Glittering panes of steel and glass make this dramatic structure look more like a faceted gem than a bookworm’s paradise. Step inside to admire bold design features, from shocking yellow escalators to an airy reading room nestled beneath a massive pitched roof. Self-guided cell phone tours let you explore the space at your leisure.
Seattle Great Wheel
The largest observation wheel on the West Coast, this 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel is perched on the edge of Pier 57, overlooking Elliott Bay. Clamber inside one of the weatherproof gondolas for an up-close view of the city skyline, the expanse of water and the ferries gliding by.
Pike Place Market
Seattle’s iconic market overflows with fresh seafood and produce, artisan crafts, tempting eats, and charming attractions. Pick up a souvenir, make your sticky mark on the gum wall in Post Alley, watch the fish fly at Pike Place Fish Market and feed Rachel the Pig—a 550-pound bronze piggy bank that collects donations for nonprofit social services.
Famous, in part, for its appearance in the 1999 flick 10 Things I Hate About You, this hulking sculpture underneath the Aurora Bridge is more pet mascot than mean-eyed menace (despite the real Volkswagen Beetle clutched in its hand). The enormous mixed-media sculpture is made out of steel rebar, wire, and concrete and has a hubcap for an eye.
Inside REI’s flagship store, a 65-foot-tall Pinnacle climbing tower overlooks adventure gear and racks of outdoor clothing. Reserve a 15-minute time slot to see if you can scale the behemoth, and enjoy a nice 360-degree view of Seattle when you reach the top.
Walk aboard the Bainbridge Island ferry from downtown, and in 35 minutes you could be savoring handmade ice cream at Mora’s, indulging in a locavore tasting menu at Hitchcock Restaurant or catching a national act live at the intimate Treehouse Cafe. Ride home after dusk for a glittering city view. Learn more about Washington State ferries.
You know those panoramic shots of Seattle’s skyline with the Space Needle proudly front-and-center? Chances are they were taken right here. Situated on the southern slope of Queen Anne Hill, this 1.26-acre park is a prime vantage point to see the Sound, the city, and—on clear days—Mount Rainier.
A parade of boats go from canal to Sound (and vice versa) at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Everything from sailboats to barges passes through here as the water level lowers and rises for a seamless aquatic transition. At the built-in fish ladder, catch a glimpse of glistening salmon leaping up the steps.