Washington Home

The Emerald City, Seattle, is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is known as the birthplace of  grunge music and heavy coffee consumption. Seattle has the highest percentage of college grads of any major American city. Seattle was named after Duwamish/Suquamish Chief Sealth. Seattle has a reputation for a lot of rain, when in reality the "Rainy City's" average of 37.1 inches of rain a year is less than Atlanta, Houston, New York City and many other cities with a drier reputation. It is cloudy a lot of the time in Seattle though, which accounts for a lot of the rainy reputation.

 click thumbnails to enlarge 

Looking across Lake Union from a bus on I-5. That would be the edifice called the Space Needle on the left. That colorful looking thing at the base of the Needle is the Experience Music Project. Both the Needle and EMP are located at Seattle Center. Seattle Center was born of Century 21, the theme and name of 1962's Seattle World's Fair. Located on the Seattle Center grounds are Pacific Science Center, basketball's Key Arena, Fun Forest Amusement Park, the International Fountain, the Science Fiction Museum, Seattle Center House, Repertory Theatre, Center House Theatre, Intiman Theater, Seattle Children's Theater, the Seattle Opera, the Theatre of Puget Sound and several other theaters. Big festivals take place here each year as well, like the Bite of Seattle, Bumbershoot, Northwest Folklife Festival and the Seattle International Children's Festival.

The Washington State Convention Center's glass atrium over 5th Avenue. You can go through the Convention Center to get to Freeway Park, built on a lid over Interstate 5. Freeway Park has water features like waterfalls. Freeway Park is located between 6th & 9th Avenues. There are many entries to Freeway Park in addition to the one through the Convention Center. Freeway Park was part of Forward Thrust, the same massive bond issue that brought Seattle the now demolished Kingdome and a greatly expanded improved Woodland Park Zoo, among many other things, such as improving water treatment, the result of which was a significantly cleaner Puget Sound and a pollution free Lake Washington. 

Here we are looking at the front of Westlake Center. This is a plaza where events such as speeches by presidential candidates takes place. This is where the downtown monorail station is located. It is located in the center of downtown Seattle, hence the name. It is a 4 story, vertical mall with a food court on the upper level. The food court has more choices than your usual mall food court because it caters not just to shoppers, but also to downtown workers. So, you'll be able to get Indian food at Bombay Wala, a visiting Texan can get some Southern Soul food at Cajun & Grill, or get what you might find in any mall, like pizza at Sbarro or a burger from McDonald's. The stores in Westlake Center run the gamut from the usual mall suspects like Footlocker and Lenscrafters to more rare stores like Made in Washington.

A bus tunnel runs under downtown Seattle with 5 huge stations. It is free to ride the tunnel. All mass transit is free in downtown Seattle. This makes it very easy to get around town. The station we are at in this photo is Westlake, the heart of downtown, where the downtown terminus of the Monorail is located. The bus tunnel will soon have Seattle's new light rail train running through it. In addition to new buses, light rail will be running through the tunnel starting sometime in 2009. 
click here to watch a YouTube video
 of the Seattle Transit Tunnel

We also Blogged about the Seattle Transit Tunnel

North of downtown a bit, in a bus, on the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge, looking down on Lake Union and the Kalakala, this sorry old ferry from long ago that was rescued from Alaska to much fanfare a few years back spending some time as a celebrity on the Seattle Waterfront before being towed through the Ballard Locks to its resting place you see here here, near Ivars and Gasworks Park on south Lake Union. That is the Aurora Bridge in the distance. Since this photo was taken the woe begotten boat was sold and floated up Puget Sound through the Straits of Juan de Fuca to its new moorage on the Olympic Peninsula's Neah Bay in a slip provided by the Makah Tribe of whale hunting fame. But it did not take long for the Makah to get tired of the Kalakala and evict her from yet one more home. The boat was then floated back down Puget Sound, but not to Seattle this time, a bit further south than that, to its current, likely not permanent home, somewhere on Tacoma's Commencement Bay.

to ride the Edmonds Ferry to Kingston click here

A ferry from Bremerton, or to Bremerton, docked at Coleman Ferry Terminal on Elliot Bay with the Mariner's Safeco Field rising above it. From Seattle's waterfront you can take a Washington State Ferry to Bainbridge Island, Bremerton and Vashon Island. In West Seattle you can also get to Vashon Island from the Fauntleroy Ferry, which also goes to Southworth, near Port Orchard.

On a pier, on the waterfront, looking up at downtown Seattle. The Seattle Seaport is one of the busiest in the world. In addition to the ferries, cruise ships also depart from Seattle. As does the Victoria Clipper, a high speed catamaran to Victoria, B.C., taking off from Pier 69. And if you are floating to Seattle you can dock at Bell Harbor Marina which can handle boats as long as 100 feet. It was in this location the Kalakala took up residence for awhile. At Pier 66, Bell Street Pier is home to the Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center, a viewing platform, several restaurants, including  Anthony's Pier 66. There are many restaurants on the Seattle waterfront, among them some famous, like Ivar's Acres of Clams. Most of the restaurants are seafood themed, which seems logical, some of them are Fisherman's, Crabpot Restaurant and Bar, Elliott's Oyster House, Fish Club (this is an award winning restaurant located in the Seattle Waterfront Marriot)  & Salmon Cooker.

A Wednesday on the Seattle waterfront. The Seahawk stadium, Quest Field, can be seen in the far background. The waterfront is home to many restaurants and shops. The Seattle Aquarium is on the waterfront. If you are at Pike Place Market just make your way down the Hill Climb and you will be on the waterfront and looking directly at the aquarium. An Omni Theater is part of the aquarium complex. Just south of the aquarium is a waterfront park with viewing platforms where years ago we saw then President Ford boat in for a speech. Be sure and wander into Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe. It's been a Seattle attraction for over 100 years. Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe is a store selling Northwest oriented products, but mostly it is known for its museum which is filled with sideshow type things like mummies and shrunken heads.
stadium.jpg (21377 bytes) The Seattle Seahawk Stadium aka Quest Field. A women's pro soccer team called the Seattle Sounders also plays here. The Seattle Sounders used to be men. On March 26, 2000 thousands of Puget Sounders gathered on the ground, in boats out in Elliot Bay, in skyscrapers, on any high ground with a view to watch history's largest implosion of a concrete building when the Kingdome came down. This became the site of Quest Field which opened in July of 2002. The stadium was designed to be noisy and the Seattle fans are thought to be the loudest in football. In most years this noise level results in more false start penalties being called against visiting teams than in any other NFL stadium.
The Puget Sounder commuter train of Sound Transit runs from Tacoma to Everett with stops along the way, including the stop at this location in Seattle known as King Street Station near Safeco and Qwest Fields. Also known as the Mariner Ballpark and the Seahawk Stadium. There are 4 round trips daily between Seattle and Tacoma and half that many between Seattle and Everett. 
We were told that this building located in Seattle's International District across from the Uijamaya complex was one of's office buildings. Someone else told us it was Seahawk owner/Microsoft billionaire, Paul Allen's office. Maybe it's both. It would make sense for Paul Allen to be located in a building next to his football team's stadium. Speaking of, legend has it that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos made up Amazon's business plan while driving north, with his wife, in his well worn SUV, all the way to Bellevue, Washington from Fort Worth, Texas. A drive the writer of these words has done many a time in even more well worn vehicles with pretty much the opposite economic outcome that Mr. Bezos experienced. Of course, we ended up in opposite locations which could have something to do with the different outcomes. Speaking of Fort Worth. When I was writing about Seattle Center above and its many attractions I thought of Fort Worth where they have this area they call the Cultural District. The Cultural District has 1 theater, 4 or 5 museums, a fairgrounds and a zoo. Fellow northwesterners can probably guess my reaction to first seeing Fort Worth's Cultural District, thinking wow, they have so much culture here they need a special district for it. I've had it explained to me that in olden days some rich oilmen's or cattlemen's young wives visited New York City and came home complaining that they wanted some culture in Fort Worth. So, to appease the wives the Cultural District was born, located on the westside of downtown where the prevailing winds generally kept the foul smell of the stockyards from ruining the culture. In modern times this is no longer an issue. With Seattle having museums, theaters, sports venues and other cultural things all over town one would think Seattle could call its entire city the Cultural District. Or maybe it could be a new tourist slogan "Seattle: Washington's Cultural District".
This is not a tourist shopping in Uijamaya. It is a native Seattleite who took the bus tunnel route to the International District. Uijamaya contains a huge Asian market with an equally huge food court. 


A street pig standing guard across from Hammering Man and the newly expanded Seattle Art Museum. In addition to the expansion at Hammering Man's location, the Seattle Art Museum has also opened an interesting new satellite operation called Olympic Sculpture Park located on the north end of the downtown waterfront near Myrtle Edwards Park. No admission charge. There is an admission charge to get into SAM (Seattle Art Museum) and to get past Hammering Man, a 48 feet tall kinetic sculpture by Jonathon Borofsky who hammers away from 7am to 10pm every day. He pounds away 4 times a minute. He gets only one day off a year. Labor Day. There are other Hammering Men in other cities around the world.

If you'd like to see some more Seattle Pig art click here.

Seattle Links

Washington Link List