No other city in the country is more readily identified with the coffee bean.
Find out why this is a well-deserved reputation on Seattle by Foot’s two-hour Coffee Crawl. Learn about the humble beginnings of Starbucks with a stop at the original location, visit a coffee-bean roaster and sample aromatic coffees at coffeehouses around the city. Or savor Seattle’s best-known delights at a leisurely pace on your own. The original Starbucks in Pike Place Market or Local Color, Art Coffee & More are prime sipping destinations.
Seattleites have room in their hearts for another bean as well — the cocoa bean. Artisan chocolatiers are appearing all around town with displays of chocolate that are almost too pretty to eat. Take Savor Seattle Food Tours’ Chocolate Indulgence Tour (also two hours) to sample decadent truffles, chews, clusters and sipping chocolates that incorporate exotic flavor blends like mango, coconut curry and sea salt. If you’d rather sample Seattle’s confections on your own, stop by the Chocolate Box and Oh! Chocolate.
(add the following to the half-day recommendations)
The eye-popping, Frank Gehry-designed EMP Museum is one of the city’s architectural icons and also one of its moos unique attractions. EMP’s interactive and creative exhibits explore the innovation of popular music. Discover the essence of rock ‘n’ roll, including its roots in jazz, soul, gospel, country and the blues, as well as its continuing influence on other musical styles.
EMP Museum is located at the Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pacific Science Center, Children’s Museum, McCaw Hall, Bagley Wright Theatre, KeyArena, fountains and gardens — a great place to be if you have extra time. After a day of sightseeing, you may be ready to sit back and let someone else entertain you. Seattle’s opera, ballet and symphony companies are among the best in the country, and a performance by any reveals the city’s sophisticated side. A diverse mix of stellar restaurants, which are perfect for a pre-performance meal or an after-show cocktail, surrounds all the venues. Additionally, the area features more than 80 live music venues, many with year-around performance schedules, including the Triple Door and Highway 99 Blues Club.
The Seattle Opera performs at McCaw Hall, a colorful and modern attraction unto itself. Inside, where the sound has been called “nothing short of amazing” by The Seattle Times, the company presents everything from classics to world premieres. With the highest per capita attendance of any major opera company in the U.S., it’s clear the performances themselves are nothing short of amazing. The Pacific Northwest Ballet also performs at McCaw Hall. The company, made up of nearly 50 dancers, presents more than 100 performances each year. Its repertoire includes innovative new works, traditional full-length ballets, and of course, the beloved Christmas tradition, the “Nutcracker.”
The Seattle Symphony Orchestra has been bringing classical music to the city for more than 100 years and has tallied 11 Grammy nominations. Check out a number of performances at Benaroya Hall. For opera lovers, the Seattle Opera offers a diverse lineup from McCaw Hall.
(add the following to the half and full day recommendations)
Seaplane and helicopter tours offer a way to see the city and surrounding landscapes and seascapes from a totally different angle. Kenmore Air departs from several locations in the city and the metro area, offering flightseeing around Seattle, Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. Seattle Seaplanes depart from Lake Union, giving tours of Seattle, the Cascade and Olympic mountains, Mount Rainier, the San Juan Islands, Mount Saint Helens, and Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia. Seattle HeliTours buzzes the Space Needle, waterfront, Snoqualmie Falls and several other scenic locales.
Once back on the ground, drive up to Kerry Park, which is perched atop Queen Anne Hill, to catch views of downtown, the Space Needle and Mount Rainier as the sun sets. Cameras are a must. On the way to and from the park, admire the lovely houses built in the architectural style that gives the Queen Anne neighborhood its name.
Linger for dinner in Queen Anne or head back to downtown, which is one of the best places to savor Pacific Northwest cuisine. A collection of highly acclaimed restaurants takes advantage of the area’s fresh, simple ingredients, blending them with international (often Asian) flavors. The list of must-tastes is a long one: locally caught seafood such as salmon, Dungeness crab, shellfish and oysters, and produce such as wild mushrooms, asparagus, sweet onions, apples, berries and peaches.
Of course, meals should be paired with regionally produced wines. Leading Washington varietals include merlot, chardonnay, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and Riesling.