Arriving into Seattle:
Seattle, Washington is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest and visiting this city along the Puget Sound is something everyone should do in their lifetime. If your flight takes you into Sea-Tac Airport, you will only be a short drive from the downtown Seattle area. Sea-Tac Airport (Portseattle.org/seatac
) is just south of Seattle off of Interstate 5. Depending on your itinerary, having a rental car in Seattle can be a headache, so only rent a car if you absolutely have plans of leaving the actual city center during your stay. We suggest taking a taxi from the airport into Seattle (cost is around $30/each way) or hop on an airport hotel shuttle bus that will take you right to your hotel for a much smaller fee. If you do rent a car, most hotels will charge you a substantial fee just to park the car in their lots daily ($20+). If you are arriving by car, then follow I-5 North or South (depending on your direction) until you see signs for downtown Seattle. Check with your hotel for the easiest exit off the freeway. Driving in Seattle can be tricky with all the one-way streets.
Seattle is a very walkable city, although there are some hills down by the waterfront and First Avenue. Getting around Seattle can be made easier since Metro buses are FREE in the downtown area in the daytime (6AM to 7PM). The free ride zone for buses in downtown Seattle extends from Battery Street in Belltown to South Jackson Street in Pioneer Square. Choosing a hotel that is located near all the major attractions is something you need to consider (see below for details). Too get an idea of where everything is in the Seattle area, see the downtown Seattle map located HERE
. You can quickly spot Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, the waterfront and aquarium, and Safeco Field. Pioneer Square is a major shopping center and around this area you will find restaurants for all tastes. 2 days in Seattle is probably plenty to see the main sites as well as taking a side trip to Bainbridge Island on a Ferry if you want. I would say the best time of year is late spring or early fall, as the summers can get pretty hot at times. Pack a good pair of walking shoes and enjoy the coffee, food, and waterfront in beautiful Seattle, Washington.
Seattle gets a big variety of weather, mostly rain with a little snow in the winter. Certainly a visit to Seattle in the summer months will give you a better chance at clear and sunny weather. Spring, Fall and Winter will bring cooler temperatures and a good chance of rain. I have visited Seattle several times during all parts of the year and my most recent trip was in early February when the weather was 65 degrees and sunny. Be prepared for rain and make sure you have a rain jacket and umbrella so walking around can still be enjoyed. For a 10 day weather forecast in Seattle, click HERE
Where to Stay - Best Hotels:
Finding a reasonably priced hotel in Seattle is definitely getting harder as the city draws more and more tourists each year. Since we highly recommend NOT having a car (rental car), you'll need to book a hotel near the downtown area in Seattle to eliminate any extra walking. One of our favorite sites for finding the best rates on hotels in Seattle is at Seattlesupersaver.com
. They have deals on 5 Star Hotels, 4 Star Hotels, 3 star hotels, and discount hotels in and around the city. You can search by location - downtown, Capitol Hill, airport, University District, etc. The Marriott Springhill Suites
recently opened on Yale Avenue and I stayed there with my family on my last trip to Seattle. The hotel provides free high speed Internet access and a complimentary buffet breakfast (waffles were great). You can also get on their free downtown Seattle Shuttle Service and avoid the long walk or driving your own car. Some rooms offer a refrigerator, microwave, and sink. King Suites were priced under $150 at the time of this article. Another favorite spot of mine to stay in downtown Seattle is at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel
on 6th Avenue. This AAA 4 Diamond hotel is in a great location and their website is HERE
. Rooms start around $200, but the extra price is well worth the easier access to downtown attractions right out the hotels front door. They offer some Internet only rates which will save a few more dollars. As a final option, consider the Best Western Seattle Pioneer Square Hotel
. This nice boutique hotel is literally right in Pioneer Square. It's also just 8 blocks north of Qwest Field, where the Seattle Seahawks play (Safeco Field is just another big block south of Qwest, if you are in the mood for a Mariners game). This Best Western offers 75 rooms and suites, all decorated to feel more like a cozy inn than a chain hotel. Rooms run from $140 to $240, depending on room type and time of year. Pioneer Square is a great place to explore and experience Seattle from - hence the horse-drawn carriages for tourists! But the shops, galleries, and restaurants draw locals as well -- so enjoy your visit.
Space Needle - Pike Place Market:
Sightseeing in Seattle is best on a clear day, but part of the fun of being there is exploring even if the weather is rainy and cloudy. The Space Needle
was built in 1962 and stands 605 feet tall (observation deck is 520 feet up). The Revolving SkyCity Restaurant is 500 feet up and gives quite the view. The Space Needle is open daily from 9AM to 11PM (12AM on Fri & Sat.). Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for youth (kids 3 and under are free). You can check out all the details online at Spaceneedle.com. It's definitely the type of things you need to do once, but if the weather is no good, I would pass on the trip to the top and just admire it from down below. When the clouds roll in and it's rainy, it's no fun being at the top of the Space Needle. On days when it's clear, you can see for miles (look for Mt Rainier). Pike Place Market
is another huge tourist attraction in Seattle that is worth the time. You may have heard or seen the fish that get thrown by the merchants in the market place. Pike Place has tons of shopping and fresh seafood as well as produce. For driving directions, parking information and hours, go to their website HERE
. Lastly, if you have kids, then touring the Seattle Aquarium along the waterfront can be a fun experience. Hours vary by season but the ticket prices are constant at $12.50/adult and $8.50/youth. Children 3 and under are free. For the latest hours of operation, go to the main website at Seattleaquarium.org