Seattle’s temperate climate of cool wet winters and mild dry summers means that the city and the surrounding areas are filled with luscious greenery all year round, the main reason for Seattle’s popular nickname – “Emerald City”.
A stunning coastal setting alongside Elliott Bay, magnificent mountain views, trendy locals and easy access to the area’s natural attractions combine to make Seattle one of the most popular visitor destinations in the Pacific Northwest.
Probably the best-known building in the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle was built in time for Seattle to host the World fair in 1962. Take the elevator to the top observation deck for stunning views out over the city and the nearby mountains including Mount Rainier. Enjoy some traditional Northwest food and drinks in the café with its rotating glass floor.
Right next to the Space Needle you’ll find the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) where colourful exhibits delve into the history of indie video games, Nirvana, the Seattle Seahawks and lots more. Visitors can see some of the guitars used by famous musicians and even record their own music in the interactive sound lab.
The Monorail connects the Seattle Centre (home of the Space Needle) with the downtown Westlake Mall – ride high above the city and enjoy the view from the large windows on your short city ride.
Mother nature has been very kind to Seattle and the surrounding countryside. Home to abundant wildlife, magnificent mountains, evergreen forests and the riches of the mighty Pacific Ocean, it’s an area of unspoilt beauty that needs to be explored to be truly appreciated.
Orca, Minke and Grey Whales migrate through the Pacific Northwest every year and it’s a wonderful experience to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat. Whale watching tours are available out of Seattle itself and from the San Juan Islands, a ferry ride from North of Seattle.
Measuring up at over 14,000 feet Mount Rainier is one of the most photographed peaks in the United States and its National Park is one of the region’s most popular year-round visitor attractions. Let one of the local tour companies show you around and you can kick back and relax on the scenic journey past lakes, forests and waterfalls on your way to Mount Rainier.
At the park you’ll enjoy in the stunning views from Narada Falls, considered by many to be the most popular waterfall in Mt Rainier State Park. Maybe take a short hike through old growth forests and wildflower filled meadows and if you’re lucky you might bump into some of the local inhabitants on your travels, keep a look out for the mountain goats, squirrels, chipmunks ,black tailed deer and bald eagles. Be sure to take some memorable photographs of some of the parks most spectacular sites such as Christine Falls, the Nisqually River and Narada Fall
Head down to Pier 57 and enjoy the ride aboard the Seattle Great Wheel, the largest Ferris wheel on America’s West Coast. There are forty two air-conditioned Gondolas for passengers to take in fantastic the ocean and city views as they make their way round this Seattle wheely trip.
Seattle’s pier 59 is where you’ll find the famous Seattle Aquarium. Kids of all ages love the hundreds of fish, sharks and other sea life on show at this amazing venue. Highlights include the Under Water Dome, the giant Window on Washington fish tank and the interactive tide pool where the kids can get up close to sea anemones and sea stars. Before you go make some time to visit the sea otters, harbour seals, Pacific octopus and shorebirds in their well-maintained enclosures.
Popular parks dotted across Emerald City include Olympic Sculpture Park, Gas Works Park and Kerry Park, one of the best spots in town for stunning views out over the city skyline. On a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier away in the distance – it may be small but it’s well worth a visit.
Head to Pier 52 in the downtown waterfront area and hop aboard one of the Washington State ferries to enjoy some fresh sea breezes and wonderful scenery on your trip to nearby Bainbridge Island or the city of Bremerton on the Kitsap Peninsula.
Seattle was originally the headquarters for aviation giant Boeing and the city’s Museum of Flight covers all aspects of air travel. From the earliest aircraft to modern space flight and everything in between it’s all here at this gigantic attraction. There is even an old Air Force One plane that visitors can walk through, and a space shuttle trainer used by real astronauts as they prepped for their forthcoming missions. If you are feeling adventurous you can book a bi-plane ride just outside the museum.
Organised tours are a great way to experience everything that Seattle has on show. Popular choices include guided cycling, walking and kayak tours and boat trips, and airplane and helicopter flights for the more adventurous visitors.
From award winning restaurants to budget friendly eateries, Seattle is packed with a fantastic array of dining options. Fresh and tasty local ingredients from the nearby farms and the nutrient rich waters of Puget Sound and the nearby ocean are the foundation that Seattle’s vibrant food scene is built upon.
Lots of food, beer and wine tasting tours are available and as the home of Starbucks its not surprising that Seattle’s coffee tasting tours area also popular. Tours cover different brewing methods and visitors can also go to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room on Capitol Hill where they visit the coffee library, watch beans being roasted on site and of course sample a wide range of freshly brewed beverages.
Pike Place Market is the place to go for fresh fish, hand made crafts, fresh flowers and delicious eats from around the world. Home to the original Starbucks, a trip to this historic market is a must for any Seattle visitor. Favourite things to do include getting souvenir pictures beneath the neon sign, watching as giant fish are tossed through the air and tasting the great selection of fresh fruits and berries on show. Organised food tours are also available.
Visitors looking for a little retail therapy should make their way to Seattle’s downtown shopping district where they’ll find all their favourite brands and much more on offer. Browse the well-known retail outlets like Nordstrom, Sephora and Uniqlo as well as the smaller independent niche boutiques to find that special outfit or gift.
Seattle’s lively waterfront district is located on the west edge of downtown along the border of Elliot Bay offering scenic walking paths, succulent seafood restaurants and plenty of souvenir gift shops. Just the spot to pick up some mementos and presents for your friends back home.