Seattle is a wonderful city. In fact, it is one of the biggest tech cities in the world with Microsoft and Amazon headquartered here, not to mention Boeing and Starbucks. What’s more – Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates – the top two richest people in the world – call Seattle home. Seattle is an extremely beautiful city surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests. And, I am truly blessed as it is also my adopted hometown.
Kun Lim is the Design Principal of Kun Lim Studio LLC in Seattle and Kun Lim Architect in Kuala Lumpur. He is also the Chairman of Seattle International Architecture Forum, an affiliate organisation of the American Institute of Architects in Seattle.
In this issue, I am delighted to share with you a day tour to eight places in Seattle located within four miles south of my house situated in University District.
The attraction includes:
1. University of Washington
The 703-acre campus is sprawling with 500 buildings grossing over 20 million sq ft of space which includes one of the largest library systems in the world with over 26 university libraries. With an annual operating budget of USD6 billion(RM26 billion), the university is affiliated with many notable alumni and faculties. Counted among them are 20 Nobel Prize Laureattes as well as Bruce Lee and Kenny G. Founded in 1861, the campus is one of the most beautiful in the world. The Quad at the campus incidentally, is the premier cherry blossom viewing spot
2.Houseboat at East Lake located East of Lake Union
Located within walking distance from the University of Washington, East Lake has one of the biggest floating house communities in Seattle. In the memorable movie “Sleepless in Seattle”, Tom Hank’s character lived in the houseboat at Lake Union which helped crystallise floating homes as a quintessential Seattle experience. In fact, there are 2,500 houseboats in Seattle with most of them being located on Lake Union. Interestingly, Lake Union to Seattle is like Central Park to Manhattan.
3. Gas Works Park
This represents a 19-acre public park situated on the site of the former Seattle Gas Company gasification plant located at the north shore of Lake Union. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with remnants of the sole remaining coal gasification plant in the United States. One can also enjoy the beautiful view of Lake Union and Seattle Skyline from the park. Gas Works Park is also one of the two main venues where the Independence Day celebration was held on the 4th of July, with a pontoon set up in the middle of Lake Union for the
majestic fireworks display.
4. Lake Union Park Another outstanding destination is this 12-acre park located at the south shore end of Lake Union opposite Gas Works Park. It is part of South Lake Union – the high-tech hub of Seattle where Amazon has 40 buildings for 50,000 of its corporate employees. Google, Facebook and Apple also have their big presence here with each company employing thousands of engineers respectively. This park is optimised to provide access to water and green spaces while connecting the surrounding neighborhoods in a celebration of the cultural, industrial as well as maritime heritage of the city and region. The Museum of History & Industry and The Center for Wooden Boats with a lakeside museum offers boat rentals. The Historic Ships Wharf housing several historic vessels are also located here. Besides being a place to watch all sorts of watersport activities including the dragon boat competition – one can also catch a seaplane here to partake of scenic tour or to fly to Vancouver, Canada in time to catch a meeting or two.
There is never a sleepless moment in Seattle with one of the world’s biggest floating house communities and much more as we see from the account presented by our guest contributor residing there
5. Kerry Park This small public park situated on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill in
Seattle offers a truly panoramic view of Downtown Seattle – presenting one of the most iconic views of the city skyline, with the Space Needle situated at the center while Elliot Bay is located to the west. Meanwhile, the forever ice-capped Mount Rainier lies in the background.
6. Seattle Center
This art, educational, tourism and entertainment centre in Seattle spans an area of 74 acres. Originally built for the 1962 Worlds Fair, its landmark feature is the 605 ft (184M) tall Space Needle. With an observation deck and revolving restaurant, Space Needle is the most iconic structure in Seattle. Other major attractions at the Seattle Center are the Museum of Pop Culture designed by Frank Gehry, Pacific Science Center designed by Minoru Yamasaki, Chihuly Garden and Glass and Seattle Center Armory. Headquarters for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – the biggest charity organisation in the world, it is located right across from Seattle Center where there is a wonderfully curated visitor centre at the foundation.
7. Seattle Waterfront
The walkable portion of the Seattle Waterfront stretches about 3km long from Pioneer Square to the Olympic Sculpture Park. Piers with terminals for water taxis and ferries to cross over to West Seattle, Vashon Island, Bainbridge Island, Bremerton and Victoria in Canada are located here. Cruise Terminal for cruise ships to Alaska, Hawaii and all the major port in Pacific Ocean are also situated here. Aquarium, Seattle Great Wheel as well as a range of delightful shops and restaurants are also situated here where visitors and tourists from all over the world gather during the warmer months.
8. Pike Place Market
This 113-year-old public market overlooking the Elliott Bay Waterfront in Seattle is the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ market in the US. The market is famous for its fishmongers with its bizarre tradition of fishmongers throwing fish that customers have purchased before they are wrapped. The market also has lots of produce stalls, craft stands, specialty food shops, restaurants, cafés and breweries. The first Starbucks in the world is also located here. Attracting over 10 million visitors annually, Pike Place Market is Seattle’s most popular tourist destination and the 33rd most visited tourist attraction in the world.