Seattle Travel Guide

Introduction to Seattle

Seattle, Washington, also known as the Emerald City in the Pacific Northwest is a thriving, hip city offering the perfect combination of the arts, coffee and the outdoors with the scenic surroundings of Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains. Even the hotels in Seattle are hip, and after a visit you'll see why Seattle is considered one of the coolest cities in the US.

Seattle Space Needle

The Space Needle

Seattle’s most iconic landmark – take the lift up to the 520-foot-high observation deck for panoramic views across the city, Mount Rainier and Puget Sound.

Coffeehouses

Coffeehouses

The US ‘Capital of Coffee’ and home to the very first Starbucks store, take a guided Coffee Crawl around some of Seattle's best coffee shops. 

EMP Museum

EMP Museum

Seattle is known as the birthplace of grunge and bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, you can explore the musical history of these legendary bands at the Experience Music Project Museum.

Other things to do in Seattle

Seattle offers masses of things to do, with an electric atmosphere to go along with it. When it comes to museums, they cover an wide variety of interest areas including popular culture (EMP Museum, Seattle Pinball Museum), science, technology and innovation (Microsoft Visitor Center, Living Computer Museum, Pacific Science Center and the Museum of Flight), and history (Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Nordic Heritage Museum and the Museum of History and Industry).

Seattle is considered to be a vibrant  visual arts centre with four art museums, sculptures, pieces of artwork, the Chihuly Garden and Glass, The Seattle Art Fair and over 100 galleries throughout the city. As you're walking through the city you will see pieces of art such as The Gum Wall, Fremont Troll, Fremont Rocket and the International Fountain.

If you're travelling to Seattle with kids they'll enjoy the Seattle Aquarium, the Woodland Park Zoo, the Seattle Children's Museum, the EMP Museum and of course the Seattle parks.

With Puget Sound on the west of the city, Lake Washington to the east, over 400 parks and a location sandwiched between the Olympic Mountains National Park and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Seattle, offers a city break with plenty of opportunities to explore the outdoors. Outdoor activities in Seattle include kayaking, ferry rides, whale watching, and backpacking on Mount Rainier.

Even the parks in Seattle are unique; The Olympic Sculpture Park is 9 acres of outdoor steel sculptures and the Gas Works Park features the remnants of the old gasification plant.

Seattle's festival calendar is particularly thorough with festivals and events covering the microbreweries, the nearby outdoors, the musical roots of the city, food and more.  It's worth checking to see if any of these coincide with the time of your visit.

If you want to explore the best things to do in Seattle we've handpicked our top 10 things to do here.

Eating and drinking in Seattle

Seattle is a true destination for foodies, with some of the US’s top restaurants, hip cafes and unique dishes available created from locally grown farm produce and salmon fished from the Puget Sound. The signature meal of the city is Fish and Chips, Ivar's is a particular favourite with views over the Puget Sound. When it comes to lunch Seattle-style hot dogs are probably a little different to what you'd normally expect, here the hot dogs are served up at food trucks around the city, topped with cream cheese and fried onions, a combination that you have to try to realise how well it works. Top Pot Doughnuts started a revolution when it came to artisan doughnuts, and it's now a Seattle icon that should find its way on your to do list.

With over 1000 coffee shops, it comes as no surprise that the drink of the city is coffee. Naturally you will want to make the pilgrimage, made by many from across the world to the very first Starbucks Store in the Pike Place Market but you should also explore some of the many independent coffeehouses which offer a huge variety of roasts and blends. For some of the freshest roasted coffee you should head to Lighthouse Roasters in Fremont who are known for freshly roasting small batches off coffee beans onsite throughout the day.  Others worth a visit include Mox Cafe, Milstead & Co., and Victrola.

Seattle has seen a surge of microbreweries in the city over the last few years, all offering something a little different. With a focus on locally sourced ingredients and the freedom independent brewers have when it comes to flavours whether you're a craft beer aficionado or just looking to try something new, Seattle's brewers will have something for you.

Seattle climate

Seattle is known as the 'rainy city' of the USA, most annual rainfall takes place during November to January with strong showers. The rest of the year experiences light but regular drizzle, with July to September being relatively dry in comparison to the rest of the year. Seattle is one of the cloudiest cities in the US, with almost 300 days of partly cloudy to cloudy skies.

Summers in Seattle are warm with average daily temperatures around 20oc and winters are cool, averaging at 5oc.

When to go to Seattle

Summer's in Seattle attract large tourist crowds with warm, dry weather and a full calendar of festivals and events which include Ballard SeafoodFest, SEAFAIR, and the Seattle Outdoor Theatre Festival. Spring and Autumn can be the ideal time to visit the city when hotels are cheaper, the weather is warm and rainfall hasn't yet reached it's peak levels.

Flying to Seattle

Most flights to Seattle have one, or two connections in Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt or New York, but if you're departing from London Heathrow Airport there are direct flights available. An average direct flight will take 9 hours, 30 minutes. Flights to Seattle will arrive into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is 15 miles of Downtown Seattle. The SeaTAC Airport Train stations offers 30 minute train services into Seattle. 

 Seattle / Tacoma International Deals

Hotels in Seattle

Car hire in Seattle / Tacoma International

Images by Flickr/Seattle Municipal Archives, Robert S. Donovan, and cliff1066â„¢