Emerald City: Seattle

With the first known settlements dating back to 4000 BCE the modern city of Seattle can be traced to around 200 years ago, this city between Lake Washington and Puget Sound has seen many ups and downs and has now become a tech hub. The initial boom started with the Klondike Gold Rush towards the end of the 19th century, during which Seattle served as a gateway town, during the mid 20th century Seattle became primarily known due to the local Boeing plant. Tech companies here started with Microsoft in the ’80s and Amazon in the 90’s, this was followed by many other tech concerns setting up shop in Seattle, leading to the recent economic boom. While Amazon and Microsoft may be the first things that come to mind while talking about Seattle, there is so much more to the city. From landmarks like the Space Needle, Pike Place Market and Chihuly gardens, to a vibrant arts and culture scene, to the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest with stunning views of Mount Rainier Seattle has has much to offer to any visitor.

After S moved here back in 2011 I have visited the city nearly every year and have been lucky enough to explore the city and its surrounds. Although Seattle gets a bad rep for its rainy weather and overcast skies, this is more than offset by all that the city has to offer. For the first time visitor downtown Seattle is a must see, with Seattle landmarks such as the Space Needle, the Wheel, Chihuly Gardens and Pike Place Market all within walking distance., not to mention the original Starbucks coffee shop. Personally I am not too sure whether a trip to the top of the needle is worth it, Chihuly is must see, and so is a visit to Pike Place market.

Freemont is another neighborhood definitely worth a visit, this area comes complete with a troll under the Fremont Bridge and a bronze statue of V.I Lenin, it is also home to a number of good restaurants. Another quirky but nice activity was Seattle’s amphibious ‘ducks’ tour, this unfortunately is no longer operational. Belltown and Capital Hill areas next to downtown are the most happening places in terms of nightlife, with some very decent restaurants.

No visit to Seattle can be complete without going to one of the beaches, Pacific on this side is unfortunately not very warm and hence a dip is not for the fainthearted. However some of the beaches are pretty decent and the views of course are amazing. Discovery park, Alki Beach, Carkeek park, Green Lake Park and of course Lake Washington are all very scenic.

The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful areas in the US, just a short drive from the city takes one into Nature. Daytrips to Mount Rainier, Snoqualmie Falls, Mount Baker and a drive through the very scenic Chuckanut Scenic Byway are all must do activities time permitting. Of course if one has a few days to spare, a trip around the Olympic Peninsula and/or the Cascades Loop would a very rewarding experience.

Although by no means a review of the food scene, some of the more iconic Seattle restaurants include the Canlis, El Gaucho, Tai Tung, Virginia Inn and The Palisades, one must also try the ever popular ‘Dick’s Drive-In’, there are a number of new upscale places in downtown serving some great food, I would like to mention Omega Ouzeri and Jade Garden which I tried recently.

In passing I would like to mention that while the tech revolution has brought a new life to the city, an unintended consequence has been that many residents who had been living living here for generations are now being priced out and forced to move to towns further away, there needs to be serious thought put into how to retain the character of cities along with progress as this very issue is being faced by long time residents in many cities all over the US (The Bay Area, CA and Austin, TX come to mind immediately).

Here’s to many more adventures and many more trips to the interesting town called Seattle….

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