Seattle is wedged between two bodies of water: Puget Sound and Lake Washington. It has a long, Native American history, with tribes settling in the area thousands of years ago. The city was named after "Chief Seattle" who formed a close relationship with one of the city's founders.
On a clear day, the views of snow-capped Mount Rainer are striking and the distinctive Space Needle, erected for the world's fair in 1962, remains a quintessential Seattle structure.
A base for innovative business leaders — including Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon and Microsoft — Seattle’s reputation as a hub for exports and an epicenter for technology continues to thrive. Meanwhile, quality of living in the city consistently ranks highly.
Seattle has a rich music scene, spawning grunge bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden in the 1990s, and more recent alternative bands. Musician Jimi Hendrix was born here and the early jazz scene kick-started the careers of icons like Ray Charles and Quincy Jones. There are still plenty of stylish venues throughout the city to catch a show. Watch the Seattle Symphony Orchestra at Benaroya Hall, check out some jazz at Lucid in the University District, or sing the blues at the Highway 99 Blues Club on the waterfront.
The great outdoors is right on the doorstep of the city. A cruise on Puget Sound will pass beaches and islands, and give you a spectacular view of the downtown skyline. If you have a little more time, Olympic National Park is a 2.5-hour drive, but well worth it for the waterfalls and miles of hiking. Alternatively, take the 1.5-hour journey east to Mount Rainier National Park.
Seattle’s many neighborhoods serve up an eclectic mix of retail, restaurants and entertainment. There’s historic Pioneer Square, where you can absorb a little gold rush history, hip Belltown, busy Downtown Seattle and the ever-popular Seattle Waterfront. Join Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour, which takes you through old passageways and storefronts to the original city. Stroll the waterfront and sample the fresh seafood before climbing the steps to the lively Pike Place Market. Northwest of Downtown, in the Magnolia neighborhood, hike through the forest at Discovery Park and be rewarded with magnificent views of Puget Sound.
Once the sun sets, head to Kerry Park and soak up twinkling views of the Seattle skyline. Watch cruise ships, ferries and sailboats crisscross Elliot Bay as another day ends in the Emerald City.