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.
Things to Do
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