Washington’s hub for culture and tech offers a lot of fun experiences for visitors that truly showcase Seattle’s innovation. Whether it’s touring Amazon’s headquarters (including the Spheres, the new glass plant-filled conservatories in downtown Seattle serving as an extension of the campus and also home to Deep Dive Bar) or mingling with farmers, fishmongers, and florists at Pike Place Market, you’ll quickly see that this is a city where people follow their ambitions and dreams.
At Museum of Pop Culture, within a Frank Gehry-designed building, learn the story of how some of Seattle’s most famous musicians (many rooted in the grunge genre) achieved success. And the Space Needle’s renovation — just next door — added a revolving glass floor just two years ago. Also next door is Chihuly Garden and Glass, a museum and outdoor garden dedicated to Washington’s most famous artist, Dale Chihuly, whose glass creations are found in museums around the world. The hip Ballard neighborhood is also home to an attraction that captivates both boaters and everyone else: the nearby Ballard Locks, on the west end of Salmon Bay and where tricky (but wow-worthy to watch) maneuvers must take place for boats to pass through. You can even spot salmon swimming here. Last year the National Nordic Museum, also in Ballard, unveiled its new home with sweet Scandinavian design.
Visiting Portland from Seattle
Amtrak’s Cascades route is your friend if you want to travel between Seattle and Portland without renting a car or dealing with inconvenient timetables. The ride between the two cities takes 3.5 hours each way; there are five trains daily. Bonus: You’ve never seen such amazing views of the Cascade Mountains and you don’t even have to pay attention to the road. If you choose to drive, allow three hours on the fastest route, which is I-5 traveling south.
Visiting Vancouver from Seattle
There are two trains daily on Amtrak’s Cascades route between Seattle and Vancouver, in Canada’s British Columbia province. They depart Seattle at 7:45 a.m. and 7 p.m., arriving in Vancouver four hours later. By car, you can easily drive from Seattle to Vancouver north on I-5, which takes about two hours and 40 minutes, but will need either a passport or passport card to do so because Vancouver is in Canada.
Visiting Tacoma from Seattle
Amtrak’s Cascades route travels between Seattle and Tacoma, located on Washington’s Puget Sound. Departures out of Seattle are at 7:25 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:20 p.m., or 6:10 p.m. The ride takes about 45 minutes, which is nearly what it would require to drive by car, utilizing I-5.