Say Hello To Ann Peavey, The Voice Behind @VisitSeattle

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Every Thursday, Say Hello To America will be showcasing the voices behind official Twitter accounts of destinations all across the United States and the city they represent. This week, say hello to Ann Peavey from @VisitSeattle.

1. What time of the year is best to travel to Seattle? Why?

Seattle Skyline | Photographer: Howard Frisk

The shoulder season (October-April) is amazing in Seattle. We’re fortunate enough to have our full range of tours and attractions open on a year-round basis, so any time of year is enjoyable here. With kids in school, and cruise ship guests not yet ascending on the city, the off-season makes for an ideal time! A few opportunities during the non-peak times include Taste Washington (the largest single-region food and wine event in the nation) and Dine Around Seattle (two separate months where dozens of local restaurants offer bargains on their cutting-edge culinary offerings offerings).

2. How would you describe the people of Seattle?

We’re an eclectic bunch, but we blend together seamlessly! Hipsters and financial gurus sit side-by-side in local coffee shops to get their daily jolt. Birkenstock-clad granola-types gather with Seattle’s most elite at performances of Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Seattle Rep. This really is a testament to the overall spirit of acceptance and camaraderie that abounds in my city.

3. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about Seattle?

Favorite: The diversity of Seattle’s activities is like no other! I love that snow-skiing and waterskiing can be done in the same day. We’re a city where, in the same afternoon, we can go from exploring an old growth forest to attending an internally-recognized operatic performance.

Least favorite: The traffic. I’ve seen Seattle in the ranks of the worst of the nation’s bottle-necked highways. Personal experience lends credence to this ranking. The upside? We have a fantastic public transit system, and an infrastructure system that’s growing by leaps and bounds. By 2016 we’ll have a light rail system connecting downtown with the University of Washington, and a tunnel that’ll ease traffic constriction along the waterfront while bringing renewed growth to the area.

4. What is Seattle’s most famous landmark or attraction?

Pike Place Market | Photographer: Howard Frisk

I’d have to say it’s the Pike Place Market. With 106 years under their belt, the Market has shown themselves to truly be the heart and soul of Seattle. In many ways, they’re a microcosm of Seattle – representing so much of what makes Seattle tick. The Market is a perfect combination of history, food, music, shopping and community. Open nearly every day of the year, there’s always something interesting happening at the Market. The “Meet The Producers” sign prominently displayed overhead signifies the Market’s mission of hosting only producer-operated businesses (with only a few grandfathered exceptions).

5. Name one “secret” location that a traveler must visit.

Waterfall Garden Park in Pioneer Square is a personal favorite of mine. It’s tucked away at the corner of 2nd Ave. S. & S. King Street at what was once the birthplace of United Parcel Service. Still operated by the Annie Casey Foundation (in honor of UPS founder Jim Casey’s mother), Waterfall Garden Park is a beautiful oasis. The tables and chairs intermingled in the courtyard of the park beckon to be the location of impromptu picnics with savory tidbits from local delicatessens. The surging 22-foot waterfall and low-hanging trees make you forget you’re in the middle of a bustling city!

6. What is the best/easiest mode of transportation to get around the city?

Seattle Monorail | Photographer: Howard Frisk

Our public transit is fantastic! The historic Seattle Monorail connects downtown with the Seattle Center area (best known for hosting the 1962 World’s Fair). The Lake Union Streetcar connects downtown to the South Lake Union neighborhood and gives easy access to the newly-located Museum of History and Industry. Metro Transit’s busses travel throughout the city and immediate neighborhoods and connect to Sound Transit’s regional services to easily move you in and around the city. Sound Transit’s Light Rail system between the city and airport make transfers into downtown quick, easy and affordable. Washington State’s ferry service and the Elliott Bay Water Taxi make travel across Puget Sound and Elliott Bay beautiful!

7. Is there any festival or event in Seattle that a traveler should specifically plan a trip around?

Bumbershoot has always been a local favorite. This celebration of art and music has been a local favorite since the early 1970s and has grown to an audience of more than 100,000 over the Labor Day weekend. Although music is a given at the festival (and in the city), this event hosts dozens of theatre, dance, visual arts and literary opportunities, too. The best part? It takes place in the heart of our city!

8. What are the best family-friendly attractions that Seattle has to offer?

The Seattle Aquarium and Woodland Park Zoo are perfect for families – but (as an adult) I love them, too! Who wouldn’t love ogling fuzzy, playful otters, wild-eyed tiger cubs or watching feeding time in the octopus den? The Seattle Center area (famous for the Space Needle) has an array of kid-friendly attractions: the Children’s Museum is great for younger tykes, while the Pacific Science Center and the Experience Music Project offer something for all ages.
Another fun excursion for families is taking a Washington State ferry to Bainbridge Island and exploring the Children’s Discovery Museum there. Kids love the boat ride, and since it’s just 35 minutes it’s never too long of an adventure for them. The museum is fantastic – offering exhibits, events, and fun educational opportunities.

Washington State Ferry | Photographer: Howard Frisk

9. What is Seattle’s signature food that every visitor has to try?

As home of the North Pacific fishing fleet, fresh seafood is abundant in Seattle. My feeling is that a Seattle experience isn’t complete without some form of the rich bounty coming from the waters of the Pacific. Dungeness crab, Pacific oysters, halibut and salmon are just a few on the list of delicious opportunities. If you’re a sushi lover, fresh uni and an array of other Pacific fish make for a colorful and tasty sushi experience. Seattle’s chefs are geniuses at creating unusual preparations that’ll leave your taste buds singing.

Foodies have a heyday in Seattle! Along with hundreds of restaurants to scintillate their taste buds, we have multiple companies offering tours that’ll let them nibble their way from one end of the city to the other. It’s a wonder that elastic waistbands aren’t required for Seattle living!

10. If I only had one day to explore Seattle, what MUST I see or do?

Pioneer Square | Photographer: Tim Thompson

Contact our information specialists at one of two Seattle Visitor Centers, or connect with Visit Seattle online. There is such a wealth of opportunities for every Seattle visitor and we prefer to find the experiences that are perfect for each one uniquely. Our @VisitSeattle Twitter team is overflowing with suggestions of what to see and do and our information specialists at the visitor centers are gifted in finding the perfect itinerary for every guest!

Seattle Visitor Centers
7th & Pike – in the Washington State Convention Center
1st & Pike – in the heart of the Pike Place Market
Toll-free: 866-732-2695

Connect with Visit Seattle
Website: Visit Seattle
Twitter: @VisitSeattle
Facebook: Visit Seattle