Seattle embraces diverse cultures and creative ideas, and offers unlimited opportunities to experience art, heritage and culture, all in a setting of rare natural beauty. Seattle is anything but ordinary. It's a place where bike messengers share elevators with world-renowned researchers, or where fishermen have lunch alongside top surgeons. It's a city where the extraordinary is commonplace and commonplace is anything but.
From a jet engine to an espresso machine to grunge rock, Seattle has birthed some of the most unique world-changing events. In Seattle you can hear the sound of an orca blowing as it surfaces, the roar of the crowd at Safeco Field, or the near-silence of the Olympic rainforest, and of course, you can't visit Seattle without checking out the view from the world-famous Space Needle.
Everyone in Seattle visits the Space Needle, where a 41-second elevator ride takes you up 520 feet to the observation deck. You can enjoy a meal at SkyCity, the restaurant at the top that revolves 360 degrees while you dine.
Pike Place Market is the granddaddy of all farmers' markets. Today, it's a major tourist attraction, with 200 businesses operating year-round, plus street performers and musicians.
Traveling by one of the many ferries is a state of mind as much as a means of transportation to some of the Puget Sound's most historic and scenic sites. At the Seattle Aquarium, you can walk under the water in a glass dome as sharks and other Elliott Bay creatures swim all around you.
The Woodland Park Zoo has more than 1,000 animals of 300 different species, from elephants and gorillas to piranhas and penguins, in naturalistic exhibits.
After the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the city was rebuilt over the top of the ruins. Bill Speidel's Underground Tour takes visitors through the hidden subterranean passages that once were the main roadways and storefronts of old downtown Seattle and tells stories of the frontier people who lived and worked there.
The Seattle Public Library was designed by world-renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, and the award-winning glass and steel structure of the new Central Library makes the building seem a little off-kilter and translucent, allowing passersby on the street to look in.
Tillicum Village is a short, narrated cruise that takes you to an island village, where you'll feast on salmon cooked in the authentic Native American way. The Spirit of Washington Dinner Train is a passenger train that travels from Renton to Woodinville in vintage rail cars. The train travels along the shores of Lake Washington and over a historic trestle as you dine in style.
There is also the Seattle Symphony, the Seattle Opera, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and world class museums & art galleries. In fact, the Seattle area is home to an excellent collection of art, history, maritime, and special interest museums, including one of the largest air and space museums in the world.
Five of the United States' largest companies, based on total revenue, are headquartered in Seattle: Washington Mutual, Amazon.com, Nordstrom, Starbucks, and Safeco Corp. Other Fortune 500 companies popularly associated with Seattle are Costco Wholesale Corp., Microsoft and Nintendo.
The U.S. Census Bureau has shown that Seattle has the highest percentage of college graduates of any major U.S. city. Seattle is also the most literate city in the United States, based on a study done by Central Connecticut State University. Seattle is famous for being home to one of the nation's most respected public universities, the University of Washington. The city's other prominent universities are Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, City University of Seattle and Cornish College of the Arts, which offers bachelor's degrees in such disciplines as dance, music, and theatre.
Seattle has teams in nearly every major professional sport. The four major professional teams are the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics, the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, the MLB's Seattle Mariners, and the WNBA's Seattle Storm.