WEST COAST CHARMS

GA Voice - - Travel -

With one of the largest gay pop­u­la­tions of any city in Amer­ica, Seat­tle has be­come a grow­ing des­ti­na­tion for gay va­ca­tion­ers since Wash­ing­ton state le­gal­ized same-sex mar­riage in 2013. Rachael Bris­ter, deputy di­rec­tor of the Greater Seat­tle Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion, the city’s LGBT cham­ber of com­merce, says that 20 per­cent of the same­sex mar­riages per­formed in Seat­tle were from out-of-state cou­ples.

“We have this pro­gram where if you don’t know any­one lo­cally you can call my of­fice and get wit­nesses for the mar­riage per­mit,” Bris­ter says. “We have vol­un­teers who will come out and wit­ness your mar­riage. I’ve per­son­ally wit­nessed five mar­riages since it was le­gal­ized in 2013.”

Mar­riage is just one po­ten­tial draw for trav­el­ers, many of whom visit for the mild weather and to go to Capi­tol Hill, the city’s his­tor­i­cally gay-friendly district.

“Weather­wise, Seat­tle in the sum­mer, there is noth­ing like it. It’s sunny, very pleas­ant and we also have a lot of out­door events,” Bris­ter says.

Seat­tle’s Pride is one of the largest out­door events and starts dur­ing the last week of June with a trans­gen­der Pride event and cli­maxes in a mas­sive out­door fes­ti­val at Seat­tle Cen­ter, the site of the 1962 World’s Fair and iconic Space Nee­dle.

Seat­tle is host to a num­ber of pic­turesque and his­toric at­trac­tions, but Bris­ter says to skip the “orig­i­nal” Star­bucks in Pike Place Mar­ket.

“The thing is it’s not the orig­i­nal Star­bucks, and it’s just like ev­ery other Star­bucks,” she says. “The thing is Star­bucks has built some other lo­ca­tions in town with re­ally beau­ti­ful ar­chi­tec­ture, and it’s the same cof­fee you get at Pike Place Mar­ket.”

The city of­fers walk­ing tours, LGBT film fes­ti­vals, and a thriv­ing foodie scene, but one of the at­trac­tions Bris­ter rec­om­mends isn’t in Seat­tle, but un­der it.

“One of my fa­vorite things, and it’s not nec­es­sar­ily a gay thing, is the Seat­tle Un­der­ground tour,” she said. Seat­tle was ba­si­cally built twice, and they re­built the wa­ter­front and there are all these tun­nels you can ac­cess that used to be above ground, it’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing.”

This year also marks the 40th an­niver­sary of Seat­tle Pride. Seat­tle cel­e­brates Pride with nu­mer­ous events through­out the month of June, in­clud­ing a Trans March, a Dyke March and a Fam­ily Pride Day. The month con­cludes on June 29 with a huge fes­ti­val and pa­rade. Celebrity grand mar­shal for this year’s pa­rade is Ge­orge Takei.

(Photo via Face­book)

Wash­ing­ton state may be known for drab weather, but it’s al­ways sunny for Seat­tle Pride.

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