One of Seattle's most famous landmarks, Pike Place Market is the oldest continuously working public market in the United States and one of the world's top 50 most visited attractions. Pike Place opened in 1907 as the city's first public market, expanding to keep up with its growing popularity as a convenient option for both shoppers and merchants. The market remains a veritable cornucopia of culinary and artisanal options, its crowded aisles and bustling halls thronged with customers jostled between vendors of fresh produce and gourmet eats, alongside fishmongers and craftsmen. The street level is dominated by the food and produce stalls, while the lower levels house a fantastic variety of shops including antique dealers, head shops, florists, and local artisans. A whirlwind of sights, sounds and aromas, Pike Place Market is nothing short of paradise for foodies and connoisseurs of unique wares.
The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, locally known as the Ballard Locks, is a unique and historic location in Seattle. Completed in 1917, this landmark connects the waters of Lake Washington, Lake Union and the Puget Sound. Watching the boats navigate the locks is interesting enough, but the location also hosts an unusual fish ladder that connects salt and fresh water for the local migrating Pacific Salmon. The grounds feature a visitors center as well as the Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens.
Explore the history of flight from the Wright Brothers to space travel. Collections at Museum of Flight include commercial, military and civilian crafts. See a 1929 Boeing 80A-1, the sole survivor of its type. The 1926 Swallow was used as the nation's first contracted airmail service starting in April 1926. For those interested in more modern aircraft, there are the dynamic M-21 Blackbird, the fastest and highest-flying aircraft ever built, and the VC-137B Air Force One, which flew President Dwight D. Eisenhower on a historic visit to meet with Germany's Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1959. Take a walk through the “Red Barn,” a museum in its own right, where the Boeing Company manufactured its first aircraft. There is also a library with an extensive selection of aviation information, as well as a museum store and a cafe on the premises.
Located in Downtown Seattle, Benaroya Hall is a large 189,750 square foot (17,628 square meters) performing arts complex that takes up an entire city block. Located inside are the two performance halls, the Taper Auditorium and the Nordstrom Recital Hall, which each feature state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology. This giant complex provides ample public space and entertainment throughout the year through its various events such as lectures, musicals, festivals and more. A true highlight is the concerts put on by the Seattle Symphony, which call Benaroya Hall, home. For more information regarding venue rentals or upcoming events, visit the website.
The Seattle Art Museum is internationally recognized for its excellent collection of Asian, African and Native American art and for its fine collection of modern art produced by Pacific Northwest artists. The permanent collection includes 21,000 pieces and while it doesn't have huge collections of European art, it does have plentiful local art and wonderful visiting exhibits. The museum is centrally located downtown near the waterfront and Pike Place Market.
Visitors to Seattle are usually stunned by the abundance of water surrounding the city. Just north of downtown lies Lake Union. Surrounded by houseboat communities, marinas, shipbuilders and glitzy restaurants, the lake is a hub of activity. Seaplanes take off and land, sharing the 600-acre lake with kayaks, canoes, powerboats, sailboats and tugboats. While the lake can be explored any time of year, Fireworks Over Lake Union are an annual highlight, bringing thousands of people to the lake's shores. For a day out with children or friends, Lake Union never disappoints.