By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: We'll be visiting our son who is studying in Vancouver for a few days and then we plan on spending a day or two in Seattle. Do you have any suggestions on what we can see while we're there?

A: Known as the birthplace of Starbucks, grunge, the dotcom boom, and of course Kelsey Grammer's hit sitcom "Frasier," Seattle is the largest city in Washington and a major gateway destination for many travellers. Cradled between the Olympic Mountains and the rugged Cascades, the Emerald City hugs the lip of Elliott Bay on Puget Sound. For a city sampler, you can walk, bike, bus, ferry, or hop aboard the monorail to survey some awesome sites.

The Pike Place Market serves up a lively mélange of exotic foods, commerce and of course, coffee. New York Times reporter Timothy Egan called it the "Marrekech of the Northwest" for good reason. This crowd pleaser has been a city fixture for 90 years and doubles as the oldest continuously run farmers market in the United States.

Scoot along the cobblestone streets to Pioneer Square, Seattle's oldest and most famous neighborhood, which is now a 30-block National Historic District and home to galleries and posh boutiques.

Over at the waterfront, there's a smorgasbord of shopping and group excursions. There is the Seattle Aquarium, the IMAX dome Theatre and the colorful streetcar that connects groups to the Chinatown International District.

Can't decide where to start? The Seattle Visitors and Convention Bureau has a Visitors Guide chock-ablock full of suggested itineraries, and events calendars. They even have downloadable money saving coupons on attractions and accommodation. Log onto for more details.


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