On a clear day, Seattle is arguably the most beautiful city in North America. Surrounded by majestic, glaciated mountains, the Cascade Range rises to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west. Towering above all is the 14,411 foot crown of the Cascades, Mt. Rainier, which dominates the skyline when looking north to south. Providing a huge reflecting pool is Puget Sound, the body of water which separates Seattle from the peninsula, and Lake Washington to the east, which is one of America's deepest lakes. Inside the city you can still find enormous evergreen trees, a few of which are actually old growth, which add to the city's beauty with their amazing verdance and give the city a feel of rusticity unusual a major urban area. Add to this a unique city character that is refreshingly different from the uniformity that exists in many American cities.
Seattle prides itself on its ability to reinvent while preserving the past. For example, Seattle turned a former gas and coal manufacturing plant into the public Gas Works Park. Visitors will more than likely take in the attractions in downtown, but to really experience Seattle, rent a car, grab a map, and take a tour of the neighborhoods. Each one has a distinct identity, such as Capitol Hill, probably the most fashionable part of town with trendy restaurants, cafes, and funky shops. Queen Anne is set on a hill with a great view of Lake Union and the Space Needle, and has an abundance of one-of-a-kind restaurants. Fremont is what one might call the "hippies-with-a-lot-of-money" part of town and is full of new age stores and has a genuine statue of V.I. Lenin. Despite this, there is no way one could afford to live there without a well-paying job or independent wealth. Ballard, a link to the "old country," is a tribute to the Scandinavian ancestry belonging to many of the city's original inhabitants. If you've ever wanted to eat lutefisk, and hear someone speak Norwegian at the same time, Ballard is the closest place outside of Oslo to have this experience. This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg on Seattle's neighborhoods.
One of the most complex ferry boat systems in the world crisscrosses the waterways around Seattle with destinations for commuters and travelers to points on the Olympic peninsula and in Canada, which also have their own natural wonders. In short, Seattle is a treasure, and is a portal to the abundant wonders of the Pacific Northwest.
Hotels and lodgingEdit
ClearStay.com Seattle has vacation homes and condos to rent in Seattle, the surrounding islands and costal areas. Check out last minute deals for homes in Seattles trendy neighborhoods here!
Hotel 1000 offers a tech-heavy luxury experience in downtown Seattle.
Historic Sorrento Hotel in downtown Seattle.
Inn at the Market has great mountain views and close to Pike Place Market.
Homewood Suites Downtown Seattle 206 Western Avenue West, +1 206 281 9393 Located closed to the famous Seattle Space Needle and many other great attractions.
Seattle Marriott Waterfront 2100 Alaskan Way, +1-206-443-5000. Full service hotel located in the heart of Seattle and minutes away from Pike Place and other attractions.
===Seattle Airport Marriott 3201 South 176th Street , 1-206-241-2000. Our hotel near Seattle Airport provides a unique and relaxing experience for busy travelers, with complimentary shuttle service provided.The Seattle Airport Marriott hotel is excellent for small and mid-sized meetings or conferences near SeaTac.===
1. The Space Needle Probably the most "touristy" place to visit in Seattle, the Space Needle is nonetheless a major landmark and hence emblematic of the city. The Space Needle is a tribute to a bygone era, as it was built for the 1962 World Expo, when the space race led the United States into the future. Now, however, the space race, and the Space Needle to a certain extent, seem dated and quaint. Nonetheless, standing on the observation platform of the 600 foot structure offers a fantastic 360-degree vista of the city, Puget Sound, Lake Washington and all the surrounding mountains, which more than compensates for its "touristyness". If you feel so inclined, try to make it to the top both during the day and night, as the views are quite different but equally remarkable. There is an accompanying restaurant of which we highly recommend you do not partake unless you have an affinity for overpriced and bland cuisine. The Space Needle accompanies the Seattle Center, a complex of museums, restaurants, theaters, and other attractions.
400 Broad Street
Seattle, WA 98109
Located near the Monorail and Seattle Center House at 5th Avenue North & Broad Street.
phone: (206) 905-2100
2. Pike Place Market Another touristy place, but so full of charm and local color, you won't know or care. Opening for business in 1907, Pike Place Market covers nine acres, and is one of America's largest Farmers' Markets. One of the biggest attractions is Pike Place Fish Market, where an abundant supply of the local salmon is sold by very colorful salesmen who toss the large fish to each other like footballs. Along with fish, the market has a more generous profusion of fruits, vegetables, and other fresh food than you'll find anywhere. All in all, there are three levels of all types of shopping, all within a place with the old-world charm of a structure constructed during the early 20th century.
Pike Place Market
1508 Pike Pl
Seattle, WA 98101-1527
3. Underground Seattle This is a feature of Seattle that's not nearly as famous as the previous two attractions, and this is part of the reason why visitors to the city should take the Underground Seattletour. Before Seattle became prosperous because of corporate giants such as Boeing and Microsoft, it was much like San Francisco - a very rough port city. Gold miners on their way to Alaska were the most common denizens during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so Seattle at the time was a smattering of saloons, brothels, and other establishments that supported the miners and other heroes of the west when it was wild. The reason for the underground is that Seattle originally was constructed two stories lower than the current city. A devastating fire destroyed most of the original city, and planners decided to start anew, partly by building on top of the old city to compensate for serious drainage problems that plagued the Seattleites in the past. The parts of the original city that survived the fire had to be reached by ladders. Eventually the original city fell into disrepair and was abandoned. Fortunately there was enough left for an enterprising citizen to resurrect the underground part of Seattle by opening it up for touring. Here you'll get a glimpse of the early years of the city that you'll never otherwise see. This is a unique and memorable experience which we highly recommend.
Bill Speidel's Underground Tour
In Seattle's Pioneer Square
608 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
- Nordstrom - the flagship of the national clothing store chain is in Seattle. I have not found many places which offer such good service and attention to the customer at a reasonable price. Sure, it's more expensive than Filene's, but you can return almost anything at any time whether worn or not. Great place to shop for tall and thin guys. The four Nordstrom brothers are all over 6 feet and svelte, so Nordstrom's stocks a lot of clothing and shoes for gentlemen long of stature.
Nordstrom Flagship Store
500 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101
M-Sat 9:30 - 9:00
Sun 11:00 - 7:00
Maps and transportationEdit
Getting to SeattleEdit
Seattle is served by the Seattle/Tacoma (or Sea-Tac) International Airport. It's IATA code is SEA. As with most American cities, most transportation within the city is done by car. You can find a link for the Seattle-Tacoma airport here.
1. Elliott Bay Book company If you're a book geek, then Seattle is your town. With the highest proportion of college graduates (yes even higher than Boston, New York or San Francisco), this is no surprise. One of the best independent bookstores you'll find in America is the Elliott Bay Book Company. Exposed brick, hardwood floors, it has the feel of someone's old home that just happens to have a lot of books. Downstairs you can get food, coffee of course, and if you're lucky, you can hear a best-selling author who happens to be in town promoting their new book.
Elliott Bay Book Company
101 South Main Street
Seattle, Washington 98104
(206) 624-6600 or (800) 962-5311
If you feel like being outside, getting some exercise, but stay within the city, then Seattle has the greatest parks for doing this.
1. Lincoln Park This is a 135 acre park located right on Puget Sound in the West Seattle neighborhood. If you want some incredible views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, while getting some exercise in a gorgeous setting, then Lincoln Park is your spot. There are miles of trails that wind on the shoreline, which offers great opportunity for exploring the rugged, stoney beaches. From the beach there are some steep trails that will take you to the upper level of the park. Here you'll find places that look like an urban forest, with huge, lush Douglass Fir and other evergreen trees. Seattle is a very pet-friendly city, and if you happen to have a canine companion, this is a perfect park in which to let your dog get some exercise. If you're staying downtown, the one downside of Lincoln Park is the location, as it's a bit out of the way.
8011 Fauntleroy Way SW
Seattle, WA 98136
2. Green Lake Park Much more urban than the rustic Lincoln Park, but equally as enjoyable, is Green Lake Park. The centerpiece of the park is the 2.7 mile trail that completely circles Green Lake. This is an extremely popular place amongst the very health conscious Seattleites to get some exercise, so if you go during the summer on a clear day, expect a lot of people. On the grounds of Green Lake, there is also a bathhouse, a community center with a gymnasium and swimming pool, a fishing pier, and a theater, so there is no shortage of things to do at Green Lake Park. Surrounding the park is the Seattle neighborhood of Green Lake, with a number of restaurants and cafes to feed those who worked up an appetite while exercising at the park. Within walking distance is the Woodland Park Zoo, which is one of the better in the US.
Green Lake Park
7201 East Green Lake Drive North
Seattle, WA 98103
3. Seward Park Located on Bailey Peninsula in the southwestern portion of Lake Washington, Seward Park offers perhaps the closest glimpse into what Seattle looked like before it was settled by Europeans. The park holds "The Magnificent Forest", which covers about 120 acres of the upper Bailey Peninsula, and contains more old growth trees than you'll find anywhere in Seattle. The park has a flat, 2.5 mile trail which offers great views of the forest, as well as Lake Washington. Seward Park is also home to an abundant variety of wildlife, including river otters, beavers, and two nests of Bald Eagles. Oddly enough, the park is home also to some wild Peruvian miterd conures, a member of the parrot family which escaped from who knows where and took up residence in the park. Seward is also the residence of two nests of Bald Eagles. This is a place where you'll never know you're in a major metropolitan area of almost 3 million people. Be sure to use the link below for driving directions, as the park is in the middle of a neighborhood.
5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S
Exploring outside of SeattleEdit
Snoqualmie Falls - 30 minutes east of Seattle, right off of I-90, is Snoqualmie Falls, a very beautiful 265 foot waterfall with an accompanying park. For a full description, driving directions, and more, click here.
Mount Si - Many Seattleites love hiking, and one of the most popular spots amongst locals is Mount Si. Mount Si is in North Bend, which is about 15 minutes east of Snoqualmie Falls. If you've ever watched the cult classic TV show "Twin Peaks", then you've seen Mount Si as it was featured in the opening credits. Even though you may hear this is a favorite hiking spot for 6th grade field trips and Cub Scout groups, do not believe for an instant that you won't get some exercise if you hike on Mount Si. It's four miles from the parking lot to the summit, and the elevation gain is 3,700 feet, so that means there are some fairly steep trails the whole hike. The view from the top is phenomenal, and on a particularly clear day you can see the three volcanoes of the south Cascades: Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams. For driving directions and other information, click here and here.
Practical information and resourcesEdit
Average temperatures and rainfall for Seattle
|Avg high °F (°C)||46 (8)||50 (10)||53 (12)||59 (15)||67 (19)||72 (22)||77 (25)||76 (24)||70 (21)||62 (17)||53 (12)||48 (9)||62 (17)|
|Avg low temperature °F (°C)||37 (3)||38 (3)||41 (5)||45 (7)||50 (10)||53 (11)||56 (13)||57 (14)||52 (11)||47 (8)||40 (4)||39 (4)||47 (8)|
|Rainfall inches (millimeters)||5.13 (130.3)||4.18 (106.2)||3.75 (95.2)||2.59 (65.8)||1.78 (45.2)||1.49 (37.8)||0.79 (20.1)||1.02 (25.9)||1.63 (41.4)||3.19 (81.0)||5.90 (149.9)||5.62 (142.7)||37.07 (941.5)|
- Harborview Medical Center - 325 9th Avenue - full medical care with 24 hour emergency room. Only go there if you absolutely must. (206) 731-3000.
- US Healthworks - 1151 Denny Way, 7:00AM-6PM Mon-Fri. Non-emergency walk-in clinics. (206) 682-7418
- American Express - 600 Stewart St. 8:30AM-5:30PM Mon.-Fri. (206) 441- 8622
- Travelex Foreign Exchange - SeaTac airport (206) 248-0401 6AM-8PM. The booth at the airport is behind the Northwest Airlines counter
400 Pine St. in Westlake Center, level 3 (206) 682-4525, 9:30AM-6PM Mon-Sat, 11-5PM Sunday.
- The area code for Seattle is (206). For the eastern suburbs of Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, etc., the area code is (425).
- For all calls within the Seattle area, the full 10 digit number (without the 1) is required.
1. The Metropolitan Grill The Metropolitan Grill offers, for Seattle, an unusual window into the past, when red meat, martinis, and dark oak was the sign of fine dining. If you're in a meat and potatoes but better than the Sizzler kind of mood, then the Metropolitan Grill is your place. The entrée range is from $17.95-$42.95, so expect to spend at least $100.00.
The Metropolitan Grill
820 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
2. Wild Ginger The diametrical opposite of the Metropolitan Grill is Wild Ginger, a chic ultra-contemporary Asian food and Satay bar. The owners traveled extensively through the Pacific Rim countries of Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam, and others to develop the menu. They've done such a good job that Wild Ginger consistently is on the list of Seattle's best and most popular restaurants.
1401 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
3. Salty's on Alki Salty's is the ultimate date restaurant. Situated directly across from downtown in West Seattle, there is no dining establishment with a better view of the city during the evening. Absolutely make sure that you get a seat by the window if you go. Salty's specializes in seafood, with a great variety of both salt and fresh water fish. Especially good is the Dungeness crab, the pan-seared halibut, and anything with salmon. Salty's is pricey, but well worth the money. One downside is that it's a bit out of the way if you're staying downtown, but again it's worth it.
Salty's on Alki Beach
1936 Harbor Avenue Southwest
Seattle, WA 98126
Moderately Priced RestaurantsEdit
1. Mitchelli's For great Italian cuisine in the heart of downtown with reasonable prices, you simply can't beat Mitchelli's. Located in the heart of downtown's Pioneer Square, Mitchelli's is a local favorite, and listed as one of Seattle's best restaurants in 2006. Dinner prices range from $8-12, with a very wide range of interesting Italian dishes. If you're watching your intake of carbs, you have the choice of light portions. The atmosphere is cozy and comfortable with plenty of character, as the restaurant is set in one of the old brick buildings of downtown Seattle. If you happen to close down the bars in downtown, Mitchelli's is the best place to get a meal, as it's open until 4AM on Fridays and Saturdays.
84 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104
- Toi (1904 4th Ave, Seattle 206-267-1017) 
- Capitol Club (414 East Pine, Seattle 206-325-2149) Open til 2AM!
- Bada Lounge (2230 First Avenue, Seattle 206-374-8717) 
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