Fun attractions keep bringing people backIf you’re visiting Seattle, there are just certain places you cannot miss – the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the Museum of Flight – and perhaps one of the best places to spend some time is the Seattle Waterfront.
The atmosphere alone is worth the visit. There is the scenic panorama of Elliott Bay, the comings and goings of the Washington State Ferries, and the festive atmosphere down on the various piers where you’ll be able to take in everything from a dock-side aquarium to one of the country’s tallest Ferris wheels, with lots of shopping and seafood dining in between.
On our recent stay we stayed at the ideal location for a visit to the Seattle Waterfront – the Edgewater Hotel. This hotel has been famous for decades as the one hotel where you can actually stay ON the water. The Edgewater is built on pilings that put you quite literally out on the water, making it feel like you are staying on board a cruise ship. Look out your window and down below is water, along with the gorgeous views of the waterfront and Elliott Bay.
The Edgewater’s other claim to fame is that it hosted the Beatles on one of their rare visits to the Pacific Northwest back in the mid-1960’s. Yes, Paul, George, John and Ringo had the same view that you will have, especially if you’re able to book the Beatles Suite where the famous photo was taken of them fishing out the window. The suite has lots of Beatles memorabilia as well.
The rooms at the Edgewater have a Northwest flair, from the stuffed bear waiting for you on the comfortable king bed to the bear footstool in front of your own fireplace. Native American designs are prevalent in the furniture and décor. But the most Northwest-flavored feature of a room at the Edgewater is that view out onto the water and Elliott Bay. It just couldn’t be any better.
If you wanted to, you could sit in your room all day and watch a fascinating parade of boats and ferries, but just down the street is a whole waterfront full of fun. During our recent visit Ivar’s Acres of Clams was closed due to construction on the waterfront, but this is a mainstay on the waterfront and, for us, a must visit anytime we’re on the waterfront. Fresh clam strips or fish and chips just taste better out on the waterfront and the hot clam chowder will warm you on a cold winter’s day.
Other waterfront dining is available while Ivar’s remains closed, and you’ll want to check out the many shops that are located on Piers 56 and 57. You can get quality merchandise – or you might just find some tacky tourist items, depending upon the shop. As you might guess, there is a wide variety. A relatively new addition to the downtown waterfront area is the Giant Wheel, a Ferris wheel that may not be the biggest in the world, but certainly ranks as one of the most breathtaking just for the scenic views you get from the top. On a clear day, the view of the bay, the nearby islands and the Olympics in the far distance is amazing.
Just a block off the waterfront, we took the Seattle Underground Tour, a look at the history of Seattle that includes a tour through some of the city’s original buildings that are now underground. The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 had consumed much of the town, which had been built on soggy tide flats. After the fire, the new buildings were built on retaining walls, eight feet higher, effectively raising the streets one story higher than the old sidewalks that still ran alongside the original buildings. With the tour, you go back down through passageways to see the first story of those buildings, now invisible from the street. It’s educational and made fun by the tour guides who will keep you laughing through most of the tour.
There are several other museums and attractions on the waterfront, including the Seattle Aquarium, a popular stop for families. Other nearby attractions in the program include the Seattle Art Museum, Milepost 31, Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, and SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park.
Also close to the Seattle Waterfront is Pike Place Market, one of the best places in Seattle to people-watch. The market is where Seattle residents – or those working in Seattle but residing in the suburbs – come to get fresh fish and produce or to sample interesting and unique restaurant fare. The market is an experience that both locals and visitors savor, a ritual that bears repeating on a regular basis.
One of the highlights of our recent visit to the waterfront was an elegant and expertly-prepared dinner at the Edgewater’s Six Seven Restaurant, a popular place for Seattle locals who want a special waterfront view for dining to go with incredibly fresh seafood. On the weekend night we were there, it looked to us like this restaurant is especially popular for dates and special romantic occasions. Either way, this is a must for your stay at the Edgewater.
For more information on the Edgewater Hotel, phone 206-728-7000, or visit www.edgewaterhotel.com.
For more information on the museum offer, please visit www.seattlemuseummonth.com.
PHOTO CREDITS: Pike Place Market, Edgewater Hotel, Sandi Ordway
RECOMMENDED LODGING: Seattle lodging
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