Summer in Seattle

06/21/2014  | 
TRAVEL USA
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Summer in Seattle means clear skies, warm temperatures and a calendar of non-stop events, festivals, sports and outdoor recreation.

Seattle’s summer community festival, Seafair, turns 65 this year and will celebrate with some 75 events through August 3. Don’t miss the incredible firework celebration at Gas Works Park, which is guaranteed fun for all ages. Seafair festivities culminate with the Albert Lee Appliance Cup-H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing and Boeing Air Show August 1-3 featuring the one and only Blue Angels.

This time of year also draws cultural travelers from far and wide for North America’s largest urban arts festival and America’s largest and most highly attended film festival. Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music and Arts Festival takes place on Labor Day Weekend. This year’s line up includes greats like Wu-Tang Clan, Foster the People, The Head and the Heart, Elvis Costello, Panic! at the Disco and many, many more.

Seattle is delicious in the warm-weather months. Menus brim with wild salmon; apples and peaches from Eastern Washington, chanterelles from the Olympic Peninsula and — thanks to the long and mild growing season — bountiful produce and berries galore. 

These offerings inspire chefs throughout the region and seem to give them a leg up in the award-winning department. This year Willows Inn chef Blaine Wetzel tied for the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award, proving that everything tastes better in the Northwest.

If your visit doesn’t allow for a trip up to Lummi Island to see Chef Wetzel in action, walk through the Pike Place Market for a quick bite or consider shipping a fresh salmon home in a leak-proof, airline-approved package. And, don’t forget to swing by the original Starbucks Coffee shop located in the heart of the market.

Don’t miss your chance to work off the delicious calories by joining in on the running craze. Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon take over the streets Saturday, June 21. If a shorter sprint is more your style join the crowds for the Torchlight Run (5k and 8k) July 26 for an amazing tour of downtown.

Seattle is your gateway to the Pacific Northwest. From here three national parks are within a two-hour drive. Washington wine country features more than 800 wineries. The San Juan Islands — home to one of America’s newest national monuments — are just a float plane, ferry or catamaran trip away. Take a “two nation vacation” to Victoria or Vancouver, British Columbia. Or consider scenic mountain hikes, saltwater fishing, sailing, kayaking, whale watching and more.

It’s a Family Affair: Vacationing in Seattle

School will soon be out for summer and that means it’s time to start planning your family vacation. If your perfect destination contains a balance of adult indulgences and engaging activities for the whole family, look no further. Seattle is a fantastic choice for vacationing adults, offering delicious foodie options, a world-class wine scene, and a sophisticated arts and culture community, all set within a backdrop of stunning, raw natural beauty. But worry not — the Emerald City abounds with entertainment for the youngsters too.

With the 41-second guided elevator tour, interactive, real-time displays and a 360-degree skyline and Puget Sound views, Seattle’s iconic Space Needle (http://www.spaceneedle.com) is an adventure that no child (or adult) will soon forget. But Seattle Center (seattlecenter.com) is home to numerous other kid-centric activities and attractions as well.

The Pacific Science Center (pacificsciencecenter.org) is a massive complex with a mission of bringing science to life for people of all ages. The permanent exhibits here range from robotic dinosaurs and a tropical butterfly house to an IMAX theater, laser dome and planetarium. In addition, the science center maintains an impressive rotating calendar of featured exhibits. This summer, check out Spy: The Secret World of Espionage with collections of spy gadgets and artifacts from spies and spy catchers.

For children under 10 years, the Seattle Children’s Museum (http://www.thechildrensmuseum.org) is sure to capture the imagination. Explore play stations such as Global Village, Play Café and Cog City with your little one. Each station is designed with a focus on education through play and activity.

While there is much fun to be had at Seattle Center, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Seattle Waterfront. Ferris Wheels are always a fascinating attraction to youngsters and the Seattle Great Wheel (seattlegreatwheel.com) at Pier 57 doesn’t disappoint, taking families on a scenic spin 175 feet above the city. Right next door is Miner’s Landing (minerslanding.com), filled with family-friendly restaurants, scores of arcade and pinball games, and a vintage carousel

Before you leave the waterfront, save time to visit the aquatic creatures and marine mammals at the Seattle Aquarium (seattleaquarium.org). Watch your child’s face fill with wonder as they come nose-to-nose with harbor seals and river otters, gape at sharks swimming overhead in the underwater dome, and touch the rough surface of a sea star in the touch pool. Don’t miss the dive show at the aquarium’s Window on Washington Waters — a 20-by-40-foot window into the underwater world of the Puget Sound. Divers wear specialized masks so they are able to speak with their audience.

Speaking of critter-watching, Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo (zoo.org) sprawls just north of downtown and offers hours of entertainment for animal lovers. One of the nation’s leading innovators in naturalistic exhibits, the zoo is skilled at bringing inquisitive kids face-to-face with species from around the globe. Don’t miss the Bamboo Forest Reserve, the zoo’s newest habitat, where visitors encounter playful small-clawed Asian otter pups surrounded by the sounds, sights, and smells of Asia’s tropical forests. The exhibit includes a tropical aviary and a nature play area, complete with a wobbly bridge and mini zip line.

And what kid can resist the excitement of a summer baseball game? There isn’t a bad seat at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners (mariners.com). The tiered stadium encircles the field and opens up to views of the Seattle skyline, Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains beyond. Bring your young ones to the Moose Den for a photo shoot with the team’s antlered mascot.

And if all else fails, you can’t go wrong with the great outdoors. With pedal boats and swimming at Green Lake, exploring Lake Union’s Center for Wooden Boats (cwb.org), and beachcombing at Alki and Golden Gardens, Seattle offers a fun and memorable vacation for the whole family — for the young as well as the young at heart.

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