Resembling a spaceship coming down to land, this sleek modern design, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, has been the city’s defining symbol for over fifty years. The complex, Seattle Center, draws a staggering annual attraction of over one-million visitors, so don’t hesitate to visit the UFO-like observation deck, which stands 520 feet above the city and offers staggering 360-degree views, or enjoy a meal in the rotating restaurant.
Pike Place Market
Wonder around Pike Place Market and take in the procession of noise, smells, urban theatre and amazing personalities that thrive in this waterside strip of Seattle. Since Pike Place Market opened its doors in 1907, to provide locals with fresh Northwest produce, the soulful and vibrant atmosphere still echoes around today and provides a brilliant local experience that shows off Seattle for what it really is. It is also the perfect location to sample local flavours and with a mantra of ‘meet the producer’, you know that the food is fresh. See if you can catch glimpse of the famous fish toss at Pike Place Fish Market and watch the fanatical fishmongers in action!
Start off your culture trip at The Museum of Pop Culture, which incorporates super-modern architecture and legendary rock ‘n’ roll history. Perhaps the Museum of Flight is up your street, displaying a broad sweep of flight memorabilia with key exhibits displaying the best of flight, including Apollo lunar modules, V2 rockets and aerodynamic gliders. Get your arts kick at Seattle Art Museum, known for its extensive Native American artifacts and work from the Northwest School, in particular by Mark Tobey. Always re-curating with new and imported art collections, the museum also includes Modern American art and renowned travelling exhibitions.
Lakes and Parks
If you fancy an escape from the busy city streets, make your way to one of Seattle’s green spaces or lakes for an afternoon stroll. Hard to beat on a sunny summer’s day, the 534-acre Discovery Park is a wild coastal park, laced with walking routes, meadows, forest, beaches and sand dunes that provide a welcome escape to and abundance of wildlife. Lake Union is a super place for watersports fanatics, as kayakers, rowers and sailboats regularly navigate this large stretch of fresh water lake. Visit the beautiful Washington Park Arboretum, which holds more than 5,500 plant species, a wide variety of gardens and 200 acres of mature forests; it is a calming respite from city life.
For a spot of family fun, Woodland Park Zoo will certainly not disappoint. Often voted as one of the top ten zoos in the country, it is one of Seattle’s most popular tourist destinations. With its spacious enclosures designed to replicate their animals’ natural environment, there’s a superb selection of exhibits, including two gorillas, an African Savannah, a tropical rainforest and an Asian elephant forest. Alternatively, discover the amazing array of sealife at Seattle Aquarium, home to the impressive giant fish-filled tank, ‘Window on Washington Waters’. Experience hilarious river and sea otters as they float on their backs or interact with hands-on exhibits where you can stroke starfish and sea urchins.
Experience revolutionary dining at SkyCity's rotating restaurant - every diner enjoys a free trip to the Observation Deck.
Pay a visit to 1912 Pike Place Market to see the humble beginnings of what has become the most famous coffeehouse in the world - Starbucks.
Movie buffs will know that dozens of television shows and films have been filmed on location in and around Seattle including: Frasier, Grey's Anatomy, and of course Sleepless in Seattle - to help with your location scouting, the City of Seattle Film Office has created a useful map that breaks down which films feature which location.
Seattle’s penchant for innovation extends beyond the world of software, coffee, aeroplanes and online shopping to cover American popular culture, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix are probably the city's most famous exports
British Airways direct from London Heathrow.
From London Heathrow to Seattle: 9 hours 30 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Travel Advice Update
The FCO travel advice for the USA has been updated with an amendment to the Entry requirements section - on 18 December 2015, the US Congress passed a Bill updating the requirements for the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP); under the new rules, with effect from 1 April 2016 all travellers wishing to enter the US under the VWP will need to hold a passport with an integrated chip.
The web-based Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) requires all passengers (including infants) travelling via or to the USA to apply for authority to travel a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel. You may be denied boarding or refused entry to the US if you have not registered and obtained authorisation. To apply visit the official website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ A charge of UD$14 per person (subject to change) will apply and must be paid by either credit or debit card.
Customs and Border Protection programme Global Entry gets pre-approved travellers through border control faster at some US airports. If you’re a British citizen and a frequent visitor to the USA you can now register to get a UK background check on www.gov.uk/apply-faster-entry-usa. If you pass the background checks, you’ll be invited to apply for Global Entry.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit Insect and tick bite avoidance.
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations i.e, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCDO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: Foreign Travel Advice. Additional sources of information include: Public Health England, The National Travel Health And Network Centre, Foreign And Commonwealth Office and your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.