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Downtown Seattle Hotels

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Seattle and surrounding King County have around 20,000 hotel rooms, if not more by this reading. Of that available number, "downtown" has more than 40 percent of the rooms. Given that the downtown areas of most large cities just aren't that attractive, Seattle's has something special going for it. It is chic, high tech, sophisticated, upscale, bursting with energy, life and glitter. No wonder people want to visit and or live there, at least in the summertime.

In fact, the vibrant city of Seattle is full of attractions and activities, from historical districts to cultural attractions to distinct architecture. Based on climate and terrain, just about everything of an outdoors nature takes place in and around Seattle. All that stems from scenic forests, towering mountains, recreational lakes, and the ever-changing ocean can be found in Seattle and the surrounding areas. Depending on which direction you look, water and mountains surround the city, and of course, its heavy rains add to its lush landscaping. At higher altitudes, including on Mt. Rainier (elev. 14, 411'), the precipitation falls as snow.

Given that Seattle-Tacoma (SeaTac) International Airport is 15 miles from downtown Seattle, quoted figures for the number of convenient hotel rooms depend on where you're headed and why you're visiting. The Port of Seattle lists more than 40 hotels or motels in all price ranges within a four-mile radius of the airport. For the visitor headed all the way in to downtown, the selections are even more numerous. Choices there include: historic bed and breakfasts, refurbished and elegant accommodations from the 1920s, economy motels, deluxe condominium tower designs, and luxurious hotels. You can even stay right on the waterfront.

Downtown Activities Near Your Hotel
You can participate in some activities unique to the city, even if you only have a few hours between convention seminars. In fact, experienced convention planners allow for free time in between listening to speakers and panels of experts. Optional group excursions during one afternoon, as well as dinner-and-a-show events in the evening make for memorable experiences of the best kind. Everyone gets antsy from too much sitting, while headaches arise from enclosed meeting rooms and auditoriums, in spite of the most talented presentations at the podium.

Visit the Seattle Art Museum or purchase original art at a festival. Take in a Seattle Symphony performance or take the monorail to the Space Needle and the interactive Experience Music Project: The latter is the permanent home of Paul Allen's rock ‘n roll collection. (Paul Allen is the cofounder of Microsoft Corporation, among his other achievements.) The Seattle Science Center and the Seattle Aquarium beckon amateur enthusiasts and budding scientists alike. Don't forget sports events, Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, and the sights and smells of the Waterfront with its bustling piers and ferries.

Transportation Systems
Seattle streets and freeways are heavily congested, due largely to the increased permanent population, but also to its popularity as a business convention center, and its continuing lure for tourists. For those who prefer to stay near the flight escape routes, especially businessmen and women on demanding schedules, it is possible to get into downtown and experience this lively city. However, it does take some advance investigation for those who are less adventurous, or those who simply can't afford to miss a flight back to the office.

Much needed construction projects related to improving the flow of traffic abound in Seattle. Sound Transit is currently expanding light rail to connect Seattle to SeaTac [SEE-Tac] International Airport. Construction will last until 2009 at least. The airport itself is undergoing an ambitious renovation and expansion, including its now completed Satellite Transit System (two years ahead of schedule and $2 million under budget).

Beginning in September 2005, the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will be closed for two years to allow retrofitting. Sound Transit is also in the process of planning rail routes at the north end of the city. Additionally, plans for extending the monorail are again under discussion. Checking with AAA or other experienced travel experts can be well worth the effort and will increase enjoyment of this jewel of a city by the sea.

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