The Seattle waterfront was once an industrial center of the city, but since all maritime freight moved to the container port to the south in the 1960s, it has transformed its original piers into a hub of shopping, dining, and entertainment. Running along Elliott Bay between the neighborhoods of Pioneer Square and Belltown, there are several passages that connect the waterfront with other major Seattle attractions. If you're feeling adventurous, ascend the Pike Hill Climb stairs to the Pike Place Market or the Harbor Steps to the Seattle Art Museum.
The Seattle waterfront offers many activities for visitors. Enjoy an afternoon at the Seattle Aquarium between Piers 59 and 61 for an award-winning glimpse into the sea life within Elliott Bay and around the world. Take in the views from Waterfront Park on Pier 58. Travelers with children will enjoy Pier 57, also called the Bay Pavilion, which offers shops, Seattle waterfront restaurants, an arcade, and a twentieth-century carousel. Just north of the Seattle waterfront is Olympic Sculpture Park, celebrating art in an outdoor atmosphere. Sleep over the waters of Elliott bay at Seattle's unique over-water hotel, the Edgewater Hotel.
Shops abound all along the Seattle waterfront. Perhaps the most popular store is Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, selling unique Northwest souvenirs direct from the artists. In addition to the items on sale, Ye Olde Curiosity shop also displays, quite fittingly, curiosities. These include a mummy, shrunken human heads, a hat worn by Chief Seattle, and fetal conjoined twin calves. As a nod to Seattle's trading past, Trident Imports on Pier 56 offers shoppers items from around the world, including furniture from Asia and chocolate from Europe.
Several piers on the Seattle waterfront still operate provide great maritime resources for enhancing and expanding your visit to Seattle. If you wish to remain local, the Elliott Bay Water Taxi runs between Pier 55 and the neighborhood of West Seattle between May and October. See the Seattle skyline from the water on one of Argosy Cruise lines unique harbor tours, departing from piers 55 and 56. The Washington State Ferry Terminal, one of the largest ferry fleets in the world, uses Piers 50 and 52 to run passenger and vehicle ferry service between Seattle and neighboring ports across the Puget Sound.
If you wish to travel even further, consider taking the Victoria Clipper from Pier 69. This popular nautical day trip carries travelers internationally between Seattle and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. There are multiple passenger-only departures from Pier 69 every day. The most attention-grabbing sea vessels docking at the Seattle waterfront, however, are at the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66. During the summer season, this pier operates as a major cruise ship departure point for Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise lines, carrying thousands of passengers throughout Alaska and British Columbia, Canada.
Some of the best eats in the city are offered at Seattle waterfront restaurants. Experience Seattle history at Ivar's Acres of Clams restaurant on Pier 54, serving fish and chips to hungry Seattleites since 1938. Choose between a leisurely meal at the full-service restaurant or a quick bite from the fish and chips bar. Another delicious option of Seattle waterfront restaurants is Anthony's on Pier 66. Serving local seafood specialties, Anthony's also offers a choice between a full service restaurant, the more casual Anthony's Bell Street Diner or the classic Anthony's Fish bar with quick service. For fine dining options with stunning views of the bay, try The Crab Pot and The Fisherman restaurants on Pier 57 or Elliott's Oyster House on Pier 56. All three specialize in exquisitely prepared fresh and local seafood.