, and impressive glass artworks at Chihuly Garden and Glass. And though it's a locals' haunt, the futuristic steel and glass structure of the Seattle Central Library is worth seeking out.
On the two floors of picturesque Pike Place Market, vendors offer a wide range of wares for sale. Fish, fruit, vegetables, and all sorts of odds and ends tantalize the taste buds and camera lenses. If you don't have the hotel facilities to cook up some seafood, head to one of the local restaurants. Market tours are an ideal way to cut through the bustle of Pike Place and hear some unusual stories.
busy locks northwest of Seattle Center are also known as the Ballard Locks. Besides watching the boat traffic move between Puget Sound and the lakes, visitors can seek out the fish ladder where salmon struggle upstream. Nearby, the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Garden is a quieter spot to rest and appreciate well-tended gardens.
string of piers and parks line the Seattle waterfront, home to recreational spaces, tourist attractions, boat tours, and ferry docks. On Pier 59, visitors will find the Seattle Aquarium where a variety of Pacific marine creatures (including sea otters, octopuses, and dwarf sharks) can be observed in the Underwater Dome. Just south of the aquarium, Waterfront Park has a wide vantage over the harbor. The views are also excellent atop the Seattle Great Wheel on Pier 57. To the north, Olympic Sculpture Park is filled with over-sized outdoor artworks competing with the views for attention.
Beyond Portage Bay, the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle is home to the Burke Museum (natural history) and the Henry Art Gallery (mainly international modern art). To the south of the main campus, McCurdy Park features the Museum of History and Industry with its exhibits about the region, and Washington Park harbors a lush arboretum and Japanese tea garden.
The Pike Place Starbucks store, commonly called the Original Starbucks, is the first Starbucks store, established in 1971 at Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle, Washington, United States. The store has kept its early appearance over time and is subject to design guidelines due to its historic significance. The store is considered a tourist attraction and often hosts a crowd.
While commonly referred to as the first Starbucks location, the current address is the second for the Pike Place store. The first Starbucks cafe was located at 2000 Western Avenue from 1971–1976. This cafe later moved to 1912 Pike Place, its present location.