Seattle is known as the Emerald City. That could be because it is green, thanks to having more than its fair share of rain. But the precipitation doesn't detract at all from it being a good place to visit and enjoy.
Three things visitors should not miss are the Boeing factory, Space Needle and Pike Place Market.
The Boeing factory is the largest building in the world. At full capacity it assembles a 747 in just three days. It's a must for plane buffs and tours take in the making of 747s, 767s, 777s and the massive new 787s.
The Future of Flight Aviation Center has an interactive zone including flight simulator, computer screens for designing your own plane, and gigantic parts.
A one-hour guided trip of the Boeing Everett Factory is the main attraction. It begins in a theatre where you see past, present and future aircraft and a time-lapse film of the building of a 777. After that, you board a bus to the factory. At the furthest garage, there is a flights of stairs leading to a long, almost deserted tunnel stretching the width of the factory. There you get an idea of the size of the place, particularly when you see staff getting about on the 1300 factory-provided bicycles.
Once you've had your fill of aviation, a visit to Seattle's famous landmark, The Space Needle, could be next on the list.
Right in the centre of the city, the Space Needle was built in 1962 as the symbol of that year's World Fair. It is said of the privately owned construction that whatever your interests theatre, ballet, opera, professional sports, rock'n'roll history, science, movies the city unfurls from the Space Needle.
In 10 seconds of ascending you will see the waters of Puget Sound. In 20 seconds Mt Rainier appears as a huge snow cone. 30 seconds later, skyscrapers look like giant toys. In 41 seconds you are on the Observation Deck, 158 metres above the city.
Swarovski telescopes allow you to see someone in the stands of the Safeco baseball ground several kilometres away.
Colourful environmental graphics around the outer edge of the Observation level tell you exactly what you are looking at.
Once back at ground level, a visit to the city's pride, Pike Place Market, is a must. Its 3.6 hectares and 100 years of operation hold thousands of interesting stories. Stories of immigration, gentrification and urban renewal. It is called The Soul of Seattle.
Citizens found a hero in Councillor Thomas Revelle when, between 1906 and 1907 the cost of onions increased tenfold. They were paying price-gouging middlemen far too much, and the Councillor proposed a public street market where farmers could deal directly with consumers. That philosophy continues today.
On its 1907 opening day, eight farmers took their loaded wagons to the corner of First Avenue and Pike Street and were overwhelmed by 10,000 shoppers.
A century on, Pike Place Market is internationally recognised as America's premier farmer's market and home to about 200 year-round commercial businesses. Almost 200 craftspeople and 120 farmers rent table space by the day and street performers entertain by night.
Yellow tennis balls serve a purpose at City Fish according. Jon Daniels has owned the store since 1995 and his salespeople at the front counter insert customers' money into a ball, toss it to a cohort at the register who returns it with a receipt and change.
City Fish started in 1917 to help lower prices during WWI, and it the only seafood vendor in its original location.
An ice-making machine in the rear sometimes looks like a fountain of moving ice while the fishmongers move quickly behind the counter to fillet and pack the fish.
Much of Jon's fish comes from fishermen friends and for a time he followed the footsteps of his father and grandfather and fished in Dutch Harbor.
Pike Street Market attracts around 10 million visitors each year, and to learn more about the market's history, the Heritage Center is right behind the Market.
VroomVroomVroom can arrange car rental for you before you leave home. It saves a lot of fuss when you get there and will be ready for you when you arrive.
Washington in the north-west of the United States.
Best Western has five properties in downtown Seattle and two at the airport. They have double rooms starting at around $75 a double a night.
The Future of Flight entry is around $17 for adults and $9 for children under 15. It opens every day at 8:30am and closes at 5:30pm. Boeing tours are on the hour from 9am.
Space Needle entry is around $19 for adults and $10 for children. Day and Night tickets are around $24 and allow two visits within a 24-hour period. It is open between Sunday and Thursday from 9am-11pm and Fridays and Saturday between 9am and midnight.
Pike Street Market Heritage Center is open each day between 10:am-6pm.
Air New Zealand has flights to Seattle.
Valid for departures between November 01-December 09, 2007 and February 01-29, 2008.
For more information
The Future of Flight Aviation Centre
8415 Paine Field Blvd
Mukilteo WA 98275
Ph: +1 425 438 8100
Fax: +1 425 265 9808
400 Broad Street
Seattle WA 98109
Ph: +1 206 905 2100
Pike Place Market PDA
85 Pike Street, Room 500
Seattle WA 98101
Ph: +1 206 682 7453
Fax: +1 206 625 0646
Ph: (07) 3256 3592
Ph: 131 779
Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476