Seattle's laid-back attitude and diverse neighborhoods more than make up for its consistently cloudy weather. Plus it's home to some of the country's best coffee and a thriving arts scene, plenty of history, culture and — when the weather stays dry — some exciting outdoor activities. Surrounded by water on many sides (and resting between Puget Sound and Lake Washington), the city's favorite outdoor pursuits include kayaking, hiking and camping. Not only that ... continue»
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The best time to visit Seattle is from September to November. Summer marks the city's high season, meaning room rates rise and availability drops; however, winter weather can deter even the most avid sightseer. Early fall, however, is a sweet spot for tourism: Summer weather lingers as the crowds disperse, leaving plenty of hotel rooms (and lower rates) up for grabs. Just remember to pack for chilly winds and yes, the seemingly ever-present drizzle.Best Times to Visit Seattle»
There are many parts of Seattle worth checking out, but traffic is thick and street designations can be particularly confusing. Buy a map and exercise your patience before you arrive in the city.
You'll find some of the most popular tourist attractions here, including the famous Pike Place Market. The area also houses the city's financial districts, skyscrapers, a bustling waterfront and several shopping areas. Elliott Bay and a string of tidal flats downtown provide great sightseeing opportunities. Downtown also features several cultural sites like the new Seattle Central Library, Benaroya Hall and the Seattle Art Museum. For a view of the whole city, the Space Needle landmark offers a great panorama. To watch the Seattle Mariners play ball, visit the area's Safeco Field. Another popular tourist attraction is downtown's Pioneer Square, a historic district that was once the heart of the city.
According to the New York Times, "In Seattle, attitude increases with altitude. For a dose of countercultural coolness, climb up Capitol Hill..." Located just northeast of downtown, the area holds some of the city's oldest Victorian mansions. It's also home to a thriving gay and lesbian scene, as well as many university students, young professionals and musicians. For those interested in music history, Capitol Hill was also home to the famous grunge music scene in the early 1990s. For your music fix, check out the acts at the popular Capitol Hill institution, Neumos, which is one of the most popular music venues in the city.
Located in the northwest region of Seattle, this neighborhood contains some of the city's most prized historic landmarks, including the Ballard Carnegie Library and the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (in Lake Washington Ship Canal). Concert halls and bars line central Ballard, transforming it into a hub for music and nightlife.
The Fremont neighborhood in the city's northeast zone was originally an independent town until the Seattle government annexed the area in 1891. Even now, Fremont is known for a fierce independent streak. Its nickname is "The People's Republic of Fremont," and its unofficial motto is "Freedom to be Peculiar." The area also has popular nightlife spots, and has housed some of the country's largest tech companies, including Adobe Systems and Google.
Seattle's University District in the northeast zone is home to the University of Washington, and has an assortment of restaurants and nightlife options, including several bars and nightclubs.
Seattle comprises a large metropolitan area, so writers suggest following all the precautions you would normally follow in a major city. The University District and Broadway can attract homeless youth, and those areas are sometimes intimidating for travelers. In general, tourist areas are routinely patrolled by police and remain safe at night.
The best way to get around Seattle is by car, especially if you want to do some exploring outside the city. However, be prepared for heavy traffic during rush hour. You can rent a car at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), but you can avoid a steep rental surcharge if you wait to pick up your car until you're in town. If you’re only in town for a day or two, consider relying on public transportation.Getting Around Seattle»