The Seattle waterfront has always been a favorite destination for locals and tourists. Food, art, shopping, and history – the Seattle Waterfront has it all. There is a lot of fun to be had on the waterfront, regardless of the construction so don’t let that stop you this summer! The Downtown Seattle Association is now offering free valet parking for up to three hours.
Seattle Great Wheel was built in less than a year, but its story goes back much further than that. Seattle businessman Hal Griffith had envisioned a Ferris wheel in the city for nearly 30 years, but it wasn’t until he realized he could build one on his own pier that his dream became a reality. The Seattle Great Wheel opened to the public on June 29, 2012. Since then, it has become an icon of the city and a destination for tourists and locals alike.
The Seattle Aquarium gives you the opportunity to see all kinds of creatures from all kinds of points of view. Species that live in the Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean are the focus. There are a number of cool exhibits, from the furry funny otters to the silvery school of salmon. Tide pools provide the chance to touch sea stars and anemones. In addition to sea flora and fauna, you can also spend time at interactive exhibits exploring such topics as orcas and ocean science, and check out the cafe and gift shop.
SCENIC CRUISES AND BOAT TOURS
Along with the sailboats and ferries crossing the waters of Elliott Bay, you’ll see the various vessels used for scenic cruises, whale watching, and scenic Puget Sound tours. Scheduled day tours, dinner cruises, and private charters are among your many choices. Here are some of the more popular scenic cruises and boat tour companies operating out of the downtown Seattle waterfront.
One of Seattle’s newer attractions, the Olympic Sculpture Park is exactly that – a park filled with large sculptures and art installations of all kinds, provided and managed by Seattle Art Museum. Many are quite fun and funky, making this free park a wonderful way to introduce children to fine art. As you wander the zigzag paths through the park you’ll enjoy fabulous views, east to the Space Needle and west to the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.
Located at the north edge of Seattle’s downtown waterfront district, Myrtle Edwards Park is a good old-fashioned city park that happens to enjoy fabulous water and mountain views. There’s a bike and walking trail, benches and picnic tables, verdant lawns and sandy beaches.
Seattle’s waterfront shops carry everything from high-quality, locally-made gift items to the tackiest of tourist trinkets. Most of these shops are located at the south end of the waterfront on Piers 56 and 57. Seattle’s best souvenir items include Northwest Coast Art, fine art photographs, sports team merchandise, and glass art. Food and drink items always make for thoughtful souvenirs or gifts, including Washington wines, smoked salmon, huckleberry jam, and locally-roasted coffee.
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, part museum and part novelty shop, is a must stop. This place is a fascinating piece of Seattle history, first opened on the waterfront in 1899. The walls and ceiling of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop are covered with “curiosities” of all kinds, including a mummy, taxidermy Siamese-twin calves, and a grain of rice engraved with the Lord’s Prayer. The shop sells items from the Northwest and around the world.