Surrounded by two bodies of water, 6,200 acres of parkland, and lush green forests, the city of Seattle definitely lives up to its nickname as America’s ‘Emerald City’. But Seattle isn’t just known for its greenspaces and natural scenery. It also boasts an iconic skyline that’s one of the most recognized in the world, a renowned coffee scene that includes the original Starbucks, and beautiful architectural gems including the fun and quirky EMP Museum and of course the iconic Space Needle. Here’s a look at some of our favourite Seattle sights to see through the lens of Instagram.
Seattle Central Library
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas and Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) colleague Joshua Prince-Ramus, the Seattle Central Library is a post-modern landmark in downtown Seattle. The 11-storey building consists of a glass and steel matrix made up of 126,767 square feet (11,777 square meters) of glass — enough to cover over 5 football fields!
At 14,411 feet (4,392.47 meters) high, Mount Rainier is the highest mountain in the state of Washington and is almost always visible from Seattle. In this photo, the picturesque stratovolcano can be seen in the backdrop behind two of the city’s major sports stadiums, CenturyLink and Safeco Fields.
Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum
If the stainless steel curves and folds of the EMP Museum look familiar, it’s probably because the building was designed by world renowned architect Frank Gehry who was also responsible for the curvaceous lines of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The futuristic structure consists of over 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel shingles as well as 280 steel ribs, and is located at the base of the Space Needle.
Rising 605 feet (184.4 meters) above Seattle, the Space Needle was once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River when it was built in time for the 1962 World’s Fair. And while it may not be nearly as tall as other famous towers like Toronto’s 1,815.4 feet (553.33 meter) CN Tower or the 2,080 feet (634 meter) Tokyo Skytree, the needle-shaped structure has become a global icon for its futuristic, space-age theme design.
From above, the 31 storey Rainier Tower looks like any other office complex in downtown Seattle. But look towards its base and its unusual appearance reveals itself in the form of an 11 storey concrete pedestal base that tapers towards the ground like an inverted pyramid. Architect Minoru Yamasaki — known for the original World Trade Center in New York — used the tapered design to maximize as much outdoor space as possible including public seating areas, tables, and greenspaces.
Built in 1914, the 42-storey Smith Tower was Seattle’s first skyscraper. The 35th floor houses the building’s Chinese Room, known for its carved Blackwood furniture said to have been furnished by the last Empress of China as a gift to Mr. Smith. The collection of furniture includes the infamous Wishing Chair which according to legend, any single woman who sits in the chair will be married within a year. At the top of the tower is a pyramid shaped Gothic cap which now houses a 1,750 square foot apartment.