Travel, Local Guide to Seattle


Local Guide to Seattle

By Christa Romano

With a towering futuristic Space needle as its emblem, Seattle pulsates with energy. A city born of brawny industries-logging, fishing, and major maritime pursuits — even its terrain speaks of strength.

The steep hills have spawned generations of sturdy residents unafraid of challenges, from gold seekers and Alaskan explorers to fishermen.

Today, Seattle attracts high-techies to companies like Microsoft; it lures the keen international traders looking to the Pacific Rim; it entices the innovative engineer to the aircraft industry; and invites the active type of resident who loses no opportunity to hike, jog, ski, bicycle or paddle through the trails and waterways.

Seattle's Public Market Center, the biggest tourist draw next to the Space Needle.
Seattle’s Public Market Center, the biggest tourist draw next to the Space Needle.

Today’s Seattle is fueled by espresso and microbrews and nurtured by the sheer beauty of 14,410-foot Mount Rainier, the towering, snowcapped Cascades mountains, and an inland ocean, Puget Sound.

Evergreen forests frame the outer suburbs and accent parks and streets. The major highways I-5 and I-90 intersect in midtown to connect Seattle with the rest of the U.S., but Seattle has a feel of belonging more to the Pacific Rim and Asia than it does to East Coast America.

Yet with roots from the Midwest loggers and Scandinavian and Slavic fishermen who first came here, the life of Seattle has order and substance. There’s a joy of living, an appreciation of space that permeates the place, with little of the decadence that comes from too little to do.

Entirely aware of its outdoor charms, Seattle has trail systems throughout the city for hiking and biking. Downtown’s Lake Union and its much larger cousin, Lake Washington to the east, have rowboats and sailboats for rent, as well as private boats moored after negotiating the locks from saltwater to lakes.

Puget Sound and the islands provide hours and days of beachcombing and watersports, while day and night skiing in winter is only an hour away at Crystal Mountain, Snoqualmie summit, and elsewhere.

Always a cultural center, the Seattle scene was expanded by the 1962 World’s Fair. The Space Needle, Science Center, and auditoriums are a legacy of the special construction completed for the event.

Land of Jimi, Pearl Jam and Quincy

And in the land of Pearl Jam, Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, and sax player Kenny G., music, alternative theater, art and music thrive. Each September, the Seattle Center teems with one of the largest and most eclectic arts festivals in the world, Bumbershoot.

Famous Seattlelites

Still more a small town than a major metropolis, Seattle has neighborhoods, not ghettos, that overlap and interact. The diverse ethnic population–British, Japanese, South Pacific immigrants such as Fijians and Malaysians, Chinese, Scandinavian, mid-European, Italian–has recently grown to include significant immigration from Central and South America and Russia.

Unlike some eastern cities, the neighborhoods are not sacrosanct–anyone lives anywhere–but the International District, popular for its ethnic restaurants and shops, tends to attract Pacific Rim newcomers.

The Jackson Street neighborhood has a higher percentage of African Americans, a lingering factor from the early 1900s. Even then, however, clubs like the Black and Tan were hangouts for both blacks and whites.

Queen Anne Green Lake/Fremont

Young professionals often shack up in Queen Anne and Green Lake/Fremont areas with their lively, sometimes offbeat nightlife. Another popular area for both residents and visitors is Belltown, an older, eclectic neighborhood along Elliott Bay.

Farther north, Ballard was settled by Scandinavian and Slavic fishermen and still reflects those cultures. Capitol Hill is a mixture of old, stately homes and citizens, a gay community, students, and business people, while The University District teems with students from the University of Washington.

Those who have “made it” can afford the high prices of lakefront properties on Lake Washington and in the eastern suburbs of Bellevue and Kirkland, Issaquah, or more rural Woodinville and Bothell. But free spirits-of which Seattle has many–have set up housekeeping in a small neighborhood of houseboats around Lake Union.

In recent years, downtown has also begun to thrive. Older buildings fronting on Elliott Bay and around Pike Place Market are now renovated into apartments with splendid views that sweep clear to the Olympic Mountains across the Sound. The downtown stores and taverns spawned during the Yukon gold rush days have been cleaned up to attract the visitor or after-work crowd, instead of flannel-shirt prospectors.

Major music groups play the taverns, and history screams its story from every restored building above or below ground, for Pioneer Square, the heart of Seattle, is built literally on top of old, original Seattle. In underground tours you can see old storefronts and cobbled streets.

emerald Yacht basin
Emerald Landing in Seattle.

Somehow, Seattle manages to juggle its history, dynamics and diverse population in an easy-going manner, with relatively little friction.

It’s a city with a bit of an attitude: “We are here, we are happy, but outsiders…leave us alone and let us run this city in our own way.”

Get On a Boat

As a Seattle resident, you learn to embrace the outdoors no matter what the weather. To much surprise, the boating opportunities in the city are fantastic.

Specifically, Emerald Landing is a yacht moorage that is located just minutes away from Downtown Seattle. In close proximity to lakes and Puget Sound, a yachting experience will allow you to experience the city in an entirely new way.

If a Seattle-ite were to express private feelings, they might sound something like this: “I get tired of the sneers about Seattle rain when other areas get paralyzing snow or suffocating heat that are worse, and I say little about the usually dry and excruciatingly beautiful two or three months of summer, the autumn leaves and exuberant blooms of spring (lest too many others move here).

I exult in the wild mountains at the back door available for mountain biking and hiking, skiing and snowboarding, and the limitless expanses of saltwater and lakes available for maritime sports. I appreciate our vibrant arts, clean streets, and clean air, and I seldom swelter, seldom freeze, and am seldom bored. So what if it rains in winter while YOU are shoveling snow!”


Seattle has more major attractions than almost any US city other than New York. From the World’s Fair Space Needle to the famous Pike Place Market, where fishmongers throw salmon like Frisbees, these attractions really are must-sees.

The most affordable way to do the main attractions is to purchase a CityPass that includes admission to the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Woodland Park Zoo, Museum of Flight, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Art Museum. $28.25 adults, seniors 55+ $24.25, ages 6-13 $16.50.

Purchase a CityPass at any of those six sites or by phone or the Internet.
(800) 824-4795

Seattle Center
305 Harrison Street
(206) 684-7200, (206) 684-8582

The fourth-largest destination site in America, the Seattle Center offers 74 acres of activities. Home of the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Key Arena, Seattle Opera, Pacific NW Ballet, Seattle Repertory Theatre, the new Experience Music Project, exhibition spaces, restaurants, the colorful Flag Pavilion and much more.

Pacific Science Center, Seattle Center (see above).
Hands-on science exhibits for adults and children. Magnificent architecture.

Seattle Art Museum
100 University Avenue
(206) 654-3100
The immense outdoor sculpture Hammering Man looms outside the handsome museum on First Avenue. Traveling and permanent exhibits, store, and coffee shop.

Seattle Aquarium
Pier 59
(206) 386-4320
Nose-to-nose displays through the glass. Vast underwater dome from which you can watch divers feed the fish at 1:30 PM daily. Cute river and sea otters lie on their backs nurturing their young. The life cycle of the salmon. Giant octopus in 3,500-gallon tank. Fish, starfish, reef sharks, and much more.

Woodland Park Zoo
5500 Phinney Ave. N.
(206) 684-4800
Komodo dragons, Malayan sun bears, tapirs, giraffes are among the exhibits. This is also the place to see bears native to many Northwest forests. Special events and a rose garden.

Museum of Flight
Boeing Field
9404 E. Marginal Way S.
(206) 764-5720
Trace the history of aircraft, especially the beginnings of Boeing aircraft from 1916 to today.

Experience Music Project
325 5th Ave. N.

The ultimate Seattle attraction, the EMP is a blend of high-tech and rock music. Housed in a truly far-out building designed by Frank Gehry, the EMP includes lots of interactive exhibits, a virtual reality type ride, historical music artifacts, and handheld computers that explain the exhibits. Some say the building looks like a smashed guitar with its strings drooping, in honor of native son, Jimi Hendrix (a permanent Hendrix exhibit is worth the expensive admission). Concerts and performances in the evenings.

Pioneer Square
The heart of old Seattle dating back to the days of the Yukon gold rush. Many office buildings are rented now to dot-coms. Ancient, bawdy taverns, now respectable, often feature good food and music groups in an atmosphere close to the original.

Seattle Waterfront
A long waterfront street parallels the water with views of pleasure boats, ferries, cruise ships, and the Olympic Mountains across the Sound. Shops, restaurants, the Seattle Aquarium and places to lounge and sun yourself.

Pike Place market vendor in Seattle.
Pike Place market vendor in Seattle.

Pike Place Market
Farmers and small vendors bring their wares to sell in this rambling downtown marketplace. A foodie’s dream, the market offers a wide array of tantalizing produce, gorgeous fresh flowers, fish from the docks, and crafts.

Eat at a restaurant or buy a loaf of hot French bread and a chunk of fresh smoked salmon at a market stall, and go sit in the sun on benches.

Great view over the Sound to the Olympics and the islands. Grab a double tall latte at the original Starbuck’s located across from the flower market.


From rock star graves to virtual reality playgrounds, Seattle’s unusual attractions pulse with the real spirit of the city.

Daybreak Star Arts Center
Discovery Park
(206) 285-4425
Native American arts and gallery.

Art Parks
Seattle Arts Commission
312 First Avenue N.
(206) 684-7171
From the totem poles of Pioneer Square to the Soundgarden on Lake Washington, Seattle’s public parks are artistic creations in their own rights.
Free maps and guides from the Seattle Arts Commission.

Lake Union
(206) 328-2690
A vintage ferry towed back to Seattle from Alaska in 1999 serves as a theatre. Streamlining makes it look like a blimp on water.

Boeing Plant Tour
Everett Tour Center, Interstate 5 to Exit 189, then go about 3.5 miles to State Highway 526 West. Follow signs to Tour Center. Or take Metro.
(800) 464-1476, (206) 544-1264
See airplanes in various stages of construction in a huge building. May see 767s, 777s or 737s.

Gravesites of Bruce and Brandon Lee
Lake View Cemetery
1554 15th East.
Gravesites of the famous Hollywood father-and-son Kung-fu masters.

Jimi Hendrix’s Grave
Greenwood Memorial Cemetery
350 Monroe NE
Fans leave mountains of flowers and memorials.

Flag Pavillion Fountain
Seattle Center
Fans light candles in honor of Kurt Cobain at the fountain by the Flag Pavilion, Seattle Center.

Snoqualmie Falls
6501 Railroad Avenue S.E., Snoqualmie
(425) 888-2556
15 miles east of Seattle off I-90, follow signs. 285′ waterfall where the TV drama, “Twin Peaks,” was filmed.

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
3015 NW 54th St., Ballard area
(206) 783-7059
Watch large and small boats lock-through from Puget Sound’s salt water to Lake Union’s fresh water. Fish ladders for steelhead and salmon.

Washington Park Arboretum
2300 Arboretum Drive East
(206) 543-8800
The 200 acres of gardens are worth a walk. Spring features rhododendrons and azaleas, fall is great for visiting the Japanese garden and tea house.

Wing Luke Asian Museum
407 7th Avenue S.
(206) 623-5124
The country’s only museum dedicated to Asian-American history.

Seattle Asian Art Museum
1400 E. Prospect St. in Volunteer Park
(206) 654-3100
One of the finest collections of Asian art in the country. Over 7,000 pieces.

Nordic Heritage Museum
3014 N.W. 67th St.
(206) 789-5707
The cultures of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland are portrayed in this Ballard (predominantly Scandinavian neighborhood) museum.

Gas Works Park On Lake Union
A renovated industrial site that is prime real estate for kite flying and city views.

Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum
317 3rd Ave. S.
(206) 748-9991
How to catch a crook. 140 years of equipment and interactive exhibits.

Sit and Spin
2219 4th Avenue
(206) 441-9484 Where else could you enjoy great music, do your laundry or access the Internet in the same place? Check out performances by groups like Back to the Lab, The White Stripes, and Nevada Bachelors.

1511 7th Ave.
(206) 521-0952
Experience virtual reality with real personal involvement. One of the fifteen places in the world where you can indulge in this gripping experience in a variety of games. Gameworks has food and drinks, too.

WhirlyBall of Washington
23402 Highway 99, Edmonds suburb
(425) 672-3332
Great new game, with five players on each side, any age. Played indoors with a jai-alai type of scoop and a plastic ball. Players each ride a gizmo like a cross between a bumper car and a paddleboat.The object is to throw the ball into a 15-inch net.

The Frisbee Museum
(206) 364-9808
Over 5,000 discs-the world’s second-largest collection-collected and curated by an ex-Boeing engineer. By appointment only.

The Fremont area is an especially popular gathering ground for young adults, some say a state of mind. A sign at N. 35th and Fremont N. says the district is the “Center of the Universe” and gives mileages to places like London and Moscow. The Fremont bridge over the ship canal is orange and blue-that tells you something, too.

Troll Sculpture
A huge cement sculpture of a troll under a bridge eating a real, life-sized Volkswagon is located under the Aurora bridge from downtown.

Lenin Statue
N. 36th St., and Fremont Place Square
This statue disturbs some people. A Russian acquired the statue from an unknown Russian city where it was toppled after the Cold War and brought it to Seattle as a symbol of undesirable oppression. Fitting in the land of anti-WTO demonstrations.

The Interurban Statue
34th and Fremont Ave. N.
Citizens may decorate this statue as they wish to celebrate any event-as long as they clear it up afterward.


Of course, the major Seattle activity is drinking coffee at Starbucks or Seattle’s Best. Locations everywhere in the city-as ubiquitous as stop signs. Know the language. Latte is with steamed milk and a head of foam. Americano is a weak sister. Mocha is with cocoa powder. Sound like a local and say “double tall non-fat one squirt of vanilla latte.”

Once you’re pumped on caffeine, there’s lots more to do in Seattle. From culture to nature, the city provides enough activities to tire out even the most ambitious and over-caffeinated traveler.

Outdoor Activities

Seattle people are outdoor lovers. And Seattle offers outdoor activities for all types of travelers: skiing and snow sports in the mountains during winter; water sports all year. On the lakes and on quieter portions of Puget Sound, kayaking, water skiing, jet skiing, parasailing, fishing, sailing, sightseeing by boat are all popular. The San Juan Islands are a special place to many Seattlites, accessible by ferry from Anacortes.


With the mountains close by, there are buses to the following ski areas for both day and night skiing and boarding.

Snoqualmie Summit
(888) 804-6404, (425) 434-7669

Crystal Mountain
(360) 663-2265

Equipment may be rented at ski areas or at the following rental shops:

4720 University Village Pl. N.E.
(206) 523-9610

Ski Mart
830 106th Ave. N.E., Bellevue
(425) 637-8958

For cross-country, alpine touring, snowshoes, backpacking, rock climbing gear, try:

Wilderness Sports
14340 N.E. 20th, Bellevue
(425) 746-0500

Hiking and mountain biking

The Burke-Gilman Trail goes for 15 miles along the waterways, including halfway around Lake Washington, and most other trails intersect with it somewhere.

Snoqualmie Summit Ski Area
Exit 54, I-90
Take a ski lift to a mountain bike at the top of the lift.

A trail around Green Lake, not far from downtown, is popular with joggers and power walkers.

For trail maps, contact:

King County Regional Trails Map
Luther Burbank Park, 2040 84th S.E., Mercer Island
(206) 296-4232
Stop by or call and they will send one for free, but they also welcome contributions.

State Dept. of Transportation-Bicycling Guide Map
(206) 263-4700
They will send you one free.

Bike rentals

Bicycle Center, on Burke-Gilman Trail
4529 Sandpoint Way N.E.
(206) 523-8300

Blazing Saddles Bicycle Rental & Touring Center
1230 Western Avenue
(206) 341-9994
Rentals and computer-assisted, self-guided bike tours.

Terrene Tours
3810 E. Galer St.
(206) 325-5569
Customized biking, hiking, skiing tours, one day or several. Also offers door-to-door valet equipment and bike rentals perfect for the traveler who wants to bike the town for a day.

Horseback riding

Woodinville Riding Club
17828 N.E. 185th, Woodinville (suburb, northeast side of Lake Washington).
(425) 481-1377


Center for Wooden Boats
1010 Valle, Lake Union
(206) 382-2628
Rents rowboats to get around the lake. Displays of vintage wooden boats, too.

Washington has become a mecca for kayaking, both on sea and inland waters. There are several places to rent the sleek boats for the day or longer:

Agua Verde Café & Paddle Club
1303 N.E. Boat Street on Portage Bay between Union and Washington Lakes
Rents kayaks only but has great food and drink, too.

Cascade Canoe & Kayak Centers, Inc.
3519 108th Ave. S.E. Bellevue, (425) 637-8838
5811 Lake Washington Blvd. N.E., Kirkland, (425) 822-6111
Rents canoes and kayaks on different parts of the east side of Lake Washington.


Alki is a favorite local sandy beach in West Seattle. Warm air, cold water, great mountain, and maritime views and a matchless place to admire the Seattle skyline. Stop in at Salty’s on Alki, a favorite local watering hole and restaurant with a great deck and killer views over the sound.

Cultural Activities

Seattle takes its culture seriously. More than fifty theatres and performance spaces thrive around town, from the high-brow Seattle Opera House to downtown fringe theatres.

All year, major and small theater productions, some straight from New York stage, are playing in Seattle at various venues.

ACT (A Contemporary Theatre)
700 Union St.
(206) 292-7676
Original productions from one of the top regional theatre companies in the country

Seattle Repertory Theatre
155 Mercer St.
(206) 443-2210
Significant plays from another nationally respected company.

5th Avenue Theatre
1308 5th Ave.
(206) 625-1900
Major traveling productions.

Intiman Theatre
201 Mercer Street
(206) 269-1900
New plays and classics in this well-known theatre.

The Empty Space Theatre
3509 Fremont Avenue
Avante-garde and new plays.

Moore Theater
1932 2nd Ave.
(206) 443-1744
A historic theater that still hosts major traveling productions.

Nippon Kan Theatre
628 S. Washington Ave. in International District
(206) 224-0181
The historic theater, originally showing Japanese productions, now offers a wide variety.

Paramount Theatre
911 Pine St.
(206) 682-1414
Major traveling productions.

Seattle Children’s Theatre
Ticket office, 2nd Ave. N. and Thomas
(206) 441-3322
Great children’s productions.

University of Washington Theaters
(206) 543-4880
A wide range of productions at the Meany Theater, The Playhouse, and Penthouse Theater.

Dance, alternative and fringe performances are found in a number of smaller venues.

Theater Schmeater
1500 Summit, Capitol Hill
(206) 324-5801
Classics like Oedipus Rex to Twilight Zone Live

Seattle Annex
1916 4th Ave.
(206) 728-0933
Features local playwrights.

Market Theatre, lower level of Pike Place Market in Post Alley
(206) 781-9273
Improv theatre games and hilarity.

On the Boards
100 West Roy, Queen Anne
(206) 217-9888
Avant-garde dance, visual arts, theatre and music combined.

Comedy Underground
222 S. Main St., Pioneer Square
(206) 628-0303
Literally underground. Features local stand-up comedians seven nights a week, plus touring comedians on their way up. Hosts Northwest Foolproof Comedy Festival every year, too. Food and drink is available from upstairs at Swannie’s Bar & Grill.
But if you came to Seattle for the music (and who doesn’t want to at least check out what the latest Seattle sound is?), there is an array of live music venues to choose from. World music to Rockabilly, ska to swing, face it–Seattle rocks.

The Experience Music Project
325 5th Ave. N.
Nightly concerts and special music events in the Lounge.

Tractor Tavern
5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., Ballard
(206) 789-3599
Groups like Sweet Juice, Equation and Plimsouls (power pop band).

The Crocodile Café
2200 2nd Avenue, Belltown
(206) 441-5611
An original major grunge spot that still has some of that sound, but is more into rock.

Jazz Alley
7th and Lenora
(206) 441-9729
Known nationwide for jazz.

The Jukebox
At the Nitelite Restaurant
2nd Avenue and Virginia
(206) 448-4852
Smooth Jazz and old country in this very trendy downtown 24-hour restaurant and club.

Polly Esther’s and the Culture Club
332 5th Ave., N. at Harrison St.
(206) 441-1970
Take a step back…and forth. Two decades of retro Seattle, 70s disco and Î80s retro. Three dance floors.

Bohemian Café
111 Yesler Way
(206) 447-1514
Known for reggae and Caribbean menu.

Nine clubs around Pioneer Square have banded together to offer a joint cover-charge ticket for about $10 that admits you to any of the nine, and can be purchased at the door of any participating club.

Bohemian Café
(206) 447-1514

Bohemian Backstage
(206) 447-1514

Fenix Underground
(206) 343-0716

Central Tavern
(206) 622-1515

Larry’s Greenfront
(206) 624-7665

Doc Maynard’s
(206) 682-4649

(206) 682-1200

The Old Timers
(206) 623-9800

New Orleans
(206) 622-2563

For more information on who’s playing where in music or performance, check the following newspapers and weeklies: Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Rocket, The Stranger, Seattle Weekly.


Seattleites spend plenty of indoor time during the rainy season, and dance is big. Learn everything from ballet, salsa and swing to Wing Chun Kung Fu, T’ai Chi Chuan and belly dancing at local dance studios.

Belltown Ballet and Conditioning Studio
2211 1st Avenue
(206) 448-3325
Dance and martial arts instruction. Other dance groups, some with instruction, include popular Irish dancing, salsa, clogging, swing, tango and everything in between.

ARO. Space
925 E. Pike Street
(206) 320-0424
Weekly Friday salsa dance classes at 8 p.m. precede salsa and meringue night.

Art and Architecture walks are also popular alternatives. Many organizations offer guided or self-guided art and architectural walks around the city.

First Fridays: Columbia City Beat Walk
Wellington Tea Room
(206) 722-8571
Music and art mixture along hip Ranier Avenue.

First Saturday: Capitol Hill Arts Orbit
(206) 726-9509
Galleries and openings in the Pike/Pine area.

Seattle Architectural Foundation
(206) 667-9186

Museum of History and Industry
(206) 324-1126

Historic Seattle
(206) 622-6952


Seattle is easy to explore independently, but if you want to catch some of the more unusual attractions of the city, these local tour operators can show you the sights.
Argosy Tours, Pier 55
(206) 623-1445
Sightseeing cruises and speedboat rides in Puget Sound.

Seattle Tours
(206) 768-1234
Small-group city tours and an all-day tour to Mt. Ranier.

Chinatown Discovery Tours
(425) 885-3085
The escorted tour includes history, culture and food (optional).

Bill Spiedel’s Underground Tour
(206) 682-4646
Old Seattle’s shops covered up by Pioneer Square progress, excavated for you to see.

Show Me Seattle Tours
(206) 633-2489
Narrated city tour.

Sightseeing of Seattle
(206) 526-1444
Tailored to your wishes.

Discover Houseboating
PMB 258, Lake Union Mall
117 E. Louisa St.
(206) 322-9157
Cruise around Lake Union while your guide points out Sleepless in Seattle home, former brothels, etc.

Inner City Entrepreneur Tours
(206) 947-0311
Walking/jogging tours, historic or scenic, in inner city.

Windsor & Hatten Investigators “Private Eye on Seattle” Murder and Mystery Tours
(206) 622-0590
Retired gumshoe transports visitors in the blood-red van to crime scenes. Insider view.

Island Commuter Service
Bellingham (88 miles north)
(360) 734-8180


The Boat Paraclete
Anacortes (80 miles north)
(800) 808-2999
Whale watching on Puget Sound. Resident Orcas, gray whales in season.

Ride the Ducks of Seattle

(800) 817-1116, (206) 441-DUCK
Land and water tour in WWII amphibians

Over the Rainbow Balloon Flights, Woodinville suburb, (206) 364-0995.
From June 1-October 1, fly silently over the Îburbs and Seattle. Dependent on weather and wind.

Alpine Adventures Wild & Scenic River Tours
(206) 323-1220
The name says it all.

Terrene Tours
3810 E. Galer St.
(206) 325-5569
Customized biking, hiking, skiing tours, one day or several. Also offers door-to-door valet equipment and bike rentals perfect for the traveler who wants to bike the town for a day.

Mountain Madness
4218 S.W. Alaska St., Ste. 206
(800) 328-5925, (206) 937-8389
Climbing school and guides.


Like any major American city, Seattle has a full complement of chain hotels from dirt cheap to downright expensive. But why not check out some of the unique, independent local inns, hostels and B&Bs that make Seattle even more appealing?

Inn at the Harbor Steps
1221 1st Ave.
(206) 748-0973
Across from Seattle Art Museum, first-class, views, $160 up.

Moore Hotel
1926 2nd Ave.
(206) 448-4852
Part of Moore Theater. Basic. $57-$77.

Green Tortoise Backpackers Hostel
1525 2nd Ave.
(206) 340-1222
Dorm $18-19, private $50.

Camp Long
Entrance off 35th Ave. SW
(206) 684-7434
1930’s era log cabins in a West Seattle city park surrounded by 68 acres of trails and woods. Reservations required.

Hostelling International
84 Union St. downstairs from 1st Avenue
(206) 622-5443
Dorm $16-20 in a prime Pike Place Market location.

Pensione Nichols
2nd floor, 1923 1st near Pike Place Market
(206) 441-7125
Attractive, clean, great view and breakfast. $75-$95.

Tugboat Challenger
1001 Fairview Ave. N.
(206) 340-1201
On Lake Union, aboard an old tug, romantic and well-done, gourmet breakfast. $55-170.

Hotel Monaco
1101 4th Ave.
(206) 621-1770
Gives you a pet goldfish for your stay. $230 up.

Hotel Edgewater
Pier 67
(206) 728-7000
Just like it says, at the edge of the water at Pier 67. $104-325.


Seattle-ites can’t live on coffee alone. From seafood to sushi, Seattle has great eats. You can check out any of the following local favorite restaurants, or buy fresh fish, some veggies and bread at Pike Market and cook them up yourself!

Buca di Beppo’s
701 9th Ave. N.
(206) 244-2288
Fantastic Italian. Reasonable.

The Painted Table
92 Madison Street
(206) 624-3646
Chef leads tour as he buys his veggies and fruits at the Pike Place Market, then provides a cooking demonstration. Variety. Moderate to Expensive.

Bay Pavilion, Pier 57
(206) 624-1890
Crab and seafood served family-style. Meet new friends. Reasonable.

Paramount Hotel, 722 Pine Street
(206) 467-7777
Ever had Dragon’s Breath, a martini made with pepper-infused vodka? Moderate to Expensive.

Larry’s Markets Cafés
Seattle Center, 100 Mercer St.
(206) 213-0778
Tukwila, 3725 S. 144th St.
(206) 242-5290
Salmon, salads, pick Îem out, eat there or take them home to cook. Reasonable.

Pier 70
(206) 956-9171
Very trendy new waterfront restaurant. Great seafood. Moderate to Expensive.

Delcambre’s Ragin Cajun
1523 1st Ave.
(206) 624-2598
The owner has a rare personal story. Reasonable.

Ivar’s Restaurants
A well-loved Seattle chain famous for chowder and salmon. Reasonable to Moderate.

Acres of Clams
Pier 54
(206) 624-6852

Salmon House
401 N.E. Northlake Way (Lake Union)
(206) 632-0767

Ivar’s on Denny Way
3101 1st Ave.
(206) 283-1575

Pier 54
(206) 467-8063


Of course, what would be a good meal in Seattle without a good brew? Local microbreweries serve up the best Northwest ales and food.

Pyramid Brewery & Alehouse, near Safeco Field
1201 1st Ave. S.
(206) 68-BEERS

Redhook Ale Brewery
3400 Phinney Ave. N.
(206) 548-8000
14300 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville
(425) 483-3232


Seattle is a great place to pick up outdoor gear: Eddie Bauer and REI are headquartered here. And if you’re looking for a good read, there are probably more bookstores per square mile than in any other city. But Seattle’s also a great place to pick up locally made items particular to the Northwest, including smoked fish, Native American Art, Asian products and maritime crafts.

Made in Washington
Westlake Center
(206) 623-9753
Gifts, food products, books, items all made in Washington State.

Portage Bay Goods
1121 Pike
(206) 622-3212
Whimsical art, gifts, environmentally friendly items.

Ragazzi’s Flying Shuttle
607 1st Ave.
(206) 343-9762
Contemporary jewelry, hand-woven items.

Alaska Smokehouse
21616 87th Ave. SE, Woodinville
(800) 422-0852
Smoked salmon packets.

519 6th Ave. S.
(206) 624-6248
Asian items, foodstuffs, books, items from the Orient, especially Japan. Major store.


There’s never a lack of happenings in Seattle: the hard part is deciding among the many offerings on any given day. The diverse cultures of Seattle lead to celebrations of every ethnic shading and hobby interest.

Fringe Theatre festivals and film festivals-underground, local, Irish, Arab, Gay and Lesbian, and the Short Attention Span Festival-share the scene with oyster and salmon festivals and Japanese, Latin American, Filipino and Norwegian celebrations. Seattle Center, Pacific Science Center, Seattle Aquarium, the EMP, Woodland Park Zoo and others offer continuous programs of special events.

Parks, sports groups, wineries, waterfront organizations and county fairs schedule events all year, especially from May to September.

Of course, the major Happenings worth traveling for include Bumbershoot –The Seattle Arts Festival. With over 2,500 artists in all genres-including the outrageous and wacky–converging on the Seattle Center over Labor Day Weekend, Bumbershoot is “the mother of all arts festivals” (Rolling Stone).

Another Seattle-specific event worth getting here for is Seafair. Top class hydroplane events on Lake Washington and a not-to-be-missed torchlight parade through downtown. Locals moor their boats to logs on Lake Washington for entire days of watching the hydro races while lounging in the sun-for it rarely rains in July.

And world music fans should plan to visit for the WOMAD (World of Music, Art and Dance) Festival. Produced by One Reel and the World Entertainment Network, Seattle’s WOMAD Festival is the only one in the States-the rest happen around the world-and features top performers from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the US. For three days at the end of July, this is World Music Woodstock.


It’s hard to convince people, but it really doesn’t rain that much in Seattle. The wet impression is because the rain (36 inches a year) comes in drips during the rainy season, seldom in hard showers. But Seattle’s weather is unpredictable. Generally, the rainy season is from November to March, while it rains very little between July 1 and around October 1.

Restrictions on washing cars and watering lawns in summer are not unknown. Snow is uncommon, but it might occur for a day or two. Most Northwest cities do not even own snowplows. Temperatures in winter average 45 degrees to 55 degrees during the day, 35 to 45 degrees at night, with occasional dips below freezing in the hilly parts of the city. Summers range from 70 to 90 degrees during the day, 45 to 65 degrees at night.

Visitors should dress in layers, winter or summer, because of the variable conditions. In winter, windproof parkas or raincoats are popular. Umbrellas and raincoats will keep you from chilling in winter. Sensible walking shoes for strolling hilly Seattle are recommended. Sweatshirts are great all year, usually with some kind of printing on them…makes for interesting reading.


No known health hazards exist; in fact, Seattle’s air is very clean. Crime is low, but use the same precautions you would employ in any large city.

In case of medical emergency:

Elliott Bay Physicians (24-hour physician hotel calls):
(206) 405-4546

Dentist Referrals

24-hour drugstore (Bartell’s)
(206) 284-1353



Virtually every major airline serves Seattle at Seattle-Tacoma (SeaTac) International Airport (40+ airlines, 11 of them international). Commuter aircraft to small cities and airports within a large radius of Seattle, too.


Amtrak runs from California to Vancouver, and east and west from King Street Railroad Station downtown, once cracked (and repaired) by an earthquake…yes, Seattle has them. (800) USA-RAIL,


Most ferries to the islands are Washington State Ferries, part of the state’s highway system. Ferries leave from Colman Dock, Pier 52, and also from Edmonds and Mukilteo farther north toward Everett. Route information is divided into five zones. (800) 843-3779

Victoria Express, to Victoria, British Columbia
(425) 742-8720

Victoria Clipper
(206) 448-5000, (800) 888-2535
Victoria Clipper from Pier 69 to Victoria’s inner harbor, passengers only. Year-round sailings, R/T from $69.

Alaska Marine Highway System now leaves from Bellingham, 88 miles north of Seattle.
(800) 642-0066


Greyhound buses to and from everywhere.

Downtown terminal
811 Stewart St.
(206) 628-5526
National fares and schedules: (800) 231-2222


The best way to get around the downtown area and major attractions is to walk, take the waterfront trolley or the monorail that runs from downtown to Seattle Center. But there are also plenty of other options for transporting yourself around town. If you plan to travel beyond Seattle, all the major rental car agencies are represented at the airport and at downtown locations.


Metro, the city bus line
(206) 553-3000
Ride free on Metro buses within the downtown area. Small fee if you go farther. Accessible bus stops are marked with the international handicapped symbol.

Puget Sound Coach Lines
(800) 460-6905, (253) 872-9080
Offers bilingual service.


Farwest Taxi
(206) 622-1717

Graytop Cab
(206) 343-4370, (206) 622-6500

Yellow Cab
(206) 622-6500

Airport Shuttles

Seattle Express
(206) 793-0770
From airport hotels to downtown.

Airport Express
(206) 626-6088
Downtown to SeaTac and vice versa.

Airport Shuttle/Express Towncar
(888) 622-3400, (206) 622-3400
Door-to-door service.


Seattle Limousine
(800) 274-3339, (206) 762-3339

Checker Transportation & Limo Service
(800) 883-8314, (206) 817-3600
Limos include Jags and Rolls, town cars, vans and buses.


Wheelchair Getaways of the Pacific Northwest
(888) 376-1500, (425) 788-3718

Access Mobility Systems
(800) 854-4176, (425) 771-4659
Wheelchair-accessible vans


As in most large cities, banks and ATMs are plentiful and convenient to the major downtown areas.

U.S. Bank, 1425 1st Ave. (Pike Place Market)
9:30-5 M-F, 9:30-1 Sat.

U.S. Bank, 3rd and Pine
10-5 M-Th, 10-6 Fri.

Keybank, 1900 1st Ave. S.
9-5 M-Th, 9-6 Fri.

Keybank, 666 S. Dearborn (international district)
9:30-5 M-Th, 9-6 Fri.

ATMs are also frequently located in Seattle businesses.


Seattle City Pass

City of Seattle Information
(206) 386-1234

Seattle-King County Visitors & Convention Bureau
(206) 461-5840

Read more GoNOMAD stories about Washington State

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