With the coincidental arrival of Cher during this year's Pride festivities, LGBT partygoers will be shoop-shooping to Seattle Center all weekend long. The 74-acre tourist attraction is not only home to Key Arena, where the pop goddess will perform on Saturday night, but it also houses the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Experience Music Project, Pacific Science Center, Boeing IMAX Theater, Memorial Stadium, McCaw Hall, Seattle Repertory Theatre and a high school. Visitors can spend all day here, and they should, but there's plenty more to see and do around the city.
Space Needle 400 Broad Street (206) 905-2100 Built for the 1962 World's Fair, this futuristic-looking landmark draws 20,000 visitors daily on average. It takes less than a minute by elevator to reach the observation deck at 520 feet above ground, giving tourists a panoramic shot of Seattle and its lush natural surroundings. At the very top is SkyCity Restaurant, specializing in Northwest cuisine and regional seafood specialties, and at the 100-foot level is private event space often used for holiday parties and wedding receptions. At the base of the Space Needle is a gift shop to stock up on souvenirs and local goods.
Experience Music Project 325 5th Avenue North (206) 770-2700 The intriguingly designed Experience Music Project (EMP) primarily appeals to music fans, though it routinely hosts exhibits related to photography, science fiction, film and television, plus seminars that join entertainment industry experts with the general public. Rare memorabilia from Jimi Hendrix to Heart is displayed under the roof of this 140,000 square foot Frank Gehry building, said to resemble the outline of a guitar from above. Current exhibits include Can't Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film and Block by Block: Inventing Amazing Architecture. If you happen to attend a show inside EMP's Sky Church, you likely won't forget the experience; the intimate concert venue has 70-foot ceilings, state-of-the-art sound and lighting, wall-sized HD LED screen and capacity for just 800 people.
The Elliott Bay Book Company 1521 10th Avenue (206) 624-6600 Since 2005, the Emerald City has been #1 or #2 on the annual list of USA's most literate cities. But just because Microsoft, Amazon.com, and Adobe are anchored in these parts doesn't mean everyone uses electronic gadgets to read books. The Elliott Bay Book Company welcomes a steady stream of customers who shop for hardcopy and paperback reading material. Staff members help narrow the possibilities with hand-written reviews on small placards next to their personal picks. Upstairs in the loft-style second level is a great assortment of discounted sale items, from fiction to non-fiction to young adult titles. Dive into that first chapter at the back corner Elliott Bay Cafe with a latte or glass of wine, or snag a comfy leather armchair with only the background noise of shoes clicking on the hardwoor floors.