Seattle, Washington is known as the Emerald City, because the surrounding mountains are covered with lush green forests. This Pacific Northwest locale is growing at a record breaking rate. Now the 18th largest city in the United States, people continue to flock there seeking employment with the area's largest employers: Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and Costco. Everywhere you look, large construction cranes dot the landscape as luxury high rise apartments and condos are built to accommodate the new residents. Seattle gets a bad rap about it's weather. People think it has more rain than anywhere else in the United States. That really isn't true. Many other cities including Chicago and New York actually get more rain than Seattle. However, Seattle has more days where a light drizzle falls for part of the day. All in all, It is cloudy 201 days out of the year and partly cloudy 93 days. That leaves only 71 days where the sun is out for part of the day. Seattle doesn't get much snow at all, but the surrounding mountains get snow in the higher elevations, making for awesome views. Seattleites work hard during the week, but when the weekend rolls around they sure know how to have a good time!
Where to Stay
A trip to Seattle can be as extravagant or economical as you would like, starting with your drive in from the SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma) Airport. You can spring for a taxi - about $60 to a downtown hotel, take the Shuttle Express at $19/person or catch the Link Light Rail for approximately $3/person. Hotels downtown range from the luxurious Four Seasons to the more reasonable chains like Marriott, Hampton Inn, and smaller boutique hotels.
What to See
Seattle has some very distinct neighborhoods. The best thing to do when you arrive is to take a city tour from one of the many tour companies. They will give you the lay of the land so that you can get your bearings and decide where to spend your time. We found two that were standouts. Tours Northwest was great for city neighborhood tours and day trips out to the Boeing factory or Mt. Rainier. Savor Seattle Food Tours was the best for access to the food stalls and cocktail samples around the market.
Where & What to Eat and Drink
We loved the food at Beecher's Cheese (amazing mac & cheese), Pike Place Chowder (8 varieties - each one special) and Piroshky Piroshky (hand held sweet or savory Russian pies). If you want good food with a view of Elliott Bay, Matt's In The Market is your go to place. Try the Halibut sandwich! If you want a refreshing cocktail, in a casual space you have to try Rachel's Ginger Beer. There's always a line at the counter but it is so worth it! Here you will pick your flavor ginger beer (it is made fresh not processed) and choose whether to add vodka, rum, whiskey or gin. The flavors are so unique and different that you will do what we did and order a four pack of 32 oz growlers to be shipped home! Warning coffee drinkers – you won't find any Dunkin' Donuts down here. The market is home to the original Starbuck's. No matter what time of day you go, the line is stretched out the door and down the street. Need some donuts with your coffee. You have to stop by the Daily Dozen and get a paper sack of their baby donuts, hot and dusted with a variety of toppings. Our favorite are the cinnamon sugar. Munch your way through the craft building filled with stalls of hand made clothing, jewelry and home décor items. Pick up a $10 bouquet to brighten your hotel room for your stay - the fresh flowers are gorgeous
There are wine shops and wine bars throughout the city. Washington State is second only to California in wine production. As a matter of fact, Washington has the same climate as some of the wine regions in France. You can book a wine tasting tour of the area through one of the tour companies. You can take one of the Seattle Ferries across the Elliott Bay to Bainbridge Island. The 35 minute trip will give you an opportunity to take some great pictures of the Seattle skyline, including the Space Needle. Once over in Bainbridge you can visit one of four tasting rooms to learn about Washington wines and choose the ones you like best.
There are restaurants for every price range. Seafood is a staple on most menus. Halibut and Dungeness Crabs are very popular. Clam chowder is served in cups or bowls and people will wait on lines wrapped around buildings for their favorite chowder. Ivar's, Steelhead Diner, Blueacre Seafood, Cutters Crabhouse, and Elliott's Oyster House are some popular seafood spots. For steak lovers there is The Capital Grille, Daniel's Broiler & The Metropolitan Grill. With 18% of Seattle's population being is Asian, the Emerald City is also known for its great sushi. A favorite dining spot is Wasabi in the Belltown neighborhood. They have a late happy hour on weekends from 11:00pm until 12:30am with food and drink specials that attract a huge crowd of young professionals.
What to Do
Mt. Rainier is a beautiful spot to go hiking. You can take an easy, moderate or challenging trail up the mountain. We did a moderate trail and by noon, the clouds had burned off and we had a spectacular view of the snowy summit. We even saw a herd of mountain goats climbing ahead of us! You can't go to Seattle without witnessing a fish being thrown (and caught) at Pike Place Market!
We packed in a lot of activities in just a weekend and enjoyed every minute of our visit. Locals are friendly and helpful. They love to talk about their city and give suggestions for places to visit. They are a sports city and proud of the Seahawks and Mariners. The Link Light Rail runs to both CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field. The Seattle Sounders soccer team is also a popular MLS squad. The University of Washington is located just north of downtown and has a full schedule of sporting events and cultural events. There is never a dull moment in Seattle, the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and the rise of grunge music. Nightlife is strong in all Seattle neighborhoods, where you can find breweries, clubs, stand up comedy, dancing, dive bars, grunge music, happy hours, game nights, karaoke Bars, and neighborhood Bars. Tourist information is available in all hotel lobbies, museums, tourist kiosks and the airport. Make the most of your visit and try something new. Cheers and enjoy!
Written by Jeanne Maria
After years of working hard, Jeanne now just does what she wants. Painting, writing, traveling, daily beach walks with her puppy, and the occasional cocktail make her a very happy person. Life is too short, make a long bucket list and get to it!