Perhaps against its salty old wishes, Seattle is morphing into a true cosmopolis. Luxury hotels, high-end restaurants, and art galleries are proliferating, and the city's vaunted music scene never went away (even though grunge did). But beneath the new gloss, Seattle is rather charmingly faithful to its former self, and even to its celebrated stereotypes: this is still a place where outdoor nuts fashion whole wardrobes out of Gore-Tex and fleece; where unreconstructed hippies on Broadway rail on about The Man, man; where the whirr and hiss of espresso machines is a near-constant backdrop to conversation. It's this enduring familiarity, along with the shock of the new, that makes Seattle so compelling.
Flanked by the spectacular Cascade Mountains to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west, Seattle is one of the beautiful cities of the Pacific Northwest and its largest. Visit Seattle for its sprawling parks and access to stunning forests. Read on for our Seattle travel guide.
Things Not to Miss in Seattle
Seattle travel delivers notable cultural sites, such as the Space Needle, built for the 1962 World's Fair, and a wealth of outdoor adventures. Nature lovers flock here for the hiking through evergreen forests, access to Whidbey Island, and more. Travel to Seattle for:
• The Space Needle
• Olympic Sculpture Park
• Boeing Tour
• Whidbey Island
• Pioneer Square
• Pike Place Market to Capitol Hill
• Mariners games
• Cherry Blossom Festival (April)
When to Visit Seattle
The most popular, and pricey, time to visit Seattle is May through October. In September, days are warm and evenings are cool, there are fewer crowds, and less competition for hotel rooms means more affordable room rates. Similarly, the spring offers mild weather and reasonable hotel rates. Hotel prices tend to be lower during the winter, but there's heavy rain and cold temperatures. This is the time for snowboarding, skiing and snow trekking on Mount Rainer and Mount Si.
Grabbing a latte and browsing the pretty boutiques of Ballard Avenue during the boisterous Sunday farmers’ market.
Getting a different view of the skyline from the hills of Gas Works Park in Wallingford or from the shores of Alki Beach in West Seattle.
Hiking somewhere, anywhere: Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens’ National Parks are both day trips, and trails in the Cascade or Olympic Mountains are also easy to plan.