Saturday, February 28, 2009

Globe Trotting: Sleepless in Seattle

Seattle is one of the cities deeply connected to rain, around three hundred days it rains and people call it RAIN CITY. However, to me it is the GREEN CITY because of green surroundings or JET CITY because of Boeing manufacturing plant.
Seattle is the home of world’s leading corporate names such as Boeing, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Big music names such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chain and Sound Garden also originated from there.
Recently, I was on a US government sponsored exchange program visit to US, after visiting various cities, my last destination was Seattle. It’s beauty completely turned everyone sleepless, city offers a lot, in spite of excessive rain, it is hard to not to fall in love with the city.

Seattle is located in the Northwestern State of Washington of United States. It is a coastal city and major seaport, located in the western part of the state between Puget Sound and an arm of the Pacific Ocean and Lake Washington.
Seattle is the country seat of King County; city has nearly half a million population, making it twenty fourth largest city in US. City is one of the most literate in US, educated work force and strong private sector leadership is the growth factor of Seattle.

During my downtown walk I came across ancient native Indian monument, it gave me idea that area must had been inhabited since ages, later I came know that It was inhibited for at least 4,000 years. However, early European settlement began in mid 19th century.
The downtown is easily walk-able, after Washington DC, I found Seattle a walking friendly city. Within the downtown area the bus service is free for commuters; make it easy to move around.

During my interaction, Seattle down town planning impressed me a lot, it is the only city which is focused on developing green building environment i.e., most LEED certified buildings in US are in Seattle.

Down town Seattle association shared interesting facts during the interaction, such as the strong tourism and cruise industry attracts alot of tourists, around 190 cruise ships board in port, over two and half million tourists visit every year, strong retail level business provide shopping friendly environment along with 950 restaurants, catering to every taste buds.

I found a lot of passion for sport in Seattle; Safeco Baseball Stadium and Qwest Football Stadium are one of the best sporting facilities available in the country. Mariners Baseball team and Seahawk Football team are from Seattle. City offers three live stage theaters along with 30 motion picture screens and new symphony hall.

One of the impressive programs I found was Metropolitan Improvement District –Maintenance Program, a team of 36 trash collectors known as Ambassadors on a mission to clean trash, remove graffiti to give neat and clean look to the city. There are 30 ambassadors for safety program, team patrol on foot and bike, aim is to provide directions to tourists and visitors and provide transit and bus direction.

One of the most interesting program I came across was “HAVE A HEART-GIVE SMART” an educational campaign that offers tips on how to respond to beggars while providing information to those in need.

Seattle has various landscapes, one of the most prominent is the Space Needle, it is one of the most recognizable landmarks, and Smith Tower was the tallest building on the west coast completed n 1914. Other notable places are Pike Place Market, Fremont Troll, the Experience Music Project and Seattle Central Library.
I got to see Starbucks first ever outlet opened in Pike Place Market in 1971, store is still operating from its original location.
Seattle has been a regional center for the performing arts, century old Seattle Symphony Orchestra is among the worlds most recorded. Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet are also notable.

The Seattle Aquarium has been open on the downtown waterfront since 1977. The Seattle Underground Tour, an exhibit of places that existed before the Great Fire, is also popular.

One of my Pakistani-American friend took me around for outdoor recreation, I saw people walking around Green Lake, Discovery Park on the Downtown waterfront and Alki Beach in West Seattle. I also got to see hiking and skiing places in the nearby Cascade or Olympic Mountains. Sailing in waters of Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia would be fun activities. No wonder Seattle has received the crown of the fittest city in the United States.

I had only few days to explore the city; I was completely sleepless to maximize every bit of time to explore the parts of amazing Seattle.

I have truly fallen in love with Seattle.


Brianna said...

:-) ;-) :-) ;-)

sleepy in Seattle.....

Imran Baloch said...

But i was sleepless in Seattle...just like the movie....