My wife and I visited Seattle in September 2007 as part of a mini tour of the USA’s Pacific North West. We found it a very interesting city and from a photographic point of view it is something very special.

We stayed 5 nights at the Best Western Plaza by the Green Hotel in Kent, to the south of the city. Although still very much within the sprawl of Seattle the hotel was around 30 minutes drive from the centre. Travelling around was fairly easy with the Interstate 5 running north/south through the city linking all the main attractions.

Eating in Seattle is a delight with a plethora of restaurants to suit all tastes. Whilst we were there we ate Thai, Italian, American and Chinese and we could have visited many other countries on top of that. There are coffee places galore too with all the main brands competing for your business.

Shopping, if you are “into” that, is excellent with all the main stores featuring in the city centre. The layout of the shops makes wandering around quite a delight.

Outside the city there are numerous places of interest. Mount Rainier National Park, Mount Baker, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Puget Sound, to name but a few.

During our stay in Seattle we had a day in Mount Rainier NP. This was our kinda day. Beautiful mountain scenery and so close to the city. We also had a day whale watching. We drove north to Anacortes and caught the ferry to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Our whale watching trip sailed from here and what a real thrill it was. We spent most of the time in the Haro Strait between San Juan Island and Vancouver Island and here saw loads of Orcas. Unfortunately the whales weren’t in a boisterous mood so there were no sightings and no photographs of any of them breaching but we were treated to several close ups as some of them swam gracefully past and sometimes under the boat. Part of another day was spent at the Space Needle, the iconic structure completed in 1961 for the Seattle World’s Fair. The views from the top were superb and if it had been a clearer day we’re sure you could have seen the Golden Gate Bridge!!

Photographic locations are plentiful and we went round many of them (several times!). The main ones we visited were Kerry Park, Alki Beach, Dr Jose Rizal Bridge, Pikes Place Market and Mount Rainier.

A good tip to overcome parking difficulties in the city is to drive round to Alki Beach, park for free and take the ferry across to the city.

Our only nitpick about Seattle is the weather. You can expect it to be wet a lot of the time! In our 5 days there we had one afternoon and evening that was clear, (we captured stunning views of the city with Mount Rainier in the background just to prove it!), the rest of the time it was overcast. Maybe it was just our luck or bad luck but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for this beautiful city.

Time for the photos. If you want to see more images from our trip visit our galleries at: http://www.pbase.com/davidleask/america2007.

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