Come as you are.
Seattle is one city that rocks. Nevermind it just being the city that spawned the birth of iconic grunge bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, Seattle sets the stage for the unusual and quirky found along America’s famed Pacific North West.
Here we list what places are not to be missed when visiting Seattle.
1. MoPOP Museum of Pop Culture
Forget the history lesson. Get a tutorial on what you should be putting next on your Spotify playlist after heading into Seattle’s most exciting museum critiquing pop culture.
The Museum of Pop Culture, or affectionately known as MoPOP sits between potentially the biggest record player needle (the Space Needle) and downtown Seattle.
This pop institution features experiences and exhibitions that are sensory-rich yet remarkably; the museum is non-for-profit. Avid pop culture fans can learn more about some of the world’s most iconic bands, including homegrown heroes, Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Each group has its own exhibition featuring personal memorabilia, merchandise and interactive displays that will make any hardcore fan go wild with excitement.
It’s not all about the who’s who of the Seattle scene with guitar slayers Prince, Queen and Jimi Hendrix also having their own exhibits. There is also a guitar gallery for those who want to want a strings attached experience.
Music aside, there is also an Indie Game Revolution and Scared to death: The Thrill of the Horror film exhibitions.
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2. Public Parks
Even Seattle’s public parks have enough personality to be star attractions in their own right.
Once a former coal gas plant, the Gas Works Park now a kooky public setting along the waterfront. The hilly park is popular with locals for picnicking, kite flying and general outdoor fun while soaking up the views of downtown Seattle’s skyline.
For the movie buffs out there, the park features in the paintball scene in the classic 90s film, 10 Things I Hate About You, starring our very own Perth boy, the late Heath Ledger.
Another park to put on your Seattle radar is Volunteer Park. This sprawling park features a ‘Black Sun,’ a 1969 sculpture by Isamu Noguchi and perhaps the inspiration behind Soundgarden’s 90s hit, ‘Black Hole Sun.’ The park also includes a conservatory that is opened to the public.
3. Capitol Hill
If you want to play it cool, head to Seattle’s coolest area, Capitol Hill. This neighbourhood is a rainbow of colour; not just for its LGBTQI+ flags flying high and matching crosswalks, but for its larger-than-life street art, independent bars and restaurants, quirky stores and funkily dressed locals.
Blend into the Seattle scene by switching up your wardrobe threads by shopping at one of its many vintage stores, Crossroads and Rove Vintage. If happy hour is calling you by the sound of a tap pour, head to bar/diner and record parlour Life on Mars. Not only is the vibe set on a feel-good time, but it also lets you choose your beat while you tuck into its tasty Vegan eats. Head to one of Seattle’s best burger bars, 8oz Burger & Co to have the burger of your handheld dreams. This popular burger joint uses Angus beef to create its gourmet burgers, including a glutton-for-punishment fondue burger.
4. Live Music
This list would not be complete if I didn’t include an ode to its musical impact on the world.
Instead of stadiums, go grassroots and check out the local music scene. The hipster-rocker l bar Chop Suey is a great space to check out some local talent, and potentially, the next biggest thing unleashed from Seattle.
To have a smooth taste of Seattle’s music scene, head to renowned underground Italian jazz bar Vito’s. Its easy listen music caters to those who want to soak up live music with a refined drink in tow.
5. Space Needle
Many of us folk may not have the funds to pay our way into space, but we can get closer to it. Enter Seattle’s iconic Space Needle. Built-in 1962 for the Seattle World’s Fair, this architectural marvel is the ultimate vantage point offering 360-degree views of Seattle. It also features the world’s only 360 rotating glass floor, making the world appear almost 605-feet below your toes. With views abound and all-around (under your feet included!), this is the spot to inch that one step closer to space in a UFO-like viewing platform.
6. Pike Place Market
Forget baseball. Fisherman at the historic Pike Place Market like to play a game fish throwing, giving catch of the day a whole new meaning.
This type of market entertainment is what makes Pike Place Market enduring to visit, being one of the country’s oldest markets since opening its halls in 1907. Visitors can expect to have a blissful whiplash to the senses as local seasonal produce, artisian baked goods and street food vendors create a delightful smell. Mixing carbs with cheese is possibly one of the greatest food union ever to exist, and the people behind Beecher’s Handmade Cheese recognize this. If mac and cheese is on your American foodie bucket list, take your fork eating ways and savour a cup of their delightfully indulgent cheesy pasta.
The newly expanded area, MarketFront features a brewery, chocolate shop and bakery – all with views of the water. Pike Place Market also has lower levels to explore, almost labyrinth-like selling handicrafts, quirky items and novelty kitsch.
The ambience of seeing lively buskers, joyful crowds and epic harbour views make Pike Place Market a must-do on any Seattle itinerary.
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7. Hotel Sorrento
Sleep like a rock (and a rockstar at that!) at Hotel Sorrento, a historical grand hotel that sits on First Hill and fringes progressive neighbourhood, Capitol Hill.
This hotel dates back to 1909 and ever since, it has been one of Seattle’s go-to tourist residences for its Italianate-style architectural splendour and prime locale.
A stay here is an indulgent one – with rooms weaving vintage and modern décor and comfortable beds seemingly to be the closest thing to clouds on Earth.
The hotel encourages guests to interact and get merry with each other with its daily complimentary wine hour in the hotel lobby bar. Worth the encore trip to the bar!
Hotel Sorrento – 900 Madison St, Seattle, WA 98104
Feature image: Visit Seattle
See more: United States travel
Julia was a guest of Visit Seattle, and all thoughts and opinions are of her own.