Planning a trip to Seattle doesn’t need to be hard, we share the things to know before you go to Seattle in this guide, perfect for first-time visitors.
Known for its stunning waterfront views and iconic Space Needle, Seattle is a vibrant, diverse city. From an impressive market to famous landmarks, and quirky neighborhoods to unique cafes, there are plenty of things to do in Seattle that will keep you busy.
Tips for planning a trip to Seattle
Best time to visit Seattle
The best time to visit Seattle is during the summer, from June to August. This is when you experience mild and pleasant weather so you can enjoy the outdoor activities and explore the parks and waterfront.
However, this is a popular time of the year so if you prefer fewer crowds, head to Seattle in late spring and early fall.
Avoid winter if you can, the weather is often rainy and overcast with cooler temperatures. However, if you are visiting at this time, enjoy the indoor activities in the city but also embrace the holiday season at the festive events and markets in the city.
Getting to Seattle
Seattle can be reached a few ways, with many choosing to drive or fly to the city.
The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the main airport serving the city, offering numerous domestic and international flights. Direct domestic flights are available from the major US cities, from Las Vegas to Miami, and Honolulu to Boston. International direct flights to Seattle are available from destinations like Canada, UK, Japan, China, and Mexico, just to name a few.
You can drive to Seattle with Interstate 5 connecting the city to Portland and Vancouver with buses available from the same destinations. If you are moving to Seattle, you can reach the city via the highway with ease.
You can catch the Amtrak train to the city as well or visit Seattle before jumping on a cruise to Alaska.
Getting around Seattle
Seattle offers several convenient ways to get around the city.
Seattle has an extensive public transit system which includes a network of buses and a light rail system, serving most areas of the city. Buses can be used to visit the suburbs of Seattle.
The Seattle Streetcar offers certain routes in neighborhoods including South Lake Union and First Hill.
Seattle is also a bike-friendly city with dedicated bike lanes and bike-sharing programs, perfect for short trips around the city.
Plenty of neighborhoods in Seattle are walkable too, particularly ideal for those staying around Downtown Seattle, Pike Place Market, and the waterfront.
A unique way to see Seattle is by taking a water taxi which operates routes across Elliott Bay.
Typical prices in Seattle
Hostel dorm beds can be found from under $100 whilst budget hotel rooms range from $95 to $120.
Midrange rooms begin around $135 whilst luxury hotel rooms begin at $215.
Fast food and street food cost between $5 to $10 whilst a meal at casual restaurants range from $15 – $30.
Fine dining restaurants range from $50 to $150 per person.
Save money in Seattle
Seattle can be an expensive trip but, when planning a trip to Seattle, there are ways to save money.
Accommodation in Seattle can be expensive so stick to budget-friendly options such as hostels, guesthouses, and budget hotels.
Take advantage of the free and low-cost attractions in the city, like Pike Place Market and the beautiful Olympic Sculpture Park.
You can also head to the Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Pop Culture, and Seattle Asian Art Museum, with them all offering discounted or free admission days.
Save money on paid attractions using the Seattle CityPASS or take advantage of the free walking tours on offer
Local theatres offer a pay-what-you-can for some performances and there are some small, budget cinemas in the city too.
Best things to do in Seattle
When planning a trip to Seattle, there are plenty of things to plan into your itinerary.
Of course, you need to start your trip in Seattle with a visit to the iconic Space Needle; offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city.
Head to Pike Place Market, a historic market known for its bustling atmosphere, unique shops, and local foods.
There are plenty of museums to explore, with the Museum of Pop Culture celebrating music, science fiction, and video games from all ages.
Seattle Aquarium, located on the waterfront, is the perfect place to visit with children as is the Woodland Park Zoo.
Discovery Park is Seattle’s latest city park which offers hiking trails and stunning beaches whilst Gas Works Park is a unique urban park with an industrial feel.
Explore Seattle from the water by taking a harbor cruise or whale-watching tour and take advantage of the great coffee on offer in the city.
- We LOVE this camera for our travel photography.
- For a cheap, easy, and compact camera, we use this to vlog and take photographs.
- We use this microphone for all our Youtube voiceovers.
- We use this travel drone (but make sure to check drone laws in your chosen destination first).
- This is our favorite travel insurance because it covers so many activities and travel situations that could arise on longer trips but also offer year coverage.
What to pack
- No matter where we travel, I always take these trusty hand sanitizers and a mini first aid kit.
- We love these toiletry bags (especially great for smaller bathrooms) and choose a laptop bag like this as our hand luggage.
- We keep our devices charged on long travel days with these lightweight battery packs and bring these worldwide travel adaptors on all our trips.
- I still struggle not to overpack so stick to using an expandable suitcase like these and always take my trusty luggage scales to avoid being charged at the airport.