The Emerald City. A thriving seaport. Roasted coffee beans. Fish flying through the air. Small waves crashing against the piers. Vivid art and music scenes. Seattle is a stunning city where the industrious metropolis juxtaposes the northwest natural backdrop.
Known for its cloudy skies and wet weather, but neither take away from the city’s beauty. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, these nine places will provide any visitor a good representation of Seattle.
When visiting Seattle you have to be prepared to move swiftly around the city and be prepared for its weather (especially if you are going anytime outside the summer months). Here are my recommendations:
- Comfortable walking shoes, preferably waterproof – Seattle is very walkable, but there are quite a few hills and stairs, and you always want to be ready for rain.
- Raincoat or umbrella or both – I favor a good raincoat rather than carrying around an umbrella (need to keep my hands free so I can take cool pictures). If you’re more of an umbrella fan, I do suggest carrying a compact one so it is easy to store and easy to get around with.
- Reusable Items – think waterbottle, packable shopping bag, personal straw, etc. Seattle is an environmentally friendly city, so single-use water bottles and plastic shopping bags are not as common as you explore the city.
- Daypack – a good crossbody bag or small backpack to hold the above is ideal. If it’s waterproof, even better!
- Chihuly Gardens is a display of magnificent works of art all made of glass by Tacoma-native, Dale Chihuly. Everything is delicately displayed and you learn a lot about the creative process as you make your way through the galleries. They even have live demonstrations. Check out how stunning these photos are! There’s nothing like seeing them up close and personal though.
- Space Needle is definitely worth the wait and the price. Unparalleled views of the city, the sound, and the mountains. The history of how and why this iconic structure was built is incredible. It’s been renovated as of 2018 and no longer has an official dining area, but there is a concession stand of sorts where you can get treats and beverages. Part of the renovation is the rotating glass floor which expands the views.
- The Museum of Pop culture has anything you can think of, even things from my childhood. I would give myself a good couple of hours to go through the whole space. From music to movies, and an exhibit on the history of tattoos, it’s a nostalgic collection of all things pop culture.
- Pike Market Place is busy rain or shine. Between all of the vendors and seafood stands it’s a lively environment where you can find a little bit of everything. My favorite part: the unique blend of all the aromas, from salty fish to baked bread, fresh produce, flower bouquets, and even candles.
The Gum Wall
- Just downstairs from the market, you’ll find the famous gum wall. If you are a germaphobe, this might not be the place for you as the walls are covered wide and high in a rainbow of chewed gum. A consolation point is that the gum is only about five years old since the wall was stripped and renewed in 2015.
Original Starbucks at Pike Place
- For all you coffee lovers, you can find the original Starbucks located in this area too. They have kept a lot of the original signage and have some unique drinks you cannot find anywhere else, like the Pike Place Special Reserve.
- Located inside The Edgewater Hotel, the restaurant is aptly located right on the water. The inside is glamorous yet comfortable. This kind of waterfront dining is what I feel Seattle should be known for – views of the sound and the piers over brunch? Why not. Reservations highly recommended.
- A woman-owned breakfast staple where southern comfort meets sassy taste. The primary menu item: “biscuits and gravy with all the fixin’s piled right on top!” Be warned that lines may be long, voices might be loud, seating is limited, but it is all so worth it.
- It’s not a trip to Seattle without trying some of the local seafood. Pike Place Chowder has a variety of dishes and all with the freshest seafood you have ever had. Two of my favorites are the traditional New England Clam Chowder and the Maine Lobster Roll. The establishment is small, but the portions are big, and there is plenty of space around Pike Market Place to enjoy your meal.
Heading to Seattle soon? Save the map below to start planning your trip! Have you been to Seattle before? If so, what are your favorite sites and bites? Let me know in the comments below.