6 Days in the Emerald City — A Guide to Seattle, Washington

By this point you probably guessed it – this post features all of the musts and suggestions from our trip to Seattle, Washington! Typically when we travel for more than a weekend, it takes us a while to sift through the hundreds of photos from our adventures, and this trip was no different. We balanced this getaway with experiences that Phil and I found while walking around the distinct neighborhoods of the Emerald City, and the most well-known attractions that, though crowded, could not be missed. Now, the good stuff!

As mentioned before in our last couple posts, we jetted off to Seattle as an extension to a business trip for my job as a Marketing Manager at an international planning and design firm. One of the largest national conferences for campus planning was taking place in this west-coast urban jungle, so Phil and I decided to head out there a couple of days early to experience all the city had to offer. Once getting approval to work remotely for a couple of days while I would also be working, Phil bought a plane ticket, we booked our hotels, and we were officially headed to Seattle.

Seattle hot spots, must experiences, space needle, pike place, photos and photography

Most commonly known as the Emerald City for all its greenery or the Coffee Capital of the World since it is the birthplace of the coffee chain Starbucks, Seattle is located in one of the wettest climates in the United States of America. I once heard a fact that Seattle actually sees rain or gray, cloudy skies for around 290 of the 365 days in a year. With almost 80% of its days seeing limited to no sun at all, it’s hard to imagine this city having a tourist population. It isn’t so hard to believe when you hear that the summer is 75 days of sunny, beautiful weather from morning to dusk.

Tourists flock to the city in the summer months to see attractions like the Space Needle, the Mariners at T-Moble Park or the Sounders at CenturyLink Field, and Pike Place Market. The retail stores and restaurants all have their windows and doors open to let the amazing warmth into their space, or better yet, some even have outdoor seating. The city parks, of which there are many to choose from, are booming with people socializing, throwing a frisbee, or families playing together in the sun. The city comes alive around July 4 and stays upbeat and welcoming through October, which is around when the weather starts to become colder, raw, and yes, more wet.

We were lucky enough to see the city during its heyday, and to be honest, we thought this city could potentially be our home in the future—if we could handle it in its worst days between November and March. Guess that means we’ll have to go back to figure it out!

Keep reading for our tips and recommendations when visiting Seattle, Washington!

Key Pointers

If you’re up for it, bring some walking shoes and be prepared to use them! Seattle’s public transportation is dominated by buses, and as out of towners we found it a little hard to navigate. As such, and considering the weather was so nice, we opted to walk just about everywhere we went! There are hills, and some of them can get quite steep, but it was definitely a walkable city if you’re up for it.

Make reservations for dinners and brunches before heading out there, if possible. Seattle’s foodie and restaurant scene is as hot as ever, and as such, sometimes the wait times can be pretty lengthy. If you have your heart set of going somewhere, either go early before the rushes typically start or make a reservation.

If sightseeing is a top priority for you and your group, purchase a CityPass! For $99 a person, you can head to the top of the Space Needle, see Chihuly’s glass masterpieces, observe the city from the water on a bay tour, say hello to a massive octopus native to the Pacific Northwest, and listen to the famed musicians from Seattle at the Museum of Pop Culture (other options also available). It really is a money saver and a great way to experience the best attractions in the city.

If staying for as long as we did and not having to work, we highly recommend renting a car and getting out of the city to do some amazing hiking! This was one of the things we didn’t get to do on our list, and it was definitely something that will top our list upon another visit.

Seattle hot spots, must experiences, space needle, pike place, photos and photography

Where to Stay

Kimpton Hotel Vintage Seattle: With rooms named after local wines and grapes harvested from Washington State, and a happy hour with a different vineyard representative every day, this place was the perfect home base for us while on vacation time. It was located right in Downtown, so we were close to all the main attractions in the city. The rooms were comfortable and clean and it was a great place to rest our heads every night.

Sheraton Grand Seattle: Once we were required to work, we moved to the Sheraton Grand. These rooms came with a bit more space, and a desk which was great for Phil while he was working remotely. This hotel was again located in Downtown and it was very close to the convention center which was great for me since that was where I was required to work for two days. The highlight of this hotel is its fitness area and pool, which instead of being located in a basement or ground level, was located on the top floor. Who doesn’t want to swim overlooking the entire city?

Seattle hot spots, must experiences, space needle, pike place, photos and photography

Where to Eat, Drink, and be Merry

  • Terra Plata: Local wines, amazing farm-to-table menus, and a rooftop? What more could you want? Located right across the street from the Starbucks Reserve in Capitol Hill, this place is a must.
  • Dick’s Burgers: Boston has Tasty Burger, San Francisco and Los Angeles has In-N-Out, NYC has Shake Shake, and Seattle has Dick’s. If you want to see what is in a bag of Dick’s you have to get one for yourself!
  • Assaggio Ristorante: Homemade pastas, sauces, and Italian desserts set this Belltown establishment apart from the rest. It also has alfresco dining so it is always busy in the summer, make a reservation!
  • Biscuit Bitch: Nothing like a little bit of southern home cooking on the west coast! This place serves up massive plates that don’t mess around. Don’t take it personally if they call you a b***h, they do it to everyone!
  • No Anchor: Looking for a no frills bar serving up craft brew pairings with some creative seafood? No Anchor in Belltown is for you! Head here for a treat from your taste buds.
  • Piroshky Piroshky: Looking for a delicious pastry to go along with that coffee you ordered at the Original Starbucks? Head a few doors down and order some amazing authentic Russian pastries from this place. Just follow your nose!
  • Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: As a mac and cheese connoisseur, this place has me speechless. The creamy rich texture, the tang of the cheddar mix, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. My only regret about this place is not getting enough.
  • Lowell’s Restaurant: If dinner with a view is your jam, head here for some amazingly fresh seafood and a view of the harbor on three distinct floors. With a bar on the second floor, this was our first stop in Seattle and this establishment welcomed our stomachs and taste buds for the rest of the trip.
  • The London Plane: Located in the quaintest neighborhood Pioneer Square, this place feels like you’re eating in a crossover between Crate & Barrel and a fresh flower shop. I just couldn’t get enough of this place!
  • Mimoji: Still cannot believe how amazing this sushi was, was I dreaming?
  • Moore Coffee Shop: If artistic foam creations are on the top of your list, order a latte at Moore Coffee Shop and get ready to be amazed. Phil and I both ordered lattes and each was decorated with a design that suited us to a tee. So fun!
  • Fremont Brewing Company: It feels like most major cities have an influx of amazing micro breweries to choose from. Seattle is no different. Fremont Brewing is offering up some of the laid back west coast beers in the city. Light, refreshing, and completely delicious.
  • Cloudburst Brewing: On the flip side, if you’re looking for more of an underground brew scene where the drinks are named witty little phrases like ‘Straight to Voicemail’ or ‘In Those Jeans’ this narrow, tiny place is for you. Just don’t get too overwhelmed by the lack of seating or length of the line!
  • La Marzocco Cafe: A coffee shop in a working radio station? Yes please! This was the only establishment we frequented twice and it was well worth it. Amazing caffeinated beverages!

What to do

  • Space Needle
  • Gasworks Park
  • Kerry Park
  • Dr. Jose P Rizal Bridge
  • Museum of Pop Culture
  • Chihuly Glass Museum and Gardens
  • Ride the Historic Monorail
  • University of Washington Campus
  • Smith Tower (also has a great view!)
  • CenturyLink Arena
  • Pike Place Market
  • Original Starbucks

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