Few cities in America can boast of having so many informal names like Seattle has. It is known as the Emerald City, Queen’s City, Gate to Alaska, City of Rains, and Jet City. Moreover, it’s the largest megalopolis in the Northwestern United States. One can even call it American Rome as it also stands on seven hills. But these are only a few natural wonders of Seattle. In the east, beautiful Lake Washington outlines the boundary of the city while Puget Sound defines it in the west. The primary port of Seattle was built on the banks of Elliot Bay in 1911. It’s the eighth largest port by size and cargo capacity among other American ports. It’s the most important center for maintaining trading relations with Asia. The snowcaps of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains can be seen from every spot in the city. Mount Rainier rises above the town like a conic grey giant. City landscapes and the nature of Seattle inspired Hollywood directors more than once. That’s where you can find the headquarters of such business giants as Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon. What’s the secret of Seattle’s glamour?
Districts of Seattle
Belltown is the part of Seattle Downtown and the most pompous district in the city. It’s a perfect place for fastidious tourists. Don’t even waste your time looking for budget accommodation options here. You should go by the prices of 4- and 5-star hotels like Sheraton and Hilton. Belltown is exceptionally green with a waterfront and diversity of fashionable restaurants, expensive boutiques, and gorgeous nightclubs.
South Lake Union is another part of Downtown with a high concentration of large corporations’ offices and business centers. This district is called the ancestral lands of Amazon. Approximately one-half of the buildings belong to this company. Three-quarters of the passers-by are the employees of Amazon. Every establishment - either it’s a cafe or a yoga studio - has discounts and special offers for them. The district is rebuilding rapidly. However, you can still find buildings dating back to the XX century in this world of glass and concrete. A walk around South Lake Union will delight the fanciers of the urban style.
Capitol Hill is located on one of the seven hills of Seattle. Representatives of Bohemia, freaks, and adept of the LGBT community set their hearts on this district a long time ago. That’s the exact place where grunge was born. All art-event in the city still take place here. Capitol Hill offers a wide range of bars, cafes, green zones, and comparatively cheap shops. However, the experienced tourists won’t recommend you to stay in Capitol Hill. It’s quite expensive, and it will take you at least half an hour to get to the center of the city.
Chinatown International District includes Chinese and Japanese districts. It is located not far from the railway station. There are many stalls here that sell products made of jasper and jewelry, restaurants with Asian cuisine, massage, and acupuncture salons. It also has a park, a Buddhist temple, and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. But this district is not as magnificent as Chinatown in New York. Everything here is much calmer and leaner.
Students rule U-district. The majority of educational establishments are concentrated in this area, including the University of Washington. Six theatres provide the cultural aspect of the quarter’s life. The Neptune Theatre is the most famous place, built in 1921. The district can’t boast of luxurious hotels, but there are enough budget motels and hotels.
Queen Anne district is situated on a very headlong hill. It’s practically built up with detached houses. This place is exceptionally green and beautiful! It’s an ideal spot to photograph the views of the industrial part of the city. Lower Queen Anne district at the foot of the hill is a better choice for living and having fun.
Attractions in Seattle
To feel how much Seattle differs from the image of the severe northern port, you should just come here. Every district and house here has its history and raisin. The National Register of Historic Places is the United States includes at least 150 attractions of the City of Rains. How can you see all of them? There is only one solution. You have to enjoy every day in Seattle and plan a new trip!
According to the last statistics, the population of Seattle compiles 744 955. The metropolitan area includes communities with a population of over 3.7 million people. This index takes the 14th position in the USA.
From its foundation till 1960, Seattle had been the city of the white people. The posterity of the colonizers compiled 91.6% of citizens. However, the statistics changed in the succeeding 60 years due to the high flow of population. The number of white citizens in Seattle decreased by one third in percentage correlation. The development of the technology corporation attracted over 50 thousand residents of new nationalities only in the last decade of the XX century. From the beginning of the 2000s, this figure reached 150 thousand people.
According to the latest data from ACS, the racial composition of Seattle is the following:
- white citizens — 68,63%;
- Asians — 14,49%;
- Afro-Americans and black-skinned — 7,10%;
- ladinos and quadroons — 6,63%;
- native Americans — 0,55%;
- Hawaiian and citizens of the Pacific islands — 0,39%;
- representatives of other races — 2,20%.
The demographic situation in the city flavors the continual population growth. Its average annual rate between 2010 and 2018 is 2.3%.
A brief history
The logging boom triggered the economic development of the city. It started at the beginning of the 80s of the XIX century and had been lasting for 20 years. It also caused a high flow of Asian immigrants to the city. There were so many newcomers from China that they packed up the labor market with low-cost labor. Local citizens were so disaffected with the situation created that the anti-Chinese riots started in 1885. They had been lasting for more than 12 months. Three years after these events, the city survived another tragic experience, the Great Seattle Fire. The whole center of Seattle was burnt to ashes. Fortunately, nobody was injured.
The odious Klondike Gold Rush that enveloped Alaska in 1896 gave the city a chance for a quick recovery. The port of Seattle became a significant transportation node for gold miners who wanted to try their luck in Klondike. The expeditions purchased warm clothes and provisions here, hired transport operators.
Of course, there are no more witnesses of the Gold Rush left alive. However, Pioneer Square, at the intersection of First Avenue and Yesler Way, remembers the clip-clop of the wrought soles of the gold-diggers’ boots. The layout specialists saved the red-bricked Victorian buildings that enchase the square. Today, restaurants, shops, and music clubs are located in them.
World War II recalibrated the history of the city. The Boeing Company that was founded in Seattle in 1916 produced 350 per month at the beginning of 1944. This is an unbelievable number for those times! Thanks to the aerospace giant, the city survived the post-war crisis comparatively easy. Till the end of the 60s, it could have boasted of having the particular atmosphere of prosperity and well-being. The oil crisis of the 70s and loss of Government contracts inflicted pain on the Boeing Company. The city lost plenty of job opportunities.
Fortune smiled on Seattle again in 1985. A company called Microsoft bought a piece of land in Bellevue suburbs and built campuses for its employees. Other hi-tech companies followed it and came to the city as well. Modern Seattle is a large industrial, financial, and logistic center of the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
The best time to visit Seattle
The tourist season in the city lasts from May to October. But Seattle becomes especially attractive for gourmands and food-lovers. In this period, the traditional American gastronomic festival Restaurant Week starts. It’s better to reserve tables in cafes and restaurants in advance. Bite of Seattle is another nosh-up that is held at the end of July. Seattle Center become the venue with various food courts and an interactive program for children.
Northwest Folklife Festival is the favorite “bait” for the guests. It’s held annually on the last weekend before Remembrance Day, which is celebrated on the last Monday of the month. This bright event is devoted to the music of different countries, national dances, crafts, and cuisines. It’s fantastic entertainment for the whole family.
Capitol Hill Block Party is the most significant event for all music lovers! It happens in the middle of July on Capitol Hill. They open four massive platforms for concerts. The festival attracts the attention of music critics. It’s an excellent chance for young performers to be mentioned and become famous.
The tourist season starts to come down from the 15th of November till the 31st of March. In this period, hotels in the center of the city offer their guests the Seattle Super Saver Packages. It’s an advantageous package of discounts. Thus, you can rent a suite and get 50% off the usual price. In addition to this, the owner of the package receives coupons that allow saving money in museums, restaurants, and shops.
Use city navigation while walking around Downtown. All pointers and street signs are bright and noticeable. An urban researcher Bert Sperling called Seattle the fourth most comfortable city for walking among other cities of the USA. By the way, Walk Score entirely agrees with his opinion. If you are afraid to get lost, the titles of the streets in Seattle are often written on the pavement edges by the crossroads.
To get from the building of the Museum of Pop Culture to Downtown, use the Seattle Center Monorail. The ride will take up to 2 minutes.
Not only suburbian trains departure from the central railway station in Seattle (King Street Station). Some trains can take you to Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Canada.
What should a tourist do in Seattle
- Buy a coffee-to-go in the first Starbucks located at 1912 Pike Place Market. If truth be told, this shop is not the flagship of the chain of cafes. The first and primary Starbucks shop was opened in 1971 at another address. It had worked for five years and had to wind down operations due to the demolition of the building. The owners started selling coffee again only in 1977 in a new shop at Pike Place Market. It’s the only place where you can purchase a particular sort of coffee named after the address of the coffee-shop "Pike Place Special Reserve". The package with beans is decorated with the old logo of the company. It’s a quite creepy two-tailed mermaid with naked breasts copied from the Medieval engraving.
- Have dinner in a tower and restaurant Space Needle. That’s a symbol of the city and its iconic landmark. The idea of building a 184-meter futuristic construction came to designer Edward Carlson. It seems like a flying saucer landed on top of a three-legged tower. The designer was once much impressed by the Telecommunication Tower in Stuttgart, Germany. He decided to build another prominent object in Seattle on the occasion of the World Fair in 1962. A rotating observation deck and a restaurant SkyCity are located at the height of 159 meters. It offers an unbelievable view of the city, Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, and Elliot Bay.
- Visit the brightest and the most extraordinary museum in America, Experience Music Project or the Museum of Pop Culture. It is devoted to various directions in popular culture: music, movies, computer games, and science fiction. This idea to create the project with a budget of 250 million dollars belongs to the co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen and his sister Jody. The famous American architect Frank Gehry realized this idea. The design of the building and its halls is extraordinary and even psychedelic that critics called the construction “the ugliest building in the world”, “a blob”, and even “something that crawled out of the sea, rolled over, and died”. One of the most popular displays in the museum is devoted to Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, who became the voice of the generation.
- Buy seafood and souvenirs in the six-story building of the Pike Place Market in the business center of the city. Opened on the 17th of August 1907, the market quickly became a genuine attraction in its district. It’s not just a place to sell your fishing and farming goods. It’s an original art-platform. Here you can see the street actors, singers, and clowns perform. Even salesmen frequently throw a real show for their buyers called “Flying Fish”. They delicately throw fish at one another in a full view of enthusiastic visitors.
- See the underground district of Seattle. When the city was renovated after the horrible fire of 1889, it was decided to regrade the streets. That’s how the Seattle Underground — a city under a city — appeared. Only the light from the tour groups’ flash-lights illuminates the darkness hidden in the old facades of the buildings, stalls, and shops.
- Take a picture in front of the Fremont Troll. This sculpture is five meters in height and weighs two tons. It has been living under the George Washington Memorial Bridge since 1990. The hero of the Scandinavian tales holds a real Volkswagen Beetle in its hand. However, after all these years, the car also looks like real stone. The eye of the troll is made of the wheel cover. The monster seems quite friendly and kind. However, it still managed to scare off the drug dealers who used to run their business under the bridge arms.
- Admire the beauties of Gas Works Park at Lake Union. The architect from Seattle, Richard Haag, developed its design. A gasification factory worked on the territory of the modern park in 1906. The enterprise closed in 50 years. Later, it was decided to green up this area. A part of the factory’s constructions was not disassembled. They were renovated, painted in bright colors, and, as a result, fit into the park’s landscape. It turned into an original industrial park. In it, the old-school technologies and the beauty of nature exist harmoniously side by side.