Looking up at the Space Needle

Seattle is a major coastal seaport in the state of Washington.  With a population of about 610,000 in the city and 3.4 million in the metropolitan area, Seattle is the most populated city in the Pacific Northwest.  One of the major attractions of Seattle is the Space Needle, a 60-story tower built for the 1962 World’s Fair.



Theresa standing in front of the Space Needle

When the Space Needle was built, it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River.  Today it’s eclipsed by a few taller buildings just nearby in downtown Seattle.  It weighs 9,550 tons and was built to withstand 200 mph winds and a 9.1 earthquake.  To give it stability, a hole 30 feet deep and 120 feet across was dug beneath the tower and filled with 5,850 tons of concrete by 467 concrete trucks in just one day.  With the base of the tower weighing about the same as the above-ground structure, the Space Needle has a center of gravity that’s amazingly just 5 feet above ground.



Timm and Theresa on the Space Needle observation deck with downtown Seattle in the background

A 360-degree indoor and outdoor observation deck sits 520 feet above the ground near the top of the Space Needle.  There is also a restaurant that rotates around in 47 minutes, plus a snack bar, where we grabbed a sandwich and admired the incredible view.



Downtown Seattle

Walking around the observation deck, we had a great view of downtown Seattle.



Seattle port on the Puget Sound

Seattle sits on the Puget Sound, which eventually makes its way to the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Seattle has the 8th largest port in the United States in terms of container capacity and is a major gateway for trade with Asia and cruises to Alaska.



Fire boat practicing in the harbor

Seattle is a beautiful and vibrant city.  In this photo, a fire boat was practicing in the harbor.



Float plane landing in the Seattle harbor

Seattle is a major center for technology and green startup businesses.  It was ranked as America’s #1 “Smarter City” based on its government policies and green economy.  In 2010, the Seattle city government committed to become North America’s first “climate neutral” city, with the goal of “reaching zero net per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.”



Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier, when not shrouded in clouds, is visible on the horizon from most parts of the Pacific Northwest.  The 14,411-foot Mt. Rainier is considered the most dangerous active volcano in the United States.



Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Chihuly Garden and Glass was a work of art and nature in glass.



Timm standing next to a modern sculpture

We found the downtown to be very clean and safe.  You can always tell when the residents consider an area to be safe because it will be full of kids and especially lots of parents with babies.  Here I am standing next to a modern sculpture made of metal tubes.



Timm seeing what it's like to be a flea

This interesting sculpture was made to look like hairs of a dog, so that when viewed from above in the nearby Space Needle, the people walking amongst the sculpture would look like tiny fleas.  It’s an apt metaphor, for we humans are but fleas upon the dog that is our vast universe of space and time.



EMP Museum

EMP Museum

Timm standing next to the EMP Museum

There are so many neat buildings in Seattle, but perhaps none as amazingly odd as the EMP Museum (formerly known as the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame).  It’s dedicated to the history of popular music, science fiction and pop culture.  The EMP was founded in 2000 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.  The very unique structure was designed by Frank Gehry, who also designed the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.  Seattle Weekly said the design resembled a “smashed electric guitar.”



Seattle skyline

We haven’t visited many cities on this trip, but we spent a day in downtown Seattle because we were interested in Seattle as a possible place to live once our trip is over.  It’s a beautiful city surrounded by incredible nature.  The big downside is the perpetual rainy and cloudy weather.  But the weather was near-perfect while we were there.  A long-time resident told me, “Don’t let this great weather fool you.  There are two seasons in Seattle: a month of summer, then rain.”

>> Next Stop: Olympic National Forest >>

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