Travel Guide: Seattle for Design Lovers

Seattle’s downtown has grown up in the previous 50 years. Its growth spurt didn’t really start until the Space Space Needle, using an observation deck and restaurant, was erected to the 1962 World’s Fair. Over the decades since, the skyline has filled with mammoth office buildings, residential towers and, in 2012, a giant Ferris wheel.

Today the town famous for grunge cutting-edge and music technology is finding its own structure shaped by some of those same influences, particularly the latter. Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks are making — or have made — their mark around town, with everything in the Gates Foundation’s ancestral headquarters carrying shape to Amazon’s new office towers earmarked for the skyline.

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It’s easy to spend a week seeing all that the town has to offer you. But allow three or more days to visit the very best architectural- and design-oriented places.

And do not forget your raincoat, no matter what time of year it’s. There is an expression in Seattle that if you do not like the weather, wait for 10 minutes. However, Seattle is not a constant slog; Atlanta really has more rain annually. The weather is simply a little more unpredictable here.


Duwamish Longhouse:
Tribal heritage museum and cultural centre
Location: 4705 W. Marginal Way
Noteworthy: The Longhouse supplies the people with a unique chance to experience the culture of Seattle’s first Men and Women.

Duwamish Tribe associates — the descendents of Chief Seattle — raised funds to purchase land near the historical village of hah-AH-poos (yes, it’s spelled like that) and constructed a longhouse using traditional cedar post-and-beam structure that was designed by Byron Barnes, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe. The Duwamish Longhouse opened in 2009 and doubles as a place for tribal and other occasions as well as a museum dedicated to the tribe’s history. Tribal members installed the mosaic wood floor, which shows the Duwamish Tribe’s physical place between the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges.

More information: Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center

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Though Seattle’s skyline is continually rising, the Space Space Needle continues to anchor its identity.

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Pike Place Market: Stalls for produce, seafood, crafts and much more
Location: 85 Pike St.
Noteworthy: be sure to have a look at the fish sellers, where employees toss fish to one another.

Over a hundred years old, this historical landmark includes a farmer’s market, fresh fish and bakery stands, and dozens of independent busineses and craftspeople. From the multilevel warren of shops that overlook Elliot Bay, it is possible to discover new clams, music, Mexican folk art, Polish pottery and flowers.

More information: Pike Place Market

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Seattle Central Library
Location: 1000 Fourth Ave.

Drawing on the ability of architects Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Ramus, the new glass-clad 11-story central library opened its doors in 2004. The design includes enormous, light-filled public spaces along with a big public lecture space constructed with interesting renewable materials.

More information: Seattle Public Library

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EMP Museum: A dazzling construction by architect Frank Gehry
Price: Infants, $20 ($15 on line)
Location: 325 Fifth Ave.
Noteworthy: Over 21,000 custom-made colored aluminum shingles decorate the arch, twisting building. It never looks the exact same way twice.

EMP is the brainchild of Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, also is dedicated to music and science fiction. It’s exhibitions on musical artists such as Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, and on topics such as “Can’t Look Away: The Lure of the Horror Film.”

Hint: If you ride the monorail into the EMP from downtown Seattle, you’ll ride through a portion of this construction.

More information: EMP Museum

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Location: 440 Fifth Ave.
Noteworthy: The base’s amazing work on global issues such as poverty, sanitation and disease management occurs in an amazing building, which opened in 2011.

During the customer’s center excursion, guests learn about the foundation and get a glimpse at the boomerang-shaped buildings in which the base’s employees operate. Besides the innovative design, which comprises a below-grade courtyard and cantilevered segments, the project earned an LEED Platinum rating because of its sustainable design, such as green roofs and a cistern for mowing the landscaping.

More information: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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Sky City Restaurant
Location: Near the surface of the Space Needle
Price: Entrees from $38

Combine top-of-the-Space-Needle views using a restaurant that revolves 360 degrees, and you also have a dining experience you won’t forget. A meal at Sky City — brunch, lunch or dinner — comprises a elevator ride up into the restaurant and accessibility to the observation deck (a $19 ticket for those not dining).

More information: Sky City

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Marination Mobile: Hawaiian-Korean restaurant with multiple locations
Areas: Marination Ma Kai, 1660 Harbor Ave. (West Seattle); Marination Station, 1412 Harvard Ave. (Capitol Hill); along with Big Blue (food truck that travels around town)

Fabulous food using a Hawaiian-Korean bent, such as tacos, sliders, the inimitable Kimchi Rich Bowl and Spam Musubi. The West Seattle place (“ma kai” means “by the sea”) is situated at Seacrest Park, which is the end of the line for the water taxi that starts downtown. As a consequence, that you may expand your waterfront meanderings into a travel across Elliott Bay to get a meal.

Ivars Salmon House on Lake Union is also worth the trip.In a replica longhouse with an extensive group of native canoes, photos and art, it is possible to dine on alder-smoked salmon and other seafood specialties. Its location along the north end of Lake Union makes it feasible to dock a ship alongside the restaurant’s outside seating area.

More information: Marination Mobile, Ivar’s Salmon House

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The Pink Door: Italian-American restaurant and cabaret lounge
Location: 1919 Post Alley

There are dozens of stellar restaurants downtown, but not at a construction like this. Here you get just a little bit of everything, and it all interesting. Guests enter the restaurant through a low-key pink door on Post Alley. Take in the spacious and eclectic decor whilst dining on delectable Italian food — and if you time it right, see a trapeze act high over the tables. Cabaret shows go on in the lounge next door, and terrace seats allows Elliot Bay views.

More information: The Pink Door

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The Seattle Great Wheel: Ferris wheel
Price: Infants, $13
Location: 1301 Alaskan Way (Pier 57)

In 175 feet tall and extending 40 feet past the edge of the pier, the Seattle Great Wheel offers excellent views of downtown and the Olympic Mountains, if you’re able to stomach such fantastic heights. Enclosed gondolas imply it is possible to ride rain or shine, along with the LED lights along the spokes are usually lit up in symbolic colours and patterns. (If they’re blue and green, the Seahawks are playing.)

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour is just another fun experience. During Seattle’s reconstruction after the Great Seattle Fire in the late 1880s, a decision was made to boost the level of downtown roads over the muddy mess they had gotten. After retaining walls went in and were filled in for the new roads, the original main floors of several companies remained buried below. It is an architectural tour unlike any other.

More information: Seattle Great Wheel; Underground Tour

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Kerry Park viewpoint
Location: 211 W. Highland Dr. (Queen Anne)

Together the south slope of Queen Anne Hill is a town park that attracts photographers from all over to get a perfect shot of town. From here the Space Needle is in the front of the skyline, and Mt. Rainier will be to the right. Be warned, however: On a day of ideal shooting conditions, anticipate to jostle for a position on the railroad.

More information: Kerry Park

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Log House Museum: Seattle history construction
Price: $3 suggested donation
Location: 3003 61st Ave.

In a restored hundred-year-old log construction, learn about Seattle’s pioneers who landed at Alki Beach, also see photos of original buildings and homes. The Log House Museum was the carriage house to the first “modern” home on Alki at 1902, known as the Fir Lodge, constructed by William and Gladys Bernard. The Fir Lodge is only down the road — it’s currently called the Homestead Restaurant — though a fire damaged it a few years back and it’s not available to the public.

Walking tours are just another excellent way to learn about Seattle’s history and architecture.The town offers a list of free self-guided walking tours of downtown areas like Pike Place Market and the International District, as well as areas such as Ballard and Columbia City.

The nonprofit Historic Seattle offers guided walking tours of areas such as First Hill. These are on a charge basis and may sell out, so plan ahead.

Another totally free and self-guided excursion consists of Seattle’s many stairways. Considering all the hills, there should be staircase, and the website (see below) maps a number of them. The staircase also happen to take you through areas with some of the best views and many interesting mixes of houses.

More information: Log House Museum; Historic Seattle tour; self-guided walking excursion; stairway walks excursion

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Inn at the Market
Location: 86 Pine St.

Sometimes it makes sense to Keep in the Middle of it all, along with the Inn at the Market is appropriate there. Measures from Pike Place Market, a few blocks from great shopping and surrounded by excellent restaurants, the inn has a small size and excellent company, making it a relaxing and comfortable home base for your stay.

Or visit First Hill, only a fast walk east of the downtown center, to the Sorrento Hotel, with 76 unique rooms and suites. The hotel boasts Italianate architecture and offers an afternoon tea at its historical lobby.

More information: Inn at the Market; Sorrento Hotel

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Must-Visit Shops:

Seattle Design Center
Location: 5701 Sixth Ave. South

Instead of traipse all over town looking for showrooms, start in the Seattle Design Center, home to dozens of designers and a lot of custom furniture, floor coverings, light fixtures and fabrics. Bonus: The area around the SDC is known to those in the biz as Tile Town due to the large quantities of tile and slab showrooms within a block or 2.

Some Luxurious cloth suppliers have their very own downtown showrooms. Start Looking for Ann Sacks Tile & Stone, Flor and SieMatic cabinets, to name a few.

Meanwhile, Pioneer Square provides an opportunity to return in time with your own decor. The company district’s website (see below) includes an entire list of carpet and antiques galleries, all within walking distance of one another.

More information: Seattle Design Center; Pioneer Square

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Hidden Stone

Schmitz Park
Location: 5551 Admiral Way

A 53-acre park with old-growth forest in the middle of a major city? This is Schmitz Park, whose entrance point along Admiral is through a historical bridge. It’s also possible to enter in the park’s easternmost point or in the gate near the southeast end of Alki Elementary. Woodpeckers, streams and other wildlife abound.

There is also Volunteer Park at the heart of Capitol Hill, a neighborhood with diverse restaurants and nightlife and a number of the city’s grandest old houses. Love the park conservatory of plants and flowers and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Or have a picnic while enjoying the views of downtown and Isamu Noguchi’s sculpture “Black Sun.” When you are done, stroll the neighborhood to observe a number of Seattle’s most amazing and well-preserved houses and mansions.

More information: Schmitz Park; Volunteer Park; Seattle Asian Art Museum

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