For the past month, I’ve realized that I haven’t shared a travel guide on my blog of my hometown, Seattle! I feel like this is a bit overdue, but something that I hope is useful to those looking to visit Seattle or those who have never been. For those that don’t know, I have lived in Seattle my entire life and I can definitely share the go-to places in the city.
This travel guide will provide everything you need for a trip to the city. Where to eat downtown, where to go for happy hour, where to visit/popular attractions, places for great Instagram-worthy photos, and more. Just note that this post will be a bit long, but hopefully is very useful for your next trip to the city!
What To Do
- Space Needle
- International Fountain/Seattle Center
- Pike Place Market
- Gum Wall
- Seattle Great Wheel
- Fremont Troll
Space Needle: Probably Seattle’s most iconic spot, the Space Needle should be your first stop. With 360 degree views of the city and beyond, it is a very cool experience. I always like to visit the Space Needle on New Year’s Eve for the fireworks show and it is SO amazing, the shows never disappoint and it is all so cool. They also just finished remodeling the observation deck area by implementing windows. I haven’t been up since the remodel but from driving by, it looks so different and something I need to go check out soon!
International Fountain/Seattle Center: The International Fountain is a cool spot at Seattle Center to hang out at, especially during the summer time when it is warm and sunny. There are also many other cool places to see at Seattle Center such as the Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Pacific Science Center, the EMP Museum (Music), and of course the Space Needle.
Pike Place Market: Your go-to spot to get that real feel of Seattle. Fresh flowers, fresh seafood, tourist gift shops, and other local vendors all offer that true feel of Seattle. Around the market, you can find the iconic Gum Wall, the first ever Starbucks shop, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (which has the best Mac & Cheese ever!) and other local shops.
Seattle Great Wheel: This is probably my favorite Ferris wheel because it is right on the Seattle waterfront and you get the best views on the ride. While sometimes it can freak me out a little because of my slight fear of heights, it’s still super cool. I’ve ridden it both during the day and at night, and I honestly don’t have a preference, you could go at either time and it is still equally awesome!
Beaches & Parks
- Discovery Park
- Alki Beach
- Kerry Park
- Gas Works Park
- Golden Gardens Park
Discovery Park: This is a great beach park to visit for that true PNW beach experience. It’s a rocky beach with a cute lighthouse at the end of it. A great place to spend a part of your day and take photos at.
Alki Beach: This is my absolute favorite beach in Seattle because it reminds me SO much of the beaches you see in California. There is a path that goes along the extent of the beach where you can walk or run or even rent bikes to ride. There are also a lot of restaurants and bars to hang out at, and even palm trees to get that true beach experience. I go to Alki Beach a lot during the summertime, especially close to sunset when I have campfires with my friends and family (side note that beach fires have to be contained in your own fire pit – no actual fires in the sand).
Kerry Park: The postcard view of Seattle that is a must-see. A great place to take photos of Seattle’s most iconic view. Located on Queen Anne, you can see most of downtown Seattle, out to Alki Beach, and even to Mt. Rainier in the distance. I love to go to Kerry Park multiple times throughout the year, you really can go multiple times and it never gets old. It’s always a fun place to hang out at and just admire the city. This place will always be special to me because this was where my boyfriend and I went on our first date.
Gas Works Park: Gas Works Park is kind of different than your standard park on the water. Located on Lake Union, the park is a historical gasification plant that is actually a cool spot just to hang out and is definitely a must-see. There are so many boats and kayaks on the lake that are fun to watch (still a bucket list item of mine to kayak on Lake Union!) There are plenty of spots to sit and relax by the water and also enjoy a view of downtown Seattle.
Golden Gardens Park: This beach park is probably my second favorite in Seattle because it also reminds me a lot of Alki Beach. It’s a very sandy beach, which is hard to find in the PNW and is a fun hangout spot. This is another beach park that I love to go to in the summers at sunset for fires with friends and family. Also a great view of the Olympic Mountain Range!
Instagram-Worthy Photo Locations
- Dr. Jose P Rizal Bridge
- Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Tower (Columbia Center)
- The University of Washington
- Russell Investments Center (5th Floor has an amazing patio/deck lookout of the water and the city)
Dr. Jose P Rizal Bridge: I think this is probably the second most iconic postcard view of Seattle. You walk over a bridge that goes over the freeway like you’re walking into the city from Beacon Hill. It’s pretty fun and just another view of the city to experience. I think it’s cool to see all these different views of the city, they all look a little different which is kinda cool. I know that a lot of professional photographers take photos of the view from this bridge and they turn out amazing, especially with all the moving traffic.
Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Tower: In my opinion, this is a perfect date night activity. The Columbia Tower is the tallest building in Seattle and is a lot of fun to go all the way to the top. I have gone with my boyfriend during the day and during the night, but I think night time is my favorite. All the city lights are SO pretty.
The University of Washington: The UW probably has one of the prettiest campuses I have seen for a university. This is a great place to take almost any kind of photos. I’ve done a couple photo shoots at the UW for my blog and love the scenery. During the spring, the campus is most famous for its cherry blossom trees in the heart of campus. There are also a lot of brick paths and cool building architecture. There is a huge fountain located on campus as well with a great view of Mt. Rainier on sunny days. The library is also a must see, it reminds me of Hogwarts. It’s super fancy!
Russell Investments Center: I know this may sound like the least Instagram-worthy photo location ever, but it really is! I had never even known about it until a couple of years ago. The 17th floor of the building has a big patio/deck area where you can walk out and enjoy a view of the waterfront and some really cool buildings in downtown Seattle. I see a lot of models getting photos taken here as well and really is a cool spot to see and hang out at.
Happy Hour & Rooftop Bars
- Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails
- The Nest
Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails: This is my absolute favorite bar in Seattle, I love it! Not only do they have the best frosé, this bar reminds me a lot of the rooftop bars you’d see in NYC. Very new and popular, string lights hanging over the outdoor area, and cool places to lounge and enjoy happy hour surrounded by the city buildings. While it’s not on the rooftop, it is high up and has the exact same feel as a rooftop bar.
Where to Eat
- Hard Rock Cafe
- Salty’s on Alki Beach
- Dick’s Drive-In
- Sam’s Tavern
- Pecado Bueno
- Metropolitan Grill
Expensive and Very Nice Restaurants: Salty’s on Alki Beach & Metropolitan Grill
Local Eats: Pecado Bueno, Sam’s Tavern, Dick’s Drive-In, Hard Rock Cafe
Japanese Steakhouse Cooked Tableside: Hamanasu
Small Bites/Cafes & Treats
- Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
- Starbucks (The first Starbucks shop at Pike Place Market)
- General Porpoise Doughnuts
- Molly Moon’s Ice Cream
- Shug’s Soda Fountain & Ice Cream
- Frankie & Jo’s (Plant Based Ice Cream Shop)
- Biscuit Bitch
General Porpoise Doughnuts: Your new go-to spot for doughnuts in Seattle. Located on Capitol Hill, this is the cutest little doughnut shop that is super delicious. They specialize in sugared doughnuts filled with different flavors of cream, along with being a standard coffee shop. My favorite doughnut is the chocolate cream filled, so good, especially with hot chocolate on the side!
Molly Moon’s Ice Cream: This place is SO delicious and has a really cool vibe to it. You can literally smell the freshly made waffle cones from this place all the way down the street. I swear this place is always busy when I go, especially on summer nights. But so worth everything. Their strawberry ice cream is SO yummy!
Shug’s Soda Fountain & Ice Cream: This is one of the cutest little ice cream shops that is so different than a standard ice cream shop like Baskin Robbins or Cold Stone. This is located right near Pike Place Market and prepares super tasty ice cream sundaes and other sweet treats. Very old fashioned and cute, another great Instagram-worthy place.
That just about sums up my travel guide to Seattle! I hope this is useful as you plan your next trip to Seattle and I would love to hear from you if this guide helped you in any way!
Thanks for reading!