Belltown and Pioneer Square, the best areas to stay in Seattle
Just north of Virginia Street and stretching from Elliot Bay to the Sixth Avenue, Belltown is a very hip area with flashy nightclubs, trendy restaurants and boutiques. Belltown has changed a lot since the days of Kurt Cobain and grunge in the early 1990s, although some vestiges of that past still remain. Belltown is still a great music venue for up and coming independent artists. There are many punk rock record shops and even a gallery that celebrates urban street art.
Some of the regular top draws of Belltown are the Olympic Sculpture Park, Pike Place Market, Seattle Aquarium, and the Seattle Central Library. The Sculpture Park is fantastic and huge! It consists of 9 acres of land in addition to an outdoor extension of the Seattle Art Museum. The Seattle Aquarium has many exciting wildlife features, a crowd favourite here are the sea otters and seals who can be seen implementing their antics through huge underwater windows. The pike Place Market has almost anything a visitor could ask for and the Seattle Central Library is loaded with manuscripts and historic facts about the area.
And if you wish to take a brief respite, you absolutely cannot miss the “Green Tortoise”, this Seattle icon has been around for many years now and is a favourite among backpackers and other travellers alike. For a backpacker establishment this place is very neat and clean. Even with the young hipster vibe this place still has a sense of making guests feel pampered. Even on the legendary budget prices of the Tortoise you still get treated to great amenities such as a breakfast and dinner buffet. The history of this lodge is quite a draw in itself. The tortoise is a great stopping point for your trip.
Head on south down 1st Avenue and you will find yourself in the area of Pioneer Square. The easiest way to get here is to catch a bus, and during the daytime it should be free since Pioneer Square falls within the “Ride Free” area criteria.
Pioneer Square has some very interesting display galleries such as the Hop Gallery, the Clog Factory and the wildly elaborate, “Bill Speidels Underground Tour”. Spiedal was a former reporter for the Seattle Times who in his own comical fashion uses this tour to both inform and entertain the audience about Seattle’s past and everything that is culturally and literally underground.
In case you missed this one on the Spiedal tour, don’t forget about the Smith Tower. Built in 1921, this office building was the tallest outside of New York and for 50 years it maintained itself as the tallest building west of the Mississippi river. Still of breath-taking height, this building is a great place to take a break during your trip. Climb up to the observation deck and you can get a truly magnificent view of Seattle in all of its intended glory.
Two sites the sports fan cannot miss out on when in Pioneer Square are that of Quest field and Safeco Field. Quest field located on the Southside of Pioneer Square is the legendary home of the Seattle Seahawks, and the fans of Seattle, the 12th man as they are referred to in the NFL are not shy about their loyalty to this team. They helped lead the Seahawks to a spectacular victory against Peyton Manning and the Broncos in last years super bowl, and these fans won’t let you forget it!
Quest field screams victory at you. This open air stadium has 67,000 seats with a special design created for the lower sections that places the front row seats only 40 feet from the end zone, truly making Seattle’s famous 12th man a part of the game! If you wish to take a tour of this massive stadium, make sure to book an appointment in advance. Tours usually begin at the gift shop known as the “Pro Shop”, from this point the tour will take you all over the field in exploration of the Seattle Sea Hawk’s home turf.
The same goes for the Safeco field, the baseball stadium of the Seattle Mariners. Book a tour in advance and you will be sent on a hour´s tour all over the field, from the dugouts to the locker room. Both of these tours are a lot of fun and worth a trip over to Pioneer Square to take part in them.