Famous Places in Seattle, WA
Seattle is the largest metropolis of the Pacific Northwest, with a more than a half-million citizens within its city limits and approximately 3 million in its metropolitan area. Points of interest to visitors include Pioneer Square, a historical district with many art galleries and entertainment venues; Pioneer Place, in which a notable iron pergola, originally designed with ornamental iron columns and wrought iron in 1909 as a shelter for those waiting for a cable car, and the Tlingit totem pole are of interest; Boeing Field, where the Museum of Flight is located; and the Pike Street public markets, where farmers sell their own produce in stalls overlooking the harbor.
The Seattle Aquarium, with its numerous exhibits and hands-on displays, has many educational programs as well. Restaurant experts rate Seattle among the top cities in the United States for dining places. Many of these specialize in foreign foods. Boat trips in the harbor and through the Chittenden locks to Lake Union and Lake Washington, as well as to British Columbia, are popular. Mount Rainier is an easy drive by automobile.
Seattle AquariumClick thumbnail to view full-size
Seattle's mild climate makes possible a wide variety of outdoor recreation all year. The Puget Sound country claims the largest per capita boat ownership in the world. Saltwater fishing, mostly for salmon, has no closed season and requires no license. Skiing is the major winter sport, with many ski areas situated within a few hours' drive of the city. A weeklong Sea Fair in August features water sports climaxed by a hydroplane race.
Seattle ParksClick thumbnail to view full-size
There are nearly 150 parks and playgrounds in the city of Seattle that offer opportunities for golfing, swimming (outdoor and indoor pools, and at least ten beaches), and other sports. Major park areas include Discovery Park, the largest in Seattle; Seward Park; Woodland Park, which has a zoo; Lincoln Park; and Volunteer Park. Smaller parks with views are Kinnear, Kerry, Belvedere, Duwamish Head, and Magnolia. Connecting the scattered parks is a scenic boulevard system that skirts Lake Washington or overlooks Puget Sound.
Seattle supports major league sports. The Mariners of baseball's American League play at Safeco Field, and the Seahawks of the National Football League play at CenturyLink Field (formerly, Qwest Field), which is also the site of boat shows, circuses, concerts, and the like; the Seattle Sounders, from Major League Soccer, also play most of their home games at this venue. The Seattle Storm of the Women's National Basketball Association play in the KeyArena (formerly, Seattle Center Coliseum), which hosts a variety of entertainment and sports events. The Supersonics of the NBA moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City in 2008; they were renamed the Thunder.
The University of Washington, which opened in 1861 as the territorial university, occupies a 640-acre (259-ha) campus overlooking Lake Washington and Lake Union, with fine views of the Cascade Range and Mt. Rainier. Among its modern structures are the Medical-Dental Center, an engineering building, and a student union. Husky Stadium, the football venue, seats 75,500. The Alaska Airlines Arena (formerly, Bank of America Arena) at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, renovated and reopened in 2001, is the primary home for the indoor sports; there are individual venues for many other sports on campus. The university has more than 40,000 employees and is one of the top recipients of federal research dollars.
Also in the city are Seattle University (Roman Catholic, coeducational), which opened in 1900; Seattle Pacific College (Free Methodist, coeducational), which began as a seminary in 1893; and Cornish College of the Arts. As well, Seattle is home to everal community colleges.
Among Seattle's many churches and synagogues, St. James' Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Seattle, and the Cathedral Church of St. Mark's is the seat of the Protestant Episcopal diocese of Olympia. The city has more than 30 hospitals and treatment facilities, including a large children's hospital, a medical school at the University of Washington, and several schools of nursing.
The cultural life of Seattle received a boost with the creation after 1962 of the Seattle Center, a spacious and modern complex occupying the land upon which the Century 21 Exposition had stood. The center has a number of museums, theaters, and other attractions. The Seattle Symphony, among whose conductors have been Sir Thomas Beecham and Milton Kamins, presents a full season of concerts and also neighborhood programs; the concerts take place in Benaroya Hall. The Seattle Center Playhouse, supported by the University of Washington, is a notable repertory theater company. The renowned Pacific Northwest Ballet company makes its home in the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall as does the Seattle Opera; McCaw Hall was constructed within the steel support structure of the earlier Seattle Opera House and opened in 2003. Numerous festivals are hosted at the Seattle Center throughout the year.
A multimillion-dollar library bond was proposed and passed in 1998, allowing a makeover of the entire library system in Seattle; this included the Central Library, 24 neighborhood libraries, mobile services, and the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. The newly constructed Central Library, with its unique design, including a 275-seat auditorium and parking for nearly 150 vehicles, opened in May 2004. It possesses well over a million volumes and has an annual circulation of more than 5 million. Special services include film, technology, art, music, education, and business and economics departments. Nonstudents may use the University of Washington's main and specialized libraries.
The Seattle Art Museum in Volunteer Park has one of the notable collections on the Pacific Coast. Other galleries are the privately endowed Frye Art Museum; the Seattle Asian Art Museum; the Experience Music Project, a rock and roll museum; the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame; and the Olympic Sculpture Park, which opened on the waterfront in 2007. The Henry Art Gallery and the Washington State Museum, which has an extensive collection of Northwest Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut artifacts, are located on the university campus. The Museum of History and Industry in the Arboretum has a collection ranging from the obstetrical instruments of Seattle's first physician to space helmets, and from a dugout canoe to Slo-Mo-Shun IV, the Seattle-built boat that revolutionized the design of hydroplanes. Also of interest are the Seattle Art Museum Pavilion and the Pacific Science Center, both located at the Seattle Center.
Century 21 Exposition
The Century 21 Exposition was held in Seattle in 1962. It was the first major international exposition held in the United States since 1939 and one of the few profitable ones. Its theme was "Man in Space," and its purpose was to depict life in the 21st century. The U.S. State Department, acting on an earlier proclamation by Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower, invited all nations on the United States diplomatic list to participate.
The dominant structure of the exposition was a 600-foot (180-meter) tower, the Space Needle, topped by a revolving restaurant. Other features were monorail commuter service from downtown Seattle to the fairgrounds; a U.S. science pavilion with a simulated "ride through space"; and "Coliseum Century 21," depicting life in the next century. There were also exhibits of art, commerce, and industry. Several structures, including the Space Needle, were kept when the area became a civic center, convention site, and park.