I set a goal for myself at the beginning of the year, I vowed to take weekend getaways to three new US cities that I had never been to before. I checked Austin, Texas off my list in April and in May I spent three very fun days discovering the best of Seattle. My favorite thing in life is exploring a new place I’ve never been before, and Seattle had been at the top of my list for years.
Seattle was everything people said it would be and in my rental car I hit as many recommended spots as possible. During my stay, I rented a private room through Airbnb inside someone’s home – remember this article about what makes a great guest room?
Everyone knows both Amazon and Starbucks were founded in Seattle, so Seattle has solidified its standing in the business world as a place where big ideas happen. Its iconic skyline is changing because growth is readily apparent in this coastal and very progressive part of the country.
Driving around I took snapshots beautiful homes, indulged in a lot of seafood, and sipped the strongest coffee. I also caught up with an long time blog friend who lives in Seattle, which made for an unforgettable visit. I departed after a long weekend feeling both satiated and exhausted. These were some of my favorite experiences:
Space Needle & Chihuly Gardens
Dale Chihuly is the famous glass sculpture artist who’s unique designs have been showcased around the world, I love his work so much so I was terribly excited to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass. It’s next to the Space Needle, you can see the top of it from the solarium at Chihuly Gardens and you can look down on the Chihuly Gardens as you take the elevator up to the top of the Space Needle. When I was there, the Space Needle was under construction but I could still take in the massive views from up at the top! Purchase a joint admission to see both at the base of the Space Needle or at the entrance to Chihuly.
Pike Place Market
No trip to Seattle is complete without a tour of this world famous waterfront market, established in 1907. I visited Pike Place twice while in Seattle, the first time just to walk around at a slow pace and see the flower market, shops and specialty food stalls.
The second time I went with my good friend Melissa from The Inspired Room on a chef’s tour we booked through Airbnb. On the tour we learned the history of the market as we went from stall to stall sampling so much food including smoked salmon from Seattle Fish Co, mac and cheese from Beecher’s, and clam chowder from Pike Place Chowder. It was nice to avoid the huge lines because our tour guide had kitchen access to so many of these famous culinary stops.
Waterfront Walk & Olympic Sculpture Park
I ended up down at the waterfront on more than one occasion just because there is so much do see and do there. One evening I went for a stroll through Olympic Sculpture Park and ate at a restaurant at the end of a pier (I forget which one). Another morning I spent walking all along the main waterfront promenade where you can ride the famous Ferris Wheel and visit the waterfront Aquarium.
Pioneer Square & Smith Tower
Pioneer Square is old historic Seattle dating back to the Gold Rush. I read about it in a guide book and was so intrigued I parked my car and headed out to explore these few city blocks. The brick buildings are over 100 years old, they were built after the great fire of Seattle swept through the city in the late 1800s. I couldn’t help but feel that Pioneer Square had a New Yorkesque vibe to it. I spent some time strolling around, tasting wine, and admiring the architecture. There’s an underground tour you can take (I didn’t on this visit) but I could tell it was a popular attraction by the crowds of visitors on the tour.
There’s a hidden gem near Pioneer Square, it’s Waterfall Park, and it completely surprised me. The juxtaposition of this loud cascading waterfall nestled among skyscrapers did not escape me. This is a tiny yet magical place of serenity in the heart of a bustling city.
A few blocks away is Smith Tower, its Art Deco interior reminded me of the Empire State Building: brass elevators, onyx stone floors and columns, and a swanky bar with panoramic views at the top.
Boating on Lake Washington
Before I arrived in Seattle, I asked some of you what I should do and so many of you recommended getting out on the water. You were right! I booked an afternoon sailing excursion through Airbnb experiences, and it was fantastic! On my boating excursion, I made a handful of new friends and we all shared stories while our captain sailed us around the lake to catch views of the the Seattle skyline and the houseboat community, including the famous floating home from Sleepless in Seattle.
Seattle’s weather is fickle and unpredictable. I had a few cloudy mornings, pockets of sunshine and then out of nowhere the rain would would swoop in. The same thing happened on my sail, first sunshine, then clouds, then rain, then clouds again. Best to be prepared, as the locals say.
Daytrip to Bainbridge Island
From the waterfront port, I rode the ferry across Elliott Bay to Bainbridge Island on a sleepy Sunday afternoon. It was recommended as a charming town and I agree, it was. I spent an afternoon walking around, through the main center of town, and a few residential neighborhoods, then I ended up down by the water. It was picturesque and unexpectedly quirky with its river rock sculptures scattered throughout.
I have to compliment Seattle’s food scene, everything I ate while I was in town was amazing! I had an incredible fish at Shaker + Spear in downtown Seattle and the very best pasta dish I’ve ever had at Vendemmia in Madrona, the tagliatelle with white bolognese was sooooo good, I dream about having it again!
Thanks so much Seattle for showing this gal a great time, I can’t wait to return someday! Those who know Seattle, tell me, what did I miss? What should I see or do on my next visit?
I need to Bookmark this post. My daughter & I want to go to Seattle next year.
You’ve made it look even more inviting.
Nice recap! I’ve only ever been to Seattle for work and I’m dying to go for fun!!
Next time you visit Washington, you need to ditch the City and travel across the Sound to Kitsap County and beyond! (Bainbridge doesn’t count – too Seattle-ish! :) ). Visit Poulsbo (aka Little Norway), Port Gamble, or Port Townsend. All charming cities in their unique ways. Tour the lavender farms of Sequim. Head up to the Olympic Mountains – Hurricane Ridge is a great starting point. You could take a day hike – I recommend the Lover’s Lane Trail near Sol Duc Hot Springs. You can drive out to the most beautiful beaches (my opinion) in the world outside of Forks, WA. Rialto Beach is my favorite. I know you are a wine country resident so you might like to tour our many wineries. If that doesn’t suit you, then try our many micro-breweries.
I’m not a tour promoter but just a California transplant that loves her adopted home!
when is the best time to go? we were thinking of taking care of some special air fares and have a credit to use but they were end of month >october ( our credit expires 10/4) .looks like it is cool ( ave hi 60 is what i read). or wait until next year…? combine with vancouver etc and maybe alaska trip?
As a Washington resident, I agree! Add the San Juan Islands to your itinerary!
I love how you do your research and really make the most of all your trips. Doing the research is half of the fun for me. There’s so much info online now (including your well written, and interesting travelogues). Travel is a joy, an education, and an adventure. Can’t wait to hear about your next trip!
Such a great trip!! I’m so glad you visited and that I was able to join you for some of the adventure! What a treat.
So much to see, you’ll have fun next time exploring even more of what this lovely city and state has to offer. ?
I live just south of Seattle and had no idea that I was missing Chihuly Gardens… So pretty. He’s from Tacoma and has a lot of his glass here….Great pix. I enjoyed your tour.
If you love the Chihuly glass you should go to his museum in Tacoma. Tacoma is such a fun, quirky town.
You also need to see Mt Rainier and Mt St Helens national parks.