January 20, 2014
Any town that’s produced Jimi Hendrix, Bill Gates and Bruce Lee possesses plenty of creative energy. Fortunately, visitors will find this energy on full display in every direction, from the neatly stacked vegetable stalls in the International District or Pike Place Market, to one of the world’s first floatplanes inside the Museum of History and Industry. Business travellers keen to squeeze in some culture and get their own creative juices flowing between meetings can experience the best of the city with these ten places to visit in an hour.
Situated on Lake Union at the north end of the South Lake Union business district, the Center for Wooden Boats rents several kinds of wooden vessels. Visitors may take kayaks, canoes and rowboats to paddle out between the floatplanes and other boaters without prior experience. Renting a sailing craft requires a 45-minute orientation.
“MOHAI” is one of Seattle’s newest museum spaces, the museum having moved from the University of Washington to a gleaming new home on Lake Union. The curators present a rotating exhibition of the 100,000-piece collection from Seattle’s colourful past. MOHAI is a three-dimensional experience!
The “EMP” was designed by Frank Gehry to mimic Seattle native Jimi Hendrix’s exploding guitar. Inside, the museum proves equally colourful, as works like “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses” feature interactive exhibits that display information about Seattle and the world’s popular music. EMP also contains an innovative science fiction museum.
The 605-foot Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and remains the most recognizable icon in the Emerald City. Passengers zoom inside golden elevators to the observation deck 520-feet above ground, where they discover a 360-degree view of the Puget Sound Region. The revolving SkyCity Restaurant rotates 500-feet above the Seattle Center campus.
Seattle’s native son and world-renowned glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly, was instrumental in creating the “Pilchuk School,” considered the most significant incubators for glass artists in the world. A visit to the Chihuly museum, located at Seattle Center, reveals a dazzling display of the artist’s signature works to brighten any day.
You can spend hours wandering the low and high stalls in Pike Place Market, the largest public market in the U.S.A. Start at the “Pig,” but beware of the flying fish that the mongers toss about like Seahawk Russell Wilson throwing to his prime receiver, Golden Tate. Grab a grilled halibut sandwich at Market Grill or just wander about listening to buskers and admiring the local artisans and artists.
Seattle’s International District remains the focal point of the city’s large Asian community. The district includes shops and restaurants that feature Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cultural items. Uwajimaya remains one of the largest Asian supermarkets in America.
Journey to Fremont, the self-described “Center of the Known Universe” and Seattle’s most eccentric neighbourhood, to see street art including “Waiting for the Interurban,” a massive statue of Lenin and the Troll, a sculpted monster so large his hand easily envelops a real Volkswagen Beetle. Fremont also possesses wonderful independent restaurants and boutiques.
Legend has it that Seattle grew so swiftly in the late 19th century the planners simply built directly on top of the original “Skid Row,” the infamous roughshod neighbourhood of bars, brawls and brothels. Fortunately, several sections of the subterranean neighbourhood remain intact, accessed only with a colourful tour guide. The hourly tours meet in Doc Maynard’s Public House.
Feature image: Seattle skyline © IanGoodPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock
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Written by Crai Bower