Things to Do in Washington - page 2
Discovery Park is Seattle’s largest public park and although the green space offers over 11 miles of trails, the shorter Loop Trail is perfect for those wanting a quick taste of the scenery. Connecting to the other trails designed for further exploration, it follows the perimeter of the park, taking hikers through second-growth forests consisting of maple, alder, cherry, fir and cedar trees, open meadows and along sandy beaches littered with gnarly driftwood. The park is also a great place to get a view of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound, as well as to catch a glimpse of the diverse wildlife. Seals, sea lions, chipmunks and over 270 species of birds have made their home in and around the 534 acres of the park and just like the visitors coming here for a quick respite, have found somewhat of a sanctuary from the active city.
On the land of the park you can also find the Daybreak Star Cultural Center, a foundation providing social and educational services to Native Americans, as well as the incredibly picturesque West Point Lighthouse. The latter is also known as the Discovery Park Lighthouse and is a historic building that has been in operation since 1881. Perched on the very westernmost tip of the peninsula in the midst of windswept grass and a rocky beach full of driftwood, it makes for a stunning photo opportunity.
Situated on the shores of Seattle’s Union and Portage Bays, the University of Washington is one of the west coast’s oldest and most prestigious universities. It is particularly well known for its medical school, one of the top in the nation. The public university has more than 50,000 active students each year.
The campus itself is beautiful and well-maintained, surrounded by peaks of the Cascade Range. Cherry blossom trees bloom brightly in the spring, making it a favorite time to visit the campus. Visitors and prospective students can take a guided tour of the campus, or see some of the the highlights including Drumheller Fountain, the Suzzallo Library, Denny Hall, and Mary Gates Hall. The classic architecture of most of the campus buildings is scenic, and the Burke Gilman trail allows for joggers and pedestrians to pass through its many open green spaces. On a clear day it is even possible to see Mount Rainer in the distance.
Seattle was a stopover on the rush to find gold in Alaska, and the city grew rich by selling supplies to would-be miners. Discover that wild, short-lived era at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle Unit in Seattle, where documentary films and two floors of exhibits tell the stories of bold explorers from the city’s early days.
The Seattle Mariners’ home field at T-Mobile Park (formerly known as Safeco Field) is a shrine to the city’s beloved baseball team. It’s also a Seattle skyline landmark, with seating for nearly 50,000 fans and a retractable roof. Whether you’re watching the Mariners play or touring the stadium, the park is a top pick for baseball lovers.
This picturesque beach on the shore of Elliott Bay runs a narrow 2.5-mile strip between Alki Point and Duwamish Head. Known as the site of the first white settlers in Seattle, its sandy shores attract as many cyclists, joggers and bladers as beachcombers and sun worshipers and storm chasers. Public restrooms, picnic areas, an art studio and bathhouses make it the perfect destination for a day of outdoor fun with family and friends. And impressive views of the Puget Sound and Seattle skyline make it one of the most scenic strips of sand in Washington.
A prime Elliot Bay location gives Myrtle Edwards Park gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, and Mount Rainier. This shoreline park is walking distance from top downtown attractions, and offers a paved trail for pedestrians and cyclists that spans the 4.8-acre (1.9 ha.) green space.
Built atop one of Seattle’s steepest hills, this neighborhood is named for its abundance of Queen Anne–style architecture—charming, well-maintained homes with manicured gardens. In this inviting area you’ll discover leafy staircases, viewpoints, and quaint parks, and at its very top perch restaurants, cafés, and boutiques.
Locals flock to Seattle’s Gas Works Park for its grassy hills and steampunk-esque former gas plant structures. Set at the northern end of Lake Union, visitors come to fly kites, picnic, watch sailboat races, and take in skyline views. This National Historic Landmark appeared in the 1999 movie10 Things I Hate About You.
Mount St. Helens’ infamous eruption on the morning of May 18, 1980, punched a 1,300-foot (396-meter) hole in the volcano and sent fire and ash raining down the mountainside. Visitors today can view the mountain’s crater, spot wildlife, see the country’s youngest glacier, and witness the surrounding forest’s recovery.
On a dramatic expanse facing Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle features massive works of art by influential modern artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Beverly Pepper, Tony Smith, and Richard Serra. In addition to the art, visitors enjoy walking and biking paths, a pocket beach, and picnic areas.
More Things to Do in Washington
Capitol Hill is one of Seattle’s most vibrant neighborhoods—and it’s one of contrasts. There’s the quiet, leafy streets sporting mansions and well-manicured lawns, and then there’s a happening restaurant, bar, and nightclub scene at the neighborhood’s center. There’s something for everyone here.
Sip wine in a French-inspired chateau with lush grounds at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Vineyards, one of Washington’s oldest wineries. Because the award-winning wines are produced with grapes grown across the state, they provide a great introduction to the diversity of Washington terroir, just a short drive from Seattle.
Puget Sound is a complex of inlets, bays, and harbors that includes not only Seattle, but also Tacoma, Olympia, and plenty of charming little towns and unique islands. The region is home to sparkling blue waters, lush green forests, sandy beaches, and a relaxed, slow-paced way of life.
Located in downtown Seattle, the Seattle Art Museum has a wide-ranging collection, from Native American masterpieces to cutting-edge installations. This Seattle institution, known affectionately as SAM, is a playground for art lovers; temporary exhibitions with creative flair ensure every visit is as fresh as the first.
Perhaps Seattle’s most peaceful and serene place, the Bloedel Reserve is an internationally renowned public garden and forest preserve known for providing visitors a much needed reprieve from the urban jungle of downtown Seattle. The Reserve’s 150 acres are a unique blend of painstakingly manicured gardens and green, lush forestry that harken back to Asian palaces. These grounds also include a Moss Garden, and Japanese Garden, a Reflection Pool, and the Bloedel’s former estate, and thus many visitors enjoy multiple visits to this pristine and revered preserve.
Not to be confused with Bloedel Park, the Bloedel Reserve is located on Bainbridge Island, only a short ferry boat ride away from downtown Seattle. If you’re looking for a relaxing trip to the pinnacle of Northwestern estate beauty, then the Bloedel Reserve is your stop.
Stretching from British Columbia in Canada down to Northern California, this rugged mountain range dominates the Pacific Northwest. With snow-capped peaks, virgin forests, glacial valleys, lakes, subalpine meadows, and plunging waterfalls—from which the range takes its name—the Cascades are a recreational and wilderness paradise.
Many know Seattle to be located upon the Puget Sound, but the specific body of water upon which Seattle sits is none other than the great Elliot Bay. And because Elliot Bay is the most prevalent source of water when visiting Seattle, it is part-and-parcel to the inner fabric of the “city by the sound.” From the original Duwamish peoples that lived here, to the locals that come enjoy the Elliot Bay Park along the waterfront, Elliot Bay is part of the culture, and it’s here that many visitors come to explore Seattle.
With two marinas, numerous piers (including Pier 57 and Pier 59, both popular attractions), the Seattle Great Wheel, and the Seattle Aquarium, Elliot Bay provides many things to many people. Not the least of which is the great port of Seattle – one of America’s biggest and most important ports. Ferries also take commuters and tourists across the Bay to Bainbridge or Vashon Island.
Longing for some Bavarian food, drink and entertainment, but can't make it all the way to Germany? Head to Leavenworth, Washington, instead.
Leavenworth is a city known for its downtown area that is designed like a Bavarian village in southern Germany. Stroll down the streets bordered by wooden beam-framed buildings with frescoes painted on the side just like you might see in an authentic Germany village.
Leavenworth has restaurants serving up Bavarian cuisine such as schnitzel and German beer. Traditional German folk entertainment that incorporates music and dance can also often be found along the streets of Leavenworth. Check before you choose your dates for visiting if there will be a festival or performance while you're there so you don't miss out on this fun form of entertainment.
Wine tasting is also a popular past time in Leavenworth. The city is home to several tasting rooms serving up vintages from the wineries and vineyards of the nearby Leavenworth Valley Wine Country. You can do tasting tours in the city or ones that will drive you around to the different wineries in the valley.
The quintessential mode of travel for exploring the islands of Puget Sound, Washington State Ferries offer transportation, sightseeing, and wildlife viewing. Hop on a ferry in Seattle and arrive at one of the many picturesque islands across the bay within an hour—all while avoiding traffic and enjoying Seattle skyline views.
Seattle is home to the highest public observatory on the West Coast. At nearly 1,000 feet, the Sky View Observatory is actually the tallest public viewing area west of the Mississippi.
The 360-degree view includes the anticipated Space Needle and city of Seattle, but also showcases Mt. Rainier, Bellevue, the Cascade Mountains and Elliott Bay. And that’s just naming a few highlights. The Sky View Observatory is open day and night, but sunset is a popular time to visit.
If heights make you hungry, the Sky View Café serves an assortment of sandwiches, salads, small plates, beer and wine. The Sky Lobby, located on the 40th floor is reportedly home to the highest Starbucks in the world.
Seattle has a long history of aviation innovation. It’s here that the first Boeing aircraft was assembled and the company headquartered for decades. At the Museum of Flight, aircraft enthusiasts can trace the history of aviation from the Wright brothers through modern space exploration and air travel.
Sleek and modern, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center is a free museum focused on global philanthropy, including the many projects and partnerships of the multi-billion dollar foundation. Across 5th Ave from the Space Needle and spread throughout the first floor of the organization’s operational headquarters, visitors can wander past glass partitions etched with inspirational slogans and informative photographic displays that educate and inform on topics like global poverty, universal access to fresh water, combating pervasive infectious diseases and other seemingly intractable problems. Even signs above the water fountains here, which read, ‘What if you had to walk three miles for this water?’ are thought-provoking.
The Center is divided into four distinct galleries – Voices, Family and Foundation, Partnerships and Innovation and Inspiration. Near the end, in the Innovation and Inspiration gallery, stations encourage visitors to react by sketching their causes and reflecting on their own passions. The Center also includes a small theater that shows short films on some of the foundation’s notable work including addressing homelessness in Washington state and profiling some individuals who have helped to make India polio-free.
Situated under the iconic Space Needle, Seattle’s Pacific Science Center is a museum of delight, wonder, and mystery. Visitors can explore the diversity of life in a tropical butterfly house, gaze at the stars in the planetarium, test their puzzle-solving skills in the Puzzle Palooza, and explore hundreds of hands-on exhibits.
The Hard Rock Cafe Seattle opened in early 2010, and it remains the only cafe in the popular chain in the state of Washington.
Seattle's Hard Rock Cafe is located in the heart of historic downtown, near the famous Pike Place Market. The building in which the restaurant is housed is historic, too, as well as environmentally designed, and the memorabilia on display is largely Seattle-specific.
The Hard Rock Cafe in Seattle, like all restaurants in the chain, features a traditional American menu, and an on-site Rock Shop where you can buy all kinds of Hard Rock Cafe merchandise. The Seattle location also features a music venue on the second floor, called the Cavern Club after the Liverpool basement club where The Beatles got their start.
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