Seattle is the land of Microsoft millionaires, coffee-craving hipsters and earth-loving urban trekkers who cycle this rainy Pacific Northwestern enclave with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and towering evergreens. A water-centric city vibe revolves around two enormous metro lakes, while the docks, boardwalks and ferries bustle with activity along the Puget Sound bordering downtown.
Book a room in a Seattle Country Inns & Suites hotel and dive into the heartbeat of the “Emerald City” at Pike Place Market, and then head south along First Avenue to experience the Renaissance Revival architecture of Pioneer Square and an underground tour of the original city that burned in the Great Fire of 1889.
Reasons to Visit Seattle
Seattle Center: Head to the 74-acre Seattle Center for a mega-collection of the city’s best attractions. Gape at jaw-dropping glass creations at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, and then pop into the Experience Music Project Museum for an intimate look at musical instrument memorabilia. Entertain the kids at the Seattle Children’s Museum, Pacific Science Center or Seattle Children’s Theatre before taking a glass elevator to the top of the iconic Space Needle. The center’s 20-spout International Fountain shoots water patterns that pulse to the beat of evocative world music. Bring a change of clothes, as local tradition is to jump right in.
Pike Place Market: Open every day of the year, rain or shine, Pike Place Market embodies the essence of Seattle. Freshwater salmon is tossed through the air with bravado, while dozens of local farmers and artisans offer up fresh produce and flowers, handcrafted wares and Native American carvings, surrounded by buskers and street performers. The adjacent Post Alley is stuffed with antique shops, ethnic cafes and quaint bookshops.
Indie Music Clubs: Seattle is an indie music lover’s dream, having bred now-iconic musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana. Local bands play in dozens of music clubs every night, concentrated primarily in the Capitol Hill, Belltown and Ballard neighborhoods. Get a dose of authentic Seattle indie music concerts at Neumos, Tractor Tavern and The Crocodile, or head over to the Fremont neighborhood for live music at Nectar Lounge and Fremont Abbey.
Urban Lakes and Parks: Fall in line with joggers, skaters and cyclists on the 2.8-mile path surrounding the glacier-carved Green Lake just north of downtown, and then enjoy the two swimming beaches, fishing pier, and jet ski or kayak rentals. Sneak a peek at Seattle’s famous houseboat communities on the east side of Lake Union downtown, where Sleepless in Seattle was filmed. The north end of Lake Union cradles the 19-acre Gasworks Park, home to numerous outdoor festivals and the Burke-Gilman trail.
When to Visit Seattle
Summer in Seattle is routinely dubbed the best in America, with clear skies, cool breezes and average temps in the low to mid-70s. Summer also brings out the Seattle Seafair Pirates who crop up in full costume at 240 events all over the city, starting with a storming of Alki Beach from a pirate ship in late June.
The September Bumbershoot Festival on Labor Day weekend, named after the Native American word for “umbrella,” marks the return of the upcoming rainy season—so get your Seattle fix from May through August.
Seattle Travel Tip
Parking in downtown Seattle is expensive and tickets are handed out like candy for exceeding the two-hour meter limits. After heading out from your Seattle hotel, use the city’s light rail system that connects Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to the University of Washington, with 11 additional stops that include Pioneer Square, Westlake Center and Capitol Hill.