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Things to Do While Visiting Seattle: It is Not Just About Aviation

Downtown Seattle Skyline  Photo by Malcolm Muir / AirlineReporter.com.

Downtown Seattle Skyline Photo by Malcolm Muir / AirlineReporter.com.

As a newly transplanted Australian to the Pacific Northwest, I sometimes feel that I am a tourist in my own city.  David has lived here quite a while, so to him, this is his backyard.  But to me, this is all new, though I have visited a few times; I am still constantly exploring this city.  With Aviation Geek Fest approaching, I am sure there are other people who are visiting and wondering what other non AvGeek things can be seen in Seattle.

Seattle has so many different things to see & do that the possibility is endless, but if you are in town for just a few days, well these sights should be on your “must do” list. If you live in the area or have visited and have other ideas, be sure to share them in the comments.

  1. Pike Place Market– The quintessential experience in Seattle.  The longest operating Farmers Market in the USA, home to fresh fruit & veggies, fresh seafood and anything your heart could desire.  The Market contains the “Pike Place Seafood Market” home of the flying fish and make sure to take a walk downstairs to the Market Theater Gum Wall, shove on a piece of gum — just don’t touch. If you are looking for souvenirs to bring home, you will have no problem finding something.

    Pikes Place Market in Downtown Seattle is one of the most iconic places to visit  Photo by Malcolm Muir / AirlineReporter.com.

    Pikes Place Market in Downtown Seattle is one of the most iconic places to visit Photo by Malcolm Muir / AirlineReporter.com.

  2. Coffee, need more Coffee – Seattle is home to a number of coffee companies but I am sure you have all heard of this small company with just a number of shops around the country.  They call themselves Starbucks.  Their first ever store (well not really the first but that is a whole other story) is located down in the Pikes Place Market area.  Not only can you line up to buy a cup of their coffee (and sometimes that line is looooong) they also sell merchandise that is not available anywhere else.
  3. Seattle Center– This is easy to find since it is the home to that weird looking pointy thing, the Seattle Space Needle.  Built for the world’s fair in 1962, the Space Needle and the surrounding area is a big draw card for tourists.  The Space Needle will set you back around $20 to get up to the observation deck, but remember what Seattle’s weather is known for — not seeing very far.  One way to cut back on the fee is to have a meal in the restaurant (Sky City Restaurant) at the top (or check out tip #5).  Also in the area are the Pacific Science Center and the Experience Music Project & Sci Fi Museum (EMP). The EMP building alone is worth a visit just to see this spectacle from the outside (see photo below).

    Experience Music Project/Sci Fi Museum is an eclectic looking building  Photo by Malcolm Muir / AirlineReporter.com.

    Experience Music Project/Sci Fi Museum is an eclectic looking building Photo by Malcolm Muir / AirlineReporter.com.

  4. Ride the Seattle Monorail- The nation’s first commercial monorail, at $2 a ride, is a pretty good way of going from Seattle Center to the downtown area.  Still running the very retro styled monorail cars, this is a good flash back.  The ride takes barely 2 minutes and is a great way to skirt above the streets.

    The Nations oldest Commercial Monorail, marked 50 years of service in 2012!  Photo by Malcolm Muir / AirlineReporter.com.

    The Nations oldest Commercial Monorail, marked 50 years of service in 2012! Photo by Malcolm Muir / AirlineReporter.com.

  5. Columbia Center Tower – Located on the Corner of Columbia Street & 5th Ave, the Columbia Center is the Pacific Northwest’s tallest building.  It towers over the Space Needle and dominates the skyline on a clear day.  There is an observation deck on the 73rd floor that has views over the city that will astound you.  They don’t go 360 degrees like the space needle, but the entry is only $9 per person!  What is even better, if you are there mid-week (Monday to Friday), there is a Starbucks on the 40thfloor with views almost as good for free.

    View of Seattle from the Columbia Center Tower Photo by Malcolm Muir / AirlineReporter.com.

    View of Seattle from the Columbia Center Tower Photo by Malcolm Muir / AirlineReporter.com.

  6. Take a flight seeing tour around Seattle – Kenmore Air and Rainier Flight offer aircraft tours of the city and with Seattle HeliTours you can go in a helicopter.   What better way to see Seattle than from the sky? As an AvGeek it should come as no surprise that these might be some of the best touristic options in Seattle.  But to make it even better, why not do it on-board a Seaplane taking off from South Lake Union, right next to downtown, with Kenmore.
  7. Ride a Ferry – If you like planes, you might also like boats. For a few bucks, you can walk on to a ferry in downtown Seattle and enjoy the ride. If you want to be a bit more adventurous, head north to Anacortes, WA to catch the ferry up to the San Juan Islands.

No matter what you want to see, or what you enjoy doing, you are sure to be able to find it in Seattle. There are so many more things to do, please share some of your favorites in the comments.

This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.@BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos

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