Best Season to Visit: Spring / Summer
Weather: Historically known as a very grey city, so much so that 50 Shades is based in the city. However, the past 2 years has had some exquisite weather for extended periods with summer highs reaching 30C. Winters are grey, wet and mildly windy.
Reasons to visit:
- Iconic Landmarks : Seattle has been a featured city in a number of movies, TV shows, NFL games, etc and as part of that, a lot of people want to visit landmarks like the Space Needle, Pike Place market and the 1st Starbucks store. But there are more landmarks to see such as the Fremont Troll, Gasworks Park, Ballard locks and Columbia tower observatory among others.
- Pop & Alt Culture : Home to music icons of this generation (Macklemore) and the ones before (Nirvana), Seattle has a happening music scene. The EMP museum is a fantastic place to brush up on all pop culture the Pacific NW has provided. Bruce Lee’s grave and Kurt Cobain’s house are some offbeat places to visit. Huge alternative culture presence in Seattle keeps it vibrant.
- Lakes and Parks : A summer favorite among locals, the city has a number of fantastic lakes and parks around the city centre. Lake Union has excellect boating, kayaking and even seaplaning facilities a stone’s throw from Downtown. Madrona Park is another recommendation located on the banks of Lake Washington.
- Exploring the Pacific Northwest (PNW) : Seattle is the mid-point of the Portland – Seattle – Vancouver area of the Pacific Northwest and is located to some highlights of the region such as Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Mountains. The PNW is a hiker paradise with some excellent hikes within an hour of Seattle downtown.
- King County Metro is the main public transit operator in Seattle with buses being the prominent mode of transportation. Bus frequencies to get around most tourist hot spots is pretty good for the US (15 mins gap between buses for the same route)
- The core part of downtown is quite walkable like most US cities but for a number of attractions, I recommend taking the bus.
- Use the Sound transit link light rail to get to downtown from the airport (35 mins, 20 mins in a taxi). If staying for a few days, I recommend getting an Orca card topped up with $10-15 per person for a weekend which will make transferring buses easier.
- Seattle Transit Blog provides a useful guide for visitors on how get get an Orca card from Seatac airport. It also has it’s own transit guide for some attractions that complement this blog’s transit guide.
Food and Drink
Foodies are spoilt for choice in Seattle. Period.
- Sushi : Seattle’s has some of the best sushi in the US IMHO. Maneki is our No. 1 recommendation but Shiro’s, Umi, Wasabi, Chiso’s and Seastar (now only in Bellevue) are pretty good too.
- Beer : Red Hook, Elysian, Pike Place, Fremont are few of the brewers beer drinkers should try.
- Coffee : Pictures of the 1st Starbucks should be the only thing you should take before heading to some local cafes to savour some good coffee. Try Stumptown, Storyville or Vitrola.
- Chocolates : A trip to Seattle should include a visit to the Theo chocolate factory in Fremont. Choclopolis in Queen Anne has a selection very few cities in the US can offer.
- Asian food @ International District : No dearth of excellent Chinese (Jade Garden), Japanese (Tsukushinbo) and Vietnamese (Tamarind Tree) restaurants in the international district. Perfect before/after a Seahawks game.
- Fusion : Because Seattle is such a multi-cultural city, there are some excellent fusion restaurants. We recommend Revel in Fremont (be there at 5 PM to get a good seat).
- PNW cuisine : Ingredient focused with clean flavors. Any Tom Douglas establishment will do.
- Special Mentions: Bakery Nouveau, The Crab Pot, The Pink Door