Seattle is generally known for a few things: coffee, beautiful scenery, and the Space Needle. Its reputation rings true, but there’s so much more to the Emerald City than what you’ve heard.
The city is located in the great state of Washington, in the United States’ Pacific Northwest region. Seattle has always been a place for creative spirits, and today it’s a popular destination for foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, and cultural mavens. The city is filled with independent restaurants, local coffee roasters, world-class museums, and lots of green space for outdoor adventures. It’s an exciting place to explore.
After living in Seattle for a while, I put together my top recommendations for visitors. Since there is so much to do, you really have to narrow it down to the best of the best. Instead of trying to do absolutely everything, keep it simple and add these places to your itinerary.
WHAT TO DO
Kerry Park This little park is located way up high in the Queen Anne neighborhood. It’s the absolute best spot to get a view of the city, and on a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier in the distance.
Seattle Art Museum The Seattle Art Museum one of Seattle’s most popular cultural attractions. If you like art, there’s no better place to see it. Suggested admission is $20. If you’re looking for a less-expensive museum, check out the Frye Art Museum, which has free admission.
Visit The Seattle Centre Seattle Center is a complex of some of the city’s top attractions. Here you’ll find the iconic Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden & Glass, the Museum of Pop Culture, and plenty of other cultural institutions. There are also a lot of restaurants and other places to see.
Pike Place Market If you don’t go toPike Place Market , did you really visit Seattle? It does get really crowded here, but experiencing the sights and sounds of this famous market is a must. The place feels like a labyrinth, so you could spend a good few hours wandering around. Endless food stalls with every cuisine you can imagine will keep you full.
Hop On A Ferry Seattle is located right on the Puget Sound. With lots of islands and small towns scattered around the Sound, ferries are a popular way to navigate the area. Hop on a ferry downtown, and head over to Bainbridge Island for more dining, shopping, and attractions.
Visit Discovery Park The 500-acre Discovery Park park is right in the city! It has forests, beaches, and over 10 miles of walking/biking paths. Locals and tourists alike visit Discovery Park to get a piece of nature in the heart of Seattle.
Explore The Neighborhoods The best way to experience Seattle is to move beyond downtown and the main attractions. There are so many interesting neighborhoods, each with their own personality. Capitol Hill, Ballard, University District, and Queen Anne are some of the best ones.
WHERE TO EAT
Cupcake Royale If you need something sweet, grab a cupcake at Cupcake Royale. There are multiple locations around the city, so it’s easy to find one.
Jhanjay Vegetarian Thai If you’re in the Ballard neighborhood, this vegetarian restaurant is a top pick. There are so many tasty options on the menu.
Rocco’s You’ll find a lot of fun, interesting pizza combinations at Rocco’s. You can sit down and order a whole pizza, or just walk in and grab a slice to go. It tastes good any time of day, but it’s especially great after leaving the bars.
Poquitos This Mexican restaurant in Capitol Hill has delicious food, beautiful décor, and one of the best margaritas I’ve ever tasted.
5 Point Café The 5 Point is a classic Seattle diner with a lot of history. It’s the oldest bar in Belltown, and has an unpretentious atmosphere. Try the deep-fried cheese curds and grab a cheap beer—it’s the only way to truly experience the 5 Point.
WHERE TO GET COFFEE
Milstead & Co. This Fremont cafe is the place to go for a good cup of coffee. Whether you want a pour-over or a traditional drip, the coffee will impress you.
Anchored Ship Coffee Bar The Anchored Ship is a small coffee shop in the Ballard neighborhood. It’s a great place to pop into after browsing the Sunday Farmers Market.
Storyville Coffee You have to go to Storyville to get a taste of true Seattle coffee. Check out their café in Pike Place Market—it’s a fun place to hang out, although it can get pretty busy.
WHERE TO STAY
City Hostel Seattle For those of you on a budget, this downtown hostel is the best option. It’s located near a lot of the main attractions, plus there are bars and restaurants everywhere. The hostel is well-kept, has great amenities, and it’s a very social place.
Ace Hotel Seattle The Ace is pretty well-known around the country as being a stylish and cool place to stay. The Seattle location lives up to that expectation!
AirBnB With well over 300 rentals available in the Seattle area, there’s definitely something on AirBnB that fits your preferences and budget.
Seattle is such a cool, fun, and varied city. Hopefully with this guide you’ll get a chance to experience the best of it, but don’t be afraid to venture out see what else the city has to offer!
Have you visited Seattle? Share your favorite parts of the state with our readers in the comments below! Read Next > Exploring Olympic National Park, Seattle