Seattle is such a fun city to explore! It’s the perfect place for a weekend trip. Here is my suggested itinerary for a great introduction to the city:
You have to start with the most iconic spot of the city! I always love seeing aerial views of cities because it gives you a great overview of the city. Buy a ticket to the observation deck to see Seattle from above. If you want a longer experience, there is a revolving restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. It takes one hour to make a complete 360 turn around the needle. If you purchase a meal there, you get free access to the observation deck. I got lunch there and loved that I was able to see the city while I leisurely ate. (I would suggest making a reservation if you decide on that route.) Admission to the observation deck is $22 for adults. The restaurant has a minimum charge of $25 per guest for lunch and $35 per guest for dinner.
*I would suggest visiting the Space Needle while it is still light outside. I’m not sure how much you would see once it’s dark. If you arrive later in the evening, I would suggest saving the Space Needle for Sunday when you go to the EMP Museum.*
It is quite windy at the top, but so much fun!
The best way to start your first morning in Seattle is with a cup of Seattle coffee. It would be a shame to go to Seattle and not have a cup of coffee! There are so many cute coffee shops with high quality coffee. Make it a point to get a cup as often as possible! I won’t suggest any particular coffee shops here because half of the fun is finding one yourself – plus there are so many good ones everywhere in the city.
While in Seattle, have to visit the city’s most recognized location. It’s a tourist must to sample all the food and watch the fish merchants throw fish across the market. My favorite spot was Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. The fun part is watching them make the cheese while you wait. And you can definitely taste the quality! Their mac and cheese is creamy goodness. The market is such a fun place to explore. My friends and I wandered until we found a tiny shop that sold old magazines and other printed materials. We spent an hour in the shop. That’s the fun part of visiting Pike Place – finding fascinating places like that.
It may seem odd to go to Starbucks in the coffee capital of the world. The awesome thing about this Starbucks is that the very first Starbucks was at Pike Place. This particular store isn’t the “exact” spot of the first location, but is considered the “first Starbucks” since it was moved to this location after only 5 years. If you are a Starbucks fan you have to stop by and get original Starbucks memorabilia. Have you ever wondered why Starbucks’ house blend is called Pike Place? It’s named after this location! Be warned: there is always a long line at this location. If you don’t want to wait in a line that long, you can also get some Starbucks memorabilia at the location on Pike St. and 1st. “First Starbucks” is at 1912 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101. The nearby Starbucks (but not the first) is at 102 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101.
The gum wall was recently cleaned (yes, they steam cleaned off 1.75 tons of gum), but rumor is it is already returning. Maybe this will become a tourist attraction once again? It is definitely worth a peek! Some people think it’s disgusting and some think it’s fun. You decide for yourself! The gum wall is located on Post Alley – the tiny alley right under the Pike Place sign. (Walk to the left of the Pike Place sign.)
Did you know that Seattle burned to the ground in 1889 and they just built the current city right on top of it? The fun part is they have tours of this “underground city”. You get to walk under the current sidewalks and see the storefronts of the 1800’s. The underground itself is dark and damp, but the commentary by the tour guides is very entertaining. During the tour you learn about Seattle’s gritty, dirty and quirky history. (Tours are 75 minutes and start on the hour or more often during busy times. Check the website for exact times. Tickets are $19.)
EMP Museum – Experience Music Project Museum
The EMP Museum was one spot that I didn’t realize I would like so much. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t heard of it before and had no expectations? I definitely wish I had more time here! This museum is fun because there are so many different types of exhibits – many which are interactive. And who doesn’t enjoy learning more about music? My favorite part of the museum was an entire section dedicated to fantasy movies and books. They had costumes and props from The Wizard of Oz, Princess Bride and more. (Open 10am-7pm in the summer and 10am-5pm in the winter, $25/adults, $22/online)
If you didn’t see the Space Needle on Friday, this is your chance to see it. You can’t miss the big tall needle right next to the EMP Museum!
Chihuly Garden and Glass
The EMP Museum is right next to the Chihuly Garden and Glass so it’s very easy to see both on the same day. This museum is not like anything you have seen. The glass art is amazingly beautiful and intricate. It’s almost unbelievable. I loved this spot because it’s something unique. (Open 11am-6pm Sun-Thurs and 11am-7pm Sat/Sun, tickets are $22)
If you have more time…
There are so many more things to do in Seattle than can fit into a quick weekend trip. I already have a list for when I return! Here are some more additional suggestions for your trip to Seattle:
Food Tour: Seattle is a great place for foodies and for people who just enjoy food (so that means everyone). There are tons of food tours of different varieties available.
Wine and/or Beer Tasting: Washington is known for good wine and beer. There are so many places to choose from for a great afternoon tasting.
Seattle Aquarium: See seals, otters, octopuses and more! For more info check out their website.
For all the information about transportation, hours, tickets and more check out the page on All the Planning Details for Seattle.