Seattle, Washington: A Travel Guide to Maximize your Visit

Seattle! My home city. I was very excited about this blog post specifically, because it was my chance to unveil all the knowledge I have come to learn about this amazing city over my lifetime! Seattle is known for many things: the coffee capital and the seafood hub for starters! I had the pleasure of traveling to Seattle in December to visit my family, and bring my boyfriend along! When I bring a guest, it is always the perfect excuse to play tourist! I got to see, do, and eat things I grew up loving, but also explore things I’ve never done before! With that being said, I bring you all my recommendations! NOTE: all places mentioned below are linked for your viewing pleasure and convenience!

When to Travel to Seattle

Seattle exhibits the best weather between June and September. From growing up in the area, I can say for certain that this holds true! The summer months bring the warmth and the sunny days. My most recent visit back was in December, and it was cold (as expected), but it did not rain. It all depends on what type of weather you are comfortable with being in. If it is your first time ever visiting, I would definitely recommend visiting in the summer! For the length of stay, I recommend visiting for 3-4 days! With that timeframe, you will be able to see multiple areas of Seattle (as it is large), and not feel rushed! Get to know the main neighborhoods!

  • Ballard
  • South Lake Union
  • Lower Queen Anne
  • Pioneer Square
  • Capitol Hill
  • Downtown
  • University District

If you plan to take day trips as well, I recommend staying in the area for 5-7 days (stay tuned for my Seattle day trips blog post)!

What to Consider when Buying your Flight

If you are traveling from San Francisco, it is slightly under a two hour flight. I would recommend buying your flight 2-3 months ahead of your intended travel. The international airport is located at the midpoint between Seattle and Tacoma, called SEATAC airport (SEA). I recommend flying Delta or United as those airlines always have non-stop flights that are reasonably priced. As always, I recommend searching flights on Skyscanner and Google Flights to monitor flight price fluctuations. For transportation, the city’s bus system is pretty reliable. I would, however, opt for renting a car for the duration of your stay so you can have easier mobility around the city more efficiently. Check the airport rental car providers to see which one best suit your needs!

Where to Stay in Seattle

We wanted to stay in a central location of downtown Seattle, where we could easily commute to access the surrounding area. We decided on the Kimpton Hotel Vintage, and it was such an incredible experience! From the moment we were greeted at the front desk, to the amenities included with our stay, to the hotel room itself, we were extremely pleased with our overall experience! The hotel is themed with all the prominent Washington State wineries assigned to each room of the hotel! They had a daily wine happy hour where we got a complimentary wine tasting of our choice. They also had complimentary bikes for guests to rent. Our hotel room had a gorgeous view of the Seattle Public Library! We got a great deal on our two-night stay ($100/night)! I highly recommend checking this place out!

Where to Eat and Drink in Seattle


Seattle is well-known for its grab-and-go food! Yes, there are many sit-down options that are great, but Seattle thrives on the “small bites” scene, and they exceed expectations! Here is a round-up of all the restaurants I got to try!


  • Storyville Coffee: This place is hidden in a small building on an off-road near the Pike’s Place Market sign. Once we got in, the interior was stunning and there were windows that overlooked the water! We ordered the breakfast sandwich and it was delicious! 
  • Top Pot Doughnuts: There are a few locations around Seattle, but I recommend going to the 5th ave location! Obama’s picture hangs on the wall, as he visited the store in 2010 for doughnuts! It is a two-level interior with ample seating, and the most unique donut flavors I’ve seen! The coffee was also very good! I order decaf, and my go-to order is a decaf vanilla latte. They made it very well!
  • Honest Biscuits: This sits in a tucked-away location near the Seattle Waterfront. The biscuit breakfast sandwiches are hefty and savory in all the right ways! I had to eat mine in two sittings because it was so filling!
  • Portage Bay Cafe: An absolute gem of Seattle! I recently learned there are two locations of this restaurant, but the original (and the most popular) one is at South Lake Union. I ordered the Carnitas Benedict and it was out-of-this-world good! Their lattes are also very good!


  • Dick’s Burgers: This is a classic Seattle treasure. Dick’s is well-known for its delicious juicy American fast food, at an unbelievably low price. I’ve been coming here since I was a kid, and I was more than happy to come here on my recent visit home. The deluxe burger and chocolate milkshake are my favorite items on the menu!
  • Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: This place will make you crave mac and cheese every single day. I am a HUGE mac and cheese fan, and I order it as a side whenever I see it. This place hand-crafts their cheese, and allows customers and patrons to view the production process from the window! The items to order are: classic Mac and smoked salmon Mac.
  • The Crumpet Shop: Crumpets are pretty uncommon, so the fact that there is a store dedicated to the making of crumpets says a lot! The store is only open from 10-3pm and they repeatedly sell out at early as noon and close for the day. This is a highly popular shop and the crumpets are amazing! 
  • Pike’s Place Chowder: I am a big fan of clam chowder, and this place exceeds all expectations! Located within Post Alley, this chowder joint has won multiple national awards, even rivaling the classic New England chowder from the East Coast! We ordered the classic and the lobster bisque— both were so tasty!


  • Casco Antiguo: Known widely as one of the best restaurants in Seattle! They have top-tier appetizers, entrees, and drinks! This is located near the Amazon corporate office. 
  • Emerald City Fish and Chips: Pleasantly surprised by this one! I heard about this place via Yelp, and it had raving reviews! The catfish and chips (fries) is the order to get! The fish was tender and juicy and the fries were seasoned to perfection!
  • Wood Shop BBQ: This small, tucked away restaurant in Ballard is packed with a major flavor profile! BBQ is one of my favorite foods, and this place had all the fixings! I ordered the pulled pork and brisket!
  • Ezell’s Chicken: This place gained national fame when Oprah Winfrey claimed it to be her favorite chicken! She would say she’d fly down to Seattle from wherever she happened to be, just to get an order, because it is THAT good. I can concur with her that this chicken is top-notch, beating out countless other restaurants I’ve tried all over the country.

Rooftop bars

Similar to San Francisco, Seattle has only a small handful of rooftop bars, but they know how to attract their customers! Here are a few of my absolute favorites!

  • M Bar: Sitting 15 floors up, M Bar is an upscale oasis. The viewpoints here are hard to beat, with both Lake Union, the Space Needle, and the Seattle Waterfront all in eye’s view. The craft cocktails here are amazing! I suggest ordering their take on a Paloma.
  • The Fog Room: This is a newer rooftop to Seattle’s running list. Come here for an early happy hour to take in the breathtaking views and exceptional small bites!
  • The Nest: Arguably the most well-known rooftop bar in Seattle. It is located in the iconic Thompson Seattle hotel. They are revered by many for hosting epic weekend day parties. Come here for a guaranteed fun time!


If you did not know, Seattle is a major beer hub of the country! There are over 100 craft breweries in the greater Seattle area. I was able to try three of them when I visited:

  • Optimism Brewing: I found this on Yelp and it looked enticing. I learned they had a few of my favorite types of beer and I was looking forward to trying them! The main brewery is quite large, and has two levels of seating. Because of covid, we sat outside on their huge heated patio. 
  • Fremont Brewing: This one was my favorite one of the bunch! We got a pint and flights of our choosing, and they offered over 20 craft beers on tap! The outdoor space is roomy and cozy at the same time, and we spent a few hours here! I recommend trying all the Hazy options (my personal favorite)!
  • Old Stove Brewery: This one definitely wins best scenery! It sits right along the Seattle Waterfront, offering a beautiful unobstructed view. We came during a late afternoon hour, about 2 hours before sunset. The outdoor space is very large and spread out, the hazy’s on the menu were fantastic, and the overall vibes were great here!

Sights to See in Seattle

  • Seattle Public Library: This is the most beautifully designed library I’ve ever been to! It was constructed in 2004, and there was immense thoughtfulness that went into its production. It is the largest library system in the state, and definitely worth a visit!
  • Seattle Waterfront: Filled with restaurants, storefronts, and attractions, the waterfront is prominent and iconic to Seattle’s history. I suggest taking a morning walk along the waterfront, as it will be the least trafficked during that time of day.
  • Pike’s Place Market: This is very much engrained into Seattle’s history, because if you have heard any mention of Seattle, Pike’s Place would be one of the first things someone would tell you about. The large, vibrant and bold sign has been in its original design for several decades, and the market is home to countless vendors! The fish throwing, the golden pig, and the bouquet of flowers are only a few staple items to experience in the market! 
  • Gum Wall: Gross concept in my opinion, but I partake in adding to the wall every time I visit. There is a hidden stairwell that leads straight to the wall, and if you ask anyone in the market they will direct you! The gum wall formed in the early 1990s and ever since then, it is a coveted tourist attraction for people all around the world.
  • The Original Starbucks: The world’s first Starbucks resides in Seattle, which is where the headquarters is as well. The building was incorporated in 1971 and still to this day maintains the same architecture and design! They operate as a normal store, serving their full menu. If you are a coffee fan, you must visit! 
  • Kerry Park: This is where you will find the best view of the Seattle skyline! It is a small park located in lower Queen Anne. I recommend visiting at night to see the city lit up!
  • Fremont Troll: A stroll sculpture constructed under the Fremont bridge! It is walking distance from Fremont Brewing.
  • Lumen Field: This is the new state-of-the-art Seahawks stadium that holds 72,000 guests. It was the pioneer for the innovative sound-wave stadium technology that has now been adopted my multiple sports teams across the country.
  • T-Mobile Park: This is where the Mariners baseball team plays! It is in the SoDo district around many sports bars and restaurants!
  • Bruce Lee Burial site: Karate legend Bruce Lee and his brother Brandon Lee’s gravesite is at Lake View Cemetery near Capitol Hill. Any and all Bruce Lee fans should take an opportunity to see this!
  • Capitol Hill: A must see area of Seattle. It is considered to be the most expressive, individualistic and progressive areas in the city. It is bustling with shops, bars, and restaurants!
  • Siff Cinema Uptown: The cinema is temporarily closed, but the exterior is perfect for taking pictures! It is located in Queen Anne.
  • Seattle Center: This is a large indoor event space. The architecture is eccentric and beautiful, and if you have time to walk around, I suggest a visit!

Excursions to Try in Seattle

  • Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry Ride:  Washington State has the largest ferry system in the U.S.! The most popular ferry route is Seattle to Bainbridge Island, as it has the most iconic view of the city waterfront, and you get gorgeous nature views of Bainbridge Island! Round trip tickets are $9 and you can either buy online or in-person!
  • Seattle Great Wheel: The giant ferris wheel at Pier 57 on Elliott Bay. It was the tallest Ferris wheel on the West Coast when it opened in June 2012. They offer drink services while onboard which makes it a completely elevated experience!
  • Space Needle: The iconic, 605ft tall spire at the Seattle Center, is equipped with a 720 degree observation deck and rotating restaurant! Tickets are $40 but well worth the money!
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum: This art exhibit showcases the studio glass of Dale Chihuly. Beautiful artwork dawns here, and if you have the time to check it out, I recommend!
  • Museum of Pop Culture: It is a nonprofit museum dedicated to contemporary pop culture. It was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000, and was originally named the “Experience Music Project”. I went here on a middle school trip and it was super interesting and informative!
  • Alki Beach: The only true beach in Seattle, decked out with beach volleyball courts, boats, and picnic tables. It is a beautiful place to watch the sunset on a warm day!
  • Gas Works Park: This park was created on a former gas light company plant, hence its name. When you’re here, you will notice the beautiful views of Lake Union and the city skyline! This was one of my highlights of Seattle!
  • University of Washington campus: It is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast, and one of the most well-done in terms of architecture! It is also one of the largest schools in the West! It was a real treat to walk through the insanely large campus and get lost in all the beauty!
  • Jose Rival Park/overpass: Located on the west side of Beacon Hill, this park has incredible views of Downtown and Elliot Bay!

I hope you enjoyed my post and found it helpful for your upcoming trip! Please comment thoughts and questions below, and share with your friends and family! Thank you for your continued support!

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