· Downtown Seattle Public Library
There’s more to breathtaking architecture in Seattle than the Space Needle. This striking public library was designed by Rem Koolhaas. In addition to being centrally located, this library is free to everyone. Go inside for a further look at the architecture, plus check out the bright green-painted elevators and escalators. If you’d like to support the library, there’s a small book and souvenir shop on the third floor.
· Pike Place Market
If you did a Google Image Search for “Seattle,” odds are you’d get a dozen photos of the Pike Place Market. This iconic open-air market is located downtown right next to the water. Though the makeup of shops has changed somewhat; you can still buy whole fish caught that day, but you can also drop off your dry cleaning, have acupuncture, browse antiques, and rub the famous statue of a pig. In Pike Place, you’ll also find the very first Starbucks. The location has remained largely unchanged since the early days of the brand, which means it’s small; grab your coffee, take a look around, and then go for a stroll.
· Kobe Park/International District
Seattle’s International District is more than just Chinatown – it encompasses a large and thriving mix of communities from Korea, Japan, and other Asian countries. The neighborhood is a mélange of sights, smells, and sounds, all of which are worth exploring on a nice long walk. A great ending point is the Kobe Terrace Park. Named for one of Seattle’s sister cities (Kobe, Japan), this one-acre park features Japanese-style structures and small gardens tended by members of the community.
· Pioneer Square
Seattle’s best-known square is home to public art and the occasional live music performance. In addition to plenty of bars and restaurants, two good museums are located here: the (free) Klondike Museum, which chronicles the history of the region’s gold rushes and the way they changed the area, and the ($4) Police Museum.