Seattle is the northernmost major city in the continental United States. The most popular time to visit is during the summer – May through October – when the warm weather and the sun shines down on Seattle. With its abundance of accessible sightseeing destinations, restaurants and nightlife, Seattle is a favorite tourist destination.
Two of Seattle’s most famous and “must see” attractions are the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. Once serving as the symbol of the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is now one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Visitors take an elevator 520 feet up to see the breathtaking Seattle views. Both the Space Needle and the famous SkyCity Restaurant are wheelchair accessible. The Pike Place Market is a large open-space market. Although it contains beautiful fresh flowers, gourmet foods, an assortment of import goods, antiques, collectibles and other shops, it is best known for its flying fish. The original Starbucks is also housed in the Pike Place Market and is a popular tourist destination for coffee lovers.
A lesser known – and one of the more interesting Seattle destinations – is the Museum of Flight. The museum contains a world class collection of space and flight memorabilia. The interactive museum is divided into separate sections and immerses visitors with aircrafts, history and personal stories. The main exhibit hall, the T.A. Wilson Great Gallery, contains 39 full-size historic aircrafts. The J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing highlights the stories of courage, dedication, heroism and human spirit of fighter aviators in World War I and World War II. The Airpark is home to America’s first Air Force One, the first 747, the original 737 and a Concorde jet. Other parts of the museum contain traveling exhibitions, an exhibit on the early history of Boeing, flight simulators and more. The Museum of Flight is wheelchair accessible.
Another of Seattle’s great attractions, especially in the spring/summer is the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (otherwise known as the Ballard Locks) and the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Garden. Visitors can watch mega-yachts and fishing boats navigate the unique passage between Puget Sound and Lake Washington. But even more interesting is the fish ladder. Built to allow salmon to pass between fresh and salt water, visitors can observe the salmons’ progress through glass windows in a subterranean viewing room. The Ballard Locks – including the fish ladder – is wheelchair accessible. Prior to visiting the Locks, visitors can walk through the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Garden. The botanical gardens contain more than 500 species and 1,500 varieties of plants including rhododendrons, roses, native fir and pine trees and other plantings in the garden; the gardens are rather modest and are more so a nice addition to visiting the Locks, but not a destination by themselves. In addition, every summer there are weekly free concerts on the lawns of the Locks beginning at 2pm. The weekly concerts include Jazz bands, Big Bands and Dixieland Bands.
Interesting Fact: In 2008, Central Connecticut State University ranked Seattle and Minneapolis as the most literate large cities in America. Additionally, the Seattle Public Library system has the highest percentage of library card-holders per capita in the country. .
Cruise Lines out of Seattle: Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean. Special Needs Group also provides pier side wheelchair and mobility aide rentals for Holland America ships at Pier 91.