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Town, meet country. Known for its scenic mountain backdrop, fir-filled urban forests and compact downtown, Seattle seems to have the best of both worlds. Add tech-giants and savvy start-ups, massive malls and trendy boutiques, water taxis and cops on pushbikes and you've got a city that has it all.
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Downtown is undoubtedly Seattle’s hippest area. Flashy skyscrapers and department stores fill the “CBD”. The area also brims with fine eateries and cultural venues. Head to the Seattle Art Museum to see contemporary art exhibitions and then have a coffee at the original “Starbucks” in Pike Place Market, found amidst the shops and street-food stalls.Accommodations in Downtown Seattle
This residential area runs up and down a steep hill. It’s known for the Seattle Centre, a park and entertainment complex. Many of its youth-centric bars and restaurants are worth visiting. Two of the best are Ozzie’s Karaoke Bar, where wannabe pop-stars belt out hits with a pint in hand, plus the Toulouse Petit with its flavoursome Cajun cuisine.Accommodations in Queen Anne
Talk about renewal. Once known as the “seedy” side of town, this area has totally cleaned up its act – it’s filled with trendy boutiques, local art galleries, restaurants, record shops and eateries. Vintage vinyl lovers should check out Singles Going Steady on 2nd Ave, while clubs like The Crocodile play host to live Indie music.Accommodations in Belltown
Where giants of the tech world set up shop. Amazon's corporate headquarters are in this area, filled with huge skyscrapers and upscale apartment blocks. It’s also known for the sprawling South Lake Union Park. Nearby, you’ll find the beloved-by-locals Brave Horse Tavern, where local chef Tom Douglas serves up delicious gourmet burgers.Accommodations in South Lake Union
Capitol Hill lies east of the CBD. This slick and eclectic area is filled with bars, boutiques, cafés and clubs. It holds an eclectic range of restaurants – try the Annapurna Café for mouth-wateringly good Tibetan food. The new Starbucks Reserve on Pike Street offers tastings for new blends of coffee, many of which are roasted on-site.Accommodations in Capitol Hill
West Seattle has more of a small-town vibe than anywhere else in the city. It’s known for “The Junction”, where you can find some of the best shopping and places to dine in the city. Day or night, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Alki Point – this gorgeous beach has low tourist-traffic and incredible views of the city.Accommodations in West Seattle
The birthplace of Seattle. The city’s oldest district has one of the city’s youngest populations. To experience some of the city’s history, book an underground tour with “Beneath the Streets” tour company – you’ll discover the sunken storefronts that were covered over when the city was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1889.Accommodations in Pioneer Square
Where Seattle meets the world. “ID” is a hub of Asian culture, where early migrants came to live and work in the 19th-century. Today, it’s known for its regular cultural festivals, but most importantly for food, food and more food – head to Tamarind Tree for delicious Vietnamese cuisine, or shop at Uwajimaya Market for street-food and supplies.Accommodations in International District
There’s a lot to sing about in Ballard. This neighbourhood is known for its fashionable shops, eateries and residents. Head to Ballard Avenue and Market Street for stylish clothing, including Sonic Boom - a clothing shop that’s a hit with Seattle’s in-crowd. The Waterfront is loaded with eateries – try Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen for the best in BBQing!Accommodations in Ballard
SODO – “South of Downtown”. Years were spent renewing the city’s former industrial quarter, an area that’s easily accessible by light-rail. SODO’s revitalisation speaks for itself – art galleries, restaurants, wine bars and craft breweries have sprung up in former warehouses, and hip ‘n stylish folks have taken residence in their droves.Accommodations in SODO
After spending years living in bustling cities like New York and LA, Carter loves Seattle's variety.
If you've come to Seattle to pay homage to the greats of grunge music, look no further than this dive bar. Although it may be one of the last places Kurt Cobain graced, Linda's doesn't advertise its claim to fame - the authentic vibe and pub atmosphere are more than enough reason to visit.Accommodations nearby
Four-year Seattleite Jessica is convinced that travel and adventure are life's true treasures.
Don't miss out on the amazing photo op at Rizal Park! Perched on the western slope of Beacon Hill, you'll get a clear view of the Seattle skyline. Stop by at night for a romantic rendezvous with the city lit up below you, or bring your four-legged friend for a play session in the dog park.Accommodations nearby
Laine says Seattle's great food, music scene and access to nature makes it the best of all worlds.
Want to dodge the astronomical line at the Space Needle and still get some amazing panoramic views? Check out Columbia Tower's Sky View Observatory ﾖ the tallest observatory on the West Coast. You'll marvel at 360-degree views of Seattle's twinkling cityscape set before jagged mountains.Accommodations nearby
It didn't take newcomer Shareil long to realize that Seattle is home to some spectacular views.
Seattle isn't well known for its beaches, but you don't want to miss Alki Beach. Watching the waves break with the skyline in the background is hard to beat. Public transport and water-taxi services make this West Seattle beach easily accessible, and the view alone is worth the short trip.Accommodations nearby
Although Todd has lived all over the world, he's always drawn home to Seattle's beautiful diversity.
Instead of coughing up a steep fee to take a tourist boat tour, why not catch the public ferry to Bainbridge Island ﾖ a great place to cycle, explore art galleries or just relax with a coffee. Aside from saving some extra cash, you'll get awesome views of the city as you leave and return.Accommodations nearby
Travel-mad Casey is inspired by new experiences and loves learning about different cultures.
If you're searching for incredible views of Seattle, look no further. Panoramic viewpoints and easy accessibility make Kerry Park a hotspot for locals and visitors alike. On a clear day, you can capture a photo of the Space Needle, Mount Rainier and the city skyline in a single shot.Accommodations nearby
Most people label Seattle's weather as gloomy, but Kaitlyn finds beauty even in the rainy days.
The Bathtub Gin & Co. is a cosy speakeasy establishment hidden in an alleyway behind an inconspicuous wooden door. If you happen to stumble into 'Gin Alley' (between 1st and 2nd Avenue in Belltown) and uncover this gem, you'll be in for some of the city's best gin cocktails.Accommodations nearby
Native Seattleite Megan contends that the world's best salmon can be found right here in her city.
Ballard Locks may not be that well known, even to locals, but it's a really interesting place to visit. Boats use the locks to connect from the Pacific Ocean to Lake Washington. You'll also see salmon zipping through the fish ladder during their spawning season in mid to late August.Accommodations nearby
As a Washington native, Zachary is sure that Seattle is the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
The Underground Tour is a great way to experience Seattle's quirky character and learn some city history. This leisurely guided walk will take you back in time to the city's mid-19th century origins, winding beneath old streets at what was once ground level. Definitely an hour well spent!Accommodations nearby
Born and raised in Seattle, Jonel loves the variety of activities in and around the city.
If you're looking for an adventure you won't soon forget, take flight on a Kenmore Air seaplane over Seattle. Once on board the seaplane, you'll take a 20-minute narrated tour over the city. Soaring high above the skyline and waterfront, you'll see the city like never before!Accommodations nearby
When it comes to having fun, Lolly thinks there's nothing better than great food and unique art.
The Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum is visually stunning at any time of day, but particularly just before sunset. See sunlight ignite the glass sculptures in the gardens, before touring the incredible indoor exhibits. After dark, head back to the gardens to see the sculptures transformed.Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Seattle while avoiding the crowds?
For me part of sightseeing includes checking out the crowds and the local people and how they interact among themselves and visitors. Sightseeing is more than just looking at the prairies in Kansas or beautiful Black Hill of South Dakota, Yellowstone River running through Wyoming and Montana, or the forest and coastline in Oregon or even the Cactus Forest we saw in Arizona. It also about checking out the people in crowded streets of downtown Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, and San Francisco or the people who or at the other table is restaurants in Newport, Oregon or San Diego California or the waiters and waitresses who served us in Oklahoma City, Seattle, Vancouver, Oakland and El Paso. There is a lot to see on the wonderful continent and my wife and I take try to take in all the sights; the natural environment, the man-made structures such as the Space Needle in Seattle, the monuments and museums and even the people.See all 18 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What is it in Seattle that makes history come to life?
The underground walking tours are amazing for learning about the history of Seattle! We took the Beneath the Streets tour, & our guide was extremely knowledgeable about Seattle history with his 15 years of experience. We also took the Spooked in Seattle walking tour where we learned about the paranormal side of Seattle!See all 5 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Seattle.
There are many smaller, less known stores to shop at with a variety of offerings and some bargains.See all 13 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes the people from Seattle so friendly? Tell us your story.
People stopped on the street when they saw we looked lost and asked if they could help.See all 9 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What seafood experience in Seattle is still on your mind?
Taylor Shellfish just opened a restaurant near Seattle Center. Yahoo!See all 13 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's the secret to sampling all the diverse food Seattle has to offer?
Walk through Pike Place Market to really experience Seattle!See all 6 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What did you discover about the museums in Seattle that wasn't in the guidebooks?
Chihuly Glass and Gardens at the Space NeedleSee all 7 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Which fine art museums should a first-time visitor to Seattle start with?
Seattle Art Museum - absolutelySee all 8 answers
The easiest way to reach central Seattle from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is via the Link light rail service, which runs from 05:00–01:00. Follow the Link signs via the airport car park to SeaTac/Airport Station. The trip to the centre takes 30–40 minutes and costs up to USD 3. There’s also an airport bus which costs the same, but the light rail is much faster. Alternatively, Yellow Cab taxis will charge around USD 40–50 from the airport to the city centre.
Bus travel in Seattle is very efficient, thanks to the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel which runs under the centre from the International District to Convention Place Station. Bus stops are clearly marked by a green and yellow sign, and each bus ride costs USD 2.75–3.25. The easiest way to pay is with an ORCA smartcard, valid on all public transport. Cards cost USD 5 and can be bought and topped up at all major stations. You can also pay on the bus in exact change.
Taxis in Seattle are usually fast (unless it's rush hour) but pricey over long distances. The best way to find a taxi is to call a taxi company directly and order a cab. Smartphone users can also download the free Seattle Yellow Cab app. The initial taxi fare is USD 2.60, with USD 2.70 added per mile travelled. There’s also a charge of USD 0.50 per minute when the taxi stops or is moving very slowly in stop-and-go traffic. Tipping 15% of the final fare is standard.
The Link light railway line runs from Westlake Station in the city centre to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, making 11 stops along the way. Trains run underground, avoiding the hectic rush-hour traffic above, and the single line makes it almost impossible to get lost. Link operates from 05:00–01:00 (06:00–00:00 on Sundays), with a train at least every 15 minutes. Tickets are sold at machines in stations and cost up to USD 3, depending on journey length.
Seattle’s grid system makes it relatively easy to get around by car, but the combination of hilly roads and frequent rain means cautious driving is a must. It’s also a good idea to avoid main roads and motorways during rush hour (07:00–10:00 and 15:00–18:00), when heavy traffic and long delays are common. On-street parking can be tricky to find in the city centre but there are plenty of public car parks – expect to pay anything from USD 3 to USD 9 per hour.
The Seattle Center Monorail provides a direct link between Westlake Station in the city centre and the Seattle Centre – home to the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center and many other attractions. The monorail is popular with tourists and is fairly fast, with only 2 stops. Trains run every 10 minutes from 07:30–23:00 from Monday to Friday, and from 08:30–23:00 on Saturday and Sunday. A one-way ticket costs USD 2.25 for adults, or USD 1 for kids up to 12 years old.
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