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Introduction Region

The Seattle Space Needle ©Go Card USA

Seattle is known as the 'Emerald City', and just like the home of the Wizard of Oz in the fairy tale, it is a magical place. Rated as one of the world's most liveable cities, after Melbourne and Montreal, it boasts among its citizens three out of the world's ten richest men, including Bill Gates, head of the mighty Microsoft Empire. The city's emergence as a trend-setting and fashionable metropolis with sky-high property prices has occurred in less than 200 years, since it was founded in 1869.

Sitting at the extremity of the United States' northwest, at the gateway to Canada, Seattle reaches for the sky with its landmark soaring 'space needle', built in the 1960s, a modern monument that epitomises the city's image as a high-tech, dynamic and young community.

Seattle is not a place that fosters couch potatoes. Visitors and locals alike revel in the outdoor activities the city's situation provides for. Seattle sits on the shores of two large lakes and Puget Sound, with remote wilderness less than an hour away, and it is flanked by two major mountain ranges (Olympics and Cascades), with Mount Rainier in full view from the city. It is also within easy reach of the San Juan Islands, Pacific Ocean beaches and major rivers.

This active city lends itself to walking tours, particularly around the two main tourist areas, the waterfront and Pike Place Market. In addition, 80 percent of the city limits are surrounded by water, so tour boats also abound. To fully enjoy Seattle be prepared to go boating, and bring a comfortable pair of shoes.

Climate Info

Seattle generally has a wet climate, with the most rain falling between January and May and October and December, but daytime temperatures are mild throughout the year. June to August is the warmest and driest time of year, with summer temperatures averaging around 75°F (24°C), while winter temperatures rarely drop below 32°F (0°C), with little snowfall. April to November is the best time to visit, with less chance of rain and long summer days.

Convert to Imperial

rain (cm)1161029367483724324080139147
max temp (c)8101214182123232015118
min temp (c)2346912131412853
good weathernononoyesyesyesyesyesyesnonono

Getting Around

Seattle city centre is well serviced by public transport, with an excellent bus system, historic streetcars along the waterfront, and a high-speed elevated Monorail which links downtown to the Seattle Center and offers views over the harbour and beyond. The bus system is the most extensive and runs throughout the night, but less frequently after 8pm. Fares on buses and trams are slightly more expensive during peak hours. Taxis can be hailed from taxi ranks or ordered by telephone. Parking in Seattle is expensive and limited, but traffic isn't too bad outside of rush hour and the city is fairly easy to navigate. Renting a car for excursions outside the city is a good option.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

LocationThe airport is situated 12 miles (19km) south of Seattle and 15 miles (24km) north of Tacoma.
Time DifferenceGMT –8 (GMT –7 from March to November).

Tel: +1 206 433 5388.

Transfer terminals

The terminals are conected by an underground people mover.

Getting to city

The SeaTac/Airport Station provides passengers a direct connection between the airport and downtown Seattle. The station is on the fourth floor of the airport's main parking garage. Shuttle Express offer door-to-door shuttle services leaving regularly for the nearby towns and cities. Public King County Metro Transit buses run on schedule to destinations in and around Seattle.

Car Rental

Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz and National have facilities at the airport.

Airpor Taxis

To arrange for a taxi, use one of the curbside phones or visit one of the Information Booths.

Airport Facilities

Facilities at the airport are extensive, including a variety of fast-food and full-service restaurants, several bars and retail outlets. The airport has ATMs and currency exchange desks, and also offers a pet relief area, a massage bar, shoe shine services, smoking areas and a baggage storage service.

Car Parking

Parking rates at Sea-Tac Airport range from $4 per hour to daily rates of $35. Long term rates of $28 per day or $130 per week are also available.

Pike Place Market

Rachel, a giant piggy bank, stands guard over the Pike Place Farmer's Market in downtown Seattle, placed there to raise funds to preserve this National Historic District founded in 1907. The bustling market has provided the local people with producer-priced goods for decades, and continu
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Pike Place Market ©Daniel Schwen

Seattle Space Needle

Anyone who has seen a picture of the Seattle skyline will be familiar with Seattle's internationally recognised symbol, the futuristic Space Needle building. From afar it looks like a spinning top, with the needle pointing skywards. The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World's Fair to
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Space Needle ©informant

Experience Music Project

One of Seattle's most popular attractions is the Experience Music Project, basically a rock 'n roll music museum with a difference, housed in a colourful psychedelic building designed by Frank Gehry at the base of the Space Needle.

The museum was planned originally by Microso
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Experience Music Project ©Cacophony

Seattle Art Museum

Seattle's downtown Art Museum is landmarked by the animated thudding massive steel sculpture by Jonathon Borofsky called 'Hammering Man' that stands outside. Inside the remarkable building, designed by Robert Venturi, are a large range of exhibits covering European and American art, from
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Seattle Art Museum ©Natokh

Pioneer Square

Billed as 'where Seattle begins', the historic district of Pioneer Square features more than 20 city blocks of historic buildings, more than 30 galleries, a vibrant retail sector and the city's most exciting nightlife. Some of the businesses that have premises on the square are Intrigue
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Pioneer Square ©Joe Mabel

Museum of Flight

Next to Boeing Field, south of downtown Seattle, the Museum of Flight consists of a six-story glass and steel construction, which was the original Boeing factory and which used to be one of the mainstays of Seattle's economy. Inside is a collection of more than 130 aircraft, some suspend
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Museum of Flight ©Fawcett5

Puget Sound Islands

Washington State Ferries depart regularly from the Seattle waterfront piers carrying passengers to and from the many islands in scenic Puget Sound. Visitors generally favour Bremerton, about 20 miles (32km) west of the city, actually on the tip of the Kitsap Peninsula. Here stands the Pu
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Aerial view of Bainbridge Island ©Dcoetzee

Olympic National Park

Wilderness lovers revel in retreating to the wild Pacific Coast with its glacier-capped mountains, magnificent stands of ancient forest, fascinating biological diversity, and wild Pacific coastline. About 95 percent of the park has been designated a wilderness area, which protects a uniq
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Olympic rainforest ©National Park Service

Seattle Aquarium

Located on Seattle's waterfront, the Aquarium provides fun and exciting ways to see amazing sea creatures and colourful coral life of the Pacific, and includes touch pools with animals like sea stars and urchins from Puget Sound and Washington's outer coast. The Window on Washington Wate
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Rockfish at the Seattle Aquarium ©merelymel

Washington State Ferries

As riding the mechanical bull is to Dallas, so is the ferry ride to Seattle - a quintessential part of experiencing the city. Coffee mugs are adorned with ferries, little model ferries are offered to tourists as trinkets to remember their visit by. Ferrying is a culture and a way of life
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Seattle Ferry ©Kandykornhead

Alaskan Ferry

Large cruise ships regularly travel to major ports in Alaska but a better, smaller option is the Alaskan Ferry. Departing from Bellingham Washington, these large ferries bounce against the major coastal towns of Canada, The Gulf of Alaska and stretching to the Alaskan Peninsula. The land
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Alaskan Ferry ©Jarfingle

San Juan and the Gulf Islands

The San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf islands form one of the best boater paradises in the world. The hundreds of islands are separated by nationality but are part of the same scenic and rugged archipelago, located off the northwest coast of Washington State.

Much of the
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San Juan County ©Michael Feist

Woodland Park Zoo

Located in the Green Lake neighbourhood of Seattle, the Woodland Park Zoo is a great place to take the kids for a day out exploring and meeting the animals. Kids can enjoy animals such as African elephants, Arctic foxes, sloth bears and red pandas, or birds like snowy owls, parrots, Chil
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An Eastern Rosella at Woodland Park Zoo ©pixelgerm


Shopping in Seattle is underrated. Famed for Grunge music and Seattle coffee companies, this city also has excellent retail outlets. The prime spots include Downtown Seattle, Fremont, the International District, Pike Place and the University District. Downtown Seattle is a square of several blocks with large outlets such as Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom and Gap. This is also the site of Westlake Center Plaza and Pacific Place, both large malls. The International District encompasses a vast area featuring numerous Asian shops, while Pike Place Market is a waterfront shopping area offering local produce, fresh fish and various restaurants. There are many bargains to be found at the retro and vintage stores of the Fremont Market on Sundays, and districts like Fremont, Ballard, Capitol Hill, Wallingford and West Seattle, all of which have independently owned shops and specialty stores to entice shoppers. Tax refunds can be applied for by foreign visitors.


Making a name for itself on the international music scene with its grunge explosion in the early 1990s, some of Seattle's best nightlife and entertainment has nothing to do with music. Amongst the ubiquitous live music clubs there are scores of local bars, Irish bars, dive bars, posh lounges, clubs and trendy eateries to enjoy. After catching a sunset at the waterfront, Bell Street Pier or Myrtle Edwards Park, head to Pioneer Square where bars, live music and nightclubs prevail. Those planning to spend their evenings here should get the Pioneer Square Club Stamp, which lets patrons pay one admission to get into six clubs, though it is worth taking note that this area can attract quite a rowdy frat crowd. Belltown is also a popular spot for young and hip nightclubs while in Capitol Hill the gay scene is always buzzing. Culture vultures should check out the Seattle Opera, which is ranked at the top of companies in the country while the renowned Seattle Symphony is also worth checking out. The Seattle Repertory Fringe Theatre is great for the more avant-garde productions. It's worth picking up a copy of or the on Fridays as this includes a section called 'Ticket' listing all the week's arts and entertainment offerings.

Pike Place Chowder

A small restaurant across the road from the bustling Pike Place Market, Pike Place Chowder is famous for one thing: its delicious chowder. There's more than just your standard clam chowder fare though, as the restaurant serves five different varieties each day, ranging from New England Clam Chowder to Seafood Bisque to Southwestern Chicken and Corn Chowder, and even a vegan option! There are sandwiches, salads, and even fish tacos on the menu as well. A must for seafood lovers!

Food Type: Seafood     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 1530 Post Alley



One of the best restaurants in Seattle, Canlis has been wowing diners since 1950 with its contemporary Northwest cuisine, and is a long-standing favourite for those celebrating a special occasion. The stylish interior complements its fine cuisine, and its wine list is one of the city's best. Canlis is famous for its steaks, but there are also favourites such as the prawns, oysters and fresh fish, and the desserts are sublime. A tasting menu is available. Open for dinner Monday to Saturday. Bookings essential for Fridays and Saturdays. Dinner jacket required for men.

Food Type: American     Style:     Price: 5

Address: 2576 Aurora Ave N


Cafe Campagne

A Parisian café that has won many awards, Café Campagne is popular for its weekend brunches, but also serves a delicious lunch and dinner, and has a wine bar with 40 wines available by the glass. The menu changes seasonally, but fare includes dishes like the French-style rolled omelette, lamb burgers, quiche, and a variety of salads and sandwiches. For dinner it is possible to have the fixed price three-course menu or a choice of meat and fish dishes from the regular dinner menu. The cosy atmosphere is very French. Open for lunch Monday to Friday, dinner nightly, and for brunch on weekends until 4pm.

Food Type: French     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 1600 Post Alley


The Herbfarm

One of the most unique restaurants in the Northwest, the farmhouse styled exterior is decorated within by a rich and ornate décor. Herbfarm itself and its neighbouring farms grow much of their ingredients to create weekly changing nine-course meals complete with five matching wines. Lummi Island reef-netted sockeye in a squash with lemon thyme is a glimpse into the night's menu. Reservations are essential.

Food Type:     Style:     Price: 4

Address: 14590 NE 145th Street, Woodinville


Metropolitan Grill

'The Met' is primarily a business venue, situated within the heart of the financial district in a historical building built in 1903. This traditional steakhouse has been a Seattle favourite for years, specialising in prime beef and serving up classics cooked to perfection, such as filet mignon, New York peppercorn steak or the porterhouse steak, but there is also a good selection of pastas and salads. Meals are complemented by an excellent wine list. Open for lunch and dinner on weekdays, and dinner only on weekends. Reservations are recommended.

Food Type: American     Style: Business     Price: 4

Address: 820 2nd Avenue


Rays Boathouse

The spectacular bayside view over Puget Sound is a perfect complement to the impeccably fresh Northwest seafood on a menu that changes regularly to reflect what is locally and seasonally available. Favourites include the crab cakes, oysters, wild salmon, or any fish prepared in sake kasu. Upstairs there is a more casual and less expensive café with an outdoor deck that serves lunch, while the downstairs restaurant serves dinner only. Reservations are required.

Food Type: Seafood     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 6049 Seaview Avenue NW



One of Seattle's best Italian restaurants, Serafina is charming and romantic with a rustic ambience. The freshest ingredients are presented in a homey way that transports diners to the Italian countryside. Enjoy the bruschettas, pasta dishes, or Serafina's signature dish, the eggplant rolled with ricotta cheese, basil, and Parmesan and baked in tomato sauce. There is live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, while live jazz on Sunday mornings makes this one of the most popular brunch spots in the city. Dinner daily, lunch Monday to Friday, brunch on Sundays from 10am. Reservations recommended.

Food Type: Italian     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 2043 Eastlake Ave. E, Lake Union


Wild Ginger

Southeast Asian inspired food that now sets the benchmark for all Asian food in the Northwest, the restaurant is consistently chosen as a favourite among northwest dining awards and diners alike. The Chefs varied backgrounds reflect the eclectic Asian foods, and ingredients from Chinese to Indonesian and also a rare chance to mix great wines with Asian cuisine. Reservations are advised.

Food Type: Asian     Style:     Price: 4

Address: 1401 Third Avenue



Local ingredients are thrown together to create a sumptuous Mediterranean-style menu at Andaluca. Dishes to try on the dinner menu include the crab tower, stuffed dates, shellfish stew or lamb dolmas, and end off with one of the tempting desserts accompanied by a dessert wine or port. Open for breakfast and dinner daily, and lunch Monday to Friday.

Food Type: Mediterranean     Style:     Price: 4

Address: 407 Olive Way, Mayflower Park Hotel


Ettas Seafood

Overlooking Pike Place Market, Etta's is always packed with both locals and tourists, who come to savour the delicious crab cakes, oysters on the half shell or Alaskan halibut. Besides a variety of fresh seafood dishes there are also other options such as beef burgers, thai chicken salad or lime leaf coconut curry. The breakfast menu offers a range of egg dishes, along with French toast, oats and granola with yogurt, while the brunch menu comes straight from the sea.

Food Type: Seafood     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 2020 Western Avenue


Northwest Folklife Festival

Celebrating the traditional arts of North America, the Folklife Festival has been running for more than forty years, and in that time has grown to become the largest in the country, attracting people from around the world to take part in or to enjoy the variety of cultures presented. Different ethnic traditional acts are staged, including dance and music performances from over 100 countries, and storytelling. There is also an art and crafts market, an international food village, dance and music workshops, folklore exhibits, and hands-on educational opportunities for children to learn about other cultures.

Some of the attractions included in addition to performances and displays arean Instrument Petting Zoo, where a wide variety of instruments are available to look at, handle, and attempt to play, a rhythm table with all sorts of percussion instruments available to play with, ziplines, putter making demonstrations, wooden boat-building demonstrations, a Seafair tent that teaches visitors how to build a boat out of milk bottles, and then attempt to race rival milk bottle boats, and many more. The Living Green Courtyard hosts demonstrations and talks on ways to live green, including composting, recycling, reusing, and more.

Date 2017-05-26 to 2017-05-29     Website
Northwest Folklife Festival ©Benjamin Cody


Seafair is one of the biggest community festivals in the country, a summer tradition that is rated as one of the top events in North America. Major events include the famous US Navy Blue Angels air show, Hydroplane Races, the Torchlight Run and Parade, and the traditional Milk Carton Derby in which families take to the water in homemade milk carton boats and rafts. There is also plenty of live music, art and cultural attractions, and demonstrations throughout the city, as well as a Rock 'n Roll marathon and marathons and triathlons to participate in.

Seafair has been an annual event in Seattle since 1950. The Seafair Pirate's Landing at Alki Beach is a fun version of a pirate ship attack, complete with fully outfitted pirate boat and authentic-looking pirates. The Albert Lee Cup is a well-known and prestigious hydroplane race, one of very few hydroplane races to be televised. There is also an air show, a trucking cup and a wakeboarding competition, and

Date 2017-06-18 to 2017-08-06     Website
Seafair ©Joe Mabel

Bite of Seattle

A food carnival that has grown into the city's largest summer festival, Bite of Seattle brings together a feast of enticing food and exciting entertainment. A variety of the city's culinary offerings are brought together by participation of more than 60 restaurants, as well as food product companies, beer gardens and wine tasting exhibits. Live entertainment is also an integral part of the experience and includes the comedy club, a piano bar, kids entertainment, and music.

is a popular event which features top celebrity chefs in a creative and interactive cooking show and demonstration. The Alley is a long line of tables manned by food vendors of all kinds, from restaurants to farms to shops, where visitors can sample tasters from each table. More recent additions to the festival include a rib cook off where participants get to choose to enter into one of five United States barbecue regions and see who cooks the best regional barbecue, a dock-jumping competition that sees dogs and their handlers competing for various prizes, regardless of size, breed or experience, and stalls from Chobani Greek Yogurt, Larabar, Sabra, ONE, Black Box Wines, Foster Farms, Dave's Killer Bread, and more. there is also a Family Fun Zone aimed at children's entertainemnt.

Date 2017-07-21 to 2017-07-23     Website
Food and entertainment offered at Bite of Seattle ©Jess Sawrey

Bumbershoot Festival

Bumbershoot is the biggest arts and music festival in the country, showcasing the work of thousands of artists from around the world. The festival began as a state-funded project to lift the city's spirits amidst financial depression after the Boeing's near-collapse, and it has grown from there to become one of the best-know festivals in the country. It is an extravaganza featuring live music performances, dance, theatre, film, comedy, literary and visual arts, as well as street performers, an international food bazaar, and art and crafts market.

The festival has been running for more than forty years and takes place at the Seattle Center, drawing more than 100,00 visitors for the weekend from all over the country. An Indie Market draws vendors from all over the country, selling a wide variety of artisan and handmade crafts and goods.

Date 2017-09-01 to 2017-09-03     Website
Bumbershoot ©Seattle Municipal Archives

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