Seattle Guide – USA

Seattle, the Space Needle and Seattle Center, Washington, USA

Seattle, the Space Needle and Seattle Center, Washington, USA. Photo by Jeffery Hayes.

Visiting Seattle

Seattle, Washington state, in the Pacific north-west, is a green and cultured place, home to the most successful high technology industry in the world, so the ambience generally is young, vibrant and high on money, art and caffeine though it still rocks to grunge and boasts Jimi Hendrix as a favourite musical export.
The city is situated in a very scenic, watery, rocky region with mountainous views and is surrounded by countless outdoor activity possibilities as well as being just 113 miles south of Canada if you are looking for a double-country experience.


• The city’s quite conservative and lacks fine old architecture of many of its Californian cousins, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and even LA. . . .

• Seattle is built on seven hills with endless bridges and confusing street addresses so it’s far from a paradise for walkers, even without depressing weather news or traffic jams.

• Seattle statistically enjoys just 58 days of clear sunshine a year.

• There’s something of a shortage of varied and entertaining activities in the city.

Seattle's Japanese Garden, Washington, USA

Seattle’s Japanese Garden. Photo by frted.


Best: June-September for least rain, except for winter sports October-February; head east of the mountains for flowers in April-May.
Worst: January-May, October-December for rain/drizzle/sleet/drizzle/downpours/drizzle/damp/drizzle.

Funny thing this Seattle rain. Not a whole lot of it, but it sure takes a long time to come down, R. L. Walker.

Main Attractions

Frank Gehry's EMPISFM Museum, Washington, USA

Frank Gehry designed EMPISFM Museum. Photo by Cacophony.

Seattle Center: the cultural heart of the city, where you can climb the Space Needle for panoramic views or dining, ride the monorail and goggle at the visual feasts of the Pacific Science Center and the musical/SF ones in the (deep breath) ‘Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame‘ (EMPISFM).

A cheaper panoramic view option is the Sky View Observatory.

‘U’ District: the university district for campus life and Washington Park Arboretum for plant life.

Capitol Hill: Volunteer Park for the Victorian glasshouse; Asian Art Museum; the Henry Art Gallery and Burke Museum for Native American objects.

Pioneer Square: where it all started – the Klondike Gold Rush Historic Park and totem pole filled Occidental Park will tell you all about it.

Chihuly Garden and Glass is an exhibition of works of glass artist Dale Chihuly with interior galleries, outdoor garden scattered with blown glass installation and centerpiece Glasshouse.

The Disney Concert Hall, Seattle, Washington, USA

The Disney Concert Hall, also, unsurprisingly, designed by Frank Gehry.

Arts and Culture

Museums and Galleries: Seattle Art Museum, Burke Museum (native artifacts) and Henry Art Gallery, but the most popular is the Museum of Flight, displaying craft ranging from the first Wright Brothers glider to the   Blackbird stealth plane.   Situated at Boeing Field 10 minutes from downtown.

Classical Music and Dance: Seattle Symphony Orchestra at the Disney Concert Hall; Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet at the Opera House, Seattle Center.

Getting Around

Although Seattle is a green, clean city, the street system is a hilly, jumbly nightmare for tourist walkers or and cyclists, though Metro Transit encourages bikers with secure parking at some transit stops, and bike racks on most buses.

However there are efficient, public transport systems available, such as the Seattle Center Monorail ( quick links from downtown to Seattle Center), and SoundTransit’s buses, commuter trains and the new light rail service.

Washington State Ferries

Ferries can be fun as well as functional! A  35 minutes scenic ride  from the Coleman Dock is calm and pretty Bainbridge Island in western  Washington, with art galleries, shops, food and drink The ferries also do longer trips.

A Seattle catering truck, Washington, USA

A Seattle catering truck (specialising in bacon it seems).


Generally good and of many kinds, but sea food in particular.
Head Downtown to Belltown for the most exclusive cuisine, Pike Square Market for fresh sea food and the International District for Asian.

Festivals and Parades

January-February, Chinese New Year, International District.
May, Northwest Folklife Festival, International District.
July-August, Seafair.
September, Bumbershoot, International District.

West Seattle aerial showing Elliott Bay and Downtown, Washington, USA

West Seattle aerial showing Elliott Bay and Downtown. Photo by Michael Brophy.

Short Trips

Bainbridge Island: by ferry to see Seattle from a watery perspective.
Tacoma: worth a day to see the impressive Union Station and visit museums.
Also: Olympic National Park, Mt Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, San Juan Islands – see Pacific Northwest Travel

Seattle Map