Seattle – Home to Starbucks and Much More

At an intimate dinner party at the East Coast home of a friend, our small group engaged in a conversation on the West Coast.  A guest spoke highly of a recent trip to Seattle, Washington, and encouraged our group to visit this exciting destination.  People are generally surprised to learn, despite its seasonal downpours and wet winters; it doesn’t rain every day of the year in Seattle.  In fact, the summers are pleasantly warm and dry.  As the largest city in the Northwestern United States, its metropolitan area is home to over 3.4 million inhabitants.  This major city encompasses six of the busiest ports in the United States and serves as an important gateway for trade with Asia. Seattle lies on seven hills, just like the city of Rome, resulting in interesting topography.  Boasting numerous bodies of water and rich scenery complete with lush green forests, Seattle earned the nickname, “The Emerald City.”  Interestingly, Seattle has a host of monikers such as the Rainy City, the Gateway to Alaska, the Queen City, the City of Flowers, and the Jet City.  Home to Starbucks and other specialty gourmet coffee shops, it is also known as the coffee capital of the world.

Many notable landmarks are located there, like the well visited Space Needle.  Edward E. Carlson, former President of Western International Hotels, is responsible for the creation of the iconic structure.  His vision began in 1959 with an initial drawing of the building on an unlikely piece of sketch paper, a napkin.  The original design evolved into the space-age looking structure one sees today, created for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, with the help of architect John Graham.  In order to make his initial vision work architecturally, changes and enhancements were made which resulted in its unique flying saucer shape.  Overcoming obstacles, such as receiving financing and finding a proper location, did not prove to be easy.  Just 13 months shy of the World’s Fair opening, suitable land was fortunately found and sold to private investors for $75,000. Construction began by the Howard S. Wright Construction Company and things moved quickly.  467 cement trucks spent an entire day filling holes to create a concrete base for the structure.  The project is recorded as the largest continuous concrete pour on the West Coast.  Special attention was given to the design to include a revolving restaurant and an Observation Deck.  Achieving balance and rotation was paramount to its ability to function.  The 605 foot tall Space Needle was proudly completed in December of 1961 and was officially opened on the first day of the World’s Fair, April 21, 1962. Over time, improvements were made, including newer elevator installations in 1993.  This exceptional structure was built at a cost of $4.5 million dollars.  During the World’s Fair nearly 20,000 people a day went to the top.  Almost 50 years later, and in spite of occasional closures due to severe inclement weather, the Space Needle hosts over 2.3 million visitors and is listed as Seattle’s number one destination for tourists.  This incredible structure withstood a 6.8 Richter scale earthquake in 2001, attesting to its superior strength and design.  The tower has 25 lightning rods on its roof to prevent lightening damage.  In recent years, the edifice has undergone renovations to maintain modernization and overall integrity.  If you enjoy heights and you’re interested in 360 degree breathtaking view of Seattle as far as the eyes can see, you’re bound to take pleasure in the breathtaking views high atop this iconic building.

For those a bit leery of heights, the historic Pike Place Market may be more your pace.  In fact, it is one of Seattle’s landmarks and special treasures.  Overlooking the downtown waterfront, the market offers an abundance of delicious fruits and produce, fresh fish, meats and other culinary delights.  The market contains booths of unique and clever crafts, antiques, flowers, ethnic foods and more.   If you’re looking to take home a souvenir to remember your visit, Pike Place Market is a mecca for great deals and hosts over 10 million visitors a year. This charming and lively marketplace covers an amazing 9 plus acres and is in fact so large that more than one visit may be necessary.  With a great many stalls, shops and galleries, there is much to explore. Having celebrated its centennial in 2007, this bustling center has an interesting history.  Built in response to public outcry over unreasonably high food costs, the City Council passed an ordinance establishing a public farmers market on the west side of Pike Place.  Shortly after opening in 1907, it became a popular place for Seattle citizens to shop for and save money on food.  Farmers were happy, too, because they no longer took losses from commission houses.  Local farmers wanting to sell goods at the market were required to prove their produce was home grown on the land in which they lived.  Stalls were assigned by lottery and in 1912 the rent was 10 cents a day.  After WWII, and with the building of grocery stores, the market place began to suffer.  Over time, rehabilitation and revitalization was necessary to keep the market running, using both public and private funds.  The result was its successful restoration, making it the oldest continuously operated public market in the United States.  A visit to this historic and popular tourist attraction is mandatory to achieve a well rounded visit of Seattle.

Be sure to check out the thrilling adventures this stunning West Coast City has to offer. There are many stimulating things to see and do in this beautiful coastal city, situated between the inlet of the Puget Sound and the large freshwater of Lake Washington.  Observe the beautiful downtown Seattle skyline and panoramic water views from high atop the Space Needle, or discover the famous Pike Place Market and immerse yourself in the history and charm of the metropolis.  Summer is an especially great season to explore the region and partake in a ferry ride or visit the lovely fountains at the aquarium.  Even if it does rain, you can relax and enjoy a hot cup of coffee indoors at one of Seattle’s delightfully abundant cafés in this beautiful city in the Pacific Northwest.

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8 years ago

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Howard Cannon
8 years ago

Seattle was also the birthplace of UPS (United Parcel Service) in 1907.

ted derdowski
8 years ago

That’s why I don’t like Starbucks. and I think the coffee sucks.

R Smith
9 years ago

Seattle is a pathetic city. The last time I was there it was veteran’s day and as we were landing a stewardess said bless our troops and military. I started clapping -I was the only one. People stared at me like I was a martian…way to go Seattle..very nice

Don Jackson
9 years ago

We had a great time in Seattle on the 4th of July 2004 celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. The bands played all day and into the night, there was plenty of refreshment stands serving almost any delicacy your heart desired and all this excitement was topped off with a spectacular fireworks display shooting from canons situated on a large barge out in the water. This location was not too far from Pikes Market where the employees were tossing fish high into the air. Great memories! Thank you Seattle.

Janet Green
9 years ago

I am sure Seattle is a beautiful city but are you aware that Starbucks came out in support of legitamizing gay marriages. Saying that two women or two men can be lawfully married? I thing you could have found something other than Starbucks to help project the beauty of Seattle.

9 years ago
Reply to  Janet Green

I applaud Starbucks on supporting equal rights!

Steve Francis
9 years ago

I lived across the Puget Sound (Bremerton, Poulsbo, Silverdale and Suquamish, all in the first 19 years of my life. And that does not cover the time away from the Sound in Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula. As the ferry system made it so easy to cross the Sound there were many days when I (or we) either drove or walked on to the boat so that access to the sights and sounds of the city were well within our grasp. Why live in the city when God gave us these great white and green car and people carriers?

Pikes Place Market, the Seattle Center where Seattle hosted a worlds fair, Ivar’s Acres of Clams as well as Ivar’s Fish house were favorite experiences in satisfying a hunger for seafood and the King Dome were just a few of the great places to stay busy and discover new things as well as familiar things that kept drawing me back. Many that I have spoken with are familiar with the water front and Pike’s Place plus the ball fields. However, there are many other great places that I learned about once I moved to the mid-west for college and then again when I married and moved to Oregon.

If you want to know the great places to take in in any place you are going to visit, or in the community you call home, don’t ask someone that lives there. Ask someone who has visited that place and ask what they did and where they should go. And then, enjoy.

Di Kerr
9 years ago

My husband and I spent a couple of days in Seattle in 2000, not enough time to visit as many places as we wanted. However, we were able to visit the Space Needle and Pike Market as well as taking the tour of the underground city. It was very enjoyable, and we are looking forward to returning and visiting more of the sights.

Charles Kaminski
9 years ago

When in Seattle, try Tully’s coffee – its beans are not burnt in the roasting process.

It is very easy to spot an “out-of-towner” – they are the only ones that carry umbrellas! A little water… wuss.

Tours of Elliott Bay are available…. but on a clear day take those funds and “walk on” to the ferry to Bainbridge Island; have lunch on the island; walk on to the ferry on the way back — bring cameras. Consider that you will be at sea level and have a great view of Mount Rainier (14,410′). It is seventy-five miles away and looks “large.” You can drive towards it for two hours and the perspective does not change – it’s large.

New wealth politics are very left – but I deal with it because, being a “mosquito-magnet,” it is the preferred alternative to being beset upon by flying blood-suckers! We don’t even have screens on our open windows!!

8 years ago

When will people learn to use saecrh engines like Google or Yahoo Search? I used Google and got dozens of hits on exactly the same question. Try it.

Ken Koeppe
9 years ago

Brought back fond memories of my youthful visit to the worlds fair & space needle in 1962 with a fabulously beautiful lady from Wenatchee, WA. Seattle will always have a soft spot in my heart, it is a wonderful place to visit.

Al Nielsen
9 years ago

Very Liberal Sanctuary City.

Starbucks Owner (a capitalist right) is a very big Obama Supporter.

I’ll save my money.

Bob Stevens
9 years ago

You guys should do a story on Redlands, Ca. A very conservative city, great cycling place, and wonderful oranges (lately, all year round). If you live in a city like Redlands, why would you want to go anywhere else?

6 years ago
Reply to  Bob Stevens

Thanks for the info on Redlands. I’m always looking for new places to visit

David Young
9 years ago

My wife and I just spent a week in Seattle. I found it interesting, but far from any ideal city. Very large, filled with “colorful” characters on almost every street corner. The cit is clean, mostly due to the rain, although it does not rain all the time. While we were there was much less rain than expected.
The tourist areas, like Pike Place Market, were filled with friendly vendors and lots of potential customers. The original Starbucks is more of an exhibit than a place to get coffee. The morning temps were about 40 F.
I can recommend The Inn at the Market. Real nice boutique hotel with great views of the bay.
Public transportation works pretty well, however, like most cities, it could be cleaner, especially the buses. The bus drivers are very helpful and friendly. We found most of the people to be willing to give directions and advice.
The tour of the old “underground” in the Pioneer Square district is interesting, but don’t feel bad if you miss it.
It will cost you $17.00 to ride to the top of the Space Needle and then you can have lunch up there. We chose to spend our money elsewhere.
The Museum of Flight is very interesting and enormous, if you are into that sort of things. I found the WWII pavilion especially interesting.
Meals can be pricey in even the runof the mill restaurants.
Bon Voyage.

Bill Griffin
9 years ago

We’re going this summer–would appreciate any more tips! Give us a good link or links to learn more.

Ed Gold
9 years ago
Reply to  Bill Griffin

Do not miss visiting the” Chittenden Locks and Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden”. The locks have viewing windows so you can see the Salmon migrating upstream… Also the adjacent Ballard area has great restaurants etc. This is a few miles north of downtown Seattle….

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