Tips for your visit to Seattle
Seattle is a thriving seaport city that serves the West Coast. Apart from being an important commercial hub for Washington, it is also one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the state and the country. Nicknamed the Emerald City, Seattle is home to some of the nation’s most popular landmarks and attractions, including the iconic Space Needle and the century-old Pike Place Market.
Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with your family, Seattle is an excellent vacation destination! This bustling metropolis has a little bit of everything – from cultural sites and family-friendly attractions to outdoor adventures and getaways.
If it’s your first time in the city, there are a few things to take into account to make your trip as hassle-free and memorable as possible. To help you plan the perfect holiday, we’ve compiled this list of top tips for your first visit to Seattle.
Pro tip: If you are out and about and find bags and backpacks heavy, stow them at a bag storage locker to lighten the load while you sightsee.
Top Tips for a First-Timer in Seattle
- Ditch car rentals and use public transportation instead.
It is common practice for tourists and vacationers to rent a car when visiting a major city as it is the easiest way to move around freely and to check out destinations that may be far away from each other. However, in Seattle, renting a car and driving is highly discouraged for a valid reason – insane traffic. If you haven’t heard, Seattle has one of the worst traffic situations in the United States; gridlocks often happen and you could easily waste hours spending time stuck in traffic.
The only time that you should rent a car while in Seattle is if you have plans to get out of the city to visit neighboring cities and nearby day trip destinations such as the Mount Rainier National Park. Luckily, Seattle has a good public transportation system; the Link Light Rail serves the airport and most of the city areas and there are plenty of schedules for the city bus. Additionally, Uber and Lyft are available in the city. If you’re feeling up to it, you can even ride a bike on the move; there are numerous apps that offer bike rentals across the city.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes.
One of the upsides of Seattle’s density is that it has become one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the United States. This is why walking is still the most ideal way to get around the city. Fortunately, most of the famous tourist spots in Seattle are mostly within walking distance of each other.
The catch? Seattle is a hilly city; a regular walk from one spot to another can be challenging because of the city’s alpine nature. If you’re planning to walk a lot while in Seattle, make sure that you have comfortable shoes, such as sneakers, sandals, or closed-toe flats.
- Pike Place Market is a must-visit.
Seattle is known for a lot of attractions but one renowned spot is the Pike Place Market. Operating since the 1900s, this farmer’s market is the go-to place for buying local produce, handicrafts, meat, and other products. The area is also home to some of the most renowned restaurants and food stalls in the city. Yes, it can get really crowded here, especially during the morning, but you’ll find that braving the crowd will be well worth it.
From specialty foods like artisan cheese to chocolate-covered Washington cherries, Pike Place has deliciousness in abundance. Pottery, natural herbal products, and musical instruments are just a few of the incredible finds in the craft area. And follow the scents to the bakeries and cafés waiting to serve you the best eats in the city.
- No, you don’t need an umbrella.
Seattle is commonly portrayed as a cold and rainy city, which is why travelers often bring umbrellas with them. Having an umbrella, however, is one of the telltale signs of being a tourist in this city. You’ll find that it isn’t actually that rainy in Seattle, although it could get cold and wet because of its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Instead of bringing an umbrella, pack a windbreaker or a raincoat. Also, make sure to have a light jacket handy, even during the summer season, especially when the sun goes down.
- Forget about Starbucks and check out the city’s independent roasters.
When it comes to coffee, Seattle is king; no other city comes close to Seattle’s java scene. After all, this city is the birthplace of the biggest coffee chain in the world – Starbucks. Having said that, your initial thought would be to head over right away to the famous Starbucks Reserve Roastery.
However, while Starbucks is amazing in its own right, there are plenty of other independent roasters and cafés in Seattle that serve incredible coffee. Some of our top picks for the best coffee shops in the city include Victrola Coffee Roasters, Caffe Vita, and La Marzocco.
- Discover the city’s growing craft brewery scene.
While coffee is no doubt the most popular beverage in Seattle, you should also take time to discover the city’s burgeoning craft brewery scene. Over the years, the city has seen an emergence of microbreweries, with over 60 different beer makers.
We guarantee that the local brews here will be some of the best that you’ve ever tasted in the United States. If you’re unsure where to start, check out Reuben’s Brews, Stoup Brewing, or Fremont Brewing Company.
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