Seattle’s laid-back attitude and diverse neighborhoods more than make up for its consistently cloudy weather. Plus, it’s home to some of the country’s best coffee and a thriving arts scene, plenty of history, culture and — when the weather permits — some exciting outdoor activities. Surrounded by water (and resting between Puget Sound and Lake Washington), the city’s favorite outdoor pursuits include kayaking, hiking and camping. Not only that, but the nearby Olympic Mountains and the giant Mount Rainier are visible from many spots in the city; ski slopes are just a short drive away. And while travelers often bemoan the weather, there’s actually less annual precipitation here than in New York or Boston. Overcast skies rarely stop Seattleites from getting out and exploring the city — and it shouldn’t stop you either.
If you’re headed to the Emerald City and not up for strenuous outdoor activities, Seattle still offers plenty to do and see. Art lovers will appreciate the glass-blown pieces at Chihuly Garden and Glass, as well as the pieces at the Seattle Art Museum. Maritime enthusiasts can explore the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and watch the ships putter by. Make time to switch gears from boats to brews on a visit here, too. The city is emerging as a popular beer destination, boasting dozens of breweries that produce local craft beer.
How To Save Money in Seattle
- Don’t rent a car from the airport If you wait until you’re in town to pick up your ride, you can avoid an exorbitant airport rental surcharge.
- Buy a CityPASS The Seattle CityPASS is a good way to save on some of the city’s top attractions, including the Space Needle and the Museum of Flight.
- Dine downtown This part of town is full of affordable restaurants boasting a variety of cuisines that will satisfy your hunger — and your budget.
Seattle Culture & Customs
The city’s pub and coffee shop culture is renowned, and it perfectly accommodates Seattle’s intellectual atmosphere.
One of the most evident (and loudest) aspects of Seattle culture is its excellent alternative music venues, with famous clubs that include The Crocodile, Chop Suey and Triple Door. Also, be sure to check out the interactive exhibits at the Experience Music Project.
With Seattle’s cafe and music scene, you might think the city has an “indoor” reputation, but Seattleites also take pride in getting out of the city for a camping or kayaking trip. If the weather’s suitable, take a jaunt out to nearby Alki Beach or go for a hike in Discovery Park.
Seattle restaurants dole out tasty local fare that’s often infused with flavors from across the world. Its Pacific Northwest location (surrounded by several bodies of water) allows easy access to fresh seafood like salmon, clams and shellfish. Other Pacific Northwest specialites you’ll likely see on the menu or complementing dishes include game meats like moose, caribou and elk, wild mushrooms and fresh berry jams. But rest assured, you’ll find cuisine comes in all forms in this city. Everything from the delectable vegetarian plates at Sutra (on the eastern outskirts of the Fremont neighborhood) to the upscale classic Italian meals and wine at Altura Restaurant (in Capitol Hill) seems to impress the foodies of Seattle. The city’s cafes and bakeries boast expertly crafted coffee and treats — travelers suggest heading to Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle to try the pastries.
Meanwhile, Seattle offers a lively beer culture, with breweries like Pike Brewing Company and Odin Brewing Company vying for visitors’ and Seattleites’ attention. Bars are also renowned for their ambiance and fine draft beers, often accompanied by stew or gumbo. And everyone agrees a stop for some grub (or groceries) at the famous Pike Place Market is a must for any visit to Seattle.