Seattle is known for a few things, like its rain and its coffee. But lets add a few more things to the list, like being a great travel destination. Tucked up in the northwest corner of the country, Seattle is a relatively hidden gem and offers just about anything you would want in a vacation.
Seattle gets a bad rap for rainy days, but in all honesty it only averages 36.2 inches of rain a year, far less Washington, D.C. and New York City. And sure, if you go during the winter plan on bringing an umbrella and rain jacket, but be warned—an umbrella is a dead give away you are a tourist. Seattle sparkles during July and August, with average temperature around 75 degrees.
Getting around the city is doable with public transportation, and a growing light rail system makes it easy to get downtown from the airport. But with so many options of activities outside the downtown core, renting a car may be your best bet.
Seattle is a foodie’s dream. The fresh produce and seafood make for new scents around every corner and affordable food in just about every variety. Of course we have to talk about the coffee. In Seattle, Starbucks is king and is on just about every corner. Stop by the original Starbucks at Pike Place Market or visit any number of local coffee shops for some individual charm.
Some of the best casual food in the city is along Pike Place Market. The ever-popular Beecher’s Cheese makes some of the best macaroni and cheese around and hand makes the cheese fresh in their front window. Visit Piroshky Piroshky for a warm and hearty Russian pastry. For a sweet treat, check out the Daily Dozen Doughnut Company in Pike Place or tempt your taste buds with the unusual but delicious ice cream at Molly Moon. Honey lavender or balsamic strawberry? You’ll find them both here.
For a more upscale meal, try Ray’s Boathouse in Ballard or Canlis in Westlake. Located right on the water, the views are both places are amazing and so is the food.
No first-time trip to Seattle is complete with a visit to the iconic Space Needle. Admission runs about $19 to go to the top of the 520-foot tower, but if you find a sunny day you can have views of the entire Puget Sound. At the base of the Space Needle is Seattle Center, where the International Fountain and Center House make for great people watching.
The new Chihuly Garden and Glass is like a colorful oasis in the overcast city. Plan an afternoon to explore the windowed house full of beautiful glass sculptures, as well as the indoor exhibition hall and outdoor gardens.
Further downtown, the Seattle Public Library is a marvel of modern architecture. Take a guided tour or just get lost in the neon corridors and vaulted glass ceilings. The Seattle Art Museum has a great collection of modern and classical art. Stroll through the free corridor or pay full price—whatever your art tolerance is.
Pike Place Market is one of the oldest working farmer’s markets and a hub of downtown activity. In the summer, it is full of fresh flowers and peaches, in the winter it’s fish, pasta, and dried flowers. A great place to let your senses go wild, the market is a must see—be sure to visit Rachel the pig at the main entrance. Underneath the market at Post Alley is the gum wall. Add your chewed piece to a huge (and gross) public art project.
On the waterfront is the world-famous Seattle Aquarium. No matter your age, the seal and coral reef exhibits will connect you with your inner child. Just a few piers away is the Great Wheel, a London Eye-esque ferris wheel with fabulous views of downtown and the Puget Sound. Ride at sunset for a special treat.
Catch a game to get a feel for the local sports frenzy.The Mariners are pretty bad, but Safeco Field is nice. For a better chance at cheering for a winning team, check out the Seahawks or Sounders.
Hit the water with canoe rental at the University of Washington Arboretum. An hourly or all-day rental will let you explore Lake Washington and the surrounding areas—just don’t get too close to the busy floating bridges. For a longer trip, get on a ferry downtown and jet across the Sound for a one of a kind experience.
If you head out of downtown, take the short trip to Snoqualmie Falls. A quick hike takes you to the bottom of the falls, but do as the locals do and hop the fence to go rock scrambling. You won’t be alone, but make sure to be safe. A longer jaunt takes you to Mt. Rainier for hiking and biking. Even if you can’t make the few hour drive down south, you should be able to catch a view of the peak on a sunny day, when locals say “the mountain is out”.
Go ahead and add Seattle to your travel itinerary—you won’t be sorry. Start planning your trip here on Trekeffect!