Gateway to the boundless Evergreen state of Washington, Seattle itself has so much on offer. We understand that time is sometimes simply not on your side, so with this in mind we’ve designed a bespoke guide on how to maximise your time in this eclectic metropolis. Planned well, you can get under the skin of this creative city in just 24 hours. Start the clock…
Discover the birthplace of Seattle
When in Seattle, drink coffee – after all, this is a world centre for roasting and coffee is a prominent part of daily life. Fuel yourself with a fresh brew from the very first Starbucks, which can be found at Pike Place Market. We’d suggest you then start the day’s adventure with a stroll down to Pioneer Square, a little neighbourhood in the south west corner of Downtown where the founders of this sprawling city first settled.
After a casual peruse of the area, walk north along the waterfront enjoying phenomenal views from the city edge, across the Pacific and up to the snow-tipped mountains. Veer off and meander through the streets until you find yourself back at Pike Place Market, a famous farmers market which has been running since 1907. We recommend trying the smoked salmon at Pure Food Fish Market.
Get with the rhythm of the city
Much of the city’s vibrant heritage lies in its musical roots; from jazz, through to rock and grunge, Seattle’s alumni include Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam and Nirvana. There are references to the sounds of the city everywhere, but Experience Music Project – a non-profit museum dedicated to the rich history of Northwest music and located at Seattle Centre – offers unique experiences such as jamming to a crowd of screaming virtual fans or composing something in your own sound lab. Even the building is a spectacle in its own right, a futuristic construction of over 21,000 metal shingles and 280 steel ribs, a must see.
Room with a view
No visit to Seattle is complete without a trip up the Space Needle, an iconic landmark that pierces the urban landscape at 400 Broad Street, right next to EMP. When you reach the ‘O’ Deck, 520 feet above the hustle of the city, you’ll get breath-taking 360 degree views of Seattle and the beautifully varied landscape beyond; it’s a great way to get your bearings before your venture further afield. Back on ground level, visit Chihuly Garden & Glass which can be found at the foot of the Needle. The art scene is a flourishing part of the culture here and Dale Chihuly’s eccentric wonderland of colourful glasswork is the perfect way to get a sense of the innovation and talent.
Lunch like a local
After a morning in the buzz of Downtown it’s time to venture up towards Ballard, a quaint area with Scandinavian roots and lots of lovely eateries and boutiques. Café Besalu on 5909 24th Ave NW is a family owned bakery where you can get delicious homemade breads and quiche – it’s away from the tourist trail and perfect for a light lunch. Afterwards, visit the Fish Ladder where glass panels allow you to watch salmon passing between the salt water of Puget Sound and the fresh waters of Lake Washington, both connected by the Ballard Locks where sailboats, tugs, yachts and barges seamlessly pass through.
Nearby Fremont is a more offbeat, bohemian neighbourhood. Check out the Fremont Troll, a magnificent sculpture that first took residence under the Aurora Bridge on Halloween in 1990 and has become a fixture ever since. Then, for a pick-me-up at tea time, make a trip to the Theo Chocolate Factory, the first and only organic, Fairtrade chocolate factory in the country. We’ll make sure you’re treated to one of the regular tours and tastings.
Sun down at sea
Take an early evening cruise around Lake Union and Lake Washington, then head to Daniel’s Broiler for a sumptuous waterside dinner afterwards. Toast the day with a local beer or Washington State wine and take in Seattle as the sun sets, watching the beautiful view turn to a sea of twinkling lights reflected in the lake.