Locals Guide to Seattle
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Seattle, Washington. Home to ferry boats, Starbucks and some of the most beautiful landscapes you’ll ever see. It’s my home! I grew up here and am obviously bias but I do believe the Pacific Northwest is the most gorgeous place on earth and I’m so lucky to get to live here. If you decide its worth exploring then look no further than my ultimate guide!
When to Visit
Seattle is known for its gray skies. We get days on end of misty rain from about mid-October to May, sometimes even June. July and August are a safe bet for decent weather and this is definitely peak tourist season. Hotels will be full, car rentals will be expensive and hot spots will be crowded.
If you come in August, you should know we call it Seafair month. Most of the festivities take place the first weekend in August with parades, an airshow and hydroplane races. But, there are events going on all over the sound all month long. Take a look at the Seafair website if you’re coming during this time. It’ll let you know about road closures, what areas to avoid or you might see some fun stuff to partake in!
If you can swing it, I highly recommend exploring the area in September! Tourists have cleared out, hotels and rental cars will be cheaper and the weather is still spectacular. Not to mention the Fall colors are gorgeous! It’s a great time of year to hike and Seattle is known for its endless options of beautiful hikes.
There’s nothing wrong with coming any other time of year. We live in a relatively mild climate and rarely see snow in the winter. Just know that rain is probable and plan accordingly!
What to See
The space needle is the most iconic building in Seattle’s skyline and quite a hot spot for travelers. The entire area surrounding the needle is home to museums, entertainment and festivals. If you have kids I highly recommend spending an entire day (or two) exploring the Pacific Science Center and the Children’s Museum! Otherwise, check out Chihuly’s Garden and Glass and the Museum of Pop Culture.
South of the space needle and close to the waterfront is Pike Place Market. It is a giant farmer’s market but offers so much more than food! You’ll find local artists, jewelry and even a magic shop. There’s also a variety of restaurants and cafes to satisfy any craving!
Just a few blocks south of the space needle is Seattle’s waterfront. Complete with a ferris wheel, aquarium and ferry boat rides! It’s one of my favorite areas of Seattle and it’s fun to wander down the boardwalk and just explore the shops.
If you keep wandering south you’ll discover Pioneer Square. It shows a lot of Seattle’s history and it is home to the very first Starbucks. If you have time, I recommend taking the Underground tour. It’s a very funny take on Seattle’s history and the only tour in Seattle I would recommend!
This is about the extent of what can be discovered on foot in the downtown area but there is still so much more to see! If you enjoy shopping, check out Westlake mall and the few blocks surrounding it. If you’re looking for something quirky, head north and visit the troll that lives under the Fremont Bridge! Gas Works Park is just a few minutes’ drive from the troll and offers fantastic views of Lake Union and the space needle. It’s also a great spot to watch seaplanes take off and land as well as peek at all the great little houseboats.
For more ideas on what to do in Seattle, check out my Top 10 Things to See in Seattle!
Where to Stay
There are tons of great places to stay downtown! For hitting all the major sites, I’d recommend sticking to the Belltown area. It’s close to Pike Place and the Space Needle. It’ll put you near most of the action and give you an option to walk or take a bus. If money is no object, opt for one of the lovely hotels near the waterfront. They’ll offer gorgeous views and unbeatable sunsets!
If you’d prefer a party scene, Capitol Hill is the place to be. They have a variety of fun themed bars to hop and every night is a party. If you’d like a quiet area that is still close to downtown, check out the Queen Anne neighborhood. It’s calm, charming and home to Kerry Park, where you’ll find THE best view of downtown.
Make sure you carve out time in your busy schedule to experience everything the Emerald City has to offer. Because whether you’re visiting the Pacific Northwest for a day or a week, Seattle has a ton to see and do!
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