Seattle: The Emerald City

From beautiful nature, to gripping arts and culture, to the area's diverse restaurant offerings, there's never been a better time to visit Seattle. It was even listed as one of the World's top destinations to visit in 2024. Here are ten "must-do" items to add to your bucket list when visiting:

1. Catch Calder at Seattle Art Museum (now through Aug. 4, 2024)

Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection at the Seattle Art Museum is the first comprehensive public display of 48 seminal works from every decade of the American artist Alexander Calder’s career. The exhibition will offer an extensive look into the prolific output of Calder (1898-1976) and will be accompanied by a new catalog and robust programming.

2. Find Inspiration in Seattle’s Rowing Culture (now through June 2, 2024)

In anticipation of The Boys in the Boat film to be released Dec. 25, 2023, explore a selection of rare artifacts and photographs related to the 1936 Olympic Gold medalist rowing team from the University of Washington through Pulling Together: A Brief History of Rowing in Seattle at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI).

3. Visit Hank Willis Thomas LOVERULES Exhibition (Now through Aug. 4, 2024)

Hank Willis Thomas with art from LOVERULES exhibition

Conceptual artist and activist Hank Willis Thomas’ groundbreaking exhibition, LOVERULES debuted in Seattle at the Henry Art Gallery, located on the University of Washington campus. The exhibition, featuring works drawn from the collection of the Jordan D. Schnitzer Family Foundation, explores the impact of corporate branding; the construction of gender, race, and race relations; stereotypes and exploitation; and the struggle for liberty and equality.

4. Discover Indie Films at Seattle International Film Festival (May 9-19, 2024)

Calling all film lovers! Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) will celebrate its 50th year of discovering the world’s best independent films in May 2024. Guests will get to experience all different genres of film from the next generation of filmmakers and cinematographers. New for 2024, the SIFF has recently acquired the beloved Cinerama movie theater downtown, one of just two operating cinemas in the world capable of screening three-strip Cinerama films on its 97-foot curved screen and known for its chocolate popcorn.

5. Take In Seattle Aquarium’s New Ocean Pavilion (Summer 2024)

Anticipated to be completed in summer 2024, the Seattle Aquarium’s Ocean Pavilion shares the story that we have the power to save our oceans. In the Ocean Pavilion, visitors will be able to witness the exquisite biodiversity of a reef ecosystem in the Coral Triangle, a marine area in the tropical Pacific – coming face-to-face with sharks, rays, schooling fish, mangroves, seagrasses, and nearly 30 species of coral.

6. See Salmon at the Locks

July through November, witness three species of Pacific Salmon passing through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, also known as the Ballard Locks. See as many as hundreds of salmon per day through huge glass windows at the fish ladder as they return upriver to spawn. An average of 15,000 Chinook salmon pass through the Locks each year, with peak viewing in August.

7. Discover Three National Parks Near Seattle

Three national parks – Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, and North Cascades National Park – are within driving distance of Seattle, making the city a fantastic basecamp for outdoor exploration. From stunning lake hikes to fall colors, to wildlife sightings of pikas, mountain goats, and marmots, there’s lots to love about our state’s national parks. Don’t forget to hit up a local brewery after your outdoor forays.

8. Eat Your Way Through Seattle’s Food Scene

Three Seattle area restaurants were named in The New York Times’ 2023 Restaurants List: LTD Edition Sushi, Seabird, and Canlis. Notable restaurant openings in the past year include Driftwood, an understated restaurant in West Seattle that is hyper focused on quality, local ingredients; and Darkalino’s, an Italian deli in Pioneer Square that doubles as a clothing and sneaker shop. Don’t sleep on Seattle’s emerging bagel scene either, with spots like Old Salt Fish and BagelsOxbow (from the team behind renowned bakery Sea Wolf), and Mt. Bagel all opening within the past couple of years.

9. Stay Sustainable at Hotel Westland

Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood is getting a new hotel in 2024. Located in RailSpur, a sustainable micro-district that includes three historic warehouse buildings, the hotel will include 120 guestrooms and suites, signature indoor and outdoor restaurant on activated “Railspur” alley, as well as a rooftop bar. Hotel Westland is anticipated to be one of the most sustainable hotel openings in the U.S and only the second hotel in the country to be “carbon-positive.”

10. Find the Trolls

Acclaimed Danish artist Thomas Dambo created an ambitious public art project titled Northwest Trolls: Way of the Bird King. The publicly accessible sculptures are located around the Pacific Northwest (two in Seattle, with five total in Western Washington) where each whimsical troll sculpture is part of an underlying environmental story. The project celebrates the human experience of art by amplifying the connections of cultural heritage between Coast Salish tribal communities and Scandinavian traditions.

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