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One of the highlights of summer returns August 1-4, when nearly 100 galleries from around the world exhibit at Seattle Art Fair, held at CenturyLink Field Event Center. In addition to the wide ranging gallery installations, the Fair offers daily talks, special projects, and performances.

Seattle Art Fair

For a second year, curator Nato Thompson returns as Artistic Director. This year’s programming will explore themes of curiosity and wonder, featuring music, tech, natural history and artificial intelligence.

Seattle Art Fair

The Fair has become a destination for locals and visitors, both serious collectors and those who just enjoy seeing the wide variety of art from galleries located round the globe. Founded in 2015 by Paul G. Allen, the Seattle Art Fair is produced by Vulcan Arts + Entertainment and Art Market Productions. Last year’s fair saw record-breaking growth, showcasing 106 local, national, and international exhibitors and attracting over 22,500 attendees throughout the weekend. The 2019 fair exhibitors include galleries from New York, Seoul, Los Angeles, Toronto, Copenhagen, Kyoto, London, Philadelphia, Moscow, Berlin, Paris, Miami, Dublin, Atlanta, Chicago and at least a dozen from Seattle.

Attendance tips? I find I like to attend more than once to take it all in. I typically attend the opening on Thursday night for the festive party atmosphere, but return at least once more for a full day to browse all the offerings. Make sure to take a break for a snack or drink, wear comfortable shoes, and create some sort of methodical approach to the 100+ booths. Don’t be shy about engaging with the galleries, ask questions and learn more about the art that appeals to you.

Seattle Art Fair

One more tip: once you’re at the Art Fair you’ll be quite near the new cultural space at King Street Station, which is exhibiting an impressive indigenous art show called yəhaw̓ through August 4.  Admission is free.

Advance tickets to the Seattle Art Fair are available online. For more information, and a full list of participating galleries, visit seattleartfair.com. It’s a popular weekend in Seattle, so a word to the wise: book your hotel soon!  And join the conversation on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook by following @SeattleArtFair and @VisitSeattle.

See you at the Fair!

The post Happy 5th Birthday, Seattle Art Fair! appeared first on Visit Seattle.

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Visit Seattle by Mike Gastineau - 1w ago

Seafair, the unparalleled celebration of Seattle’s beautiful summer and remarkable history, turns 70 this year. With all the attendant finery and excitement that marks a big, round number we also get an opportunity to reminisce.

Blue Angels flying in formation Courtesy Seafair

When it comes to Seafair, family traditions take two paths: those that hearken back to previous generations and those created this year, destined to move forward in the way that traditions do. For every grandparent wistfully looking back at the youthful days of the past, there’s a kid who is beginning the cycle anew. When it’s all over – when the neighborhood festivals so unique to this grand event end, when the Seafair royalty have been crowned, when the Torchlight Parade has been held, when the roar of the Blue Angels soar over us and hydroplanes that cut through Lake Washington on the first weekend in August finally fade – that kid will ask his/her parents, in the time-honored way that traditions begin, “Can we do this again next year?”

Such is the allure of this city-wide party, which owes some of its heritage to events that happened 70 years ago in two upper-midwestern American cities.

When Seattle officials were looking for a way to celebrate the Emerald City’s centennial, they decided to hold a festival that would celebrate the city and boost tourism. For leadership they looked to Walter Van Camp. Van Camp was in charge of the very successful Winter Carnival in St. Paul, MN. Seattle lured him away in the spring of 1950 to create a similar event here in time for the centennial celebration in 1951.

Van Camp saw no reason to wait a year, but instead decided to create and stage the first Seafair in the summer of 1950. Held August 11-20, Seafair featured parades, community events, boat races on Green Lake, and several entertainment events at Green Lake’s brand-new Aqua Theatre, which was built in just 75 days, and is still partially standing today.

Water Follies at the Green Lake Aqua Theatre during the 1957 Seafair festival Courtesy Seafair

The first Seafair was deemed a success by everyone, and the event immediately began to grow due in part to the results of the 1950 Gold Cup hydroplane race in Detroit, MI. Gold Cup rules dictated that the race be held on the home waters of the boat that won it the previous year. From 1904 to 1950, those winning boats had always been built east of the Mississippi River.

Hydroplane racing on Lake Washington Courtesy Seafair

In 1950, Seattle boat owner Stan Sayres and driver Ted Jones teamed up to shock the boat racing world with a win at the Gold Cup in the ironically named “Slo-Mo-Shun IV.” Disgruntled eastern teams chose to think that the Gold Cup was “on loan” to Seattle for one year only. But Sayres and his Seattle-based boats then won the race for the next five consecutive years, establishing Seattle as boat racing’s new capital and giving the still new Seafair Festival a big-time finale that drew hundreds of thousands of fans to Lake Washington each August. When the Gold Cup eventually returned East, a yearly Seattle stop was added to the hydroplane racing schedule.

An air show was added to the festivities to give fans something to watch between races. In 1955, everyone got an unanticipated thrill when legendary Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston performed two barrel rolls over the lake in the new jet prototype that would become Boeing’s 707. Johnston didn’t tell his boss (Boeing president Bill Allen) that he was going to take the company’s only jet and fly it upside-down. “What do you think you were doing up there,” Allen sputtered at Johnston later. “I was selling the airplane,” Johnston replied.

Since 1966, the air show portion of Seafair has featured the United States Navy Blue Angels, which zoom across Seattle skies for several days of practice before weekend shows above the lake leave spectators young and old alike standing and pointing in slack-jawed amazement.

Blue Angels flying above the Space Needle during the Seafair air show Courtesy Seafair

The noise, glamour, and spectacle of boat racing and an air show make for a climactic weekend, but it is the series of dozens of local events that truly connects Seafair to everyone in Seattle. From West Seattle to Greenwood, from Ballard to Rainier Beach, residents gather throughout the summer for a series of festivals and parades that feature unique cultural aspects of each neighborhood.

70s Seafair Pirates Courtesy Seafair

These community events all serve to build excitement towards the grand Torchlight Parade, which has been held in downtown Seattle every year since Walter Van Camp arrived in 1950. That first parade was held in a small loop between Second and Third Avenues. Today, the parade is one of the largest in America and begins under the Space Needle with a route that goes the length of downtown before wrapping up in Pioneer Square. An estimated 250,000 spectators line the parade route on the final weekend of July to watch pirates, clowns, bands, drill teams, and beautifully decorated floats.

Seattle will continue to grow, and with that growth will come change. But even the most thriving, vibrant communities need historic cultural anchors to keep their past alive and to connect new residents and visitors to the history that makes a city special.

That’s exactly what Seafair is at the grand young age of 70 years: a festival that celebrates Seattle’s connection to boats and airplanes, water and sky, and the gathering of friends at neighborhood and citywide events that are all designed to leave us smiling and proud of the city we call home.

Snapshot from the 1964 Seafair Festival Courtesy Seafair

For more information and event details, visit seafair.com.

The post 70 Years of Seafair appeared first on Visit Seattle.

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Emily Adams

Visiting Seattle is an adventure any day of the year. Getting to see some of Seattle’s greatest attractions is something your family will never forget! Recently, our family used Seattle CityPASS to see seven of the most sought after stops in the city. MANY of these can be done in the same day. Bring a sack lunch or swing by a local food truck to make sure you and your family are fueled for a full day(s) of fun!

What is a CityPASS?

CityPASS is a handheld booklet filled with coupons and tickets to seven hot attractions in the city. Each attraction was specifically picked for the program to enhance your experience at an unmatched value. In nine consecutive days, you have access to a handful of local attractions in your CityPASS booklet. Starting on your day of purchase, you can visit each attraction in any order that you choose. (We will share what we found to be easiest to see multiple locations in one day!)

Emily Adams

Spend less and experience more with CityPASS

Why opt for a CityPASS instead of seeing Seattle on your own watch and dime? The truth is, the CityPASS’s goal was to give everyone the opportunity to spend less and experience more. To spend less time researching and digging through brochures, and quit worrying about what will work for kids in different phases. Instead, to feel confident in their plan without second guessing, and gain more time connecting instead of directing a group in the city. With all the hype that CityPASS gets, you’d expect their sticker price to be astronomical. Luckily, this isn’t the case. Each Seattle CityPASS ticket saves travelers 46% or more on combined admission to Seattle’s top attractions. You’ll see your CityPASS pay off in the first three to four visits.

Explore the City with a Plan

We opted to drive up and explore the city in three different “time blocks.” Many of the attractions are in walking distance of each other and make it easy to hit multiple stops in one day! We will give you the scoop on what worked for our family and hopefully that will simplify your trip to Seattle with (or without!) the kids.

Seattle Space Needle

Emily Adams

First things first, one of the things we learned at the gate while using our CityPASSes at the Space Needle was that you get TWO visits included to ride up to the top! (One during the day and one at night.) Our recommendation would be to start your day early at the Needle. Get there when they open and soak in the morning views.  It might sound scary to let your toddler “toddle” around the Needle, but it actually is one of the best places to let your kids roam! Every floor of the Space Needle is completely safe, so instead of worrying about their safety, you’ll just have to work on keeping a brave face (if you’re afraid of heights!)

Emily Adams

Emily Adams

You have to leave your stroller at the bottom, so pack a backpack full of snacks and treats to enjoy and encourage the kids to sit still (for a second!) so you can enjoy the view! If you’re bringing an infant with you, bring along your favorite baby carrier so you can be hands free. The Space Needle has snacks and food available for purchase at the top, and CityPASS has a coupon for the gift shop inside. A recent addition to the Space Needle experience is their virtual reality bungee jumping down in the gift shop. Its free, but I definitely recommend doing it AFTER you’ve taken the elevator down from the top!

Emily Adams

Emily Adams

Chihuly Garden and Glass OR Pacific Science Center

Seattle’s CityPASS gives you the option to choose between the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit OR the Pacific Science Center. We opted to visit both to share our experience, but in all honesty we will share what works best for different age groups! If you’re visiting the city and don’t want to miss an attraction, inside your CityPASS are coupons to make your visit more affordable. (Both are at the base of the Space Needle so you can save time and money on your day in the city too!)

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Emily Adams

Right next to the Space Needle, Chihuly’s Garden and Glass exhibit is a beautiful spot in the middle of downtown. You feel like you’re in a whole other world because the indoor and outdoor glass sculptures, flowers, plants and treasures created by Dale Chihuly feel whimsical and enchanting.

Emily Adams

Emily Adams

The exhibit has done a great job of keeping the glass directly out of arms reach (which was a relief with a busy three year old!) In our honest opinion, it is the perfect place for a date with your loved one, to enjoy with your older kids while reading Dale Chihuly’s history and inspiration, or to enjoy solo while your baby sleeps soundly in a carrier or being pushed in the stroller along the way.

Emily Adams

Emily Adams

The Pacific Science Center

Emily Adams

The Pacific Science Center is a complete 180 experience from the Chihuly exhibit. Depending on which day of the week that you visit, the Pacific Science Center is a hot spot for school field trips and fun family days. It is the place you go to let the kids be KIDS! From prehistoric dinosaur exhibits, to virtual reality and outer space, the Pacific Science Center’s ideal audience is kids of all ages or adults ready to play like kids!

Emily Adams

Emily Adams

The Science Center has a total of 20 exhibits to keep your family engaged and entertained. They even have a TOTS exhibit if you’re worried your crawler/toddler won’t have anything to do! Truthfully, you could spend an entire day just at this stop alone, so start early if you want to hit a few stops in one day. Bring lunch and camp out, or buy tickets to an IMAX movie to break up the day and kick up your feet and enjoy some R&R. The Pacific Science Center’s IMAX movie theater shows different movies throughout the day.

Emily Adams

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) OR Woodland Park Zoo Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)

Emily Adams

If you’re wanting to continue with your epic downtown Seattle Center day, hit the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) last! Just like Chihuly and the Science Center, Seattle’s CityPASS gives you the option to choose between the MoPOP or the Woodland Park Zoo. We’d never visited the MoPOP before so this was a completely new experience for us- but WOW it was worth the wait! Head to the MoPOP and explore “some of the most significant moments in rock music, science fiction and pop culture with hands-on experiences, iconic artifacts and award-winning exhibits featuring music, literature, television, and video games.”

Emily Adams

Emily Adams

The Fantasy and Music exhibits were my kid’s favorite stops. When you enter into the Fantasy exhibit you are welcomed with iconic pieces from the Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, Zorro and Narnia. It was exiting and shocking for all of my boys to see pieces from the actual movies right in front of them. The music exhibit was fun because it stirred up their creative instincts and encouraged all of my kids to work together. In part of the music exhibit you can learn to play guitar, drums, and keyboard in different sound proof booths. The best part was, you can connect them all to make your own band. In our case, our very own boy band! I definitely recommend checking out the MoPOP if you haven’t before. There is a lot to see and explore for families and kids of all ages, and if you’re like us, to try a new place maybe you wouldn’t have thought of without your CityPASS.

Emily Adams

Emily Adams

Woodland Park Zoo

Emily Adams

The Woodland Park Zoo is a Seattle staple. Their mission is to save wildlife and inspire everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives. What a cool lesson for kids to learn, right? We have been visiting the Woodland Park Zoo since my nine-year-old was a tiny baby! After almost a decade of visiting and enjoying Seattle’s home zoo, there is still always something new being dreamt up to keep interests high. The zoo welcomes visitors to join in and enjoy feeding and volunteer experiences to connect with the wildlife. One of our favorite things to do at the Woodland Park Zoo is feed the giraffes! Its always a hightlight – but its seasonal. (Check which feeding experiences are available when you arrive.)

Emily Adams

Emily Adams

We save the indoor Zoomazium as a final reward for our kids at the end of a long day. Inside you can kick back and watch the kids climb inside a three-story tree house, build puzzles and craft, or let your toddlers and crawlers hop inside the TOT-friendly area separate from the big kids. The Woodland Park Zoo is so big that is it nearly impossible to add the zoo to another stop on your bucket list on the same day. In our opinion, carve out a day just for the zoo and let your kids lead the way!

Emily Adams

Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour

Emily Adams

Carve out a day at the waterfront and start with Argosy Cruises and the Harbor Tour! This was the highlight of our week! Our family has visited the Seattle waterfront many times, but NEVER have we been out on the water. Seattle’s CityPASS helped us financially make it work to take a family of six. Surprisingly when we got to the ticketing booth we actually found out that most of Arogsy Cruises sales are based off of sales directly through CityPASS!

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Buzz Aldrin on the moon Courtesy The Museum of Flight

“The Eagle has landed.”

I am not old enough to remember the thrill of the historic 1969 Apollo mission that sent the first human beings to land on the moon. But thanks to a fascinating and inspiring exhibition currently on view at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, I was able to experience the excitement and the wonder, and to better understand the great leaps in science and human ingenuity that characterized the Apollo 11 mission and the global space race of the time.

The centerpiece of “Destination Moon” is the actual Columbia command module that carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to lunar orbit and back in July of 1969. Command Module Columbia is the only part of the Apollo 11 spacecraft that returned intact to Earth. It carried the crew, equipment and precious lunar samples through a fiery reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. A fact that I probably learned in school, but had since forgotten, was that Collins remained in Columbia, alone, orbiting the moon, while Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon’s surface in the lunar module Eagle and took the famous first steps. The exhibit references Collins being “the loneliest man” because each time the command module passed behind the moon, he was completely cut off from all radio, aka human, communication. It’s details like this that make this exhibition so compelling as a story of human imagination and courage, not to mention selflessness.

The Apollo 11 command module Courtesy The Museum of Flight

Smaller artifacts also tell the stories of the individuals involved. I especially enjoyed reading about Neil Armstrong’s imperfectly fitting flightsuit which became one of his favorite coveralls to wear while working on his Ohio farm after retiring from NASA. I grew up in a farming community too, but I don’t think anyone was wearing an actual spacesuit to milk the cows.

Seattle is extremely lucky to have this exhibition on view during the mission’s 50th anniversary in July 2019, made even more poignant by the numerous Northwest ties to the historic space program. The touring artifacts in the exhibition are enhanced by objects from the Museum of Flight’s own impressive and expansive collection, including full-scale engineering mockups of Boeing’s lunar rover. Also on view are components from the actual F-1 rocket engines that powered the Saturn V moon rockets off the pad, which were only recently recovered from 2½ miles deep at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, where they sat for over 40 years.

A view of one of the galleries in Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission at The Museum of Flight. On the left is a spacesuit used by astronaut John Young during Apollo 10 training, in the center is a F-1 rocket engine — five were used to power each Saturn V booster. Courtesy The Museum of Flight

The exhibition is now on view through September 2, and the Museum has some extra fun planned this summer. The Lunar Block Party, held over anniversary weekend (July 19-21), offers a three-day celebration with special events, talks, family fun and a concert from all ten of this year’s American Idol finalists, including winner Laine Hardy. The Seattle Summer of Space campaign extends the theme to many other Seattle shops and attractions, offering discounts and special commemorative items (Seattle Chocolate Company’s Moon Rocks Truffle Bars, anyone?).

This is an exhibition not to be missed. It will no doubt spark memories in many, and also inspire our dreamers of the future. One tip: get your timed tickets in advance, and allow enough extra time to see at least some of the permanent collections too. As the largest independent, non-profit air and space museum in the world, it’s always a top Seattle attraction and well worth a visit even without this very special exhibition.

The post A Journey to The Museum of Flight and Destination Moon appeared first on Visit Seattle.

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Visit Seattle by Faith Dowsett - 2M ago
Seattle may be known for its coffee, but we have welcomed another caffeine kick in the Emerald City with a cult following: Boba Tea. 

When I left my small hometown in Eastern Washington to live in Seattle, I landed in the midst of a city rich in culture and opportunities. Being something of a foodie and curious at heart, my initial entry point into Seattle’s culture was an exploration of our restaurants. Through a recommendation I started at Din Tai Fung, a lively and vastly praised Taiwanese restaurant near the University of Washington. It was there that I first tried a drink that I had glimpsed swirling around throughout the city: boba tea.

Drinking boba tea near the Historic Chinatown Gate during my first month in Seattle. Faith Dowsett

Boba tea, also called “bubble tea”, is a popular Taiwanese drink with two key ingredients: tea and toppings. “Toppings” refer to additions like sweetened tapioca pearls (boba), popping lychee bubbles, cubed aloe or fruit jellies, pudding, or even ice cream. The tea I had at Din Tai Fung was a classic black milk tea with tapioca, served on ice. However, the basic tea + topping formula can be varied by different teas, flavors (from brown sugar to mango), added milk or non-dairy creamers, sweetness level (ranging from 0-100%), and temperature. The result is a highly customizable and always delicious treat.

Although Taiwanese boba tea has spread all around the globe, Seattle is fortunate enough to host a multitude of show-stopping tea shops which have in turn built a hefty population of loyal boba lovers. As a newly initiated member of the fandom, I was eager to try more. Below, you’ll find my path through some of my favorite boba shops, all the while wandering through the Chinatown-International, University, and Downtown districts of Seattle.

Chinatown-International District

At Young Tea in the Chinatown-International District. Faith Dowsett

Whether you’re a long-time boba-believer or a humble bubble-beginner, I always recommend your quest begin in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, nestled between Pioneer Square and the stadiums of SODO. Here you will find a vibrant community of eateries, museums, family-run stores, and tea shops speckled with lanterns, perching Asian figurines, and ornate design.

From the Chinatown-International District Station, walk a few blocks east to Young Tea, a quiet tea shop known for boba that emphasizes the complex tastes of a quality brewed tea. Here my drink of choice is the Pu-erh Black Sugar Milk Tea with tapioca pearls, a drink that mixes the silky-smooth flavors of black sugar and milk with the gentle earthiness of Pu-erh black tea.

If you have an afternoon, stick around the district and explore Uwajimaya — a large shopping hub complete with imported delicacies, an Asian food court, bookstore, and gift market. Then, check out the Grand Pavilion and dragon mural at Hing Hay Park before peeking into the Wing Luke Museum or the Seattle Pinball Museum.

University District

Taro Pearl Milk Tea at Sharetea. Faith Dowsett

Closely following the Chinatown-International District in terms of boba lovers is the U-District, which surrounds the University of Washington. Stroll through campus and you’ll likely see students toting cups of tea recognizable by the signature extra-wide boba straws. To find the origin, head over to University Way Avenue, affectionately doted “The Ave” by Huskies and locals alike.

On the Ave is an abundance of cheap eats — if you are hungry, stop into Sizzle-N-Crunch for a Banh Mi or Aladdin’s Gyro-Cery for their famous “Aladdin-Fries” (imagine dumping a gyro atop a plate of fresh fries. It will be your next guilty pleasure).

Or if you only have eyes for boba tea, head straight into one of the 10 tea shops within 10 minutes of the campus. While Oasis Tea Zone, Ding Tea, and Chatime are all great options, Sharetea on 45th Street is my tea MVP. Here, I love a sweet and nutty Taro Pearl Milk Tea or a Wintermelon and Aloe Tea for something light and fruity. Sharetea runs sweeter, so if you are looking for something more savory, try setting your sweetness level down a notch.

Downtown

A Strawberry Smoothie, Taro Smoothie, and Classic Milk Tea from Dreamy Drinks Food Truck. Faith Dowsett

Looking for a second wind after a day of shopping through Westlake Center and Pacific Place? Not to fear — right in the center of the plaza you can usually find Seattle’s first boba tea food truck, Dreamy Drinks. (They also park at Seattle events on occasion, so don’t forget to check their schedule here before you plan a visit!)

Even without the line of fans, the pastel purple truck is hard to miss. The unicorn logo is a background to countless photos and the drinks are as dreamy as advertised. If you want to jump on the bandwagon, the Taro Smoothie with boba is a delicious addition to an aesthetic purple snapshot. If you aren’t feeling a smoothie, the Classic Milk Tea with warm gooey boba is a fan favorite, hot or cold.

Once you’re feeling refreshed, consider taking your tea on a quick trek down to nearby Pike Place Market for a stroll among freshly-cut flowers, street buskers, and endless food and produce vendors.

Although I have now lived in the Emerald City for several years, my path of discovery is continuous. I still spend many days exploring, sometimes drinking teas or tasting new foods, while other days trying to listen and learn from other corners of the city. Beyond my boba recommendations is one overarching nugget of advice for your time in Seattle: Let your curiosity propel you into something new.

Good luck, and cheers!

The post An Exploration of Boba appeared first on Visit Seattle.

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Visit Seattle by Kristin Gillespie - 3M ago

One of the things I love most about living in the PNW (aka Pacific Northwest, for those not in the know) is the close proximity to nature. Water, mountains, forests, beaches – we have it all. When my daughter was born about a year and a half ago, I was so excited that she was a native Seattlite and would never not know the outdoor world that I have grown to love. I was bound and determined to get her out on the trail as soon as possible. Fortunately, this region offers trails for a wide variety of skill levels – including beginners with little legs.

Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island provided an incredible backdrop for an impromptu photo shoot. Kristin Gillespie

Ebey’s Landing

This is arguably one of the most idyllic trails to hike along the Puget Sound, regardless of whether or not you have kids in tow. Part of the adventure of Ebey’s Landing is getting there as your 40-minute journey to the trailhead includes a ferry ride to Whidbey Island. Once you arrive, it’s tempting to spend time playing on the beach, but I encourage you to find the 5.6-mile loop trail and start up the ridge first, saving beach time for the return trip. The trail will start somewhat steeply (another reason to start with this, while your kids still have energy) so allow yourself to take your time. Once you hit the top of the ridge, however, you’ll gaze across the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the stunning Olympic Peninsula and the views will make it all worth it.

The Foster Point Trail at the Washington Park Arboretum opens up to views of UW’s Husky Stadium across Union Bay. Kristin Gillespie

Washington State Arboretum

This is possibly one of my favorite places to bring my daughter – and one of the easiest for her to navigate. From gravel trails meandering through azalea gardens to wooded boardwalks over duck-filled marshes, there is plenty to discover. I highly suggest the Foster and Marsh Island Loop for a fun adventure on the boardwalks. If you’re so inclined, consider popping into the carefully manicured Japanese Garden, located in the Arboretum grounds, to say hello to the koi.

The ducks, the lake, and even a view of Mount Rainier – Seward Park has it all! Kristin Gillespie

Seward Park

Jutting out like a thumb into the southern end of Lake Washington, Seward Park features a paved 2.4-mile loop around a grove of old-growth forest. If your little ones are willing, lead them up the dirt trails that wind through the trees, knowing that they all loop back to the pavement so there’s no getting lost. Encourage your kids to enjoy the trails first, then end at the playground near the parking lot, often featuring ducks, geese, and perfectly-framed views of Mount Rainier.

Tradition Lake Loop on Tiger Mountain provided a great opportunity for this little hiker to find her legs. Kristin Gillespie

Issaquah Alps

Cougar Mountain, Squak Mountain and Tiger Mountain make up the majority of what locals refer to as the Issaquah Alps. Despite this potentially daunting name, these mountains are actually foothills that lead up to the Cascade Range and offer a variety of trails and interesting points for little explorers along the way. Some of the more popular trails in this area include a climb to Poo Poo Point (1858 ft. elevation gain over 5.5 miles) and the shorter, flatter trek to Coal Creek Falls (416 ft. elevation gain over 2.5 miles). We found success with our toddler on the Tradition Lake Loop (150 ft elevation gain over 2.9 miles) as she was able to walk a large portion of the trail on her own.

At this stage, we never set out for a trailhead without our hiking backpack – little legs get tired fast, but that’s no reason to stop the fun! Kristin Gillespie

As my daughter gets older, I encourage her to hike part of the trail on her own, but I am super conscious of the fact that she will tire long before I will. I am a huge advocate of bringing along a hiking backpack so your little one can catch a ride. Ours is a Deuter and we invested in the sunshade and rain cover. My daughter loves being up high so she can see things along the way. She often spends our trail time playing with my hair, babbling in my ear, and even falling asleep as she gets tired. This setup allows us both to enjoy the trail at our own pace.

Tuckered out… Kristin Gillespie

PRO TIP:

If you’re flying into Seattle with a little one, consider bringing a hiking backpack instead of a stroller – whether or not you’re planning to go on a hike. You can wear it through the airport and check it at the gate, leaving your hands free and saving yourself the hassle of keeping track of your child while maneuvering through the crowds. It’s also great for sightseeing once you get to Seattle – believe me, you’ll prefer the backpack over pushing a stroller through the crowded, cobble-stone streets of Pike Place Market. Besides, toting your kid around on your back will let you fit right in with that outdoors lifestyle.

The post Hikes for Little Legs appeared first on Visit Seattle.

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Seattle Museum Month, February 1-28, offers Seattle visitors staying in one of our 60+ partner hotels an unbeatable value: 50% off admission at our 40 museum partners, including many of Seattle’s most popular attractions.

You can go to as many museums as you like during your stay, and up to four people staying in the hotel room are eligible to use the discount, so it’s perfect for trips with friends or family. You’ll find the entire list of museums on seattlemuseummonth.com – but how to choose? Let’s dive in and I’ll try to make some suggestions according to your interests.

Today’s topic is: one-of-a-kind places. 

Museum Month is in full swing and I’ve got one more set of recommendations for you. This post highlights unique experiences, to be found only here in the Seattle region.


Located in the Chinatown/International District, The Wing, or more formally, The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, is a National Park Service affiliate and the first Smithsonian affiliate in the Pacific Northwest. As the only pan-Asian museum in the nation, it offers an authentic and unique perspective on the American story. Your ticket provides access to compelling exhibitions, including a deep dive into the Seattle roots of global icon Bruce Lee, and a 45 minute guided Historic Hotel tour that takes you back in time to experience real Seattle history through the lives and stories of early Asian Pacific American pioneers.


Not far away in the SODO neighborhood you’ll find Living Computers: Museum + Labs. Geek out to your heart’s content here because this spot offers a one-of-a-kind, hands-on experience with computer technology from the 1960s to the present.

LCM+L honors the history of computing with the world’s largest collection of fully restored—and usable—supercomputers, mainframes, minicomputers and microcomputers. A large main gallery offers direct experiences with robotics, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, big data, the Internet of Things, video-game making, and digital art.


A few miles north, Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood drew significant numbers of Scandinavian immigrants in the early 1900s, drawn by jobs in fishing and lumber mills, and this neighborhood still bears traces of their cultural traditions. So it’s the perfect place for the Nordic Museum, an internationally recognized museum and cultural center that collects and preserves the values, traditions, art, and spirit of the Nordic peoples. It’s the largest museum in the United States to honor the legacy of immigrants from the five Nordic countries, and the stunning new building, which opened just last year, was recognized by Architectural Digest as one of the 15 most noteworthy museums opening in the world in 2018. Tip: This would be a good spot to have a lunch break at the museum’s Freya Café, or venture a couple blocks west for some classic fish and chips at the Lockspot.


Another Seattle neighborhood with deep roots and history is the Central District, located just east of the downtown core. Here you’ll find the Northwest African American Museum, located in the historic Colman School. Currently on view, Bold As Love: Jimi Hendrix at Home offers a rare and detailed look at Jimi’s Seattle origins. Through archival and family photos, his own artwork, personal artifacts, music, and multimedia, visitors discover how the icon’s Seattle upbringing shaped his life and career. The museum also offers a permanent exhibition that will help you explore the history, culture, and art of the region’s African American community.


For an entirely different sort of museum experience, hop in your car, or grab a Lyft (Museum Month visitors get a discount, see your passcard holder for the code) and head south about 24 miles to the Pacific Bonsai Museum. Set in a forest of towering conifers, the outdoor museum connects people to nature through the living art of bonsai. This unique place stewards more than 150 bonsai and the most diverse public collection in North America with trees from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the United States. Featuring sixty trees at a time, this cultural gem offers contemporary and traditional exhibitions, group tours, and education. One note: since we’re experiencing colder than normal temperatures and snow this month, check before you go to make sure they’re open. Bonsai are fragile and the museum may need to close temporarily to protect the collection.

Learn more about Seattle Museum Month at seattlemuseummonth.com and see my other posts for suggestions for arts & culture lovers, history & heritage buffs, and families. With 40 museums, we’ve got something for every interest.  See you in February!

The post Seattle Museum Month: <br>Uniquely Northwest appeared first on Visit Seattle.

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Seattle Museum Month, February 1-28, offers Seattle visitors staying in one of our 60+ partner hotels an unbeatable value: 50% off admission at our 40 museum partners, including many of Seattle’s most popular attractions.

You can go to as many museums as you like during your stay, and up to four people staying in the hotel room are eligible to use the discount, so it’s perfect for trips with friends or family. You’ll find the entire list of museums on seattlemuseummonth.com – but how to choose? Let’s dive in and I’ll try to make some suggestions according to your interests.

Today’s topic is: history & heritage!  Here are some of my recommendations if you want to discover the stories behind the people and places of the Northwest.

In these museums you’ll find fascinating looks at aviation history, a deep dive into Seattle’s innovative roots, stories of the Alaskan Gold Rush, a jawdropping collection of classic cars, the story of the original people of this region (and Seattle’s namesake), and more.


A great first stop is the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI). Housed on the south shore of Lake Union in a restored historic Naval Reserve Armory, this Smithsonian affiliate boasts a collection of more than 4 million objects, documents and photos that trace the history of the Puget Sound region. But this is no ordinary look back. MOHAI’s award winning exhibits are engaging, enlightening and entertaining too. And their focus on innovation explores the global influences that all began here: Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, Costco, Nintendo, and more. My tip: don’t miss the musical telling of the 1889 Great Seattle Fire, complete with heart-tugging solo by the guilty glue pot that started it all.

While you’re in the neighborhood, see if you can spot any of the 4 historic ships that are typically docked at the Historic Ship Wharf adjacent to MOHAI: the Virginia V, Arthur Foss, Swiftsure, and the Duwamish. You might also want to visit the Center for Wooden Boats next door.


Another don’t-miss: one of Seattle’s most popular museums is the Museum of Flight. Located in south Seattle, it’s the largest independent, non-profit air and space museum in the world! With over 175 aircraft and spacecraft and tens of thousands of artifacts, the museum brings the incredible history of flight to life. A handy visit planner on their website can help you focus your time depending on your age and interests.

Aviation fans will also want to head north to the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum. This nonprofit museum at Paine Field in Everett was started by the late Paul Allen of Microsoft fame. The collection of iconic and rare military vehicles, aircraft and artifacts from the United States, Britain, Germany, Soviet Union and Japan, are restored with a sharp focus on authenticity.


If you’re fired up by classic cars, a trip south to Tacoma to LeMay: America’s Car Museum is a must. America’s love affair with the automobile is in full glory here, with a collection spanning more than 100 years of automotive history. The stunning purpose-built facility has been recognized as one of MSN’s 10 Best Automotive Museums worldwide.

While you’re in Tacoma, you might want to also visit the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. This Hudson’s Bay Company trading post was the first non-Native settlement on Puget Sound. Explore the award winning restoration of the fort’s National Historic Landmark buildings and engage with volunteers and staff, who wear period clothing and demonstrate the crafts of the 19th century.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Photo: Alabastro Photography.

Back in the historic heart of Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, a visit to the free Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park located in the restored 1889 Cadillac Hotel offers an absorbing look at a time when anyone with about $600 ($20,000 in today’s dollars) could dream of traveling to the Yukon Territory in northwestern Canada, to strike a claim, mine the gold and try to change their fortunes. This branch of the National Park Service is a key link to understanding the impact on Seattle from the Klondike, and how modern day global and regional companies such as Nordstrom, Filson and Bartell Drugs got their start in the explosive growth of the gold rush period.

No effort to explore the history and heritage of Seattle and the region is complete without including the history and culture of the native people of this region, and the Suquamish Museum on the Kitsap peninsula preserves and teaches the living culture and history of the Suquamish Tribe and its Salish neighbors. Located on Agate Pass in ancestral lands, the museum is also a short walk from the gravesite of Chief Sealth, the namesake of Seattle. A beautiful ride on the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry and an approximately 8 mile drive will bring you to the Suquamish village.

Photo: Cameron Wears

An equally beautiful ride on the Seattle-Bremerton ferry will bring you to Bremerton, home of the USS Turner Joy Naval Destroyer Museum Ship. You can walk on for the hour long ferry ride, saving money and time. The Turner Joy is located on the Bremerton boardwalk, an easy walk from the ferry terminal. To fully explore the ship, allow 1-2 hours and wear flat or rubber-soled shoes, dress in layers (the ship is cold in February!) and keep your hands free for safe ladder climbing.

Learn more about Seattle Museum Month at seattlemuseummonth.com and see my other posts for more suggestions. With 40 museums, we’ve got something for every interest. See you in February!

The post Seattle Museum Month:<br>Calling All History Lovers appeared first on Visit Seattle.

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Visit Seattle by Kristin Gillespie - 6M ago

“This year, I resolve to travel more.”

How many years have gone by with that same resolution left unresolved? Don’t get me wrong – I know there is authentic intention behind the idea – everyone loves the idea of taking a vacation – but as they say, “life gets in the way.”

The thing is, travel doesn’t spontaneously happen. You have to plan it. And it’s well worth the effort too. Studies have shown that taking a vacation helps improve your relationships, your motivation and productivity at work, even your physical health. Yet despite all of these benefits, Americans collectively left 705 million unused vacation days on the table at the end of the year.

Cue National Plan for Vacation Day on January 29. This year, let’s resolve to use all of our vacation days. Let’s make a plan now and stick to it. Are you in?

Of course, I’m an advocate of my own backyard as the ideal place to allocate those vacation days. The Pacific Northwest has adventures for every traveler and there is no better gateway than Seattle. No matter what time of year or what kind of adventure you’re planning for, read on for some Seattle-centric ideas to get you started. Let’s not leave our vacation days up to chance. Let’s #planforvacation.

Courtesy Wing Luke Museum

FEBRUARY

If you’re traveling on a budget, there’s probably no better time to visit Seattle than during Seattle Museum Month in February. Every guest staying in a participating downtown hotel throughout the month can visit up to 40 regional museums and cultural institutions for half price. Seattle is home to many unique, interactive museums. My picks: MoPOP, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience. (Oh – and don’t forget the Seattle Pinball Museum. Unlimited free play? I’m in!)

photo: Megan Swann Photography

MARCH

With over 940 wineries and nearly 70 varieties, Washington State is the second largest producer of premium wine in the country. And if you’re coming to taste Washington wine, come during Taste Washington: a four-day festival celebrating the state’s wine and food scene, culminating in a Grand Tasting with over 235 wineries and over 65 local restaurants featured under one roof. With a variety of events to choose from, it’s easy to tailor your experience. Planning a romantic getaway or a fun girls’ weekend? This is it.

Courtesy Space Needle

APRIL

In 2018, Seattle’s most iconic landmark underwent a $100 million renovation, encasing it in 20,000 sq ft of glass. From the outside, it looks the same. But from the inside, the outside couldn’t look more spectacular. Carve out some time this year to experience the new Space Needle, complete with 360° uninterrupted views and the world’s first and only revolving glass floor. While you’re at it, grab a Seattle CityPASS and make the most of your trip with bundled discounts to the city’s top attractions.

Puget Sound Express Whale Watching

MAY

While grey and humpback whales pass through the Pacific Northwest year-round, May usually marks the return of the southern resident Orcas, who make their home in the Salish Sea through October. A daytrip to the San Juan Islands just north of Seattle (or any of our surrounding islands, for that matter) is a magical excursion any time of the year, but the added prospect of whale watching can add that extra sparkle to the itinerary.

JUNE

You don’t have to be in Seattle too long before you pick up on the city’s deep appreciation of hopped beverages. With 11 breweries in just 5 square miles, the Ballard neighborhood in particular has become a beer-lover’s destination. And if you’re planning for June anyway, consider visiting during the Washington Brewers Festival, June 14-16 for a wide sampling of Washington brews in one place. Have little ones in tow? No worries. Many local taprooms are family-friendly.

Photo: Ballard Kayak & Paddleboard

JULY

Seattle is a city surrounded by water – and from kayaks and paddle boards to seaplanes, ferries, and even cruise ships, this city is not lacking in ways to get out and experience it. Learn how to sail or enjoy a bonfire on the beach. Chase a waterfall or while away the hours at a waterside bar or restaurant. Just be sure you get out on the water.

AUGUST

There’s not much better than a sunny day in Seattle – with a cold drink in hand – on a rooftop with sweeping views of the city and surrounding landscape. Throughout the summer months,  it’s no wonder that Seattlites flock to the growing number of rooftop bars. (The Nest and Terra Plata are two of my personal favorites.) Height’s not your thing? There are plenty of waterside watering holes to choose from as well.

The Nest at Thompson Seattle Mary Van Hollebeke

SEPTEMBER

With so much water surrounding the city, it’s easy to assume that Seattle is a coastal city – but it’s not. While the city still enjoys that familiar salty air, it is separated from the ocean by the Olympic Peninsula: 3,600 square miles of temperate rainforest, towering peaks, and dramatic coastlines – in short, an adventurer’s paradise. A trip to the Olympic National Park is a good place to start. Planning a shorter trip but still want to cash in on the majesty of a PNW National Park? August is the peak bloom season for wildflowers at Mount Rainier National Park.

Wynton Marsalis Courtesy Earshot Jazz Festival

OCTOBER

Seattle has a long, rich music history. Known worldwide as the birthplace of grunge, our city celebrates all genres of music. Every music venue carries its own sound and it is worth setting aside several nights to experience a variety of them. In October specifically, be sure you check out Earshot Jazz Festival, a month-long event that brings local and global musicians together to play in over 60 concerts and events in venues large and small throughout the city.

Comfort Food at Skillet Sarah-Flotard

NOVEMBER

Seattle is an incredible foodie city, and there’s no shame in planning a vacation simply to eat your way through it. And when the days get a little shorter and the weather gets a little crisper, sometimes that’s all the motivation we need to gather around a good meal. Try the ultimate comfort food from James Beard award winner Edouardo Jordan’s Junebaby or something more precise like the sashimi at Shiro’s. Go casual at Serious Pie & Biscuit or get gussied up at AQUA by El Gaucho. There are too many mouthwatering places to call out in one post, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back with more tasty ideas for you.

DECEMBER

They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year – and I’m not one to argue. The holidays in Seattle really are magical. I never miss the Macy’s Holiday Parade to kick off the season and I can’t resist the festive atmosphere when they close off the streets for the Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition. The time-honored tradition of the Argosy Christmas Ship Festival is a distinctly Seattle.

Sinclairstoryline.com

JANUARY

Nothing like leaving your resolution for the last-minute, huh? Whether you’re already planning for your procrastinating tendencies on this year’s resolution or already looking ahead to next year’s resolution, Seattle has the expertise and opportunities for you to eat better, pamper yourself, or start a new hobby. New year, new you, right?

The post I resolve to travel more appeared first on Visit Seattle.

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Seattle Museum Month, February 1-28, offers Seattle visitors staying in one of our 60+ partner hotels an unbeatable value: 50% off admission at our 40 museum partners, including many of Seattle’s most popular attractions.

You can go to as many museums as you like during your stay, and up to four people staying in the hotel room are eligible to use the discount, so it’s perfect for trips with friends or family. You’ll find the entire list of museums on seattlemuseummonth.com – but how to choose? Let’s dive in and I’ll try to make some suggestions according to your interests.

Today’s topic is: family fun! Here are some of my recommendations if you have kids in the mix.

For anyone who still thinks museums are boring, this tour will definitely change some minds. From rock and roll to horror films, from pinball to VR, and fascinating creatures from land and sea, these spots offer topics and experiences to entertain and engage kids of all ages.

Seattle Aquarium delights visitors young and old on the Seattle waterfront. A leader in hands-on marine experiences and conservation education, the Aquarium makes learning about Puget Sound and our world’s one big ocean fun and engaging. Daily diver shows in the Windows On Washington Waters exhibit introduce the fish that you can find in our Washington waters.  Wearing specialized masks, the divers are able to talk back and forth with Aquarium interpreters on the outside of the exhibit, and answer your questions. From February 16-24, don’t miss Octopus Week, a particularly fun time to learn about one of the coolest creatures in Puget Sound, the giant Pacific octopus.

From the waterfront, you can walk on a Washington State Ferry for a 30 minute crossing to Bainbridge Island, where a short stroll up from the dock leads you to Kids Discovery Museum, which is geared for little ones from 6 months to 8 years. If the ferry ride isn’t part of your plan, you’ll also find hands-on fun and discoveries for kids ages 10 months to 10 years at Seattle Children’s Museum, located at Seattle Center, and reachable by a quick ride on the Monorail from downtown Seattle.

Also at Seattle Center, Pacific Science Center has been a favorite spot for generations of Seattle families since 1962.  Programs and exhibitions here cover a broad range of ages and interests, such as the Portal to Current Research exhibit, Virtual Reality immersions, the Tinker Tank and the Tropical Butterfly House.

Also at Seattle Center, the colorful Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) is eye-popping inside and out, and will thrill older kids and their parents too.  Music fans can dive deep into exhibits on Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Jimi Hendrix, while fans of Harry Potter or The Wizard of Oz will delight in Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic. Sound Lab offers the chance to actually play and make music in soundproof rooms, while Indie Game Revolution offers an immersion into contemporary video game culture. Maybe zombies, vampires and other things that go bump in the night are more your speed? Then Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film is for you! (Note that this one is for the age 13+ crowd, due to high scare factor & graphic content.) If all that isn’t enough, MoPOP is currently presenting its largest-ever exhibit with MARVEL: Universe of Super Heroes.  More than 300 artifacts give a fascinating look at MARVEL’s 80 year history, from comic books to Black Panther.  Note: the MARVEL exhibit is not included with regular museum admission but is available to Seattle Museum Month pass holders for a small upcharge.

A few minutes north of Seattle Center is Woodland Park Zoo, another perennial favorite of kids & adults of all ages. For 118 years the Zoo has been an urban oasis and is now a leader in animal conservation efforts. Its 92 acres are divided into bioclimatic zones, featuring natural habitats ranging from humid tropical rain forests and coastal deserts to temperate rain forests like those of the Pacific Northwest, housing a wide range of interesting animals.

I hope you still have energy to spare, because you’re in for another treat: Seattle has a pinball museum!  The Seattle Pinball Museum offers about 50 playable games from the 1960s to the present. Your admission allows you unlimited play, although please note that kids must be 7 or older to play the games and must be supervised by an adult.  One tip: this can be popular and crowded, so my advice is to choose a non –peak time for your visit if possible, so you can enjoy the games and maybe even talk with the owners, who are passionate pinball fans.

If you haven’t filled up on snacks at the Pinball Museum, you’re in luck because you’re right in the Chinatown-International District, home to delicious dumplings and noodles to finish out your busy day of museum hopping. Fuel up, tomorrow’s another day!

Learn more about Seattle Museum Month at seattlemuseummonth.com and watch this space in the coming weeks for more suggestions for history lovers and seekers of the unique. With 40 museums, we’ve got something for every interest.  See you in February!

The post Seattle Museum Month:<br>Fun for the Whole Family appeared first on Visit Seattle.

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