The Seattle Guide
Seattle has been inhabited for more than 4,000 years. While those early settlers weren't drinking Starbucks, listening to Nirvana, or hoping to befriend Bill Gates, they were enjoying the ocean, taking in the view of the beautiful mountain ranges, and refreshed by mild summer weather.
The attraction of the Pacific Northwest
The Emerald City is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. Between 1990 and 2000, 50,000 people decided that they'd like Seattle to be their home. The metropolitan area now has nearly four million residents working at some of the biggest companies in the country. Seattle's biggest employers include Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon.
Seattleites love their hometown whether they're newcomers or lifelong residents. The area has so much to offer with professional sports, arts and entertainment, dining from around the world, hiking, biking, and boating. When they've had enough activity, a break at a coffee shop is a must. Seattle is not only home to Starbucks, but Seattle's Best (you had to figure), and Tully's.
What is Seattle known for?
Alternative rock got its start in the area known for Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. But, the early 20th century, the area was famous for streets lined with jazz clubs.
In addition to coffee and music, Seattle has the largest ferry system and the biggest houseboat community in the country. More than 500 houseboats provide floating residences. When they're not on the water, Seattleites love their bicycles and more people use them as work transportation in the Emerald City, than anywhere else in the US.
Entertainment in the Pacific Northwest
Seattle is the largest city in Washington, as well as the Pacific Northwest. So, surrounding towns look to the Emerald City, not only for its outdoor activities but its thriving Arts & Entertainment Community.
Many people know Seattle for its contribution to grunge or alternative rock. But, in the early 20th century, jazz clubs prevailed. Currently, symphony, opera, and ballet are all active, as well as music of other genres, plays, musicals, comedy, and more.
If you enjoy immersing yourself in a great play, the Moore Theatre has plays that consistently change so you have plenty of options. The Falls Theatre is another home to theatrical performances. It's part of the ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) venues and has a more intimate atmosphere.
Musicals are just as prevalent as traditional plays in the Seattle area and the Paramount and 5th Avenue theatres bring you the best of Broadway, then and now.
When we talk about the classics, the big three that come to mind are Opera, Symphony, and Ballet, and Seattle has them covered.
The Pacific Northwest Ballet has one of the top three ballet training programs in the United States. While The Nutcracker is a favorite show for all ages, the company performs other shows with an all-age appeal like Pinocchio and The Sleeping Beauty.
Seattle Symphony dates back to 1903 and performs at Benaroya Hall. The orchestra and opera go hand in hand as the symphony provides most of the musical accompaniment for the Seattle Opera. Opera is performed at McCaw Hall, which is also home of the Ballet.
Seattle Opera Company is more than 50 years old and gravitates to the pieces by Richard Wagner. Some of the biggest names in opera like Beverly Sills and Joan Sutherland have performed with the company. Bette Midler also performed the Opera's production of Tommy (The Who).
It's not always necessary to default to dinner and a movie. You may not want to spend $50 or more for a theater ticket, but comedy clubs are more affordable and just as entertaining, albeit in a different way.
Seattle has several clubs including the Comedy Underground, which is open seven days a week. The Stranger, DSz Seattle, and Laughs are all clubs with regular performances. But, touring comedians hit town as well and perform at venues like the Snoqualmie Casino, Neptune, Moore, and Paramount Theaters.
Calling Seattle Sports Fans
Seattle has six major professional sports, with two teams amongst the "big four" consisting of the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL.
The Seattle Seahawks joined the National Football League (NFL) in 1976 and have the distinction of being the only team in the league to have played in both the AFC and NFC championship games. CenturyLink Field is the Seahawks' home turf.
After three attempts, Seattle fans had their first Championship team when the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos.
The Pacific Northwest doesn't have an NHL or NBA team anymore since the Seattle SuperSonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. But, it does have a Major League Baseball team to go along with the Seahawks.
The Seattle Mariners began their home games in 1977. While they have yet to win a World Series, the Mariners were division champions in 1995, 97, and 2001. The team is 10% owned by Nintendo and plays at Safeco Field.
Four more teams
In addition to the Mariners and the Seahawks, Seattle has four other top professional teams:
Seattle Sounders - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Seattle Storm - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)
Seattle Reign - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Seattle Seawolves - Major League Rugby (MLR)
NCAA Division I Teams
Both the University of Washington and Seattle University are NCAA Division I colleges. Seattle Pacific University is an NCAA Division II school.
The Great Seattle Outdoors
Seattle isn't called the Emerald City because of jewelry. It's green and lush, and its mild summers and cool winters allow for plenty of outdoor activities.
No need for the gym
Mount Rainier is the tallest in the state and is part of the Cascade Range, but it's not the only option for hiking and climbing. Mt. Adams, Mt. Baker, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Olympus, and Mt. Si are all within driving distance.
Lakes and the western coastline also allow for water sports like paddle boarding or kayaking. Discovery Park is the largest in the city and it overlooks Puget Sound. Discovery provides nine miles of walking paths, plus two miles of beach trails. It's a must-see for residents and visitors. Don't forget to bring your camera.
Seattle Dining Experiences
You have to figure that Seattle is going to have seafood and it's going to be fresh. But, depending on the type of seafood you enjoy, it may not be available year-round. The west coast catches vary from the east coast.
Best Time for Seafood in Seattle
May through September is a good time for salmon or Oregon pink shrimp. Halibut has a longer run with fresh catches between March and November. If you prefer Dungeness crab, be sure you dine out in the summer as June through August are the best months for crab in the Pacific Northwest.
Market Grill may be a good place to start, as it's famous for its blackened salmon sandwich. The downtown restaurant is on Pike Place in the Pike Place Market area. So, you can do your share of people-watching too.
Whether you live in Seattle or are just visiting, coffee is a must. After all, coffee is king in the Emerald City.
Of course, you can always stop by a Starbucks, but why not try a cup at the oldest coffee shop that's still serving. Cafe Allegro is in the University District, in an alley behind a bookshop. In addition to the espresso, it also serves breakfast and dessert and offers a Happy Hour with wine and beer specials from 4-7pm.
The Seattle Miscellaneous
Paris, then Seattle
Just as Paris' Eiffel Tower was built for the 1899 World Expo, the Seattle Space Needle was constructed for the 1962 World's Fair. It was built to withstand a 9.1 magnitude earthquake and 200 mph winds.
A Bad Rap
Seattle and rain have been used synonymously for years. But, the city actually accumulates less rain each year that New York, Atlanta, Boston, or Houston.
Emerald trumps Queen
Seattle was known as the Queen City from 1869 to 1981. But, a contest led to a new nickname, Emerald City. No, it's not because of Dorothy or the Tin Man, it's for Seattle's lush green landscape.
First and Diverse
Seattle is home to the first gas station in the country. It also was the first to have police on bicycles, and is the birthplace of Starbucks. The original store opened in 1971 at Pike Place Market.