There are many tourist attractions in the Seattle area.
Seattle Center, the venue of the 1962 World’s Fair, is the home of Seattle’s signature Space Needle. The Pacific Science Center was originally the United States science pavilion at the fair. Recent additions to the center include the Experience Music Project, which explores American popular music, and the Science Fiction Museum. A monorail connects the Seattle Center with Downtown Seattle.
Downtown Seattle includes the Pike Place Market, which will be celebrating its centennial in 2007. Seattle’s new Central Public Library by Rem Koolhaas is a fascinating building to explore. The Seattle Art Museum’s expansion will have just completed in May 2007; this expansion includes an Italian wood paneled room from circa 1600.
At the south end of downtown is Pioneer Square, with many historical post-fire buildings. This is where you’ll find the Underground Tour which explores Seattle’s history, as well as the recently-renovated Seattle unit of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.
Beyond the city center
Boeing Field, south of downtown, is the home of the Museum of Flight, which has many historical exhibits about the Boeing company and several planes you can explore, including the first jet Air Force One and a Concorde. You can also visit the Future of Flight aviation center about 30 minutes north of Seattle in Everett; this includes the Boeing Tour which lets you see the assembly line for the 747, 767, 777, and 787 passenger jets.
North of downtown is the Woodland Park Zoo, well known for its naturalistic exhibits that focus on ecosystems rather than individual animals. About an hour south of Seattle is Northwest Trek, which features a tram ride through a 400-acre free-roaming area with native animals, as well as walking exhibits. Other fun things to do outside include walking or biking around Green Lake Park, and renting a canoe from the UW Waterfront Activities Center to explore the nearby Washington Park Arboretum.
Good day trips from Seattle include Mount Rainier National Park and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (check the current update page for status on the current ongoing eruption, which began in September 2004). Beaches on the Pacific Ocean are two to four hours away.
Good overnight trips include the San Juan Islands and the very British Victoria, BC where visitors traditionally take afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel. Victoria can be reached by fast passenger catamarans from Seattle’s waterfront or state car ferries from Anacortes (just under 2 hours north of Seattle).