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Seeing Sights and Staying Warm in Seattle: Indoor Attractions in the Emerald City
It may be known for its rainfall, but if you’re planning a trek to Seattle, don’t let that put a damper on your fun! There are plenty of unique Seattle attractions to make your visit to Jet City an enjoyable one. Here are a few of our suggestions for indoor activities that will allow you to stay warm and dry in the Emerald City while letting you experience some of the best of the Northwest.
Seattle Coffee Tours
Rainy days and cold weather can sometimes make you feel a tad sluggish. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that Seattle is known as the Coffee Capital of the World and is home to some of the globe’s leading roasters that put the “perk” back in percolation. Renowned coffee beaneries such as Starbuck’s, Seattle’s Best, Tully’s, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters call Seattle home. While you can certainly pay a visit to some of these internationally-recognized coffee meccas on their home turf, Seattle is also home to a number of excellent independent shops.
Victrola Coffee Roasters, a local Seattle chain with three locations (310 E. Pike Street, 411 15th Avenue E, and another location in Beacon Hill at 3215 Beacon Avenue South), has a speakeasy-type feel to its shops. What sets Victrola apart is its dedication to educating visitors about coffee. Coffee lovers may want to take advantage of one of Victrola’s “cupping classes” held each week.
If you prefer a little something extra with your coffee, Top Pot Doughnuts is another independent chain local to the Greater Seattle area, with 15 cafes scattered throughout. Not only is this chain a favorite among locals, it’s received the Presidential and Mayoral stamp of approval, having been visited by the likes of President Obama and Mayors Mike McGinn and Mitch Landrieu (of Seattle and New Orleans, respectively).
Visit the EMP Museum
Pop culture enthusiasts can spend hours walking through this Seattle museum that boasts exhibits on punk and rock n’ roll musicians, horror and science fiction films, and various other art forms that have helped shape the cultural landscape as we know it. Music lovers will appreciate exhibits devoted to artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana. Proud sci-fi geeks can prowl the corridors of the EMP’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame and have their chance to view the Enterprise command chair from Star Trek or get a close-up look at one of Doctor Who’s Daleks (without fear of extermination). Yet another imaginative EMP exhibit showcases the impact of LEGO building blocks on creativity -- extending to include modern scientists’ use of the colorful kids’ toy to create more effective solar panels and waste reduction measures. These are just a few of the EMP Museum’s exhibits designed to both inform and provide a creative springboard for tomorrow’s innovative minds.
The Space Needle
One of Seattle’s best-known attractions, the towering 605-foot high Space Needle was initially built for the 1962 World’s Fair. However, this modern marvel has become a staple of the Seattle scene; it attracts nearly 1 million visitors each year and is the leading tourist attraction in the Northwest. Its streamlined structure can withstand high winds of up to 200 mph and earthquakes up to a 9.1 on the Richter scale. A 41-second ride to the top of this attraction affords visitors a spectacular view of downtown Seattle, as well as natural landmarks such as Mount Ranier, the Olympic Mountains, and the Cascade Mountains. Not only does this historic landmark include 25 lightning rods, but the Space Needle also includes an observation deck, as well as a unique rotating restaurant, SkyCity. The Space Needle collects a number of must-see Seattle attractions under one roof -- even on a rainy day!
Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
Just a skip and a jump away from both the Space Needle and the EMP Museum sits the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. This large, distinctive glass building is devoted to showcasing the equally distinctive glasswork of Tacoma native and glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. Chihuly’s winding, colorful blown-glass sculptures take on a life of their own throughout this 1.5 acre display. Aficionados of modern art and man-made beauty incorporated into a natural setting will find an appreciation for Chihuly’s work in this massive exhibit housed under one extraordinary glass roof.
Forget packing your umbrella! Just bring an appetite for adventure, culture, and (of course) coffee to enjoy all the beauty Seattle has to offer.