The downtown area is very similar to Downtown Crossing in Boston with many chain restaurants, shopping centers, and a coffee shop on every corner. The monorail, which links the Seattle Center (home to the Space Needle) and the downtown shopping district (home to the Nordstrom headquarters) was implemented during the 1962 World’s Fair. The purpose was to transport people the 0.9 miles between downtown and the Space Needle. It was the nation’s first full-scale commercial monorail system.
There are several landmark buildings in the downtown area:
The Smith Tower is in Pioneer Square (Seattle’s first neighborhood) it was completed in 1914. The 38-story, 489-ft. tower is the oldest skyscraper in the city and was the tallest office building west of the Mississippi River until the Kansas City Power & Light Building was built in 1931. It remained the tallest building on the West Coast until the Space Needle overtook it in 1962.
The Columbia Center is Washington’s largest building and the second tallest building on the West Coast at 932-ft., completed in 1985. It was previously named the Bank of America Tower and before that the Columbia Seafirst Center. The 74th floor houses an observatory which offers fantastic 360˚ views of Seattle, The Cascade Mountain Range (including Mt. Rainer), and The Olympic Mountain Range.
One of our favorite spots downtown is Market Bagel near Pike Place Market, the only place in Seattle to get a real New York style bagel. Some of our personal favorites are the cranberry orange and the asiago jalapeño.