Seattle Travel Guide
The Pacific Northwest is known for its unadulterated natural beauty — from picturesque waterfronts to mountains beyond the city — and truly excellent coffee. And Seattle, as a hub of the PNW, is a perfect gateway to the area. Seattle feels simultaneously like a buzzing city and an outdoor lover's paradise. Lined by the Puget Sound, Lake Union, and Lake Washington, it's also home to some of the best seafood in the country, which is part of the reason why its food scene is so revered. Beyond the terrific restaurants, Seattle is known for its long and storied music history — it's the land of Jimi Hendrix, The Postal Service, Nirvana, Macklemore, Foo Fighters, and Pearl Jam, among others.
As for Seattle's tourist attractions, you'll spend your days taking the monorail between sites like Pike Place Market, Olympic Sculpture Park, and the Space Needle. From strolling Pike Place Market at lunch, to curling up with a book at a local coffee shop on a rainy afternoon, to hitting the music clubs in Belltown, you'll spend a few days in Seattle and quickly find you'll never want to leave.
Pacific Standard Time
Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Seattle is from June to October. Seattle sees a lot of rain, but June, July, and August are the driest months. And with the breeze coming off the Puget Sound, the summers aren't too hot. It starts to cool down in September and October, but the fall in Seattle is crisp and inviting, especially as the abundant trees change color.
As for events to keep on your radar, April is a big month for Seattle because it brings both the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Beyond the flower shows, the Seattle International Film Festival is in June, the Seattle International Beerfest is in July, and the Seattle Marathon is in November.
Things to Know
Seattle Center is one of the most important tourist attractions in the city. It spans 74 acres and was once the site of the 1962 World's Fair. Within Seattle Center, you'll find the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass, among other attractions.
The Seattle monorail is a scenic, above-ground train that runs from Seattle Center to Westlake Center, which lies three blocks from Pike Place Market. A monorail ride costs $3 and is a great way to get around when you're sightseeing in the city.
Seattle is a tech capital of America, home to the headquarters of Amazon, IMDB, and Zillow, among other influential companies.
The city is also an important music hub, where you can always catch up-and-coming bands at clubs in Belltown. Plenty of A-list musical talent has come out of the Seattle area, from Jimi Hendrix to Death Cab for Cutie.
Seattle's Pike Place Market is one of the oldest-operating farmers' markets in America. It opened in 1907.
How to Get Around
Trains: King County Metro has four different railway options: the Link light rail, Seattle Center Monorail, Seattle streetcar, and the Sounder train. The Link runs through downtown Seattle all the way to Sea-Tac Airport. Meanwhile, the Seattle streetcar has three different lines operating throughout the city. The Sounder train is a commuter rail that brings passengers outside the city limits. And finally, the monorail, which costs $3 for adults and $1.50 for kids, runs from the Space Needle at Seattle Center to Westlake Center, located just three blocks from Pike Place Market.
Buses: King County Metro offers more than 200 buses to take you around Seattle and the surrounding areas. Find a list of bus lines and their schedules here. You can pay for the bus with an ORCA card or with the exact fare in cash. (It's worth noting that bus drivers will not be able to offer you change.) Bus rides cost $2.50.Car Service and Taxis: Uber and Lyft both service Seattle. You can also find a taxi easily at the airport or select stands around the city, but it's easier to schedule one through a service like Seattle Yellow Cab. For a black car service, try local companies like Seattle Royal Town Car.
Address: 110 Stewart St., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 623-4600
Located right near Pike Place Market, Thompson Seattle has lavish modern decor, a fantastic cocktail program at its rooftop lounge, Nest, and rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Puget Sound. Choose from king bed rooms, one- or two-bedroom suites, or residences — the rooms and suites are outfitted with modern art and Sealy Tempur-Pedic mattresses.
Address: 1531 7th Ave., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 621-1200
This downtown boutique hotel fuses modern decor with regal design. The common spaces have high ceilings, inviting light to pour in, and the hotel boasts a museum-quality art collection. Looking for a special occasion room to reserve? The 2,000-square-foot penthouse, called The Residence, takes up the hotel's entire 19th floor and has three terraces.
Address: 1112 4th Ave., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 264-6000
W Hotels are known for their vibrancy, and the W Seattle's interiors bring the colorful palette to the next level. The W Seattle's programming is inspired by the city's musical roots — the property has a private recording studio, the W Sound Suite, as well as a live music series hosted at the hotel.
The Alexis Royal Sonesta Hotel Seattle
Address: 1007 1st Ave., Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 624-4844
Walking distance from Pioneer Square, the Seattle waterfront, and Pike Place Market, The Alexis Royal Sonesta Hotel Seattle is an updated property that dates back to 1901. Decorated with a collection of local art and serving craft cocktails at The Bookstore Bar & Café, this is an eclectic spot that really embraces the artistic and cultural flair of Seattle.
The State Hotel
Address: 1501 2nd Ave., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (800) 827-3900
From The State Hotel, you can walk a few minutes to Pike Place or the monorail, which takes you right to Seattle Center. The State Hotel is home to Ben Paris, a restaurant serving elevated American food, and 91 beautifully appointed rooms.
Address: 1415 5th Ave., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 971-8000
The atmosphere at Motif is heavily inspired by Seattle's vibrant music and arts scene. The downtown hotel has a chic rooftop lounge, and its restaurant, Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails, is not to be missed.
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Seattle
Address: 1101 4th Ave., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 621-1770
Kimpton's reputation as a boutique-feeling, elevated hotel experience translates perfectly in Seattle. The Kimpton Hotel Monaco, situated in downtown Seattle, is decorated with greenery and inviting fire pits, and the rooms offer romantic city views.
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
Address: 99 Union St., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 749-7000
The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle is known, among other things, for its heated rooftop infinity pool that appears to cascade right into Elliott Bay. Many of the accommodations, from the corner deluxe rooms to the two-bedroom suites, have beautiful views of Elliott Bay and the Puget Sound. The hotel also has multiple on-site dining options, including Goldfinch Tavern and a rooftop bar. Plus, it's steps from Pike Place Market.
Address: 2411 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121
Phone: (206) 792-5959
The Edgewater celebrates rock 'n roll in downtown Seattle on Pier 67. With waterfront-view rooms, Six Seven restaurant on the Puget Sound, and guitars available for guests to rent, this is not your average hotel stay.
Inn at the Market
Address: 86 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 443-3600
The Inn at the Market is aptly named, seeing as though it's located within the renowned Pike Place Market. With rooms overlooking the bay and a rooftop deck where you'll experience the Pike Place atmosphere firsthand, this 79-room inn is abuzz with Seattle flavor.
Address: 107 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 596-0600
The 96-room Palihotel Seattle is situated right across from Pike Place Market and Elliott Bay. The enclave on Pine Street features eclectic touches, like Smeg fridges in all the rooms, and is also home to The Hart and the Hunter, a Palisociety restaurant that started in Los Angeles and has since expanded to the Emerald City.
Address: 2408 NW 80th St., Seattle, WA 98117
Phone: (206) 472-4150
Situated in the Ballard neighborhood, Cafe Munir is a Mediterranean restaurant that stands out in the city's dining scene. You'll love the marinated chicken, mezze platters, and kabobs — all for a reasonable price.
Off the Rez Cafe
Address: 4300 15th Ave. NE, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle, WA 98105
Originally a favorite Seattle food truck, Off the Rez has now set up a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. It serves Indian fusion tacos on delicious fresh-fried bread.
Address: 1054 N. 39th St., Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: (206) 632-0185
Kamonegi is an exquisite Japanese restaurant under acclaimed chef Mutsuko Soma. You'll find soba dipping noodles, chicken katsu sandwiches, and innovative dishes like duck fat eggplant and foie gras tofu.
Address: 2576 Aurora Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: (206) 283-3313
One of Seattle's all-time great upscale restaurants, Canlis has been around since the 1950s. It specializes in New American cuisine, and its posh dining room is situated right on the water with a gorgeous view of the sound.
Address: 1531 14th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: (206) 251-7673
A luxurious Italian restaurant serving handmade pasta, Spinasse also has a terrific wine list and location. Try the tajarin al ragù, the risotto with matsutake mushrooms, and the 14-month aged prosciutto di parma.
Address: 300 E Pike St. #1200, Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: (206) 557-7273
French-Vietnamese fusion is what you'll find at Stateside. On East Pike Street in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, this upscale joint is decorated with tropical plants and printed wallpaper, and the food is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Address: 1040 E. Union St., Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: (206) 900-8699
Bateau is a luxe steakhouse with French flair. Under chef Taylor Thornhill, the grass-fed steaks are prepared with precision, as are various other meat-forward French delicacies, like steak tartare. The whole experience comes together in a room with inviting modern decor and a chic bar lined with brass stools.
Address: 1600 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 728-2233
A French-style brasserie within Pike Place Market, Cafe Campagne is a lovely place to take a load off during a day of sightseeing. Fancy a post-shopping cocktail in the afternoon? They have innovative drinks here, which pair perfectly with a slice of fresh-from-the-oven crab quiche.
Address: 1908 Pike Pl., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 441-6068
Visiting Piroshky Piroshky, a renowned Polish bakery across from Pike Place Market, is a must while at the public market. Try their stuffed piroshkies, from beef and potato to the chicken, curry, and rice option.
Address: Multiple Locations
Can you go to Seattle and not have phenomenal, locally roasted coffee? Herkimer Coffee is the place to find exceptional Pacific Northwest coffee. Established in Seattle in 2003, this company purchases sustainable beans from farms growing "complex coffees" and roasts the beans in house daily.
Things to Do
Pike Place Market (Public Market Center)
Address: 85 Pike St., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 682-7453
Pike Place Market is simultaneously a top Seattle attraction, food hall, farmers' market, and shopping venue. In short, it's a main event in Seattle. Come for lunch, do some shopping, or just grab an iced coffee and wander the market, taking in the spectacle.
Address: 400 Broad St., Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: (206) 905-2100
Opened in 1962, the Space Needle towers at 605 feet tall. The 520-foot observation deck is purposely shaped like a saucer, as part of the tower's futuristic aesthetic. General admission tickets cost $35, senior citizens pay $30, and children 12 and under are charged $26.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Address: 305 Harrison St., Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: (206) 753-4940
Right next to the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass is an exhibit within the Seattle Center. The sculpture garden and art exhibition showcases the work of Dale Chihuly. You can buy combined access tickets for the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass for $49 ($39 for seniors and $34 for youths).
Olympic Sculpture Park
Address: 2901 Western Ave., Seattle, WA 98121
Phone: (206) 654-3100
Owned and operated by the Seattle Art Museum, Olympic Sculpture Park is a fantastic outdoor display of modern and contemporary sculpture. The nine-acre area of landscape art has an indoor pavilion, and the space extends all the way to the shores of the Puget Sound.
Address: 305 Harrison St., Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: (206) 684-7200
A number of Seattle's great attractions are within the Seattle Center, including the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass. Seattle Center takes up 74 acres in the city's Uptown Arts and Cultural District. It was the site of the 1962 World's Fair, and today, the space is focused on advancement, social and racial justice, sustainability, and the arts.
The Museum of History & Industry
Address: 860 Terry Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: (206) 324-1126
The Museum of History & Industry — affectionately called Mohai by those in the know — is right by the water and delves into the innovation roots of Seattle. Visit permanent exhibits like the Bezos Center for Innovation (which looks at the technological past, present, and future of Seattle) and Maritime Seattle (which explores how maritime and industrial activities have influenced the city).
Museum of Pop Culture
Address: 325 5th Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: (206) 770-2700
The Museum of Pop Culture was founded by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen in 2000. The museum boasts one of the largest collections of "contemporary pop culture historical objects" in the world. Get ready to see Jimi Hendrix's hat, Janis Joplin's feather boa, iconic turntables from generations past, and an impressive display of new-age artistry.
Gas Works Park
Address: 2101 N. Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: (206) 684-4075
Sprawled in the middle of Seattle is a manicured, 19-acre park on a site that was once a coal gasification plant. It has a beautiful view of Lake Union, and much of the old equipment used by the Seattle Gas Light Company plant has been preserved within the park.
Address: 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 386-4300
What better way to experience the marine wildlife of the Pacific Northwest than by visiting the Seattle Aquarium? The Seattle Aquarium is focused on the conservation of marine animals that live on the Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest. On the Puget Sound and Salish Sea, the aquarium is home to puffins, octopuses, otters, and seals, among other animals.
The Center for Wooden Boats
Address: 1010 Valley St., Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: (206) 382-2628
Boating is extremely popular in Seattle during the warmer months. It's an opportunity to see the city from a new vantage point while being outside. If you're not exactly a speed demon, renting a wooden sailboat is a perfect way to glide serenely on Lake Union. Rent a boat from The Center for Wooden Boats' South Lake Union boathouse, or sign up for a private sailing lesson.
Elliott Bay Book Company
Address: 1521 10th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: (206) 624-6600
Elliott Bay Book Company has a terrific assortment of new and used books. The enormous space has character, with distinctive ceiling beams and wooden shelves, plus it's packed from floor to ceiling with books.
Pike Place Market
Address: 85 Pike St., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 682-7453
Pike Place Market isn't a place to shop in Seattle — it's the place to shop. This open-air food market has prepared foods, restaurants, and high-end vendors selling chocolates, cheeses, seafood, wine, and more. Keep your eyes peeled for the fishmongers observing a time-honored tradition: throwing a nice piece of fish across the market before selling it.
Beecher's Handmade Cheese
Address: 1600 Pike Pl., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 956-1964
Beecher's is one of the most talked-about shops in Pike Place Market. The renowned cheese shop has even expanded to New York City, but the original is here in Seattle. Visit to learn about the craftsmanship behind their cheese, and walk away with an armload of fromage.
Address: 1435 1st Ave., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 622-0141
At DeLaurenti, you'll find cheeses, premade Italian goods, and high-end wines. Think of this Italian enclave less as a wine store and more as a niche, upscale grocery. DeLaurenti sources wines locally (you'll find a fair share of Willamette Valley pinot noirs from the neighborhooding state of Oregon), but it also has an impressive selection of imported bottles.
Address: 600 Pine St., Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 405-2655
At this downtown Seattle shopping center, you'll find a mix of legacy fashion brands and boutique stores. Visitors can expect beloved lines, like Aveda and Lululemon, but also an art gallery and a showroom with jewelry from local artisans.
Fremont Vintage Mall
Address: 3419 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: (206) 329-4460
The Fremont Vintage Mall is where you'll find 40-year-old wicker chairs in mint condition, silk bomber jackets at a great price, and used books. The mall sells some of the very best antiques in Seattle, all with eclectic flair.
Address: 1525 Melrose Ave., Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: (206) 641-7646
A designer boutique you'll be reluctant to tear yourself away from, Glasswing offers clothing, furniture, and home goods. Peruse their pieces from local designers, as well as items from around the world, like the Kinto Japanese coffee collection.
Georgetown Trailer Park Mall
Address: 5805 Airport Way S., Seattle, WA 98108
The Georgetown Trailer Park Mall in Seattle is all about sustainability and vintage finds. Located in the Georgetown neighborhood, this venue was initially made up of eight vintage trailers and seven independent retailers, though it has since expanded to house other artists and vendors.
Neighborhoods to Know
Capitol Hill: Capitol Hill is simultaneously trendy and residential, with lovely coffee shops, eateries, and local boutiques. It's close to downtown, attracting a lot of young professionals and families, as well as tourists looking for the "it" neighborhood in Seattle.
South Lake Union: At the southern edge of Lake Union, near downtown, this Seattle neighborhood is upscale with enticing real estate and local businesses.
Pioneer Square: One of the oldest neighborhoods in Seattle, Pioneer Square offers a beautiful display of Renaissance Revival architecture. The area dates back to the 1850s and is now a marriage of the old and new Seattle.
Ballard: Slightly northwest of downtown, Ballard is lined by two gorgeous bodies of water. On the west side of Ballard is the Puget Sound, and on the south side, Salmon Bay. It's a trendy neighborhood filled with shops, bars, and restaurants, and its Scandinavian roots still inform the culture and atmosphere of the area.
Belltown: Right in downtown Seattle, Belltown is where you'll find great nightlife and music venues. This neighborhood is known as the artistic epicenter of Seattle, so you can expect chic galleries and beautiful displays of public art around every corner.
Seattle gets the majority of its rain in the winter, which is why December, January, February, and March aren't ideal times to visit. December is, in fact, the wettest month. July and August are the driest months, as well as the warmest. But because of the breeze coming off the water and the region's northern geography, summer temperatures in June, July, and Augusy are moderate, in the high 70s. The following are average Fahrenheit lows and highs by month. Average annual precipitation in Seattle is 15.03 inches.
January 37 - 48
February 38 - 51
March 40 - 54
April 44 - 59
May 49 - 65
June 54 - 71
July 58 - 76
August 58 - 77
September 54 - 71
October 47 - 61
November 41 - 52
December 37 - 47