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One of the fastest-growing major cities in the United States, Seattle is known across the world for being the home of tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon. However, did you know that it has also been named as one of America’s most-liked cities? This isn’t too surprising considering that Seattle has - or is close to - everything from mountains, ocean, deserts, urbanscapes, islands, a thriving arts and culture scene, world-class architecture, fantastic nightlife, and a diverse population. We reckon that makes up for its reputation as being a gray, rainy city! Book your Seattle car rental in advance with Enjoy Travel for a seamless trip.
Guide to Seattle
Located in the state of Washington on the western coast of the United States, Seattle is nestled between Elliot Bay and Lake Washington. It lies on an isthmus alongside Puget Sound, a deep and long inlet of the northern Pacific Ocean. The city is surrounded by the evergreen forests of the Olympic Peninsula and the Cascade Range. Seattle is also the northernmost major city of the USA, lying around 160 km south of the Canadian border.
Climate in Seattle
Seattle has a temperate climate with relatively dry summers and rainy winters. Although Seattle has a bit of an unfortunate reputation for having way too many overcast days with constant drizzling, the summers and falls are actually stunning. The best time to visit the city is during the months of July to mid-October when the average temperature hovers between 15°C to 23°C. Clear sunny skies with minimal rain make it ideal for several outdoor recreations and festivals.
The area covered by present-day Seattle was occupied by First Nation tribes for 4000 years before the first European settlers arrived in 1851. The name ‘Seattle’ comes from Chief Sia’hl, the name of one of the leaders of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. Today, Seattle is a major cosmopolitan city with a multicultural population. It is known for being a hub of technological innovation - as the home of tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon - as well as aircraft, biotechnology, and e-commerce. It also has a vibrant music scene, having launched the careers of many rock and jazz legends like Ray Charles, Jimmy Hendrix, and Nirvana.
Things To Do in Seattle
Climb up a futuristic-looking observation tower
Built originally for the 1962 Century 21 Exposition (also known as the Seattle World's Fair), the 605-feet-tall Space Needle is a defining feature of Seattle’s silhouette. A 43-second glass elevator ride takes you to the Observation Deck, 160 meters above ground, where you can learn about how the concept and design of the Space Needle started off as a doodle on a napkin. The breathtaking panoramic views from the top include Elliott Bay, the islands on Puget Sound, the Cascade Range, and even Mount Rainier. Two recent additions to the Space Needle include the Loupe, the world’s first and only rotating glass floor; and Skyrisers, which are tilting glass walls that you can lean on to experience the illusion of floating in the open air above Seattle from 24 different vantage points. The revolving restaurant, Skycity, is the perfect place for an intimate dinner.
Admire spectacular glass art
The Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum showcases the whimsical yet beautiful works of world-renowned glass blower Dale Chihuly. The museum consists of 8 galleries, an enchanting garden, and the Glasshouse- the magnum opus. This magnificent 40-feet-tall structure bears testimony to Chihuly’s passion for conservatories. Suspended from the ceiling is a 100-feet-long vibrant sculpture in yellow, red, orange, and amber hues that seems to change color with the undulations in natural light. The garden displays handkerchief trees, fuchsias, camellias, daylilies, ferns, vines, and 4 fantastic artworks. There is also a 90 seat café with alfresco dining.
Take a flight into aviation history
The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field is a fun day trip for both children and adults. One of its most popular attractions is the SAM 970, which was in operation as Air Force One for former presidents like Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and John F. Kennedy. The T. A. Wilson Great Gallery, a 3 million-cubic-foot, six-story glass-and-steel exhibit hall housing 39 full-size historic aircrafts, is a must-visit. You can also find vintage aircraft, such as the Gossamer Albatross II, the backup airplane for the first human-powered flight across the English Channel; and the world’s first jetliner, de Havilland Comet. There is also a Space Gallery with NASA and Russian space shuttle trainer tours and flight simulators, as well as a Personal Gallery exhibiting the bravery of WWI and WWII fighter pilots. Finally, the William E Boeing Red Barn proudly stands as the birthplace of the Boeing Airplane Company, chronicling its history of flight.
Rub shoulders with musical legends
Music, science fiction, and pop culture come together to form an eclectic yet exciting amalgamation at the Museum of Pop Culture. Exhibits like ‘Nirvana – Taking Punk to the Masses’ and ‘Pearl Jam – Home and Away’ offer comprehensive insights into the life and works of these famous music icons. You can jam on electric guitars, drums, samplers, and mixing consoles at the Sound Lab or attend a public conference on topics like Music and Gender. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame hosts artifacts from sci-fi literature, film, and television art including pieces from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ The coolest part is, from the outside, the Frank Gehry-designed 140,000-square-feet complex looks like a smashed guitar!
Stroll through Seward Park
Situated in the southeastern corner of Seattle and encompassing most of the Bailey Peninsula, Seward Park is a popular escape for the Seattle city folk looking to seek refuge in nature’s comforting embrace. This 300-acre lush park boasts trees that are over 250 years old - which is actually quite young when you learn that the old growths that used to exist where the city of Seattle is built now were over 1000-2000 years old! - as well as a quaint beach where you can sunbathe, swim or kayak on the serene Lake Washington. There are also tennis courts and hiking trails that take you through towering softwoods, such as Douglas firs, Western hemlock, and Alaskan cedar.
Eating Out in Seattle
From luxurious fine-dining establishments to casual hole-in-the-wall eateries, Seattle offers a variety of cuisines and dining options to the discerning foodie. Here are some of our top restaurant recommendations:
Try the oysters, salmon tartare, and roast chicken at Hitchcock on Bainbridge Island. At Restaurant Marche, the brown butter trout and steak frites will leave their lingering taste on your palette long after you leave the restaurant. A Seattle specialty that you shouldn’t miss is the giant phallic-like geoducks clam. Head to Taylor’s Shellfish Farms where they slice it into thin white slivers and serve it with soy sauce and wasabi. You will also want to savor the delicious curry beef home bao from Mee Sum Pastry at Pike Place Market.
Alternatively, relish the seafood chowder at White Swan Public House, made with lots of potato, bacon, and seafood. Coffee lovers will adore the burnt cream latte at Monorail Espresso. We also recommend the gray and smoked salt caramels at Fran’s Chocolates.
Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA), also known as Sea-Tac, is the main international airport serving the Seattle metropolitan area. It is located 14 miles south of Downtown Seattle and operates 34 airlines flying to 91 non-stop domestic and 28 international destinations.
Getting Around Seattle
There are two public transportation agencies serving Seattle. The King County Metro operates local and commuter buses within King County, while Sound Transit operates the commuter rail, light rail, and regional express buses within the greater Puget Sound region. Get an ORCA card to make public transit a painless experience for you.
Although the public transit system is no doubt top-notch, many visitors traveling through Seattle prefer to hire a car as it offers increased comfort, flexibility, and convenience. The highway system in the United States makes it a breeze to get from place to place via car and, if you’re traveling in a large group, a 7 seater or a 9 seater van would actually work out to be more cost-effective than taking the train. You can also do a one-way hire, which means that you can pick up your vehicle in one city – say San Francisco – and drop it off in another – like Seattle – before flying out, saving you the hassle of driving it back.