Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Seattle

Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:04am EST

Mckenzie Harguth drinks her Frappuccino at a Starbucks store at 1st and Pike in Seattle, Washington, March 25, 2010.  REUTERS/Marcus Donner

Mckenzie Harguth drinks her Frappuccino at a Starbucks store at 1st and Pike in Seattle, Washington, March 25, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Marcus Donner

(Reuters) - Got 48 hours to explore Seattle? Hope for good weather and follow the advice of a Reuters correspondent with local knowledge to help visitors get the most from a short visit.

FRIDAY

4 p.m. - Get an introduction to Seattle with a monorail ride from downtown to the Space Needle, Seattle's iconic landmark. Ride the elevator up to the observation deck, 520 feet above the city and enjoy the breathtaking views. On a clear day, you will see a snow-capped Mount Rainier to the south and Cascade Mountains to the east. Watch the sun set over the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountain range.

6 p.m. - Swing by the Cinerama Theater and see what's on. The 800-seat movie theatre opened in 1963 and nearly shut down in the late 1990s when Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen opened his wallet to save it. The movies always seem larger than life on the theatre's screen, which is 90-feet (27-metre) wide and 30-feet (9-metre) high.

8 p.m. - Grab a bite at the Dahlia Lounge (<bit.ly/1uptpu>). Acclaimed Chef Tom Douglas packs the menu with local seafood and the restaurant's coconut cream pie is legendary. With dim lighting and deep red walls, this Seattle institution is perfect for a romantic dinner. Its romantic credentials were solidified with a cameo appearance in romantic-comedy film "Sleepless in Seattle" starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

10 p.m. - Head over to The Crocodile (<thecrocodile.com>) in the hip Belltown neighbourhood for a few drinks. An eclectic mix of hipsters, fashionistas and punk rockers descend upon this classic diner/rock club on the weekends to listen to live music. It is a staple of Seattle's music scene and was the epicentre of the grunge movement in the early 1990s. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains all rocked the stage at The Crocodile before becoming chart regulars.

SATURDAY

9 a.m. - Take a morning stroll through Pike Place market. Check out the rows of fresh fish, bread, vegetables and fruit, but stay alert because the fishmongers at Pike Place Fish Market could send a salmon whizzing by your head. If you need a morning coffee pick-me-up, head over to the original Starbucks and check out the store that launched a billion lattes.

11 a.m. - Walk along the waterfront to the outdoor Olympic Sculpture Park. The Seattle Art Museum opened this sweeping nine-acre urban oasis with panoramic views of Puget Sound, the mountains and the city.

1 p.m. - It's time to hop on a ferry to Bainbridge Island from Seattle's downtown ferry terminal. It's a 35-minute ferry ride to this small island community known for its vibrant art scene and natural beauty. Stop for lunch on the island's main street or go for a bike ride around the island that was voted one of the best places to live in America. Coffee lovers must stop at the Pegasus Coffee House & Gallery where they serve a cup of coffee roasted right on the island.

5 p.m. - Take the return ferry back to Seattle and hurry over to the historic Pioneer Square neighbourhood to take a walking tour beneath Seattle's sidewalks and streets. It is a three-block tour of subterranean passages that used to be the city's roadways and storefronts. The underground passages are a remnant of the old central business district, most of which burned down in the Great Seattle Fire of 1889. After the city condemned the area in 1907 for fear of the bubonic plague, the area became a centre for opium dens and gambling halls.

7 p.m. - If you're in the mood for seafood, grab some dinner at Elliott's Oyster House (<www.elliottsoysterhouse.com>) along the pier. Sit down at the long-wooden bar and try one of the restaurant's 30 varieties of oysters. You also can't pass up the Dungeness Crab.

9 p.m. - Head back to Pike Place Market and take a stroll through Post Alley, a narrow side-street filled with bars and restaurants. Find your way over to the Alibi Room. If you prefer a quiet drink, stay upstairs and enjoy the candlelit views of Puget Sound. But if you are in the mood to let loose, there is a dance floor downstairs pumping beat-heavy music.

SUNDAY

10 a.m. - Grab a taxi and get across Elliott Bay to West Seattle for the Sunday brunch buffet at Salty's (<www.saltys.com/>) on Alki Beach. Gorge yourself on crab legs, clams, peel-and-eat shrimp, salmon and oysters against the backdrop of spectacular waterfront views of downtown Seattle. Don't forget to leave room for dessert, because there is a never-ending selection of cakes, pies and fruit. There are long waits, so make sure you get a reservation well in advance.

12 p.m. - Get back to downtown Seattle and stop by Seattle's Central Library. It's been called the most striking and imaginative piece of architecture in the city since the Space Needle. Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, this angular, building encased in glass seems to jut out in every conceivable angle and direction. There is also nothing standard about the library's interior including an escalator illuminated by neon yellow lights and the building's lighting seems to change with every passing shadow. Love it or hate it, the building needs to be seen to be believed.

2 p.m. - Don't leave Seattle without getting a true cup of Seattle coffee. Caffe Ladro in the Queen Anne neighbourhood serves a mean latte and if the weather's nice (that's a big if) sit outside on the wooden Adirondack chairs and people watch.

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