Also known as the Emerald City, Seattle offers a unique city vibe unlike any other. Enjoy all this hipster city has to offer, from sea to sky landscapes, foodie adventures, urban hikes, and plentiful coffee shops for every coffee lover! Known for its rainy weather, the city of Seattle offers locals and tourists alike an abundance of things to do in and around the city come rain or shine.
With that being said, here is your travel guide to Seattle, Washington.
I stayed at the Hyatt House in Downtown Seattle when I visited. The hotel is in a perfect location with the view of the magnificent Space Needle. Centrally located, this hotel is within walking distance of the monorail and many other attractions. The rooms were extremely clean, and the beds were also super comfy. For the price you also get a delicious breakfast with a ton of variety! I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Seattle as it is moderately priced and exceptionally rated!
Due to the central location of our hotel we were able to walk to most of the city's attractions. We also used the monorail to get to further attractions. I would recommend using the monorail as it is the easiest and best way to get around the city!
Traveller Tip: Bring a sweater or jacket even in Mid-July Seattle can get chilly!
Pike Place Market
The Pike Place Market is one of the most iconic attractions in Seattle, and for good reason. Walk down the rows of fresh produce, beautiful flowers, local cheese and many other home-made goods. One popular spot to stop is the fishmongers! Known for tossing the fresh fish of the day across the crowd when a customer makes a purchase. Pike Place is probably one of the most famous farmers markets in America and is definitely worth facing the large touristic crowds. If you want to avoid some of the large crowds, mornings before 12pm are generally more quiet.
The Seattle Waterfront has a number of lively piers to explore filled with seafood restaurants, souvenir shops and attractions like the Seattle Great Wheel and the Seattle aquarium. It is here that you will board most of your cruises and tours by water in the city! The steep Pike Street Hill leads to Pike Place Market so you can easily add this attraction to your itinerary!
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Wonder through this impressive art exhibit that showcases the studio glass of Dale Chihuly. The glass sculptures are absolutely beautiful with their vibrant colors and unique shapes! Located right next to the Space Needle, The Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is an easy addition to your itinerary when checking out other Seattle attractions. If you don't plan on entering due to time or budget, there are some amazing outdoor pieces available to the public that will give you a sense of the artwork as well as a beautiful gift shop filled with different trinkets!
Visit the Original Starbucks
The first ever Starbucks is located near Pikes Place and is definitely worth checking out if you are a huge fan of the brand. Otherwise, this attraction may not be worth the wait, as the line can wrap around the block! In my opinion, Seattle has many other quaint coffee shops that are worth trying and would take wayyy less time.
The Gum Wall
The Market Theater Gum Wall is a brick wall covered in chewed bubble gum. Located in Post Alley, under Pike Place Market in Downtown Seattle. Probably one of the germiest attractions in the world, but definitely worth seeing! Bring a pack of gum for a cute photo op and add to the wall yourself, if you dare!
Just across the bay, you will find the cutest little town square that offers boutique shopping, quaint cafes and cocktail indulgences. Known for its outstanding beauty, rustic character and close location to Seattle, Bainbridge Island is a sight worth seeing! The island can be done in half a day and is walkable (or you can rent bicycles). A ride with one of the Washington State Ferries from Pier 52 will take you to the island in no time. It costs $8.50 per person and the ferry runs every hour. In my opinion, just the ferry ride alone is worth it as you are able to see the city view from the water!
Traveller Tip: While aboard the ferry, be sure to look to the southeast to get a glimpse of Mt. Rainier in the distance! Also, if you take the ferry back into the city at night, you’ll have a front row seat to view Seattle all lit up and reflecting off the water!
Seattle Space Needle
This is probably the most iconic landmark in Seattle and is definitely worth visiting. The 605- ft- tall spire and observation deck give you the most beautiful views of the city. We went a little earlier than dusk and got the most gorgeous views under the sun. General Space Needle tickets range from $34 to $49 depending on age and when you buy.
Traveller Tip: Make sure you get there earlier as there is still a little wait at the bottom to go through security and then to ascend the Needle with the elevator. We did not wait very long- maybe 20 minutes!
Visit the Museum of Pop Culture
MoPOP as it is known, is another unique experience in Seattle! Located near the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, MoPOP is unlike any other museum in the area. Enjoy all the interactive exhibits about music, movies and art in the modern world. The museum also hosts a variety of special exhibits that rotate on a schedule like the Marvel Universe exhibit! You would need about 2-3 hours in the MoPOP museum, so definitely make some time in your schedule to immerse yourself in this cool place!
Pioneer Square is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seattle and definitely gives off European vibes with its brick walls and quaint architecture. Explore this neighborhood and all it has to offer from its unique boutique shops to cute book stores.
Known as one of the most vibrant and happening neighborhoods in Seattle, Capitol Hill is home to the first Starbucks Reserve and is unlike any other Starbucks store. The Roasteries are meant to be upscale, and they feature cocktail bars and wine, bakeries and other unique elements. Capitol Hill also has lots of interesting boutiques and restaurants that are concentrated on Pike/ Pine corridor and Broadway Ave.
Watch an IMAX movie at the Pacific Science Center
Kerry Park is a small public park that overlooks Downtown Seattle and is located along West Highland Drive between 2nd Ave. West and 3rd Ave. West. I recommend visiting this park at dusk or dawn to get some beautiful shots of the city and Mount Rainier! However, as this park has become quite famous for its views, it may be worth visiting at sunrise to avoid the crowds!
This structure located under a bridge in the city of Seattle has become one of the most unique things to do in Seattle that you won't be able to find anywhere else. People gather under this bridge to see this large troll structure, holding a real VW Bug.
Fun Tip: This troll was built in 1990 to deter unsavory groups of people from hanging out under the bridge doing drugs. Now people from all over, gather to see this Fremont Troll.
Seattle, Washington is widely known for its whale watching cruises to the San Juan Islands. Experience viewing beautiful Orca's in their natural habitat. Various companies offer the outings in Seattle and it is best to go early morning! I would fully recommend this unforgettable and unique experience to anyone visiting the city of Seattle, as it is just a CANNOT MISS!
Traveller tip: Make sure to book in advance as these tours get booked very quickly!
Take a Locks Cruise
Take a ride on the boat elevator on this awesome Locks Cruise! You will start your cruise from Pier 55 on the Seattle Waterfront and experience some awesome views of floating houseboats, seaplanes and majestic city parks! If you are a big rom-com fan, this will bring you back to the movie Sleepless in Seattle! This tour is fully narrated and features the famous boat locks that raise your vessel up or down, due to the ever- changing tides of the Puget Sound.
Traveller Tip: Be sure to bring a sweater on the boat, as it can get quite chilly on the cruise even in mid-July.
Take a Scenic Train Ride to Vancouver, Canada
If you have time to extend your trip, I would fully recommend taking the Amtrak Cascades train from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada. The train ride is about 4 hours and takes departs twice a day on a morning and an evening service. Not only is it the simplest way to travel between destinations, but it is also one of the most scenic train rides in the world. For much of the journey, the train track sit right on the edge of land just above the coast of Puget Sound and offers views of the many Washington Islands. The customs process is seamless and dealt with on board the train and then at the arrival station in Vancouver.
Sample some cheese and eat some mac and cheese
Get a bag of freshly baked mini donuts
Order a mule or a boozy float
Known as one of the best bars in town, according to the city’s bartenders- Sip on a quality cocktail!
Serving delicious Italian food and a show! While eating, you will find cabaret performances, trapeze artists, jazz bands, tarot card readers, and burlesque shows. Dinner and a show just got a whole new meaning.
Seattle is known for its quaint book stores and libraries. If it happens to be raining during your visit, take shelter in a cozy bookstore, grab a cup of coffee and roam its many aisles. Here are a few noteworthy bookstores and libraries to check out if you have the time:
Suzzallo Graduate Reading Room
This library on the University of Washington campus is everything a Harry Potter fan could dream of! Grab a coffee and a book and immerse yourself at this very cool library.
Seattle Public Central Library
Even if you don't venture inside, the exterior is worth observing. But if you are ready to embrace your nerd status, head on in to explore! Even if you aren't there to check out a book, sit in one of the comfy chairs just to focus on the details of the building.
Elliott Bay Book Company
This bookstore has some serious cozy vibes. Grab a cup of coffee at the cafe and take your time browsing through the many aisles filled with the smell of books! The best part about this bookstore is that they have plenty of seating scattered around the store. You won't have to awkwardly stand while you try and figure out if you want to read this book or not.
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