Seven reasons to visit Seattle in 2018

Perched on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is famous for its soaring Space Needle set against the spectacular Mount Rainier. The city has a special gift for nurturing splendid talent. As well as producing musical masters like Jimi Hendrix and Ray Charles, Seattle also boasts global juggernauts Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks among its home-grown businesses.

With Ireland’s first direct Dublin – Seattle service launching this coming May, what better time to plan a trip? Here are seven reasons to visit in 2018…

1. The Pike Place Market

Few places in the city capture the spirit of Seattle like The Pike Place Market. Overlooking the Elliot Bay waterfront, the beloved public market has been trading the best of the region’s food, crafts, flowers, comic books, antiques and so much more since 1907. The market played a role in the city’s most iconic movie, Sleepless in Seattle.

Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market

Newly expanded to include 47 additional stalls and a rooftop deck with beautiful views across the bay, the significant investment in the historic market (to the tune of $74 million) has solidified its place as a Seattle institution.

Don’t miss: Snap a photo at the world’s oldest Starbucks. Pay homage to the infamous (and hideous!) chewing gum wall. Watch the fish throwers in action. Listen out for the city’s brilliant buskers, including local hero Johnny Hahn tickling the keys of his upright piano, and guitar-playing, hula-hoop-spinning, Emery Carl.

2. Sky-high views from the Space Needle

No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the city’s most iconic landmark. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle soars 605 feet in the air. Zoom up the speedy elevator to the observation deck and soak in the sublime views of the city.

Seattle skyline
Seattle skyline

Don’t miss: Make a reservation at SkyCity, the Space Needle’s revolving restaurant. With a menu showcasing the best of Seattle’s local seafood and beef dishes, and a 360 panorama of the city, this is a dining experience of a lifetime.

3. Chihuly Gardens and Glass
Right next to the Space Needle you’ll stumble on the colourful Chihuly Gardens and Glass. This is another must-visit sight in Seattle.

Chihuly Garden
Chihuly Garden

The 45,000 square feet of galleries and landscaping in the Seattle Centre showcase the exquisite studio glass of celebrated local sculptor Dale Chihuly. Prepare to be dazzled by chandeliers and towers, and dramatic installations of sea and floral forms. Don’t miss the mighty suspended sculpture at the centre of the Glasshouse.

4. The rich coffee culture

Seattle has been championing best-in-class coffee craftsmanship for decades. With hundreds of cafés and local roasters to sample in every neighbourhood, the city sets the bar high when it comes to coffee.

Seattle coffee
Seattle coffee

CAFFEINE FIX: Zeitgeist Coffee in Pioneer Square serves first-rate coffee and showcases local, fine art. Frasier fans will know that the fictional Café Nervosa, the setting for some of the show’s most memorable moments, is said to be inspired by the coffee shops at Pioneer Square.

Also worth a visit is Milstead & Co on Troll Avenue. Don’t miss the Starbucks Reserve Bar on Pike Street for a truly one-of-a-kind coffee experience.

5. The Museum of Pop Culture

Designed by the renowned Frank Gehry, the sprawling 140,000 square-foot museum is a pop culture Mecca. Showcasing science fiction exhibitions, interactive pop stations, sound sculptures and more, a visit to MoPOP is a real treat for the senses.

Museum of Popular Culture
Museum of Popular Culture

Gehry, the architect behind Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, is said to have used one of Hendrix’s smashed-up guitars as his inspiration for the eye-catching building.

Don’t miss: Budding musicians will love Sound Lab, the collection of soundproof studios on the museum’s third floor. Groups can come together to play, try some vocals, learn the art of mixing or simply jam to their heart’s desire.

6. Discovery Park

Fondly known as the Emerald City, Seattle is one of the greenest cities in the United States. Ten per cent of the metropolis is made up of green spaces. Step away from the whirlwind of Downtown Seattle and enjoy a stroll through the rambling Discovery Park.

Sitting on the shores of Puget Sound in Seattle’s Magnolia neighbourhood, the 534 acre wild coastal park is the city’s largest green space. The former military installation is home to beaches, forests, meadows, cliffs and dunes.

West Point Lighthouse, Discovery Park
West Point Lighthouse, Discovery Park

Grey’s Anatomy fans should head to Kerry Park in Queen Anne Hills to take in the show’s famous view of the Seattle skyline.

7. The Museum of Flight

The Museum of Flight is one of the finest aviation museums in the United States. A treasure trove of aviation history awaits plane enthusiasts.

The Flight Museum
The Flight Museum

Highlights: See an iconic British Airways Concorde. Admire the first jet-powered Air Force One. Take in a replica of the Wright Brothers’ 1903 Wright Flyer.

Planning your next city break? Check out Europe’s Best Christmas Markets for 2017 or read our guide to 48 Hours in Lisbon.