Taking in the Sunset from the Waterfront
On clear summer days, the setting sun silhouettes the Olympic Mountains on the far side of Puget Sound and makes sunset on the Seattle waterfront a not-to-be-missed experience. Try the rooftop park at the Bell Street Pier, Myrtle Edwards Park at the north end of the waterfront, the lounge at The Edgewater hotel, or, my personal favorite sunset spot, the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is adjacent to Myrtle Edwards Park.
Riding a Ferry Across Puget Sound
Sure, you could spend $20 or $30 for a narrated tour of the Seattle waterfront, but for a fraction of that, you can take a ferry to Bremerton or Bainbridge Island and see not just Elliott Bay, but also plenty more of Puget Sound. Keep an eye out for porpoises and bald eagles.
Relaxing over a Latte
If the rain and gray skies start to get to you, there is no better pick-me-up (short of a ticket to the tropics) than a frothy latte in a cozy cafe. Grab a magazine and just hang out until the rain stops (maybe sometime in July).
Riding the Monorail
Though the ride is short, covering a distance that could easily be walked in a half-hour, the monorail provides a different perspective on the city. The retro-futurist transport, built for the Seattle World's Fair in 1962, ends at the foot of the Space Needle and even passes right through the Experience Music Project building.
Exploring a Waterfront Park
Seattle abounds with waterfront parks, where you can gaze at distant shores, wiggle your toes in the sand, or walk through a remnant of old-growth forest. Some of my favorites include Discovery Park, Seward Park, Lincoln Park, and Golden Gardens Park.
Museum-Hopping on First Thursday
On the first Thursday of each month, almost all of Seattle's museums are open late, and most offer free admission for all or part of the day. Get an early start, and be sure to check the opening and closing times of the museums. Talk about a great way to save bucks on your vacation!
Taking a Free Boat Ride on Lake Union
Every Sunday afternoon, the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union offers free boat rides in classic wooden boats. You can watch noisy floatplanes landing and taking off as you sail serenely across the waves.
Strolling Through the Arboretum in Spring
Winters in Seattle may not be long, but they do lack color. So when spring hits, the sudden bursts of brightness it brings are reverently appreciated. There's no better place in the city to enjoy the spring floral displays than the Washington Park Arboretum.
Stopping to Smell the Flowers
Whether it's a cold rainy day or a sunny summer afternoon, a visit to the Volunteer Park Conservatory is a free ticket to the tropics. There are always plenty of beautiful orchids in bloom, as well as lots of other unusual tropical plants.
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