Your Ultimate Guide to Seattle


Accommodation/ Lodging   Fun Experiences   US Diaries  


Seattle is a bustling, hip, exciting city that can offer travelers so much in terms of what to do. Whether you prefer the surf or the turf, they have it here for you. Lovers of nature, art, music, wildlife, engineering, film, and just good old fashioned partying will find a home in Seattle. This list was made just for you to make sure you get the best of the best while you’re here! Experience as much as you can, get to know some locals, and take the city by storm. Since as we all know, we can sleep when we’re dead! This list even includes two bonus recommendations on where to stay, depending on what kind of budget you’re working with. Enjoy planning your next trip to your next favorite city!



1. Boeing Tour


Boeing Tour Seattle Picture Credits: Boeing Tour


When I think of Boeing, thoughts of airplanes, engineering, and some pretty ingenious people come to mind. What I didn’t know is that they build so many other things than airplanes! On this tour you’ll get to see the satellites, submarines, and autonomous vehicles they craft too. It’s basically the Willy Wonka tour for engineering, science, and technology fans! And as an added bonus, if you visit Friday-Sunday you can take part in their robotics workshops too! Can you imagine anyone better than to take you (or your kids) through the basics of robotic coding and manufacturing than these guys? After your tour you can take a gander in their gift shop, which has everything imaginable. Anyone who’s into space, flight, robots, models, and a great t-shirt should definitely leave time to check it out! They also have a great café with a Sky Deck that has some pretty incredible views of the Cascade Mountains too.



2. Seattle Aquarium


Seattle Aquarium Picture Credits: Seattle Aquarium


Being the biggest and most fun resource for marine education and conservation, the Seattle Aquarium is a must during your trip. Opened since 1977, it’s welcomed millions and millions of visitors, and it’s popular for a reason! Besides being a great time, it’s a huge force of appreciation and advocate for stewardship of Seattle’s natural coastal areas. One aspect of the aquarium is that they house and care for some amazing animals like seals, sea otters, eels, octopi, and many more. However something else they’re very passionate about is educating the public about the importance of ocean ecosystems. And not to mention of course, what we must do to protect them! The aquarium offers a beach naturalist program where you get to explore the beach at low tide with a professional. This is particularly great for families with little ones who just can’t get enough of the marine world!



3. Seattle International Film Festival


Picture Credits: Seattle International Film Festival


Cinephiles, this one’s for you. From the middle of May, to the middle of June, Seattle hosts the largest film festival in the United States! The Seattle International Film Festival brings the crème of the crop to the silver screen. More than 400 features, documentaries, and short films are shown to 138,000 people every year! It’s such a big deal it’s even an Academy Award-qualifying festival for short films. The films themselves are “housed” within about 9 different competitions happening within the same festival. Each competition has its own unique set of rules and qualifications, as well as judging criteria. However those who finish triumphant from the 6 most popular competitions can walk away with a pretty solid cash prize. Even better! Audiences also vote to award the highly treasured and highly coveted Golden Space Needle Award to deserving films, actors, actresses, directors, etc. Grab your popcorn and let the festival begin!



4. Seafair


Seafair Seattle Picture Credits: Seafair


Some things in life are just accepted facts. The sky is blue, and you can’t experience summer in Seattle without going to Seafair! It consists of a series of events and spectacles hosted over a 10 week period. The season kicks off with a 4th of July fireworks display you have to see. After that there’s things going on that will please everyone. There’s everything from triathlons, 5 and 10k races, a costumed Torchlight run, as well as parades and airshows! Probably one of my favorite events is the annual Milk Carton Derby. This event features locals (and visitors) paddling their way to victory in homemade “vehicles” made with milk cartons. I must say, it’s a rather exciting way to see recycling in action! Of course there are also plenty of vendors and shops around selling just about anything you could want. It’s a fantastic way to spend a sunny day, just don’t forget the sunscreen!



5. Argosy Cruises


Argosy Cruises Seattle Picture Credits: Argosy Cruises


I’m sure you want to get to Seattle and start seeing the sights and enjoying the city. That’s an easy guess. But did you know that there’s a way to see some of the most breathtaking views of the city by boat? And did you know that they also over things like a Wine Tasting Cruise? Let me introduce you to Argosy Cruises! They have a lot of different types of tours and excursions in case wine isn’t your think too. They have sightseeing trips all around the coast and even organize camping trips on nearby Blake Island. Their staff is highly trained and extremely knowledgeable about the area, including the city itself as well as the nearby islands. The ships are climate controlled and the inner deck is completely enclosed so there’s no worries about the frequent Seattle rain either. Don’t miss your chance to see the natural beauty that is Seattle from the sea!



6. Capitol Hill Block Party


Capitol Hill Block Party Picture Credits: Capitol Hill Block Party


Something I really love to do when I travel is to get a taste of the local art or music culture. You can learn so much about a place by what they’re making music about! The Capitol Hill Block Party is one of the last independently owned and operated music festivals of its size in the country. It’s also a fantastic way to meet locals, listen to neighborhood artists, and just have a really, really good time! The festival is comprised of 6 stages and a whole lot of talent. With the sheer number of record breaking and genre defining artists coming out of the Pacific Northwest, this place is quite a party. Past performers include: ODESZA, Diplo, CHVRCHES, Macklemore, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Band of Horses, and a lot more. From the music, the food, the art, and the people, this is the best of the best of Seattle!



7. National Nordic Museum


National Nordic Museum Seattle Picture Credits: National Nordic Museum


Are you as fascinated by Nordic culture and Scandanavian minimalism as I am? Then be sure to add the National Nordic Museum to your list of places to visit in Seattle! Their goal is to share Nordic culture with people of all backgrounds and it’s a great place to spend an afternoon! The space is equally balanced with art and exhibitions, preserved collections, as well as cultural and educational experiences. They host some pretty cool events too – like crafts & cocktails evening, knit nights, and Nordic cooking classes. Make sure you check out their website for the dates of your trip to see if you can drop-in for one. Their permanent collection speaks to the wave of Nordic migration to the Midwestern United States, and then eventually to the west coast. It consists of over 78,000 items and some even date back to as early as 1840!



8. Sky View Observatory


Sky View Observatory Seattle Picture Credits: Sky View Observatory


If you have an aversion to heights, look away now. The Sky View Observatory is the highest observation deck in the Pacific Northwest and a must-see for locals and visitors alike. That being said, it’s also the best place hands down to get a 360 view of the city! Being 902 feet above the ground lets you see everything! Mt. Rainier, Bellevue, the Cascade Mountains, Mt. Baker, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, the Space Needle are just some highlights. Even if you are afraid of heights, there’s no reason to be scared. The building is rated as one of the safest and strongest in the entire northwest thanks to some seriously advanced engineering. Besides the incredible views, the observatory also offers different types of tickets should you want to include a beverage! Also available is a reserved window seating and even a free keepsake photo with your family and/or friends.



9. Hotel Ändra


Hotel Ändra Seattle Picture Credits: Hotel Ändra


The Hotel Ändra is a refreshing mix of Seattle vibes and Scandanavian style, with a lot to offer! Travelers looking for a place to stay can find comfort, class, and friendly faces as soon as they walk in the doors. This sophisticated boutique hotel is perfectly located near Pike Place Market and just next to all those amazing downtown haunts. Because this is not one of your run-of-the-mill chain hotels, they can offer much more personalized service. For example, this hotel is extremely pet friendly and won’t charge any fees to bring your furry friends along with you! There are several different types of rooms available here so you can find the perfect one. Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, family, or with that special someone, they’ll have a good fit. While you’re there don’t miss eating at the in-house restaurant Lola.



10. Hiram M. Chittenden Ballard Locks


Hiram M. Chittenden Ballard Locks Seattle Picture Credits: Hiram M. Chittenden Ballard Locks


With a city that’s so close to the water, like Seattle, there’s bound to be tons of history. If you’re interested in boating, history, or Seattle in general, you need to see the Hiram M. Chittenden Ballard Locks. They’re a series of canal locks that allow boats rise or fall, depending on the level of water they’re trying to enter. If you’re never seen one operate in person before, they are really really cool. Kids especially like to watch the big ships move up and down as well as the people operating the lock too. In addition to the locks themselves, there’s also a ton of other things to check out while you’re here. Depending on the time of year you visit you can also get the chance to see the salmon moving upriver! They swim up a man-made fish ladder to go spawn and you can watch them through some underwater windows too.



11. The Fremont Tour


The Fremont Tour Picture Credits: The Fremont Tour


Tours are nice, educational ways to get to know a new place with a local, what’s there not to like? Well for one they can be a bit boring sometimes. Or maybe the tour guide themself is a little lacking in the personality department… But fortunately you shouldn’t worry about either of these things with The Fremont Tour! Part educational tour, part walking street theater, this tour is probably not like any tour you’ve had before. On this one you’ll be lead around the city by a very interactive, costumed tour guide! Your possible guides include The Fremont Fairy Godmother or J-efe the Turkish Rap Singer, for example. They will tell you about Seattle in a fun, engaging way and may even involve complete strangers as they pass by too! This tour is great for kids as well as adults and takes about 90 minutes in total.



12. American Hotel


American Hotel Seattle Picture Credits: American Hotel


If you’re looking for an affordable and friendly place to stay, check out American Hotel! They have both private and dorm-style rooms available, so if you’re feeling social or not, they have you covered. It’s a great way to meet other travelers while you’re in Seattle! They host group events like movie nights, happy hours, live music, and they even have a game room. The rooms are clean and comfortable and super close to the best parts of the city. Plus, the front desk is only a call or visit away 24 hours a day in case you need absolutely anything else! A huge plus to staying here is the shared kitchen, and I recommend you take advantage of it. You can save so much money cooking a couple of meals (more pasta please) which you can then spend however you want! Extra cash for the next happy hour? Um, yes please!




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About the Author: Keith Perrotta

Keith is a freelance writer, English teacher, baker, and travel junkie currently based in Madrid, Spain. When not creating content or teaching ESL he enjoys going to the beach, researching bread recipes, looking through bookstores, and relaxing with a glass of wine. Having lived in the USA, France, Ghana, Kenya, and now Spain, his main goal in life is to visit every continent once (including Antarctica). You can usually catch him eating ice cream in the park or stopping someone in the street to ask to pet their dog.

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