Your Trip to Seattle: The Complete Guide

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When you think about vacations, chances are your imagination wanders to warm seashores, exotic locations, or classic European cities. But why not think out of the box? Why not consider a city that’s got an undeniable appeal, isn’t overtaken by tourism, but has enough things to do for both residents and visitors alike that it makes a superb vacation destination?

Seattle is an amazing vacation destination—for families, for couples looking for a romantic getaway, for active and outdoorsy adventures, or for solo travelers.

Regardless of what you want to do on vacation, here are 10 reasons Seattle just might be the perfect place to go.

Things to Do in Seattle

Seattle is a lot of fun and has many things to do with a variety of interests. Of course, Seattle is known for its major attractions. You likely won’t visit without seeing the Space Needle or Seattle Center or Pike Place Market—and for good reason. The Space Needle offers great views of the city, Seattle Center is fun and often has festivals or other events going on, and Pike Place Market has a little bit of everything Seattle going on within its bounds.

However, Seattle has much more going on than its well-known attractions. For vacationers to the city, consider getting a Seattle CityPASS to knock out the main sights, and then branch out to some of the city’s off-the-beaten-path attractions. Go see Bruce Lee’s grave on Capitol Hill. Watch salmon swimming upstream at the Hiram M.

Chittendam Locks. Or visit one of the many neighborhood farmer’s markets if you loved Pike Place, but you prefer fewer crowds. Or if you love getting out on the water, but want something less touristy than a boat tour, rent a canoe or rowboat at the Waterfront Activities Center and paddle around Union Bay just off Lake Washington.

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Seattle's Food Scene

From seafood to produce, Seattle is known for fresh and delicious food across the board. For anyone who likes to factor in foodie experiences, Seattle is an amazing food destination. During your time in the Emerald City, make time to dine out. Seattle is located right on the shores of the Puget Sound, which connects to the Pacific Ocean, meaning we get seafood galore. Don’t miss locally caught salmon and Dungeness crab! You’ll find no shortage of restaurants in town that take advantage of local ingredients as Northwesterners take pride in all things local. Tom Douglas is one of the city’s star chefs and his restaurants are all centrally located in or near downtown Seattle and include Northwest cuisine (Etta’s), Greek (Lola), Asian fusion and more. The Northwest in general also puts a focus on locally sourced or organic ingredients, and a number of restaurants factor that into their menus, including Tilth and Barking Frog in nearby Woodinville wine country.

Of course, Seattle isn’t all about sit-down restaurants. In fact, Seattle is a very casual city and even at sit-down spots, you will rarely need to dress to the nines. But if you’re looking for casual or have kids in tow, you’ll find all kinds of options.

Seattle has a strong Asian influence in its cuisine, and you’ll find lots of teriyaki and pho restaurants. Seattle is known for its coffee, but some coffee shops and cafes are much more kid-friendly than you’d suspect. For instance, Firehouse Coffee in Ballard has a playroom.

The Great Outdoors

The Northwest is known for its outdoorsy appeal, from rugged ocean beaches to lush evergreen forests. Seattle is no exception. Sure, it’s a city, but right within the city limits, you’ll find Discovery Park where you can hike for hours through forests and along beaches. Just outside of the city, you’ll find hiking opportunities galore, like climbing Mt. Si (a vigorous hike, but not a technical climb by any means) to climbing Mt. Rainier (which is a vigorous climb for those who have mountain climbing experience only).

The city’s maritime location also opens up all kinds of boating fun. There are whale watching tours out of Seattle during some times of the year, but far more out of cities to the north such as Everett and Anacortes. See orcas, grey whales, or minke whales, depending on the time of year. Any time of year, you can take a harbor or lake cruise with Argosy Cruises, or journey out to Blake Island to learn more about the local history (and enjoy a delicious salmon lunch). 

Where to Stay

Seattle’s lodging scene allows you to customize the atmosphere of your trip. For the quintessential Seattle experience, stay in the heart of downtown where you won’t need to worry about driving to get to most of the city’s key spots. Options include the Hyatt Regency, Four Seasons as well as a number of boutique hotels. From these downtown hotels, you can walk to Pike Place Market, the Seattle waterfront, theaters like the 5th Avenue and Paramount, and many restaurants. There are also plenty of budget hotel options, too.

However, staying downtown means dealing with parking (you’ll pay for parking just about everywhere), traffic and crowds. If you prefer something quieter and more intimate, look to Seattle’s other neighborhoods. Capitol Hill is a fun part of town for nightlife, parks and local shops. Likewise, Ballard, Fremont, and Wallingford have local shopping and fun things to do like the Ballard Locks or going to visit the Fremont Troll.