Seattle Travel Guide 2021

2021 Seattle Visitors Guide

The crown jewel of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle boasts rich cultural attractions, stunning natural scenery, and growing arts, dining and nightlife scenes. The city is home to a bevy of renowned museums and cultural institutions as well as iconic landmarks like the Space Needle. A progressive-minded metropolis known for its seamless blend of natural charm and cosmopolitan energy, it offers a truly distinct and exciting experience. For those looking to visit somewhere truly unique, Seattle is just the right place to go.

Seattle Fun Guide

Seattle is located in Washington State along the beautiful Puget Sound. It is the largest city in the state and also the largest in the Pacific Northwest region. The city is known for its splendorous natural scenery that includes Puget Sound, mountain ranges, and the region’s iconic evergreen woodlands. Seattle offers a laid-back atmosphere and sports some of the best coffeehouses and nightlife spots in the entire country. The city can be accessed by Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Amtrak, bus services, boat and several major highways. Seattle is easy to navigate and offers extensive public transportation options courtesy of Metro Transit.

The city is home to a wide variety of great attractions and things to do throughout the year. The city’s leading attraction is the celebrated Space Needle, the futuristic observation tower that marks the city’s skyline. A must-see attraction, the Space Needle offers stunning views from its observation deck and an acclaimed revolving restaurant as well. Another top destination for visitors is Pike Place Market, one of the largest and most historic markets in the region. Home to a wealth of great shops and restaurants, it offers endless shopping, dining and nightlife options to enjoy.

Seattle also boasts distinguished museums and cultural institutions as well as a plethora of beautiful parks to explore. The city plays host to the Seattle Art Museum as well as other great institutions like the Frye Art Museum, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the Pacific Science Center, the Seattle Aquarium and many more. The city is also home to beautiful parks and public spaces such as Lake Washington, the Woodland Park Zoo, Seward Park, Discovery Park and many others. Its waterfront is acclaimed for its natural beauty and striking views all around.

A city with so much to offer, Seattle never fails to impress. From the iconic Space Needle to world-class museums and parks to some of the best retail options in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle offers something for everyone to love.

Seattle Downtown Hotels

Located along the city’s elegant waterfront, Downtown Seattle boasts everything from bustling markets to distinguished museums to explore. The district boasts spectacular views of Puget Sound as well as many of the city’s top restaurants, galleries, and shops. For those looking to visit Seattle, a stop in Downtown Seattle is always a great idea. Downtown Seattle forms the historic core of the city and also functions as its primary center of business and government. The district boasts a wide array of retail options to discover as well as a growing cultural scene. It can be accessed by car, public transportation as well as by ferry. The district is packed with attractions and fun things to do. It holds the famed Pike Place Market, one of the largest and most historic marketplaces in the region, as well as landmarks like the Bay Pavilion, Benaroya Hall and the Odyssey Maritime Marine Center. It also plays host to acclaimed museums and cultural attractions like the Seattle Art Museum and the Seattle Aquarium. Downtown Hotel Service offers Hotels near Downtown Seattle that are quality hotels at an affordable price. Use our Search box above or click here to see available hotels!

About Downtown Seattle

There are a variety of ways for travelers to reach downtown Seattle. Metro Transit bus routes and light rail routes go through the area. Visitors can take buses or light rail from the airport to downtown. Ferries and water taxis stop at the waterfront in the downtown area. The Seattle Amtrak station is close to downtown.

Visitors will find plenty of things to do once they arrive in downtown Seattle. Art lovers can see artwork from all over the world at the Seattle Art Museum. German art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries is displayed at the Frye Art Museum. Children can learn about the world around them through the interactive exhibits at the Seattle Children’s Museum. Things to see at the Pacific Science Center include a butterfly house, a saltwater tide pool and technology exhibits. The Seattle Aquarium has seals, otters, fish and birds.

There are several ways to enjoy downtown Seattle’s waterfront. Visitors can take sightseeing cruises in Seattle Harbor. Boats are available for rent at The Center for Wooden Boats. The picnic benches at Waterfront Park have views of the water.

Shoppers will find plenty of places to visit in downtown Seattle. Pacific Place has designer boutiques and specialty shops. There are designer clothing and accessories at the Nordstrom flagship store. Merchants at Pike Place Market sell antiques, artwork, gifts and handmade items. Hungry visitors can buy crepes, falafel, cheese and oysters here.

A variety of cuisine is available at restaurants in downtown Seattle. Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub serves shepherd’s pie and sausage rolls. Oysters and salmon are on the menu at Elliott’s Oyster House. Customers at Il Fornaio can order Italian food.

Seattle visitors who want to stay in luxury hotels in the downtown area can stay at the Four Seasons or the Fairmont. Other places to stay in the area include the Best Western and the Holiday Inn Express. The Inn at the Market is a boutique hotel in the Pike Place Market.

Seattle Weather

The city of Seattle has one of the more temperate climates in the continental United States. Although it has a reputation as a very damp and rainy city, this is not entirely true for the actual Seattle downtown area. The weather in the region remains comfortable throughout the year because of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, Cascade Ridge and Lake Washington. The warm pacific air and cool arctic air that would cause temperature extremes are separated and driven around the city by the local mountains and lakes. The city is cloudy for over 200 days every year although these clouds frequently give way to sunshine at some point during the day.

Seattle WeatherThe summers in Seattle tend to be very temperate and dry when compared to the other seasons. The average high temperature during the summer is 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Extremely hot temperatures above 90 degrees are very rare and only occur a few days out of every year. The hottest recorded air temperature in the city was 103 degrees. There is also a very small amount of rain during the summer and almost no thunderstorms. Nighttime temperatures are cool and comfortable. There is generally less than one inch of rain during each summer month although this might be spread across several light showers over many days instead of a single strong downpour. Visitors arriving in summer should expect comfortable temperatures but should pack an umbrella just in case.

The winters in Seattle are very moderate although this is also the season where most rain occurs. Average nighttime lows during the winter are above freezing usually just below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The daytime winter highs are usually between 40 and 50 degrees. Very little snow falls and there is only minor accumulation most years. The city has seen more than six inches of snow on only a handful of occasions. Visitors coming during the winter should dress warmly and in layers. It is best to bring coats and sweaters in order to adapt to the changing temperatures throughout the day.

Seattle does receive rain on more days throughout the year than most other locations although accumulations in the downtown area are not as great as many cities on the East Coast. The rain generally occurs as light precipitation spread over several days or weeks each month. The heaviest rains occur in the winter and can exceed 20 inches in a month. Visitors should always be prepared for periods of rain when coming to Seattle. The city does not commonly experience any severe weather because of the protective topography although windstorms and other events have been recorded in the past. Anyone traveling to the areas outside of the city Seattle will experience very different weather patterns including intense rain and heat depending on the season.

Seattle Transportation

Metro Transit

The buses in Seattle are run by Metro Transit. This is an efficient bus service that will get passengers anywhere they need to go in Seattle. The drivers on Metro Transit buses do not carry change, so passengers need to pay with exact change. A free transfer can be obtained from the driver upon boarding. Be careful when boarding an express bus. They do not always follow the normal routes, so ask the driver if it will be stopping at your destination.

Seattle Transportation

Sound Transit

This bus service will get passengers out to the suburbs surrounding Seattle. Sound Transit buses go to destinations that include Bothell, Everett, Tacoma, Bellevue and Redmond.

Link Light Rail

Passengers will enjoy this fast light rail line that runs between the Westlake Center in downtown and the Sea-Tac Airport. Passengers will need to buy a ticket at the station before they board a Link Light Rail car.

South Lake Union Street Car

This is a fun method to travel that is very popular with tourists in Seattle. The streetcar line runs between South Lake Union and downtown.

Seattle Center Monorail

The monorail is useful for visitors who wish to see the Space Needle up close. The monorail line runs from the Seattle Center, which is the home of the Space Needle, and downtown.

King County Water Taxi

Seattle has one of the best ferry services in the country. The King County Water Taxi gives passengers fast rides from downtown Seattle to West Seattle. The views from the ferry are absolutely gorgeous, looking out over the downtown skyline and the Olympia Mountains.

Car

Driving in Seattle is fairly pleasant when compared to other big cities. Visitors should not be afraid to rent a car. There is ample parking throughout the city and the streets are easy to navigate. Rush hour traffic can get a little hectic, but it isn’t nearly as bad as other cites of its size. One thing to be aware of is that parking fines are quite hefty, so never let a meter expire when you park.

Walking

Walking in downtown Seattle is pleasant. There is a lot of interesting architecture to enjoy, and pedestrians can move between several tourist attractions fairly quickly downtown. The distances are too great to make walking very practical outside of downtown.

Bicycling

Seattle is a very bike-friendly community. The roads all have bike lanes, and there are several large bike trails that cross the city. Its reputation for rain is not exaggerated, so be sure to bring some raingear when bicycling in Seattle.

Seattle Attractions

There are a lot of interesting tourist attractions in Seattle, Washington. A few of the most popular attractions in the city are the Seattle Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo, the Space Needle, the Seattle Art Museum, and Pacific Science Center. These places are both entertaining and educational in nature. Each one of these sights offers an amazing and unique experience to patrons.

>> Visit our Top Seattle Attractions Guide

Seattle Attractions

 

Seattle Dining

As the biggest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle, Washington certainly has a lot to offer. Seattle is known for its legendary landmarks, a beautiful skyline and a diverse culinary scene. As you read this article, you’ll learn more about some of the best restaurants in Seattle and what makes them so attractive.

Seattle DiningOne of the best eateries in Seattle is definitely Artusi. Artusi provides an eclectic pairing of Italian cuisine with a contemporary twist. When picturing Italian food, many simply envision a heaping plate of cheesy, buttery pasta. However, Arusi proves that Italian cuisine far exceeds this simplistic image. Artusi’s menu features several appetizing options like duck liver Pate, a salami plate paired with pickles, braised octopus, tripe stew with veal and cabbage, gorgonzola Picante, pork ribs with Controne beans and more. Delicious dessert items include hazelnut cake, pumpkin pudding with cacao nibs, mocha espresso and more. The atmosphere is quite inviting, showcasing a modern interior design that features many miniature, chromatic paintings artfully placed around the bar that wonderfully paired with the vibrant drinks and dishes.

A second Seattle restaurant that must be visited is Terra Plata. Terra Plata takes tremendous pride in what they refer to as their “earth to plate” motto. They receive all of their organic ingredients from local farmers and are fully dedicated to bringing these fresh items right to the table, even classifying their menu items into groups titled earth, land, sea and more. Some amazing menu items include roasted carrots with citrus and cumin, lemon risotto with oysters and mushrooms, clams with chorizo and roasted red peppers, duck breast with oranges and olives and more. Terra Plata also has a generous list of uniquely named cocktails to choose from like: the Seattle raindrop with cardamom vodka, ginger and citrus, the Tennessee sweet with bourbon and chocolate bitters and more.

Wild Ginger is a third Seattle dining establishment that must be visited. Wild Ginger offers some of the best Asian cuisines in the state and also has several vegan options. The immense dinner menu features items like Thai chicken satay with coconut and lime, squash and sweet potato salad, vegetable spring roll with pineapple sauce, papaya and peanut salad, cinnamon-sprinkled duck with plum sauce, pad thai, green curry and more. Wild Ginger also has a large collection of tea, beer, sake and cocktails to choose from.

Clearly, the Seattle dining scene is remarkably unique and provides a variety of exotic dishes to choose from. Whether you prefer Italian, French or Asian cuisine, Seattle will certainly satisfy any foodie.

Seattle Events

Seattle, Washington, is the most populous city in its state, and it is also the most heavily-populated city in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. People enjoy visiting the city for many reasons. Seattle is surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in North America, and the city is home to a wide range of institutions and events that enhance its cultural heritage. No matter when an individual or family visits to the city, there is always something exciting or memorable to do.

Seattle International Film Festival

Seattle EventsFans of the cinema enjoy visiting Seattle for the annual Seattle International Film Festival. This prestigious event is held over the course of 24 days each May and June, and it typically features hundreds of films. The festival has been held each year since it was introduced in 1976, and it has grown in stature and popularity since its humble beginnings. Movie lovers can see great films before they find wide audiences, and they can even rub elbows with famous filmmakers.

Penny Arcade Expo

Video games have turned into a multi-billion dollar industry over the last two decades, and Seattle is home to one of the world’s largest gaming events. The Penny Arcade Expo is held in the city around Labor Day weekend every year. The event, which is held at the Washington State Convention Center, celebrates gaming culture and it features exhibits that display the greatest innovations in gaming from the past, present and future.

Bite of Seattle festival

The Bite of Seattle festival takes place in the city every July over the course of a single weekend. As its name implies, the event is a food festival that showcases the best and most innovative offerings from various Seattle restaurants and eateries. It features cooking and eating contests, plus it boasts activities that each member of the family can enjoy.

Music is incredibly important to the culture of Seattle. Over the years, the city has produced some of the world’s most popular artists and genres. Seattle is also home to one of the most important music festivals in the country. The Bumbershoot Festival has been held every year since 1971, and it takes place at the massive Seattle Center. Visitors to the festival can enjoy local, regional and national acts, plus they can view art from some of the city’s most promising visual artists.

Many people are attracted to Seattle because of its unique location on the water. Boating enthusiasts, in particular, enjoy visiting during the annual Seafair Cup, which takes place every summer on Lake Washington. This hydroplane racing event has been held every year since 1951, and it attracts some of the fastest boats and boaters in the world.

Family Fun near Downtown Seattle

Museum of Flight

The Museum of Flight was established in 1983 as a place to permanently display vintage aircraft and vehicles used in space exploration. One of the most interesting aspects of the museum is the display of well over 150 aircraft detailing the history of flight. Visitors will see one of the Air Force One planes used from the Eisenhower through the Nixon administration. Other aircraft on display include the Perlan glider and the Concorde. Several aviation artifacts are also on display. The Museum of Flight is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Woodland Park Zoo

Seattle Family FunWoodland Park Zoo is a great place to spend the day with the entire family. The zoo has been in operation for over 100 years and currently is the home to over 1,000 animals from many different species. Visitors to the zoo will find mammals such as the rare snow leopard and the western lowland gorilla. The penguins are one of the highlights of the zoo’s extensive bird collection, and the zoo also has a vast collection of reptiles. Special programs such as the Penguin Feeding Experience and the Raptor Free Flight Program enrich the visitor’s zoo experience. Guided tours of the zoo are available. The Woodland Park Zoo is open every day except Christmas.

Space Needle

The Space Needle is the iconic symbol of Seattle’s skyline. At the top of the Space Needle, there is a large observation deck. From this deck, the visitor can see great views of the entire city of Seattle, the bright waters of Puget Sound, and the snow-covered mountains that surround the city. There is also a nice restaurant at the top of the Space Needle to visit when observations are over. The Space Needle is open every day.

Seattle Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum houses an extensive collection of over 20,000 pieces of art from around the globe. One of the museum’s interesting collections is the display of work from Australian artists including artwork from Australia’s aboriginal people. The American art collection includes among its artists both Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Church. The museum also has an outstanding collection of European and modern art. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday.

Pacific Science Center

An interesting educational trip for the family is available at the Pacific Science Center. One of the popular exhibits at the center is Dinosaurs: A Journey Through Time. The robotic dinosaurs in the exhibit seem to be almost alive. The Tropical Butterfly House is a beautiful place, and Kid’s Works is an interactive area. The center is closed on Tuesdays.

Shopping near Downtown Seattle

Seattle shoppers will find designer boutiques and specialty shops at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle. Women looking for designer handbags can visit Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Coach. Those who are interested in jewelry can stop at Tiffany & Co. Children will enjoy visiting Top Ten Toys. Readers will have a good time browsing through fiction, nonfiction and magazines at Barnes & Noble. Barneys New York offers designer handbags, clothing and footwear. Shoppers can reach downtown Seattle by light rail or bus.

Seattle ShoppingThere are more designer handbags, clothing, and footwear at the Nordstrom store next to Pacific Place. Westlake Center is next to Nordstrom. Nordstrom Rack at Westlake Center has clothing and shoes from Nordstrom stores at discounted prices. Women’s clothing is available at Cache and Jessica McClintock. Fireworks sells children’s clothing and toys. People who are shopping for gifts and cards will find them at Made in Washington.

Rainier Square Upper Fifth is close to the stores in downtown Seattle. Shoppers can take buses to reach the shops here. Designer boutiques at Rainier Square include Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Northwest Pendleton offers to clothing for men and women. Walking shoes are available at Mephisto. Men who need suits can buy them at Brooks Brothers or Jos. A. Bank.

Pioneer Square is approximately a mile from downtown Seattle. The specialty shops here can be reached by bus. Shoppers who need items for their homes can purchase antiques at Chidori Antiques. The artwork is available at Davidson Galleries. Cutty sark Nautical Antiques has a variety of items for those interested in nautical décor. Women can buy clothing at Diva Dollz and shoes at The Clog Factory.

Shoppers can take buses or light rail to reach the Pike Place Market approximately half a mile away from downtown Seattle. The merchants here offer items for people with all types of interests. Art lovers will enjoy looking at the artwork in the Lisa Harris Gallery and the Art Stall Gallery. Those who like antiques will have a good time wandering through Antiques At Pike Place. Readers can browse through used books at Lamplight Books. Children can see toys from all over the world at Dragon’s Toy Box.

University Village is an outdoor shopping center approximately five miles north of downtown Seattle. Women who are shopping for clothes can visit Ann Taylor. Men can shop at Cole Haan. Hanna Andersson sells children’s clothing. Shoppers who need furniture will find it at Pottery Barn. Williams-Sonoma offers kitchen items. University Village can be reached by bus.

Map of Hotels in Seattle

  1. Sea Tac Int Airport – Find hotels near Burien & Des Moines
  2. Seattle Downtown – Find hotels Union Square & The Westin Seattle
  3. University of Washington – Find hotels near Ravenna & Mont lake
  4. Seattle Space Needle – Find hotels near Belton & Lake Union
  5. Seattle Aquarium – Find hotels near Seattle Art Museum & Pike Place Market
  6. Washington Park Arboretum – Find hotels near Mont lake & Broadway
  7. Woodland Park Zoo – Find hotels near Wallingford & Phinney Ridge
  8. Seattle Art Museum – Find hotels near Pike Place Market & Smith Tower
  9. Seattle Waterfront – Find hotels near Seattle Aquarium & Crab Pot Seafood