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Seattle, WA

Seattle, Washington sits at one of the most beautiful spots in the United States. Occupying a narrow isthmus between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, it is the biggest city in the Pacific Northwest, with four million people calling the area home. Seen from above, carpets of evergreen trees, pristine blue waters, and snowy white mountains surround the downtown's metallic skyscrapers, earning the city its nickname The Emerald City.
On the ground, you will find a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. Next to the progressive downtown and the freewheeling feel of Capitol Hill, you can find a laid-back atmosphere in the districts to the north and ethnically diverse neighborhoods to the south. The many restaurants, coffee shops and microbreweries are worth indulging in after a day spent strolling through the city's many parks and beaches or admiring the arts and architecture. And just outside the hectic city... Read more

Seattle, WA

Destination:
Seattle, Washington sits at one of the most beautiful spots in the United States. Occupying a narrow isthmus between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, it is the biggest city in the Pacific Northwest, with four million people calling the area home. Seen from above, carpets of evergreen trees, pristine blue waters, and snowy white mountains surround the downtown's metallic skyscrapers, earning the city its nickname The Emerald City.
On the ground, you will find a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. Next to the progressive downtown and the freewheeling feel of Capitol Hill, you can find a laid-back atmosphere in the districts to the north and ethnically diverse neighborhoods to the south. The many restaurants, coffee shops and microbreweries are worth indulging in after a day spent strolling through the city's many parks and beaches or admiring the arts and architecture. And just outside the hectic city are snow-covered mountains, evergreen forests, and stunning coastline to explore. Even for the bold and the adventurous, it's hard to get enough of Seattle.

Culture

Seattle is historically a very diverse city and multiculturalism is seen as a virtue. Whites make up about 70% of the population, while more than a tenth of Seattlelites are of Asian descent. English is spoken virtually everywhere in the city but there are ethnic areas in South Seattle where Vietnamese and Tagalog are also commonly spoken, as well as Chinese and Japanese in the International District. The ZIP code 98118 in South Seattle is one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the entire United States!
Being a very politically left-wing part of the country, Seattle has one of the most sprawling LGBT communities in the US, second only to San Francisco. The Capitol Hill area, east of downtown, is the place for LGBT-friendly business and bars, as well as a resource center. A large PrideFest takes place annually at the Seattle Center, along with preceding events such as a Pride Parade.
Locals have long talked of the Seattle Freeze, referring to the cold politeness of residents. The theory is that while they are very polite and warm on first interaction, they are actually reserved, and interactions rarely lead to real acts of friendship (an invitation to dinner, personal conversations, etc.). The origin is obscure, but it is mostly assumed to be from Scandinavian immigrants that brought their home country's customs here, including this equivalent to introversion. Expect to have to make all the "first moves" to meet people here.
Residents' shyness also extends to anger and annoyance. Locals often make fun of themselves for their passive aggressive culture, where even in the most upsetting circumstances they will retain their polite nature.

Tourist information
The Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau operates two visitors centers. Both offer maps, brochures, event details, tour bookings, and restaurant reservations:
  • Seattle Visitors Center and Concierge Services, 701 Pike Street, Suite 800 (inside the Washington State Convention and Trade Center). Daily 9AM-5PM during summer, M-F 9AM-5PM during winter.  
  • Market Information Center, 1st and Pike (on the southwest corner). Daily 10AM-6PM. 

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Seattle, WA: Port Information


Seattle is the main departure city for cruise ships heading towards Alaska or western Canada's fjords. Cruise ships to Seattle may be docked at one of two terminals in the Port of Seattle.
  • Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66, 2225 Alaskan Way S Pier 66, near the middle of Seattle's downtown waterfront. Serves as home port for Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises. Has bus, taxi and shuttle connections for transfer of passengers and luggage. For travelers with connecting flights, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is less than 15 mi (24 km) away.
  • Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, 2001 W Garfield St, at the north end of Seattle's downtown waterfront. Serves as home port to Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises. Other cruise lines may also use this terminal if the vessel is too large to use the Pier 66 terminal.

Get around Seattle, WA


Seattle's freeways cut through the city rather than circling it, and while driving isn't the norm if you're only getting around the downtown area, it may be useful to get to anywhere else. With that said, the use of alternative transportation modes such as public transit, ride-sharing, walking and cycling are among the highest in the U.S., despite the hilly nature of many neighborhoods. If you do drive, note that you'll want to avoid driving during rush hours unless you know an alternate route away from the easily clogged interstates and state routes — a car accident at a bridge to West Seattle, for example, can back traffic up all the way to the northern city limits!

Orientation
Seattle's street designations are generally easy to remember once you understand them. Most of the city is laid out in a grid, with north-south roads called Avenues and east-west roads being Streets. There are occasional irregularities: Ways are long roads that don't always conform to the grid, Drives are long, circuitous routes, and there's the occasional very short Place or Court.
Seattle has a somewhat convoluted address system that can be confusing to the uninitiated. Outside the downtown area, the city is divided into 7 compass directional sectors (N, NE, NW, W, E, S, SW; no SE section), with the name of the sector applied to every road that passes through that sector. Streets are written with the sector before the name (e.g. NE 45th Street or NE 45th) while avenues are written with the sector after the name (e.g. 45th Avenue NE or 45th NE). Roads within the downtown area (as well as some avenues east of Downtown and some streets north of Downtown) have no directional designation. Take this into consideration when looking for directions to a specific address.
When locals give you directions, they may refer to an intersection (especially in the case of a bus stop). The first road mentioned is the street it is at, followed by the crossing street adjacent to the stop, but sometimes they neglect to specify whether it's an "avenue" or a "street," so inquire to be sure and you'll avoid the risk of winding up in the wrong part of the city!

On foot
Walking is highly encouraged for short trips, especially if your destination is within Downtown or Capitol Hill. While the streets and drivers are generally friendly for pedestrians, do keep your street smarts. Avoid walking alone in Downtown at night due to the frantic beggars. For more information about street safety, look at the "Stay Safe" section.
Seattle pedestrians are noted for their unusual refusal to jaywalk. Unlike many other large American cities (particularly those on the East Coast), in Seattle you'll see groups of pedestrians patiently wait for the light to change before stepping off the curb, even when there isn't a car in sight. The reasons for it are unclear, though it's often suggested that the local police are particularly strict about enforcing the jaywalking law.
The block layout in the downtown area is pretty compact; a walk from Denny Way to Yesler Way should take roughly half an hour. Walking away from the shore in the downtown area requires some effort, given the steep elevation of the streets. Outside the downtown area, especially Capitol Hill or the northern and western parts of the city, there are many hills (albeit less hilly and steep than San Francisco). In fact, walking is a great form of exercise in Seattle, with abundant jogging tracks in the parks and longer trails like the Burke Gilman Trail, which runs along the northern side of the ship canal and the western rim of Lake Washington.

By bus
King County Metro is the primary public transportation agency not just for Seattle but throughout King County as well. The bus service is generally easy to navigate, especially from downtown, with multiple lines to most tourist attractions. There are two types of bus service offered: the ordinary local service (green/yellow or blue/yellow buses) and the frequent express RapidRide service (red/yellow buses). You must pay upon boarding (or if you have a transfer, show it to the driver) at the front. To request a stop, pull the cord alongside the windows or, on most buses, you can press a red button next to the back door. All upcoming stops are announced by display on the board at the front of the bus and by voice.
Buses generally operate from 5AM to 1:30AM, and run from every 5 minutes up to every hour, depending on route, time of day, and day of the week; a few selected routes are peak-only or night-only service and RapidRide routes are 24 hours.
To figure out your nearest bus stop and real-time arrival times, you can download the One Bus Away app to your smartphone. Arrival times are also displayed at certain Downtown bus stops as well as most RapidRide stops. Paper schedule and maps of the bus route can usually be found at transit centers.
When traveling to destinations outside the downtown core, make sure to ask the drivers about the green and white "EXPRESS" signs in their windows or the "VIA EXPRESS" on the road display if they are going to your destination. Some of these express routes are intended for regular commuters traveling between residential neighborhoods and Downtown and make few or no stops between, but may be useful for getting to destinations such as the University District, West Seattle, and Ballard. A rule of thumb is that three digit route numbers are for service to/from and within outside the Seattle city limits, but a few of them should still pass through major attractions within the city area.
In Downtown, most buses and RapidRide buses go along 3rd Avenue and high-capacity routes use the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel alongside the Link light rail. The tunnel has five stations, from north to south: Convention Place, Westlake, University Street, Pioneer Square, and International District/Chinatown (the last of which is convenient to King Street Station). The bus tunnel is useful for bus and light rail transfers, but watch your belongings.

By rail
Link Light Rail operates between the University of Washington and Sea-Tac Airport, stopping in Capitol Hill, Downtown, SoDo, South Seattle, and the suburb of Tukwila along the way. Ticket machines are available at all stations, and the tickets must be retained for the duration of your trip (ticket agents will occasionally board the train to check if you have paid your fare). If you use an ORCA card, you must tap at both your origin and your destination station.
The Seattle Streetcar has two lines: The South Lake Union line between Downtown and South Lake Union and the First Hill line between Pioneer Square, the International District and Capitol Hill along Broadway. The former line gained the rather unfortunate moniker "SLUT" (South Lake Union Trolley), and you might hear it referred to as such. The streetcar runs up to every 10 minutes. You must purchase the ticket at one of the streetcar stops before boarding. Note that these streetcars stop only when requested by pressing the yellow stop request strip.
The Seattle Center Monorail, a legacy of 1962 World's Fair, takes you non-stop between Westlake Center (5th Avenue & Pine Street) and the Seattle Center in just 2 minutes, and primarily serves tourists heading from Downtown to the Space Needle. 
If you need any help, go to the Customer Stop at Westlake Station in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, security officers in the tunnel, or ask a local. Seattleites are always eager to help and may offer help, even if they see you looking confusingly at a tourist map!

By ferry
King County Metro provides a Water Taxi service between Pier 50 (beside Pier 52/Colman Dock) in Downtown and Seacrest Park in West Seattle, a ride which takes 15 minutes and is an optimal connection to Alki Point. Boats depart every half-hour on weekdays and every hour on weekends during the summer months, with reduced service during the winter.

By car
Cars are fairly useless for transportation within the city proper, but are a great asset if travelling to Bellevue/Redmond or Everett/Tacoma. Note that many roads Downtown are one-way, which might require some extra navigation. On weekends, you can often rent cars at locations throughout the city. One of the challenges in driving in Seattle includes the hilly terrain, especially in Downtown, Capitol HIll and Queen Anne, where you have to be extra careful in applying your brakes.
Be aware though that parking is scarce in Downtown due to the recent dedicated bike lane developments and even your hotel will levy exorbitant fees for overnight parking at their property!
When parking on a hill, remember to always apply the parking brake and turn your wheels so that the car will roll into the sidewalk instead of the street if the brakes give out (i.e., when facing uphill, turn toward the street; when facing downhill, turn toward the curb). Failure to park properly can run the risk of having your car roll downhill.
Drivers traveling on Interstate 5 between Downtown and Northgate as well as Interstate 90 between Downtown and Bellevue can make use of the express lanes for a generally quick and smooth ride to downtown in the morning, or to the suburbs in the afternoon and evening. Even though Seattle is only the 20th largest city in the U.S., its traffic jams are second only to Los Angeles. This is mainly due to inland waterways causing choke points around the few available bridges.

By taxi
You can call or hail a taxi from any major street in Seattle or most hotels will call them for you. However, most of Seattle's taxi services are unfriendly and expensive, especially if you are only trying to get around the downtown area. Some taxi drivers will even refuse to take you if your destination is less than 15 blocks away.
  • Yellow Cab, +1 206 622-6500.  
  • Orange Cab, +1 206 522-8800, +1 206-957-0866.  
  • Stita Taxi Services, +1 206 246-9999.  
  • Seattle Airport Limo & Town Car, +1 206 420-3400, toll-free: +1-877-340-3434.  
By car-sharing
If your destination is miles away and you don't have a car, yet public transportation seems inconvenient for you, you can use the ride-sharing services like those provided by Uber or Lyft. Download their app to your phone to reserve a car, register your card for payment, punch in your current location and destination, and a car will be in front of you in no time; they do not take prior reservations. If you prefer to drive yourself, Car2go or Zipcar vehicles are abundant, especially in Downtown, Capitol Hill, and University District. Seattleites often prefer this method to taking the reckless and overpriced taxis.

By motorcycle
The rainy weather makes motorcycling difficult but not impossible. Drivers exhibit an alarming obliviousness to motorcycles, and riders should take care to stay well out of a car's blind spot and preferably ahead of, rather than behind, any car. Motorcyclists get preferred boarding on the ferries and there are many parking spots Downtown reserved for motorcycles.

By bicycle
Cycling is better in Seattle than in most American cities. In fact, during rush hour it's often faster to bike than to drive! Bicycle usage has increased significantly since the early 2000s and drivers are a little more accustomed to bicycles in Seattle than in other major cities. Your main drawbacks will be the wet roads, the rain, and the hilly terrain, so you might want to pack some raingear. Many major roads in Seattle have properly maintained bicycle lanes, and you are allowed to ride bicycles on all Seattle roads except the Interstates, the State Route 520 floating bridge, and the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Bikeshare kiosks called Pronto are available throughout the city. A purchase of a 24-hour, a 3-day pass, or an annual membership at the kiosk entitles you to a ride for 30 minutes and a small surcharge for every half hour thereafter, up to 24 hours. The bikes can be picked up and returned at any kiosks citywide, but do not forget to take the helmet before you ride and dock the bike correctly when you return it! Coverage is limited to Downtown, Pioneer Square, the International District, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and the University District.
The city maintains a bike map with suggested biking routes for visiting major attractions.
Bicycle transportation in the greater part of Seattle is facilitated further by the Burke-Gilman Trail. This is a paved walking/jogging/cycling trail that winds its way from the north end of Lake Washington, down around the University of Washington, then west along the canal towards Ballard. The trail is on an old railroad right-of-way, so it maintains a very consistent elevation and is excellent for commuting or a casual day's touring. The Elliott Bay Trail overlooks Puget Sound and starts at the north end of Downtown in Myrtle Edwards Park, continuing north along the shore of Elliott Bay. It is much more scenic than the Burke trail, with gorgeous views of the Olympics and Mt. Rainier, and more quiet since it doesn't intersect with any roads.
If you are tired from cycling or looking for a quick ride to another biking place, King County Metro buses have bike racks on the front of the bus. Just don't forget to unload it when you get off!
Here are a few places that offer bike rentals:
  • The Bicycle Repair Shop, 928 Alaskan Way (Opposite between Piers 52 & 54). Weekdays 8AM-6PM; Sa 10AM-6PM; Su noon-6PM. You can rent bicycles for an hourly rate or a daily rate (which translates to 5 hours of rent) depending on type of bicycle. The website also has a list of self-guided tours. 
  • Seattle Bicycle Rentals, Pier 58, toll-free: +1-800-349-0343. W-M 8AM-6PM. You can rent bikes for the day, the week, or the month. Guided tours available to Ballard, Fremont, and Lake Union for 3 hours from 1PM (check in the hour before). 
  • Pedal Anywhere. You can rent a bike for up to 30 days, and the bike will be delivered to your doorstep! Reservations must be done online.  

What to see in Seattle, WA


Landmarks
The first thing that pops into most people's minds when they think of Seattle is the Space Needle, located north of Downtown in the Seattle Center. Although it's not the tallest building in Seattle, it still has a wonderful 360-degree view of both the city and the surrounding landscape. It is best to visit at sunset, when the mountains and sky will be lit up in beautiful colors. For a cheaper and less crowded option, head to the observatory at the Columbia Center Building, which is higher than the Space Needle! For a better view of the waterfront and the downtown area, go aboard the Seattle Great Wheel.
Downtown, the Pike Place Market is Seattle's largest tourist area. Home to the famous fish market, the original Starbucks Coffee shop, produce stands, and a dedicated lane each for florists and foods. Don't forget to visit Post Alley, just a block away from Pike Place as you walk away from the shore, as there are some excellent food and souvenir places tucked away.

Museums
Seattle has a number of top-notch museums. Downtown is home to the renowned Seattle Art Museum (SAM), which displays an good assortment of art from around the world. In the Central District is the Seattle Asian Art Museum, an off-shoot of the Seattle Art Museum which focuses on Chinese and Japanese Art, but includes works from as far away as India. Additionally, The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in the International District is the only Asian Pacific American museum in the nation. Nearby is the Frye Art Museum, a small private collection featuring 232 paintings by Munich-based artists. Not a museum, but open to browsing by the public, is the Seattle Metaphysical Library in Ballard, which specializes in material not found in normal libraries.
Surrounding the Space Needle on the grounds of the Seattle Center are several more big museums, including the Pacific Science Center, an interactive science museum with an IMAX theater and plenty of science displays, the Experience Music Project, a rock & roll museum celebrating Seattle's vibrant music scene, the Chihuly Garden & Glass, which takes glass art to the next level, and the Science Fiction Museum, with recreations of iconic sci-fi movies and television shows. Nearby South Lake Union is home to both the Museum of History and Industry and the Center for Wooden Boats.
On the waterfront in Downtown is the popular Seattle Aquarium. The University District holds the Henry Art Gallery, one of the biggest contemporary art galleries in Washington, and the Burke Museum, a combination natural history/archaeology museum. Further out in Georgetown is the Museum of Flight, with a large collection of aircraft ranging from wood and fabric crates to the sleek Concorde.

Architecture
Most of the architectural attractions in Seattle are located in the downtown area, easily traversed on foot. Among the highlights are the Central Library, a unique contemporary building with an enormous glass-fronted atrium; the Columbia Center, the tallest building in the Pacific Northwest and which offers excellent views from its observation deck; and the Seattle City Hall with its roof garden. On the south side of Downtown, near Pioneer Square, is the Smith Tower, an Art Deco building which is Seattle's oldest skyscraper and has an observation deck. North of Downtown in the Seattle Center, the Experience Music Project, designed to resemble Jimi Hendrix's smashed guitar, is done in a manner only Frank Gehry could conceive; nearby is the new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus, with its 12-acre garden.
Of course, the most popular view in Seattle remains the one from the revolving top of the Space Needle at the Seattle Center. And given the retro-futurism look of the Space Needle, a fitting way to get there is via the Monorail, which connects the Seattle Center to Downtown. Another excellent view is from the Seattle Great Wheel at Pier 57, a ferris wheel that offers superb views of the skyline and the waterfront.

Parks and outdoors
Seattle is peppered with parks, from small urban squares to large forested areas, many with breathtaking views of Seattle and the Puget Sound. Seattle's original park system was designed by the Olmsted brothers in Seattle's early days, and park planners across the country still celebrate Seattle's park system as one of the best designed and best preserved in the United States. While many other American cities have only one or two Olmsted-designed parks, Seattle has an extensive multi-park plan linked by boulevards, and this legacy makes Seattle one of the most livable cities in the country.
The Seattle Center is actually a park itself, with attractions besides the Space Needle and the center's numerous museums. The Kobe Bell and the mural beside it and the International Fountain are often overlooked but should not be missed. Up on Queen Anne Hill is Kerry Park, where you'll be spellbound by the most photographed view of Seattle. To the west is Discovery Park, the city's largest park with trails less traveled traversing hills and offering a view of the unspoiled landscape, wildlife, and a lighthouse.
Overlooking Lake Union in Fremont is Gasworks Park. Once the site of a coal gasification plant, the plant has been replaced by lush green hills surrounding one small section of rusting—yet surprisingly picturesque—machinery from the coal plant. The park is filled with spectators for the 4th of July fireworks and is also a great place for boaters to access Lake Union. For a day at the beach, head over to Golden Gardens Park or the less crowded Carkeek Park for a view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains; West Seattle's fully sandy Alki Beach offers a great view of Downtown Seattle. Joggers can spend their time at Green Lake Park or Magnuson Park for a serene view of water by the running tracks.
A place to see trees from around the world is at the Washington Park Arboretum in the Central District. The Arboretum contains a Japanese Garden (closed in winter) that plays host to a traditional Japanese festival. For a more laid back and Zen atmosphere, the Kubota Garden at Rainier Beach in south Seattle has streams and waterfalls, ponds, rock outcroppings, and an exceptionally rich and mature collection of plants. If you are into animals, head to the Woodland Park Zoo to see animals from around the world held in pleasant, naturalistic exhibits.

What to do in Seattle, WA


Tours
  • Ride the Ducks of Seattle, +1 206 441-3825. Seattle Center: Daily 9:20AM to 7PM; Westlake Center: Weekdays 10AM to 6PM, Weekends 10AM to 7PM. A 90 minute ride on an amphibious World War II vehicle (part of the ride is on Lake Union). The style of the tour is a bit over-the-top; keep a sense of humor about you. Board at Seattle Center (5th Avenue & Broad Street) or Westlake Center. 
  • Argosy Cruises, 1101 Alaskan Way, Pier 55. Harbor cruises vary by season.. Boat tour company with special dinner and sightseeing cruises. The most common tour visitors take is the hour-long cruise on Elliott Bay, which offers excellent views not just of the Space Needle and the Downtown skyline, but the freight harbor as well. Visit Tillicum Village on Blake Island just off the shore of Seattle, WA. Prices are various according to your itinerary. 
  • Seattle Underground Tour. A tour that takes you to underground portions of the Pioneer Square district. In 1889, 25 square blocks of Seattle were destroyed in a fire. When rebuilding, the city decided to raise the streets in the city approximately one story; thus the Seattle Underground was born! 
  • Kenmore Air, 950 Westlake Ave N, +1 866 435-9524. 20 minute plane tours over Seattle that are narrated by the pilot, with spectacular views of the city. Tours begin and end at the west side of Lake Union. Reservations required. 
Water sports
Seattle is surrounded by Lake Washington and Puget Sound, in addition to a number of bodies of water such as Lake Union or Green Lake in the city proper, so activities from kayaking to swimming are commonly practiced especially in the summer. Primary locations include Lake Union and Lake Washington where there are often some recreational boat traffic.
If you have no rowing experience, classes are offered at Lake Union Crew. You can also rent a sailboat or join a free Sunday cruising at Center For Wooden Boats, or a kayak at Northwest Outdoor Center.

Events
Most of Seattle's festivals take place in the summer, the only long stretch of time when Seattle has days of sunny weather.
  • Festál Cultural Center, Seattle Center. Year-round except December. Celebrate the world with festivals from about 25 countries represented, one country nearly every 2 weeks. 
  • Seattle International Film Festival, McCaw Hall, Moore Theatre. May–June. One of the largest film festivals in North America, showing movies from around the world. Watch indie films at screens around the city and vote for your favorite; the winner of each respective category receives the Golden Space Needle trophy.
  • Seafair, everywhere. July-early August. Seattle's biggest festival, signifying the arrival of summer. Neighborhood events such as parades and street fairs run throughout the festival, with the downtown Torchlight Parade in late July. Seafair culminates in early August when hydroplane races and the Blue Angels bring loud, fast boats and planes to Lake Washington. 
  • Bumbershoot, Seattle Center. Labor Day weekend (early September). Seattle's largest music and arts festival, featuring dozens of local and world-class musical acts. 
  • Northwest Folklife Festival, Seattle Center. Memorial Day weekend. A more low-key and local version of Bumbershoot, mainly family-friendly.
  • Bite of Seattle, Seattle Center. mid/late July. Part of Seafair festivities. Enjoy some of the best delicacies of Seattle. 
  • Hempfest, Myrtle Edwards Park. mid-August for two days. The largest marijuana rally in the world and the biggest annual political event in Washington. Features political speakers, vendors, food, several stages with many bands, and lots of open pot smoking (especially at 4:20). It is also a demonstration for the political reform and the legalization of marijuana. Possession and consumption (not in public) is now legal in the state of Washington. Police tend to look the other way during Hempfest, and marijuana use in public is now a civil infraction subject to ticketing, not arrest. 
  • Capitol Hill Block Party, Capitol Hill. a mid-summer weekend. Yearly live music event held on Capitol Hill over a weekend in mid-summer (usually the end of July). Consists primarily of local independent bands of various styles, coupled with some bigger name independent label acts. 
  • Fremont Fair, Fremont. a weekend in mid or late June. Home of the Solstice Parade (including the nude bike ride), and a really fun drunken time all over Fremont. Vendors, bad live music and eclectic crowds at the bars make for an interesting time. Friends who live in Fremont become especially valuable for a place to crash during the fair. 
  • Seattle PrideFest, Seattle Center. A weekend in June or July. One of the biggest gay pride festivals in the country. Food carts, beer gardens, adult theme performances, and the eagerly anticipated Pride Parade. 
  • Chinese Festivals, International District. Lunar New Year (January/February), Dragon Fest (July), Night Market (late summer). Numerous stalls and performances, and don't forget to partake in all the cheap food! 
Sports
In terms of professional sports teams, Seattle has been underrated until recently. Of the four biggest U.S. professional leagues, two have teams in Seattle, and the fast-growing Major League Soccer also has a Seattle team.
Even prior to the recent success of the local National Football League franchise, the Seattle Seahawks, CenturyLink Field has long been packed to the gills by the "12th men" (the name for loud, devout Seahawks fans) watching their home game in late summer through early winter. Soccer fans can enjoy the Seattle Sounders FC games May through September, also held in CenturyLink Field. Safeco Field next door is home to the Major League Baseball Seattle Mariners.
Meanwhile, Seattle has one of the strongest followings for women's teams in sports. The Seattle Storm plays WNBA basketball at KeyArena in Seattle Center, while Seattle Reign FC has been recently established together with the National Women's Soccer League. In minor league men's sports, the Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey team (players age 16 to 20) plays in Kent.
College teams also have a proud presence in town. The University of Washington Huskies play basketball and football at their own arena on campus. In October or November, the rivalry between U-Dub (short name for the campus) and Wazzu (Washington State University) is flaring, with the Apple Cup football match played at Husky Stadium every odd-numbered year. Seattle University has the Seattle Redhawks, another NCAA Division I team, but with a much lower profile than U-Dub. Also, the Gonzaga Bulldogs from Spokane play one men's basketball game each season at KeyArena in an event billed as the "Battle in Seattle".
Entertainment
  • 5th Avenue Theatre, 5th Avenue (between Union and University Streets in Downtown). Seen as a "testing ground" for many musicals on their way to Broadway. 
  • Benaroya Hall, 3rd Avenue (at University Street). Home to the Seattle Symphony and concerts by classical orchestras. There are two auditoriums: Taper (seats 2,500) and Nordstrom (seats 500). 
  • The Seattle Opera, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and other performances are held at the McCaw Hall at Seattle Center.
  • Other halls such as Paramount Theatre at 9th Avenue and Pine Street and Moore Theatre at 2nd Avenue house many performing arts and sometimes Broadway performances.
  • Big concerts by world famous artists usually take place at KeyArena at Seattle Center.

What to eat and drink in Seattle, WA


Eat

Typical of a big city, Seattle has a diverse range of fare representative of cuisines from around the world. Local chains and hole-in-the-wall restaurants dominate the city's dining atmosphere, and hearty, inexpensive meals can be found all over the city. Note that many Seattle restaurants, particularly the hole-in-the-wall establishments, only accept cash.

Local specialties
Seattle's proximity to Alaska and the waters of the Pacific Ocean make it an excellent place to enjoy seafood. Look for salmon during the late summer months as options are abundant and the prices are among the cheapest on the West Coast, especially the red (sockeye) salmon. Shellfish are a prized resource of the Puget Sound, where the cool, clean waters provide an optimal habitat. Clams, mussels and oysters can be found easily, but other specialties like geoducks (pronounced GOO-ey-ducks) are sometimes available for the more adventurous. The Dungeness Crab, named for a nearby town on the Sound, is a popular seafood prized for its sweet, tender flesh and high ratio of meat. The Dungeness is a commercially important crab in Washington's waters but other crab species are also common. The Alaskan King Crab, caught from the deep cold waters of the Pacific Ocean near Alaska, has a more frequent presence here than the rest of the lower 48.
Donut shops and bakeries are virtually everywhere, with some offering warm in-house brewed coffee, making them an excellent delight in the cold weather or as a snack.
The mild climate also supports many types of fresh produce. Farmers' markets are a normal occurrence on the weekends, especially in residential areas, and they usually have better quality produce than what you can get at supermarkets. They're an excellent opportunity to taste local delicacies and experience the local culture. Apples, which are exported from Washington and shipped all over the world, are in season around October.
Seattle also boasts a wide variety of Asian cuisine, from East Asia to the South. Family-run and hole-in-the-wall teriyaki, ramen, sushi, and Chinese restaurants are abundant and scattered throughout the area.

Eating options by district
Downtown and Pioneer Square hold many cafés and high end restaurants. Belltown to home to most options for downtown dining, with restaurants in every price range and some of the city's best-reviewed restaurants. Pike Place Market's stands offer plenty of samples, with plenty of popular options also available in Post Alley. The Waterfront, naturally, has a selection of seafood restaurants. Budget options around downtown can especially be found at Westlake Park or South Lake Union, where food carts cater to workers wanting a quick and easy lunch.
Outside of the Downtown area, Capitol Hill has plenty of hip cafés and bars, with many among the best-reviewed in the city and visited by local celebrities, as well as many Ethiopian and Thai eateries. The International District is known for its dim-sum, communal Chinese and Japanese offerings, as well as Vietnamese restaurants on the east side of the neighborhood. South Seattle also has a diversity of ethnic restaurants, while West Seattle holds more elegant mid-range to high-end choices, mostly European, seafood, and steak and many with a full bar.
North of Downtown, Queen Anne Hill seems to offer a little bit of everything near the Seattle Center. North of the canal, Ballard has mostly European fare with some Mexican, Mediterranean, and Asian options. Fremont has an increasing number of American and world cuisines in small establishments, some of which are so popular they generate long lines. The University District has a myriad of budget and international restaurants, while North Seattle has some scattered family-run Asian restaurants.

Drink

Few, if any, American cities can challenge Seattleites' love of coffee. This is perhaps best signified by the Seattle-based international chain Starbucks, but locals aren't satisfied by recognized chains alone, as evidenced by the hundreds of good locally owned coffeehouses. The best places to look for coffee are in Capitol Hill or Queen Anne Hill, where they take matters of coffee very seriously.
Microbreweries are a Northwest specialty, and Seattle has many to offer for beer enthusiasts. The larger brewers, like Redhook and Pyramid, distribute their products regionally or nationally, while other brews can only be found in local stores or bars (some notable brewers don't bottle their product). Elysian, with three pubs in various neighborhoods, and the Pike Brewing Company, located in Pike Place Market, are other popular local brewers. Many microbreweries have set up shop in South Seattle and Washington State is one of the largest growers of hops in the world making this key beer making ingredient readily available.
In Washington, bars have a full liquor license, while taverns are restricted to beer, wine and cider. Many Seattle bars have a world-class beer selection featuring local Northwest style micros, many of them crafted in Seattle. Beer aficionados should check out Uber Tavern, Brouwer's Cafe, or the Stumbling Monk, or visit the Beer Junction in West Seattle, which is primarily a bottle shop with a staggering selection but which also has a bar and regular tastings. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though! There are also plenty of drinking options to be found in the Belltown portion of downtown (south of Denny Way), Fremont, Ballard, the University District, and Capitol Hill. The good news is Washington state is one of the last states that allows all alcoholic drinks to be sold openly at supermarkets, so liquor is readily and cheaply available even if you don't want to go to a bar.
Wine is another Northwest specialty, and there are a number of wineries just thirty miles from Seattle proper in Woodinville. Many more can be found a 2-3 hour drive away on the other side of the Cascades in Washington Wine Country. You can find local vintages in grocery stores, wine shops, restaurants, and wine bars such as Bottlehouse and Purple.
Like any other city with a large Asian population, bubble tea or boba milk tea shops has been recently popping up, and are popular among young people. Bubble tea is basically milk tea with various flavors and tapioca balls. Many of these shops also offer Asian snacks and delicacies. If you are thirsty and hungry, and budget is your main concern, this can be a good option. Most of these can be found in the University District as well as a few in the International District.

Shopping in Seattle, WA


If you want it, you can most likely get it in Seattle. The city has many small, locally owned business in addition to the more typical large shopping malls. A sales tax of 9.6% applies for all purchases except most groceries, newspapers, and prescription drugs.
Downtown
  • The Pike Place Market is an attraction in and of itself, and is well-known for its seafood and produce stands. At the main entrance to the market is Pike Place Fish, famous for its handlers who throw fish to each other, but there are plenty of other seafood stands as well. In the main market complex are several levels of restaurants and shops selling antiques, arts and crafts, and souvenirs, and as the weather gets warmer, artisans sell their wares in the upper open-air level as well. Although it is flush with tourists, especially in the summer months, area residents and Downtown workers regularly shop at the market as well, which minimizes the "tourist trap" feel.
  • The Westlake retail corridors on Pike, Pine, and Union Street between 3rd and 5th Avenues are also a great place to shop. The Westlake Center and the Pacific Place malls have pricey fashion stores, with the sidewalk arcades dominated by big fashion chains.
  • Belltown, a northern neighborhood of the downtown area, has a plethora of designer art galleries, fashion, and accessory workshops.
  • The Pioneer Square area is the cheaper counterpart to Belltown, with more eclectic accessories.
Other districts
  • Ballard: Most shopping options here are on Ballard Avenue NW between 20th & 22nd Avenue NW. If big brands don't interest you, head here for stylish urban and hip fashion.
  • Capitol Hill: Most shops here are in the western part of the neighborhood near Interstate 5 (E Pike & Pine Street, Broadway and Melrose Ave), where the streets are filled with mid-range fashion options and a little bit of everything, befitting the hippest district of Seattle. Here you'll also find Seattle's biggest bookstore, The Elliott Bay Book Company.
  • Fremont: Mainly vintage fashion wear and not as eccentric as its neighbor, Ballard. It is also a center for antiques and accessories. The shopping district is centered around Fremont Place N and N 35th Street.
  • International District: Groceries, herbal medicines, and plenty of Asian-style wares. You can also buy handy Japanese kitchenware and other items at the infamous Uwajimaya or by the back door of the dollar shop Daiso.
  • North Seattle: Thrift stores scattered throughout the area, bulk grocery shopping at Aurora Avenue N, and fashion shops at Northgate Mall.
  • Queen Anne Hill: Mostly houses, but there is a small commercial area at the top of the hill (Queen Anne Ave N between W Galer St & W McGraw St). Usually this is a place to indulge in a body treatment.
  • South Lake Union: A long retail strip is located on Broadway which connects to Capitol Hill. On the south shore of the lake you'll find shops of every type have recently been sprouting up. Outdoor gear chain REI houses its flagship store on Broadway.
  • University District: Clothing and thrift stores catering towards the local student population are located along University Way. Upscale options are available at the open-air University Village Mall at 25th Ave NE. On campus is the University Bookstore.
  • West Seattle: Head to California Ave SW for more laid back and contemporary clothing options.

Safety in Seattle, WA


Statistically, the number of crimes in Seattle is similar to what you would expect in any major city in the United States. By and large, as long as you use some common sense, you are unlikely to be the target of any crime. Auto break-ins and theft are a problem in the city, so never your leave valuables visible in a car and always lock your car doors. Be wary of the rising trend of smartphone theft.

Downtown Seattle has a sizable population of homeless people (many neighborhoods have forced their homeless into Seattle's downtown core), and while many beg for change and some seem unstable, only a few are actually dangerous. It is worthwhile to be careful after dark in some areas around the downtown core. Some places to watch your back near major tourist areas include under the viaduct along the Waterfront, Belltown, between Pine and Pike Streets in Downtown, and around Pioneer Square, where you'll want to beware of drug dealers and beggars. Areas you'll want to avoid at night (at least without company) include along Aurora Avenue and Lake City Way in the north of the city, SoDo, and the International District.

On Friday and Saturday nights, it is wise to take caution while at Capitol Hill. The many bars in the area can also contain drunk and unruly people, which in very rare cases can lead up to assault or shooting. But as long as you are not looking for trouble, you will be safe.

Drivers in Seattle are typically nice but indecisive, but as long as you're careful as a pedestrian, you don't run a high risk of getting hit. Cyclists should be extra wary of traffic and opening doors of parked cars, especially Downtown.

Stay healthy

As long as there are no extreme weather events, Seattle is a perfectly lovely place. Many parks have jogging tracks and fitness centers are abundant, making Seattle one of the fittest cities in the nation.

Temperatures can get extreme during the summer, and there is always at least one annual instance where temperatures hover above 90 °F (32 °C), although the little humidity makes the heat less oppressive. Drink plenty of liquid to keep yourself hydrated and don't leave anybody inside a car.

During the long stretch of mild (40–50 °F or 4–10 °C) and dry days in winter, smog often covers the skies of Puget Sound, as there is no way for the pollutants and moisture to clear out of the area. If an Air Stagnation Advisory or Burn Ban is issued, take precautions if you have breathing problems. On these days, you might want to consider heading to the mountains, where you're more likely to experience sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures.

During a hike in between thick lines of trees at the parks, be careful to check for ticks. If a bulls' eye rash develops at the tick bite site, immediately seek medical help and treatment with antibiotics. Despite its location close to mountains, wild animals such as bears or beavers are very unlikely to stray at the city.

Smoking is not allowed in any public places, and must be done at least 25 feet away from doors, windows, or ventilation shafts.

Tap water is safe to drink and is among the best quality in the United States, from undisturbed and uncontaminated water sources fed by snow melt in the Cascade mountains.

Language spoken in Seattle, WA


Most people in Washington speak English with a Pacific Northwest accent. This accent is considered very similar to general American. Washingtonians generally have little to no problem understanding different accents of the English language.

Washington is the thirteenth most populated state, but by comparison has the fourth highest Asian population. You may be able to find a Japanese or Chinese speaker, especially in the Seattle area. There is also a large Hispanic population. In some small towns east of the Cascades more than 50% of households speak Spanish at home.

LOCAL TIME

5:56 am
December 10, 2018
America/Los_Angeles

CURRENT WEATHER

5.79 °C / 42.422 °F
light rain
Mon

5.77 °C/42 °F
light rain
Tue

8.87 °C/48 °F
heavy intensity rain
Wed

7.19 °C/45 °F
moderate rain
Thu

2.14 °C/36 °F
light rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

USD

1 EUR = 1.14 USD
1 GBP = 1.26 USD
1 AUD = 0.72 USD
1 CAD = 0.75 USD

Travelers recommend visiting the following places of interests



http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seatlle, WA
Average: 9.9 (10 votes)

Chihuly Garden and Glass is an exhibit in the Seattle Center showcasing the studio glass of Dale Chihuly. The exhibit opened in 2012. The exhibit...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Benaroya Hall, Seatlle, WA
Average: 9.6 (10 votes)

Benaroya Hall is the home of the Seattle Symphony in Downtown Seattle, Washington, USA. It features two auditoria, the S. Mark Taper Foundation...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Museum of Flight, Seatlle, WA
Average: 9.9 (10 votes)

The Museum of Flight is a private non-profit air and space museum in the northwest United States. It is located at the southern end of King County...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Seattle Central Library, WA
Average: 9.6 (10 votes)

The Seattle Public Library's Central Library is the flagship library of The Seattle Public Library system. The 11-story (185 feet or 56 meters high)...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 Kerry Park (Seattle), WA
Average: 9.8 (10 votes)

Kerry Park is a 1.26 acres (0.51 ha) park on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle, Washington, located at the corner of 2nd Avenue W....
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 EMP Museum, Seatlle, WA
Average: 9.5 (10 votes)

EMP Museum is a nonprofit museum, dedicated to contemporary popular culture. EMP Museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000. Since...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Pike Place Market, Seatlle, WA
Average: 9.8 (10 votes)

Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle, Washington, United States. The Market opened August 17, 1907...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ ||| Public domain Green Lake (Seattle), WA
Average: 9.5 (10 votes)

Green Lake is a freshwater lake in north central Seattle, Washington, within Green Lake Park. The park is surrounded by the Green Lake neighborhood...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Space Needle, Seatlle, WA
Average: 9.7 (10 votes)

The Space Needle is an observation tower in Seattle, Washington, a landmark of the Pacific Northwest, and an icon of Seattle. It was built in the...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5 ||| Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 University of Washington, Seatlle
Average: 9.5 (10 votes)

The University of Washington, commonly referred to as simply Washington, UW, or informally U-Dub, is a public flagship research university based in...

Latest travel blogs about Seattle, WA




Seattle Fish Market


I do not like fish, but just love to go to the fish markets, particularly if they are located by the sea or ocean. As, for example, in Seattle , where I'm trying to get used to the 11-hour time difference before cruise to Alaska... Sellers here (Pike Place Market) are the real actors....

The main attraction of Seattle is the Space Needle Tower . Exactly there was shot one of my favorite movies 'Sleepless in Seattle'. The city is located on the West coast of the USA, almost on the border with Canada.  We flew to Seattle in 36 hours before the cruise to Alaska. During...

Seattle, WA shore excursions