Sip coffee at the original Starbucks. Learn to play the electric guitar at the Experience Music Project. Take a break from shopping at the flagship REI store to scale the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall. Or just admire the stunning setting—a thriving city centre on the edge of pristine wilderness, with abundant opportunities for recreation.
Seattle, Washington Highlights
You’ll know you’re here when…
You hear someone say, “the mountain is out”—that means the clouds have parted and Mt. Rainier, 100 miles to the south, is visible.
Top photo opportunities
The view from Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill offers the most spectacular city view—the Space Needle in the foreground, downtown skyline just beyond and snow-clad 14,410-foot Mt. Rainier in the distance. Late afternoon offers the prettiest light.
- The Frank Gehry-designed Experience Music Project exhibits music memorabilia from jazz to grunge
- The Seattle Art Museum has permanent exhibitions of Native American and African art
- The Museum of Flight features a retired Air Force One presidential jet, Concorde, and a growing collection of U.S. space artefacts.
Fish vendors at the Pike Place Market will pack fresh, whole salmon in leak-proof containers for express shipment. Smoked salmon is popular, too, and can be packed in your luggage.
If you want to fit in...
Leave the umbrella at home. Seattle ranks 44th among U.S. cities by rainfall, and summers are reliably dry and mild.
Located on the northern edge of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, Fremont is noted for its bohemian, offbeat lifestyle and quirky public art: the troll under the Aurora Bridge, who clasps a Volkswagen Bug, or Beetle; a nine-ton statue of Vladimir Lenin, perpetually for sale; a rocket built into the side of a building; and dinosaur-shaped topiaries.
History happened here
In the 1800s, when Seattle was a young lumber town, logs skidded down its streets to harbour-side sawmills. But in 1889, a massive fire destroyed many of its wooden structures. Seattle was quickly rebuilt with bricks and mortar, booming once again during the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s (when more than 70,000 prospectors passed through). The Underground Tour in Pioneer Square offers a look at the remnants of the old town, while the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park interprets Seattle’s critical role in the gold rush.
One awe-inspiring building
A legacy of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the 605-foot Space Needle observation tower features an observation deck with 360-degree views of the Seattle skyline, Puget Sound and both the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.
For your first visit...
Don’t miss Pike Place Market, the oldest continuously operated farmers’ market in the U.S.
Seattle is within a two-hour drive of three national parks: Mt. Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic. Ski slopes in the Cascade Range are just one hour’s drive from downtown. Or take a guided sea kayaking tour in the heart of the city.