One of the oldest continuously-operated farmer’s markets in the U.S., Pike Place Market presides over a nine acre historic district in the heart of downtown Seattle. The market features fresh fish and produce stands, arts and crafts, ethnic groceries and gift stores, vintage clothing, antiques and collectibles, international restaurants, cafes and food bars. Street musicians, sanctioned by the Pike Place Market Preservation Development Authority (PDA), entertain at designated locales throughout the market. The Pike Place Market is located between First & Western Avenues bound by Union & Stewart Streets.
Today, Seattle’s historic district, located on the southern fringe of the downtown business core, features some 20 square blocks of Victorian Romanesque architecture, museums, art galleries, many restaurants and nightlife. But historically, Pioneer Square offers many a wild tale. As a young lumber town in the 1800s, logs skidded down its streets to harbor side sawmills. The town’s brisk growth was suddenly halted by a great fire in 1889 that destroyed many of its wooden structures. The town was quickly rebuilt with brick and mortar atop the rubble and Seattle boomed again as a primary staging area for the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s when more than 70,000 prospectors passed through town. Today, visitors are still drawn to Pioneer Square. The Underground Tour offers a look at the remnants of the old town below street level. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park interprets Seattle’s critical role in the gold rush. And antique-hunters, gallery-walkers and bar-hoppers keep the neighborhood bustling.
The legacy of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, Seattle Center is a 74-acre urban park and home to the landmark Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project| Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Children’s Museum, Seattle and many other attractions. The Seattle Center also hosts many of the city’s largest festivals, including Bumbershoot, the Seattle Arts Festival, the Northwest Folklife Festival, Magic Giant children’s festival, the Comcast Bite of Seattle and many other community events.
Seattle’s natural deep-water harbor, Elliott Bay, teems with trade, ferry boats, luxury cruise liners, sightseeing tour boats and myriad pleasure craft. Prime harbor views can be found on the city’s central waterfront, stretching along Alaskan Way from Pier 70 on the north to Pier 48 on the south. Midway, built atop Pier 59 is the Seattle Aquarium. Pier 66 is home to the Bell Street Cruise Terminal, homeport for luxury cruise liners bound for Alaska’s Inside Passage (a second cruise ship terminal is located at Pier 90). At Pier 55 and 56, Argosy Cruises features decidedly smaller vessels for sightseeing trips and evening dinner cruises. Also departing from Pier 55, Tillicum Village offers a scenic boat trip to nearby Blake Island for a Northwest Coast Native American stage show. The Seattle Waterfront also features souvenir and gift shops and an array of Northwest seafood dining.
Chinese immigrants originally landed in Seattle in the 1860s, finding work at the town’s saw mills, rail lines and on its fishing boats. Today, the International District spans some 44-blocks south of downtown Seattle, bound by Yesler Way and Dearborn Street on the north and south and Interstate-5 and Fourth Avenue on the east and west. Seattle’s Asian population has grown steadily to 14.4 percent (according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 Census), and today it’s the only neighborhood in the U.S. where Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Vietnamese and Southeast Asians coexist. Chinatown Discovery Tours offers guided walks through the district. The tours of the Chinatown-International District showcases Seattle’s busy Asian neighborhood on the southern fringe of downtown Seattle. Tours include A Touch of Chinatown, a 90-minute introduction to the neighborhood and a Taste of Chinatown private group tour which includes a six-course dim sum lunch. Don’t miss Uwajimaya, one of the largest Asian grocery and gift stores in the United States at Fifth & Weller.
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