Seattle, Washington, is a Northwestern city on the Puget Sound that offers visitors lots of natural beauty, a mild climate and a vast array of cultural delights. Portland and Seattle have long vied for the title of the best city in the Pacific Northwest, but the truth is each has its own charms. Let’s look at some of the reasons to spend time in Seattle.
Highlights of Seattle
- Explore the Puget Sound -The Puget Sound gives you beautiful views of Seattle as well as a way to visit nearby islands. Ferries can take you to destinations such as Bainbridge Island, Port Townsend and Victoria, British Columbia, if you want to extend your trip to Canada. Washington State Ferries provides many cruises and voyages that are convenient and reasonable. When in Seattle, you should take at least one ferry, if only to see the city from a different vantage point.
- Pike Place Market -One of Seattle’s most popular destinations, this is one of America’s first farmer’s markets. Although they are best known for fresh seafood, you can find everything here, including produce, chocolate, flowers, pasta and lots more.
- Space Needle -Seattle’s most recognizable landmark, you don’t actually have to take a tour to appreciate it. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Space Needle is visible from many areas in the city. The observation deck does, however, offer great views of the city and beyond. The Needle also has its own rotating restaurant, SkyCity.
- Chihuly Garden and Glass -A unique museum that celebrates the work of the glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. There are eight galleries and a beautiful garden, as well as a restaurant. At times, you can see glass blowing demonstrations as well.
- Tours of the City -You can see Seattle on foot, on a bicycle, by car or from the water. There are a number of specialized tours, such as Seattle Bites Food Tours and Seattle Wine Tours. Seattle by Segway is a fun way to explore downtown Seattle. Beneath the Streets is an informative tour of the historic Pioneer Square area, featuring some fascinating underground places where parts of the city were originally built. Ride the Ducks of Seattle lets you see the city from both land and water in WW II amphibious crafts that have become popular in many cities for tours.
Dining and Nightlife
Seattle has many great restaurants of every description, with seafood, Chinese and fusion being among the most popular. Here is just a small selection of places worth trying when you’re in town.
- Pike Place Chowder, which has one location right in Pike Place Market and another in Pacific Place Shopping Center, has won numerous awards, including the Chowder Cook Off in Monterey, CA.
- For steaks, there’s no better choice than Metropolitan Grill downtown on 2nd Avenue. This is a popular and often crowded place for lunch and dinner.
- Toulhouse Petit, located in the trendy Queen Anne area, near Seattle Center, brings a southern and Cajun menu to the Northwest. Open for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner, you can get tasty items such as fried green tomatoes, crawfish beignets and barbecued shrimp here.
- Seattle has a large Asian population, and this is certainly reflected in restaurants and shops. For great Chinese food, you should try Din Tai Fung, which originally opened in Taiwan and now has multiple worldwide locations. In Seattle, they are in the University District. They are especially renowned for their Chinese dumplings.
- For sushi and other Japanese offerings, you have Umi Sake House, located in Belltown on First Avenue. This is an often-crowded place that has all kinds of sushi, specialty rolls and appetizers as well as entrees such as grilled flat iron steak, grilled squid and chicken yakitori.
Seattle is also a thriving, cosmopolitan city when it comes to entertainment and nightlife. For plays, musicals and concerts, there are venues such as Seattle Symphony, Pacific-Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera and Seattle Repertory_ Theatre.
Bars and clubs featuring jazz and other music include The Pink Door, a downtown club on Post Alley where you can dine on Italian food as well as enjoy burlesque shows and other entertainment; Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley on Sixth Avenue in Belltown, one of the city’s most popular jazz clubs. If you’re in the mood for laughs, you can find some comedy clubs as well, such as Comedy Underground downtown on South Main Street and Jet City Improv in the University District.
Where to Stay
For a top hotel downtown, your choices include Hampton Inn & Suites Seattle Downtown, close to the Space Needle and other attractions and Hotel 1000 on First Avenue, a stylish and modern hotel also very convenient.
For great value and economy, try Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Seattle Center or Hotel Deca, A Noble House Hotel, an art deco style hotel on Brooklyn Avenue NE in the University District. The Roosevelt, on 7th Avenue is an older, small hotel that’s within walking distance to many attractions such as the Space Needle.
If you prefer a B & B or guest house, you might try Greenlake Guest House, with a scenic location by the lake; Sleeping Bulldog Bed and Breakfast on 19th Ave S, near downtown, which has great views of the city or Foxglove Guesthouse, on 18th Avenue East in the Capitol Hill area, offering clean, comfortable rooms and friendly service.