There are many sights in Seattle, but the following are the four main sights that you should not miss: the Space Needle, Pioneer Square, Pike Place Market, and the Waterfront. In Pioneer Square, be sure to take the Underground Tour. Make reservations a day ahead of time to have lunch, dinner or Sunday Brunch at the revolving restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. If you do that, go to the "Restaurant Check-In" section when you get to the Space Needle, even if you arrive an hour or more early. You will avoid the lines and the admission price of the people that have come just to go up to the observation deck. If you arrive early, you can spend your wait time on the observation deck and the gift shop above the restaurant. You will hear your name called when your table is ready.
Getting back to talking about the Underground Tour, it starts at "Doc Maynard's Public House" in Pioneer Square. You can call 682-4646 once your in Seattle and make reservations for a tour. Arrive about 20 minutes before your tour. You will probably get a discount coupon for your choice of either beer from a local micro-brewery or for a specialty coffee. By getting there early, you'll be able to find a table to sit at, relax, enjoy your drink, and listen to the introduction lecture to the tour.
On Saturday, June 22, we took the trolly from around the corner down to Pike Place Market. We had lunch at the Pike Place Market Bar & Grill. The food was good there and it was fairly quiet. Pike Place itself is a very crowded place. I thought some of the most interesting shops were on the stairs from the trolly station up to the main level of Pike Place Market. The main arcade of Pike Place Market is 6 floors. The top level is considered the actual location of the market and everything below that is considered the shops "down under". From the crowds at the market it was obvious that this is one of the main Seattle attractions, but I personally like places a bit less busy.
This was my very first trip on Amtrak. I booked one of their Fly/Rail Amtrak Great American Vacations. My two daughters and I flew to Seattle on 9/23/95. We toured Seattle until Sunday and then returned to Los Angeles via Amtrak. The tour package included airfare from Los Angeles to Seattle, a Hotel in Seattle for 3 nights, a rental car for 3 days, and the return trip by Train for all 3 of us. The total cost came to $1390. Since we had the Family Room on the train, this also included all meals on the train for the 2 day trip! As you will find elsewhere in my description about dining on the train, the meals on the train are the equivalent in price and quality to those in a good restaurant. So, take that into consideration when comparing value to cost.
When traveling with my children, I try to take in items that they will enjoy. That means hitting some of the more exciting locations, especially those with animals or rides. We spent quite a bit of time down by Seattle's most famous attraction, the Space Needle. There is a Science Museum that includes a lot of "hands-on" things for children, an IMAX theatre, and an amusement park all in the same comlpex with the Space Needle. We waited until Sunday morning to actually go up in the Space Needle and killed two birds with one stone by having Brunch in the revolving restaurant at the top while enjoying the view.
Another item to check out is the Monorail. Like the Space Needle, the Monorail is another left-over from the 1964 World's Fair that was held in Seattle. The most interesting item about the Monorail is that it is a 1964 vision of what transportation systems were expected to be like in the future. As far as I know, the only place Monorails are in use are at the Disney parks and in Seattle. I guess that is one vision that didn't quite pan out as expected.
Another day we visited the waterfront where they have an aquarium and another IMAX theatre that features Mt. Saint Helens, which is not very far from Seattle. Later that afternoon we drove to Northwest Trek, a nature park about an hours drive outside of Seattle. You can probably tour Seattle without a rented car, but it definitely helps to have one if you want to wander any further than the metropolitan area!
On the final day in Seattle, we returned our rental car and took a taxi to the Amtrak station. We boarded the train early in the morning for our first trip and two day trek home!