Seattle, Washington Travel Guide

Seattle, best known for its rainy days, progressive music scene, and coffee houses, is a wonderful place for your next vacation. Seattle family vacations offer plenty of fun, adventure, and natural beauty. Situated on the Puget Sound, Seattle has beautiful views of neighboring Mount Rainier and the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. Take a look through this Seattle vacation guide to plan your next trip to this area of the northwest.

What to Do in Seattle

seattle vacationSeattle vacations offer plenty to do in one of the most hip cities in the United States. According to many who have been on a Seattle area vacation, Seattle’s greatest appeal lies in its beautiful parks and natural beauty. You can take a paddle boat around Lake Union, where you’ll not only get out and enjoy the fresh air, but you’ll see an amazing view of the city. If you’re looking for some adventure, take a hike at Discover Park. Discover Park overlooks cliffs, the ocean, meadows, and dunes. Mrytle Edwards Park also shows off the beauty of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains.

The Space Needle, Seattle’s most recognizable landmark, is a definite must see. The Space Needle is a 605 foot tower designed for the 1962 World Fair. Today, more than nine million visitors come here every year. From the top of the Space Needle, you’ll have the most incredible views of all of Seattle. You can see float planes land on Lake Union, watch the cruise lines, ferries, and cargo ships dock, and witness the busy city streets. All of this from the 360 degree rotating O Deck. Take a closer look at Seattle with the complimentary Swarovski telescopes and you can see as far away as Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.

The Space Needle is located in Seattle Center. This 74 acre park is home to many wonderful entertainment facilities making Seattle family vacations some of the best around. In the Seattle Center you can play at the Children’s Museum, go to the Seattle Opera or Pacific Northwest Ballet. There’s also an amusement park, a video arcade, and many shops and restaurants.

If you’re into history, visit Seattle’s first neighborhood, Pioneer Square. This area is lined with historic buildings, most of which were built after the Great Fire of 1889. To this day you can ride on old-fashioned streetcars and take tours of the major landmarks in the area. Some of the sites you’ll see on this tour are Native American totem poles, a turn-of-the-20th-century pergola and train station, and many shops and restaurants. There’s even a part of the city that remains below ground. You can take a fascinating tour to see how Seattle looked before the Great Fire.

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What to See in Seattle

seattle travelThere’s so much to see in Seattle that it’s hard to narrow down the options. Seattle is home to the 1980s and 1990s grunge music evolution. Today, Seattle is still a place for indie artists and is home to several recording studios and live music clubs. The clubs here have become known as places to discover up-and-coming bands. Seattle hosts several major music festivals every year. Take some time to join the Bumbershoot, a week-long music and arts event, or the Northwest Folklife Festival to take part in some unique, original, and new music. You never know when one of bands you saw on your Seattle vacation will play on mainstream radio.

Another fun Seattle tradition to take part in is the support of public art in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Fremont is home to a sculpture of commuters called “Waiting for the Interurban.” Those who visit Fremont leave their hats, scarves, and other clothing behind on the life-like statues. Leaving your clothing for the sculptures has become a fun tradition for locals and visitors alike. So bring some extra clothes along and leave part of yourself in Fremont.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Seattle

With a fabulous waterside location and Seattle’s commitment to environmentalism, Seattle offers a unique dining experience. Fish caught daily from nearby waters and produce found at local farmers markets note many of the menus on city restaurants. Some of the dining options you’ll find are fresh seafood, meats, and plenty of vegetables.

Pike Place Market will offer you plenty of food choices as well. Located downtown by the water, this huge market is home to an extensive selection of produce, meat, fish, and other fresh food. Pike Place Market is the oldest continually operating farmers market in the United States. It’s an experience in and of itself to see the giant flying salmon tossed over the heads of spectators. You can find everything from sidewalk cafes to fine dining. And don’t forget about the coffee shops! Seattle has been known for its coffee culture since the first Starbucks opened in Pike Place Market in 1971. You’ll find some of the best coffee right here in Seattle.

When you come to Seattle, make some room on your schedule for shopping. For the most intense shopping experience, head to the Pacific Place mall in downtown Seattle. Here you’ll find high-end stores such as Tiffany and Co, Max Mara, Express, Williams & Sonoma, Ann Taylor, and Pottery Barn. Cross the indoor skywalk over Fifth Avenue and you’ll walk into the Nordstrom flagship store.

The Seattle area boasts over 1,800 retailers, ranging from department stores, national and international retailers, boutiques, and designer shops. There’s a store in Seattle for every member in your family.

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When to Visit Seattle

Wintertime in Seattle is the wet time. Summers bring plenty of sunshine and good weather. The most popular time for Seattle family vacations is May through October. This is when you’ll find drier weather, cruise season, festivals, and school breaks.

September is a wonderful time to visit Seattle. You’ll find warm afternoons, cooler evenings, and fewer crowds. Prices tend to fall during late fall and the winter, but this is the time when you’ll also find heavy rain and cooler temperatures.

High season in Seattle is May to October with the low season being November to April.

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What to Bring on a Seattle Vacation

It’s likely you’ll run into some rain on your Seattle area vacation. Bring an umbrella to stay dry. If you want to fit in with the locals, leave the umbrella behind and bring a water-proof jacket or trench coat.

Seattle has many outdoor activities, so you’ll want to bring comfortable shoes, jeans, and light clothing. You may want a light jacket for the evenings and nice slacks or a skirt for a night out on the town. Most of Seattle is very casual, so there’s no need to pack extra clothing.

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Local Services in Seattle

Seattle is a major metropolitan area, so you’ll find all of the conveniences you need. Grocery stores, medical offices, and recreational facilities are abundant. You’ll also find plenty of public transportation. Taxi, buses, and metro transit will get you around the city easily. Many locals prefer to walk, so you’ll also get to many locations by foot.

To travel from the city to many of the islands, Seattle has many passenger boats to get from place to place. You can also take the Elliott Bay Water Taxi to Seacrest Park in about 10 minutes. The Washington State Ferry is also a wonderful travel option to get to the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands.

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What to Know About Seattle

Corporate giants such as Microsoft, Boeing, and Amazon.com call Seattle home. The city’s top industries are information technology, healthcare, and manufacturing. Because of Seattle’s commitment to the environment, many eco-friendly businesses call Seattle home.

Seattle is known for its rainy days. Locked between mountains and warm currents, Seattle averages 37 inches of rain a year. In all actuality, New York and Miami are actually wetter.

Seattle is built on seven hills and surrounded by Lake Washington to the east and the Puget Sound to the west. Many of Seattle’s bridges join here. Streets going north-south are called “avenues” and east-west are called “streets.” You’ll also find boulevard, road, and place in Seattle.

Seattle lies in the Puget Sound region in western Washington. The city is 113 miles south of the Canadian border and lies in the northwestern corner of the United States.

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Getting to Seattle, Washington

If you are flying to Seattle, you’ll fly to the Seattle-Tacoma International airport. The airport is centrally located between the two cities and is a regional air service hub. The airport is about 15 miles south of downtown Seattle. With traffic, it takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour to get to downtown Seattle. A cab, Shuttle Express, or the Metro Transit city bus can get you to the city.

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Why Seattle Vacation Rentals?

Seattle can be an expensive city. To save your budget and still have an enjoyable Seattle family vacation, stay at one of the many Seattle rentals from VacationRentals.com. You’ll find condos, homes, and apartments available at very reasonable prices. Your entire family can stay right in the city where you’ll be centrally located for all of the amazing activities Seattle has to offer.

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