Starbucks. Boeing. Microsoft. Some big make that huge corporate brands have been born in Seattle, and for many outsiders, these names define the city. But in truth, the "Emerald City" on the Puget Sound is all about the indie and the intellectual, not the brand-name corporate game. Two of its most famous voices were Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. Its tourist attractions include the Museum of History & Industry, the Chinatown neighborhood, and Pike Place Market (soon to undergo renovation and a temporary move), famous for the stall workers who throw fish around like juggling pins. The Space Needle is Seattle's most identifiable landmark, but locals are quicker to recommend the 18-foot-tall troll under the George Washington Memorial Bridge. They also recommend taking a Savor Seattle food tour to experience Seattle "taste buds first," or an underground tour to showcase its hidden aspects. Near-constant drizzle drives people to always have a backup plan for outdoor activities thus, a kayak expedition on Lake Washington might turn into an afternoon at the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum. Or, if that doesn't grab you, read a book. The library is awesome, the coffee ubiquitous (Tully's and Seattle's Best Coffee are two other Seattle coffee producers), and there should always be some bookish University of Washington students around to keep you company.
Seattle sits in the far upper-left corner of the United States, far in distance and in spirit from the rest of America. Seattle is proud to be different, featuring an urban sophistication, a funky Northwest energy, and incredible natural beauty, with Mount Rainier and the Olympic peaks in the distance and the waters of Puget Sound at its shores. The heart of the city is Pike Place Market, piled high with fresh vegetables and the bounty of the Pacific. With the Space Needle and Frank Gehry-designed Experience Music Project as two of its icons, Seattle is clearly a city that looks toward the future, perfect as home base for both Boeing and Microsoft.