Top Reasons to Visit Seattle
Seattle probably isn't the first city you might think of visiting when planning to visit the USA but there are so many reasons you should think again.
Seatlle is a vibrant, calming and an extremely friendly city and somewhere you should really considering adding to your itinerary especially if you are going to be travelling the west coast of the US.
Karyn Hicks and her husband visited Seattle in September 2017 and the city suprisingly turned out to be one of her most favourite places in the world.
In this article Karyn shares why you should travel to Seattle and also 10 of the best things to do if you are going to be exploring this city for the first time.
How Long to Stay & Best Things to Do in Seattle
Seattle is well known for having bad weather including lots of rain but when I visited there was an apparent unusual heatwave (not that they were complaining about it at all). Seattle is an all year round destination and there is no best time to visit, you can find sightseeing activities in every season.
There's so many different things to do in Seattle depending what you're into and how much time you have. Seattle is perfect for a weekend 2/3 day break but there is also enough stuff to keep you entertained but longer durations.
I visited fom a long weekend and made an itinerary filled with things we'd researching and decided we wanted to do. These included the MOPOP (Museum of Pop Culture), the Science Museum, the Space Needle and The Boeing Factory all of which are highly recommended.
These are some of the main highlights and things to add to your Seattle itinerary:
1. Boeing Factory
I have to say my personal favourite place to go in Seattle is ...….. The Boeing Factory!
Now I will admit that I am a MASSIVE aviation fan. I love planes, love everything about them. I'm going to kick off with my favourite which was the Boeing Factory. Anyone who has any kind of interest in aviation will love it. There is a shop where you can buy all kinds of memorabilia related to the manufacturer. There is a museum which has aircraft engines on show, also explains about different engine types.
The piece de resistance is when you are taken on the factory tour where you can see actual building of aircraft that are to be delivered to airlines that will be put to commercial use. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and do their best to answer any questions you may have.
You are not allowed to take anything into the factory tour with you (ie phones and cameras) so all bags are put into lockers at the main entrance.
2. Museum of Flight
In keeping with the aviation theme another place to visit is the Museum of Flight which has a range of full size aircraft for you to board and have a look around and learn some of the history of these amazing machines. Again there are guides who can answer any questions you may have. We had a chat with a gentleman about the Air Force One aircraft and this man knew his stuff. There is also an area that takes you through the stages of early flight, to the war and to modern day jetliners. For aviation buffs a definite must see.
3. Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market located in downtown Seattle was an amazing place to be. I loved it down there. This is where you'll find the original Starbucks, the queue was phenomenal. We took a previous tour guides advice and didn't go in as he said you can get the same drink around the corner and not wait in line. We did take some photos outside though. You have plenty eateries in this area, there was lots of choice.
We visited Peroshky Peroshky for a pasty. For those of you with a sweet tooth there is Le Panier, a French patisserie, where we tried the most amazing eclairs. In the Market itself we visited The Sound View Café for breakfast and had amazing views of the Puget Sound. The food was fantastic and the staff were lovely.
4. City Tour
On our first full day in Seattle we booked a city tour to get our bearings and discover and bit more than what we might have on our own.
The tour took us to The Freemont Troll, The Fish Ladder at Ballard Locks (there is an amazing deli a short drive from here called Fishermen's Green Market and Deli - they make the most delicious fresh wraps), Kerry Park, The water homes, plus lots of interesting commentary from the guide telling us all about the history of each area, immigration and how many people actually move to Seattle each year.
There are lots of tours of Seattle available which are highly recommended if you would like to learn a bit more about the city, history, culture and people.
5. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley
For those of you who like a bit of jazz music, we visited a venue called Dimitriou's Jazz Alley. The act we seen was a bass player called Marcus Miller. The venue itself is very small and intimate which was fantastic. You have the option of going to the show and sitting at the bar or being able to have dinner before the show. We went for the dinner option and the food was wonderful. Our final bill if I remember right came to roughly $120 and that was two mains, two desserts and two alcoholic drinks.
6. Get a View of the Stunning Skyline
The Seattle skyline is famous and for good reason, it is spectacular! The skyline can be seen from most locations but you could buy a ticket to go up the Seattle Space Needle which has an observation deck over 600 feet above ground level and amazing views for miles around. Tickets are reasonably prices at around $20 per adult.
7. Sample the Local Food & Drink
Seattle has lots of great places to eat seafood and also some tasty local coffee and beers. There are cafes and restaurants located throughout the city with options for all budgets.
There are three lakes in central Seattle (Washington, Union and Sammamish) and also the Puget Sound located very close too. When the weather is good you might want to head to the waterfront for views, relaxation or actually go out on the water. You can swim, kayak, surf and sail and equipment can be rented from local shops.
9. Go Skiing or Snowboarding
Seattle is located close to some amazing mountain ranges and if you would like to escape the city and are visiting during winter why not hit the slopes. Skiing and snowboarding is very popular with the locals especially as the distance to the main ski areas like Stevens Pass is so close.
If you fancy a day trip then one of the best things to do is to visit the famous wineries which are located around 30 miles from Seattle city centre. Popular places to stop include Woodinville which is home to over 100 wineries! You can taste some of the best wines in the region here.
Where to Stay
There are so many options for places to stay for all budgets. From cheap backpacker hostels perfect if you are travelling on a budget right up to 5 star hotels and boutique lodges. I recommend staying central so you are within walking distance to all the main sights.
Why You Will Love Seattle
Seattle has so much greenery and park space that it's impossible not to be able to find a place of quiet amongst a big city. It gave me a sense of calm which I really enjoyed, it was an intangible feeling that you can't ever really explain properly. I've been to a lot of cities throughout the US and I can wholeheartedly say Seattle is my favourite.
I seem to enjoy the west coast as opposed to the east coast. The east coast doesn't have the same chilled out vibe that you can find in the west. It’s also roughly only a three hour journey away from Vancouver in Canada so if you were feeling adventurous, you could plan a twin centre to include it.
I’d encourage anyone to give Seattle a try, you won’t regret it.
By Karyn Hicks