Sunday, November 12, 2006

Seattle: The Emerald City Rains Supreme

Seattle is the most beautiful city I've seen in the U.S. I absolutely love the artistic culture and the natural beauty. It's a city completely surrounded by water, the Puget Sound and Lake Union. My favorite Seattle neighborhood is Belltown.

In Belltown, it's not just about location. While you are within walking distance of all the major sites (Space Needle, EMP, Public Market, Pioneer Square) you'll do just fine staying within the neighborhood. Belltown is home to one of the most inexpensive and incredibly chic hotels, as well as numerous clubs, famous music venues and gastronomically delightful restaurants.

Belltown recommendations: The Ace Hotel, Crocodile Cafe (music), Cyclops Cafe (breakfast), Flying Fish (dinner)

On the tourist scene, make sure to visit the top of the Space Needle on a clear day for the the best views. There is an all access pass that will get you into Frank Gehry's interactive Experience Music Project and other nearby attractions for a discounted price. For a different perspective, enjoy a relaxing view of the city while having a picnic at Gas Works Park. The old gas pipes are no longer functional, they now serve as intriguing industrial artwork. Just make sure you get good directions to the park as it's easy to get lost on the way there.

If you're looking for some unique shopping, take a stroll down 1st Avenue. There are numerous shops housing clothing from independent Seattle designers. The shops will lead you to Pike Place Market, where you can watch the famous fish acrobatics, grab lunch and stock up on incredibly fresh fruit (my favorite: the 'Holy Shit' peaches). Across the street from the market is the 1st Starbucks, in all of its original glory. If you're lucky you might even catch a coffee and cheese tasting, the perfect way to refuel after all that shopping.

Even if you don't like baseball, Safeco field is a site to see. I suggest buying tickets for seats between 1st and 2nd base, where the view of the city is quite lovely. It gets chilly, so dress warm and pick up a latte from the many Starbucks inside. Who knew you could find soy milk at a ball park?

Last, but not least, if you find yourself in the drizzle, don't worry yourself with an umbrella, it screams tourist. Find the nearest coffee shop and read a good book or converse with good friends. One of the most indulgent pleasures Seattle has to offer is a quiet, gloomy day.

Photography by me.

1/1/2008: Now that I live here, Ballard is my favorite neighborhood.

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