How To Do Seattle
Are you cruising to or from Seattle this summer? It's not entirely a stupid question, because there are nine ships home-ported in the Emerald City from five different cruise lines, moving tens of thousands of people to Alaska and back between now and the end of September. If you're one of them, here's how to maximize your time in Seattle.
First, find out which cruise terminal your ship uses. There are two of them, and they are about two miles apart – quite a walk if you go to the wrong one with a dozen suitcases. Holland America and Princess Cruises use the Pier 30 facility that is south of downtown. After ditching your bags at the terminal, grab a cab or start walking north to pick up this tour. The brick building with the mermaid peeking out the top near your ship, by the way, is the corporate headquarters of Starbucks, and Safeco Field, where Ichiro and the Mariners play, is about a ten-minute walk north up First Avenue.
If you're riding on a Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean or Celebrity ship, you're in luck, because the cruise terminal at Pier 66 is smack in the middle of downtown Seattle. After ditching your bags, avoid the urge to join the tourist crowds heading for the Pike Place Market and the Alaskan Way waterfront's souvenir shops. Instead, you're going to walk north (keeping the water to your left) to delightful Myrtle Edwards Park, with its great views of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountain range to the west.
While there, stop at the Seattle Art Museum's new Olympic Sculpture Park, at the corner of Broad Street and Western Avenue, for great outdoor art.
If it's early in the day and you have several hours to kill, walk east on Broad Street a few blocks until you come to Seattle Center, where you'll find museums (including the Experience Music Project and the Pacific Science Center), Key Arena (the home of the basketball Seattle Sonics), an amusement park, theaters and an awesome computerized fountain in which kids love to splash around.
If it's later in the day and/or you've finished with Seattle Center, retrace your steps to First Avenue and walk south. You'll pass through the strip of restaurants, coffeeshops and watering holes in the Belltown neighborhood, with awesome deals on drinks and small plates during Happy Hour.
At Lenora Street you'll find the first buildings of the Pike Place Market, with tons of shops and more great food and drink establishments (try the crab cocktails at Jack's Fish Spot, across the street from the place where all the crowds are watching the guys throw fish). If you've forgotten to bring binoculars for your cruise, you can find them here. For a coffee fix, the original Starbucks location is in the main arcade on Pike Place.
From the Market, take an elevator down to Western Avenue, walk one block west and you're back on the Alaskan Way waterfront and an easy, flat stroll back to your ship. Bon Voyage! Send us a postcard (or a comment) from Alaska!
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