Offbeat Seattle – U.S.A
The public art is all sorts of weird and wonderful, and the doughnuts legendary.
WHAT IS THERE TO DO?
Rock out at the EMP Museum, be an artist at Pike Place Market, and don’t leave without your fill of American-style crumpets.
Seattle’s modern-before-its-time tower built for the 1962 World’s Fair has been the city’s defining symbol for more than 50 years and over a million visitors head to its flying-saucer-like observation deck each year. Note, if you have a meal in the rotating SkyCity Restaurant atop the Needle, the entry fee will be waived.
PIKE PLACE MARKET
Century-old Pike Place is a living community, a cabaret show, a way of life and an intrinsic piece of Seattle’s soul. Watch out for fish flying through the air in the Main & North Arcades where fresh produce is piled high; add your contribution to the artistic ‘gum wall’; and browse shops that look like they’ve sprung from a Harry Potter movie.
Designed to resemble an electric guitar, the Experience Music Project (EMP) is a marriage of modern architecture and rock ‘n’ roll history. Founded by Microsoft co-creator Paul Allen, created by Canadian-born architectural rock star Frank O Gehry and inspired by the music of Seattleborn guitar icon Jimi Hendrix, it includes a Sound Lab where you can jam in a studio.
Art & sculpture
CHIHULY GARDEN & GLASS
This exquisite exposition of the life and work of local glass sculptor Dale Chihuly is breathtaking. The masterpieces reflect Chihuly’s influences, most notably Native American art, Puget Sound sea life and boats.
FREMONT PUBLIC ART
The neighbourhood of Fremont does bizarre like the rest of the world does normal, most evident in its public art. The five most famous pieces are scattered around the southern part of the neighbourhood abutting the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Of note are a provocative bronze statue of Lenin.
OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK
Hovering over train tracks, in an unlikely oasis between the water and busy Elliott Ave, this £64-million sculpture park makes the most of limited urban space. Over 20 sculptures dot the landscape, including Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, with its weird blue sprouts, and Alexander Calder’s 39ft-tall The Eagle.
THE CRUMPET SHOP
Take a treasured British culinary invention and give it an American twist (ridiculously lavish toppings) and you’ve got a compelling reason to have your breakfast in Pike Place Market. Join the queue for crumpets made before your eyes and embellished with ricotta, marmalade, pesto and Marmite.
TOP POT HAND-FORGED DOUGHNUTS
Those who can walk past this café without going in deserve a medal. Top Pot’s doughnuts are in a different class, and its cafés – especially this one in an old car showroom with floor-to-ceiling library shelves and Art Deco signage – are equally legendary. The coffee’s pretty potent too.
Award-winning chef and local culinary phenomenon Tom Douglas has taken the down-to-earth Italian pizza and given it a gourmet spin in this Belltown diner. The crowded communal tables and weird pizza toppings are popular: here you can enjoy crusty bases crowned by the likes of clams, kale, potato, apple and pistachios.
Greenlake Guesthouse is a cosy B&B with five rooms. For breakfast, choose from omelettes with avocado and buttermilk waffles.
Hotel FIVE in Belltown mixes ’70s furniture with colour accents for a modern twist. The reception area invites lingering, especially when free cupcakes and coffee are laid out.
Perched on a pier, Edgewater was once the hotel of choice for rock bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and, most infamously, Led Zeppelin, who filled their suite with sharks.