Known as the ‘Emerald City’ and also rated as one of the world's most liveable cities, Seattle is a must-visit destination in the USA that will not disappoint.
A short drive or train ride from Vancouver in Canada, this active city sits on the shores of two large lakes and is surrounded by two major mountain ranges (Olympics and Cascades), with Mount Rainier in full view from the city.
If you’re planning your first visit to this fine city, I’ve put together a list of some of the top experiences not to be missed.
What To See
If you want to see all the best attractions of Seattle in a short amount of time, invest in a City Pass, which will allow you to bypass line ups and save money on entrance fees. It also has some coupons inside, which will give you discounts on shopping, food and more.
If you’re in need of some retail therapy, be sure to stop by Macy’s, as you can combine the coupon in this city pass booklet with most of their existing sales.
The Space Needle
If you’ve seen a picture of the Seattle skyline, you’ll be familiar with Seattle’s internationally recognised symbol: the Space Needle. Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair to showcase upcoming architectural development, it has since been declared a historic landmark and offers fantastic 360-degree panoramic views of the city from the top.
Right across the street from the Space Needle is the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum. Fair warning: You may never want to leave. I recommend giving yourself plenty of time to explore this place.
I could have easily spent my entire day here learning to play musical instruments, reading about music legends of the past, and getting lost in the many exhibitions about fantasy, horror and more.
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Where To Stay
Although there are lots of great hotels in Seattle to choose from, when it comes to location and value, the charming Hotel Monaco can’t be beat. Recently rated one of the Top 100 Hotels in the world by Travel and Leisure, this hotel certainly lives up to its reputation.
Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, it has thought of everything (it'll even provide a goldfish in your room to keep you company since it's a pet-friendly hotel). Did I mention that every day from 5pm-6pm the hotel offers a free wine hour for guests to sample Washington wines and socialise in the lobby?
Where To Eat
Pike Place Market
If you need to whet your appetite after all the sightseeing, head to Pike Place Market where the focus is primarily on local, organic food featuring 100 farmers and fishmongers selling their goods.
They have been joined by more than 150 local artists who have also set up shop here, along with street performers, dozens of restaurants and numerous speciality shops. Some places worth noting are Beechers Handmade Cheese, Pike Place Chowder, Cafe Campagne, Etta’s Seafood, and the world’s first Starbucks.
Although Seattle is pedestrian-friendly and encourages you to walk through its many paths and parks, you can get around easily by renting a bike or taking public transport.
Seattle's 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. There are also various ferries and harbour-front cruises that offer scenic excursions outside the city limits.