The Puget Sound Region is without a doubt one of the richest and most dynamic one of the Pacific Northwest. Perfect mix of breathtaking natural landscapes and urban landmarks, the Puget Sound is the ideal place for family vacations or a friend trip. From downtown Seattle to the very impressive Mount Rainier, the San Juan Islands or also the Bavarian town of Leavenworth just to mention some of them, the Northwest of Washington state is filled with things to do and to see!
Surrounded by Lake Washington and the Puget Sound, Seattle is located in a gorgeous natural setting which adds a little more to its charm. Sometimes called the Emerald City by the locals, Seattle not only is the largest city in the state but it is also one of the main spot for fun activities and events.
One of the must-see of downtown is the famous Pike Place Market. This historical covered market is a very special and lively place which perfectly captures Seattle’s atmosphere. You can find anything there. From florists to local producers or also small original boutiques, you’ll have the chance to delight your taste buds or to buy nice souvenirs. As you walk in that labyrinth of small booths, don’t forget to have a look at the fishermen throwing the fish. This typical Seattle “show” is worth alone a stop by the market.
It is even possible sometimes to get a free sample of fresh local food so you don’t necessarily need to buy to enjoy it a bit! As you leave the market, catch a glimpse of Bella Umbrella at the corner of 1st Ave. as it is one of the rare store in the US that sells only and solely umbrellas. The ceiling of their store is literally covered with colorful umbrellas.
From Pike Place Market, you can follow stairs that lead you directly to the waterfront along Elliot Bay. This is another nice part of town where you can simply take a walk, enjoy the view or do some shopping. It is also where Seattle Aquarium is located featuring a large number of Pacific Northwest and exotics species of fish and marine mammals. And take a ride on the Seattle Great Wheel on Pier 57 if you are looking for a great view on the city and the bay.
The waterfront is also a good place to go get some fresh seafood. Among the most popular places you’ll find Anthony’s, Ivars, or also the Crab Pot for those who enjoy eating directly with the hands. Do not leave without having a taste of the delicious Clam Chowder.
Located in the northern part of downtown Seattle, the Seattle Center is a great spot to go with all its museums, exhibits and festivals of all kind for the whole family! This is the place where the famous Space Needle is located. From the top of this architectural wonder, erected for the World Fair in 1962, you’ll have a stunning view of Seattle. The Space Needle is for Seattle what the Eiffel Tower is for Paris. Right across the Space Needle,you’ll see the Chihuly Garden of Glass displaying many gorgeous glass structures. Chihuly is also the artist who designed the colorful glass ceiling at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
The Experience Music Project Museum features many different permanent and temporary fun and entertaining exhibits involving the music culture in the Seattle Area (Nirvana and Hendrix) but also fantasy world or science fiction movies.
For a good way to finish your day in Seattle, head toward the Pacific Center Skyview Observatory located on the tallest building of the city - the Columbia Tower. From the 73rd floor of this skyscraper, the observatory has an unbelievable view of the stadiums, the mountains, Bellevue, but also the bay and the city for only $9 full price.
One of the big advantages of Seattle over other American cities such as LA for instance, is that it has a very well-developed public transportation network (bus, light-rail, ferry…). Here’s a good tip if you wanted to go to downtown Seattle, you can take what the locals call the “Light Rail” which take you right in the heart of the city from SeaTac Airport in only about 30-40 minutes. On top of being inexpensive (only $5.50 return ticket), this will spare you the hassle of driving in downtown and trying to find a parking spot which would cost you a lot of money anyway.
Let’s keep in mind that the Puget Sound region does not limit itself to Seattle but on the contrary has plenty of places to go and visit outside of the city as for example Mount Rainier National Park that we can glimpse from the city on a clear day, the Kitsap Peninsula where are the cities of Poulsbo aka the Little Norway, the Olympic Peninsula as well as countless parks, cute little towns and museums.
The Museum of Flight displays an incredible collection of planes of all sizes and all ages following the history of Boeing, aeronautic crafts from the I and II WW until nowadays with drones and the Space Shuttle. They even let you walk through and Air Force 1 and a Concorde.
For a neat getaway from the city, the little town of Poulsbo and also Bainbridge Island are great destinations. The first one, somewhat European styled, is known for its mouth-watering pastries and its Scandinavian setting (even Viking sometimes) meanwhile the other one, accessible by Ferry from Seattle waterfront, shines for its beautiful green landscape, and its natural reserve of Bloedel as well as its unique viewpoint of Seattle Skyline from the other site of the Bay.
I hope that this non-exhaustive list of touristic attractions in the Puget Sound will give you some good ideas for your next vacations. For more information or documents, feel free to contact or to stop by Seattle Southside Visitor Center located just across from SeaTac International Airport. A friendly and welcoming team will be at your service to give you advice, to provide you with all the information you need (maps, guides, itineraries and much more) to best plan your stay in the region and make it an even more memorable moment. And last but not least, this service is free and available for everyone.
For more adventures and traveling stories in the Pacific Northwest and the West of the United States, here’s the address of a blog created by two nice French citizens from Bergerac who stopped by Seattle Southside Visitor Center: a-agdu24.travelblog.fr