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Seattle doesn’t rank as one of the top cities to visit in the US, but its picturesque surroundings, eclectic neighbourhoods, and a unique blend of art, culture, and nature make it a city worth exploring.
1. Shop till you drop at the vibrant Pike Place Market
Having opened up shop over 100 years ago, this beloved local market is the oldest continually operating farmers’ market in the United States. The Market features one of the largest craft markets in the country to go along with the farmers market, several restaurants, and 225 small independent businesses. Here you’ll find everything from food to antiques and goods from all over the world.
2. Admire the Panoramic Views of Seattle’s Skyline
While many visitors flock to the Space Needle for amazing views of the city from the top, the locals recommend the Smith Tower, considered to offer equally amazing views of the skyscrapers, mountains, and the coast without the large crowds.
3. Take a relaxing scenic ride on one of the Washington State Ferries
The Washington State Ferries offer an easy and relaxing way to get around Seattle and over to the nearby islands. Whether you are making your way over to Bainbridge Island or the Olympic Peninsula, this is a cheap and scenic way to cruise along Puget Sound admiring the views of the city and Mount Rainier.
4. Sample locally sourced and international cuisine
Seattle is home to some of the best coffee shops in the US (it even earned the title of one of the Top 10 Best Coffee Cities in the World) and it goes well beyond the very first Starbucks that still stands proudly inside the Pike Place Market. There are lots of other cafes and restaurants worth a visit. Belltown’s Local 360 is a sustainable restaurant in the heart of the city that sources the majority of its ingredients from within a 360-mile radius of Seattle.
There is also Thrive, a fully gluten- and dairy-free restaurant that offers a variety of nutrient-packed organic juices, smoothies, salads, and raw entrees. The Chaco Canyon Café is a certified organic and vegetarian restaurant known to be a great lunch spot in the University of Washington district, while Café Flora is one of Seattle’s leaders in the sustainable eating scene, as they have been cooking with local and organic produce since 1991.
But it’s not just about organic and local foods; it’s a city where you can experience an array of cultures and flavours from all over the world. The Chinatown International District in Seattle acts as a cultural hub for Chinese. Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, and other great Asian restaurants and shops.
5. Experience the summer of festivals and events
In the summer, Seattle blossoms with summer festivities. May kicks off with the Northwest Folklife Festival where you can enjoy Irish cloggers, Middle Eastern dancers, West African drummers, and more. June brings international film critics, producers, directors, and actors to Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), touted as the largest film festival in the U.S. July sees Independence Day celebrations with fireworks lighting up the skies over Lake Union. August is a month of concerts on the Ballard Locks, while September finishes off the season with the Washington State Fair, an old-fashioned country exhibition, that’s fun for the whole family.
Essential Travel Info:
Getting there: Most visitors to Seattle fly into Sea-Tac (Code: SEA) airport. The airport serves as a major hub for Northwest and West Coast destinations and is also serviced by many international trans-pacific routes from key European airports.
Getting around: Seattle’s public transportation system (Metro Transit) is a great way to get around the city. Google maps allow you to map your route using public transportation, which makes planning your trips easy and quick.
Where to stay: Accommodation in Seattle can be difficult to find if you are visiting in the summer. If you are planning ahead, there are lots of cheap hotels in Seattle to consider.
For more advice on visiting Seattle, check our Seattle City Guide