Timetable some time to visit Seattle on your next Alaskan cruise. The Emerald City offers a host of attractions to whet your appetite for adventures ahead.
Seattle's landmark Space Needle is 605 feet from the street to the top of the spire. The elevator ride is 41 seconds to the top, but if you prefer to take the stairs, prepare for 848 steps of world-class cardio. Constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair, the top is designed to resemble a flying saucer.
In 1907, opportunistic middlemen jacked up the price of produce in Seattle and citizens were outraged. Pike Place Market was born as a way to cut out the middleman. More than 100 years later, farmers and craftspeople still sell direct to consumers. "Meet the Producer" is the market's mantra. Today, visitors peruse more than 500 stores and stalls, including the first Starbucks. Don't miss the famous throwing fishmongers of the Pike Place Fish Market.
Experience Music Project is a cutting edge museum dedicated to all things pop culture. The futuristic building was designed by famed architect Frank O. Gehry, to resemble a smashed guitar. Exhibits cover popular music, science fiction and horror movies. Favourite collections include Star Trek memorabilia, a room of 55 rocker guitars, and exhibits on Seattle natives Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix.
Chihuly Garden and Glass is a museum showcasing the works of renowned Pacific Northwest glass artist Dale Chihuly. The garden sports brilliant Seuss-like glass sculptures set amid hundreds of purposely selected tress, plants and flowers. Indoor galleries burst with colour, and on hand films divulge Chihuly's delicate process.
Historic Pioneer Square was Seattle's first legitimate neighbourhood. Established in 1852, the neighbourhood soon became the bustling epicenter of the Pacific Northwest. Today, Pioneer Square is a hub of history. The colourful and impressive totem pole at the centre of the square was donated by Tlingit Native Americans from Alaska in 1938.
Adjacent to Pioneer Square, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park is a testament to the world's last great gold rush. In 1897, the Seattle newspaper announced that gold had been found in Alaska and soon Seattle became the jumping off point for hopefuls bound for the Klondike. Museum exhibits tell the stories of those looking to strike it rich through letters home and showcase the tools of the miner trade including dogsleds.
Go a little deeper with one of the Seattle Underground tours. Pioneer Square was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1889. The city later rebuilt itself one story above the old sidewalks and storefronts that lined the square. Today, tours take you back in time along three blocks of underground passageways to 19th century Seattle, including a restored 1890s saloon.
When you cruise to Seattle visit their latest attraction, the Great Wheel. Opened in 2012, the impressive ferris wheel is the largest observation wheel on the West Coast. Standing at 175 feet tall, the wheel treats riders to birdseye views of Seattle’s waterfront, the downtown area, outlying islands and even Mt. Ranier. The wheel is outfitted with 42 fully-enclosed gondolas providing rides in all types of weather.