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Since the 1980's, Seattle has been nicknamed the 'Emerald City' because of the lush landscape of evergreen trees in the Olympic Peninsula area, but with all the rain Seattle gets, some visitors also call it 'Rain City'. Now that Starbucks has become an international phenomenon, Seattle has also been called the 'city that never sleeps'.
Visitors flock to the original Starbucks store at the Pike Place Market, where musicians strum guitars out front, and tourists snap pictures of Rachel the Pig, a coffee-bean coated pig that hangs from the ceiling inside. Pike Place Market is a bustling and colorful open air farmers' market where hundreds of vendors, craftspeople and farm-stands vie for the attention of over 10 million visitors each year.
Perhaps the most iconic image of Seattle is the futuristic Space Needle. One of the world's most recognizable structures, the 'Needle' was created in 1962 for the Worlds' Fair and is a must-see for visitors. Be sure to dine at the top of the Space Needle in the revolving restaurant that provides a spectacular 360 degree view of this vibrant city.
Stroll through Pioneer Square, the Pacific Northwest's entertainment and cultural epicenter, featuring over 20 blocks of Victorian Romanesque buildings, art galleries and unique shops. The Pioneer Square Park and Pergola, site of Seattle's first permanent settlement, features an original totem pole from the Tlingit American Indians.
Before leaving the Pioneer Square area, pay a visit to Doc Maynard's Public House, a restored 1890's-era saloon, also serving as the gateway to Bill Speidel's Underground Tour. This subterranean walking tour guides you beneath three blocks of Seattle streets, where you will learn about the stories of pioneers while you explore the former roadways and first-floor storefronts of the old downtown.
Stop at the Museum of Flight and view its collection of over 150 air and spacecrafts, with exhibits that take visitors on a journey from Kitty Hawk to the Moon. Children will also enjoy a trip to the Woodland Park Zoo, which encompasses over 90 acres and includes over 1,000 animals. Visitors can explore unique habitats from around the world, from the frigid climates of the far North to tropical rainforests of the Amazon.
A cruise on the Puget Sound is a Seattle tradition, and there is no better way to enjoy this than on a cruise to Tillicum Indian Village. Starting at the Seattle waterfront, this cruise takes passengers on a journey to Blake Island State Park. Once on the island, visitors dine on fresh salmon roasted over alder coals, while watching a show featuring the dances and legends of the Pacific Northwest's Native American cultures.
For a more adventurous Puget Sound experience, Outdoor Odysseys offers an 'Eagles and Orca' kayaking trip of the San Juan Islands.
In keeping with Seattle's urbane and contemporary culture, the downtown W Seattle is the place to stay if you want to be in the center of everything. Dine at the critically acclaimed Earth and Ocean, the W's sleek and inviting gourmet restaurant, or sip a cocktail at the Flirty W Bar.
With all the excitement that Seattle has to offer, at the end of the day, you will rarely find yourself 'sleepless' in Seattle.