If you've lived in Seattle for long, there's a good chance you've visited the observation deck at the top of the Space Needle. But there's a lot more to Seattle Center than the iconic structure that makes our city's skyline so special.
I had the chance to stay at The Maxwell Hotel on lower Queen Anne, just steps away from many of our city's best arts venues and a large selection of great restaurants. I was immediately charmed by the hotel's design - though simple in layout, the room decor incorporates shades of aquas, blues, orange and lime with a mix of modern patterns that complement each other rather well.
The large windows let in plenty of natural light as I looked out to the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center and green leafy trees. In the lobby, you can borrow a yellow bike for free to discover the neighborhood, for a little whimsy.
While I missed having a hot tub to warm up after a swim in their small pool (and always prefer a bathtub to a shower in the room) the bed was comfortable, the staff was friendly and the location couldn't be better for exploring Seattle Center and lower Queen Anne.
The list goes on and on of great places to eat and fun experiences to share in the area, but here are a few of my personal favorites:
Love circus performers? Be sure to catch dinner and a show at Teatro Zinzanni which will fill you with laughs as you fill your stomach. Offering rotating themed shows, their contortionists, singers, jugglers, mimes, musicians and comic performers always delight audiences and give you an excuse to dress up with flair.
Craving a night at the theatre? The award-winning Seattle Rep offers audiences world-class productions and stellar casts on their two stages.
Hungry? Tons of new restaurants have popped up in the last year including Triumph, Agave, Taylor Shellfish, and Roaring Bowl. The latter offers one of my favorite "interactive" food experiences in town, as you cook your Shabu Shabu bowls directly on the heaters on your table.
Though not new, How to Cook a Wolf and Crow are local favorites. While they are lacking on atmosphere, Bamboo Garden offers some of the best vegan Chinese food in town.
Family trip? Visit the Pacific Science Center for hands-on learning that will delight a range of ages. If it's a warm day, younger kids will delightfully chase the streams of water in the International Fountain. Older kids will also enjoy a visit to the EMP Museum (introduce them to your favorite music legends and jam with them in sound proof booths). Picky eaters? The Seattle Center Armory features a food court with a selection of offerings that will please everyone, such as MOD Pizza (build your own personal pizza), Plum (vegan) and Skillet (their Fried Chicken Sammy is wickedly delightful).
Flexible dates and enjoy crowds? Staycation during one of the many big festivals! Not only does Seattle Center host popular festivals such as Folklife, Bumbershoot and the Bite of Seattle, they also offer smaller festivals that celebrate different cultures throughout the year as part of Festal.
Splurge: Sure, it's a bit of a cliche take a trip to the top of the Space Needle, but it's fun to do from time to time! If you haven't been to the Space Needle in years, you'll be delighted by the interactive screens in the observation deck. Their restaurant, Sky City, now has Chef Jeff Maxfield at the helm, whose creations were featured at the James Beard House last fall.
Save: The grounds at Seattle Center are perfect for relaxing in the sunshine. Stop at QFC or Metropolitan Market for a picnic and enjoy people watching at the International Fountain or on the grass.