In Seattle, big city life coexists with the great outdoors. Glance up from your laptop, and you’ll get stunning views of Puget Sound, Mount Rainer in the distance and greenery in every direction. Seattle is sometimes known as the Rainy City, but that moisture also leads to its other nickname: the Emerald City. Actually, Seattle gets less annual rainfall than many other U.S. cities but averages more than 150 days a year with some rain.
The area is popular with business travelers visiting corporate giants such as Amazon, Nordstrom and Starbucks, which are headquartered in the city, and Costco and Microsoft, located in other Washington towns. Aerospace, agriculture, maritime, life sciences, health care, retail, technology and forestry are important industrial sectors.
Getting to and from the airport
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), or Sea-Tac as the locals call it, is 13 miles south of downtown. Ridesharing is common in the city. An UberX from the airport to downtown will cost around $31. Compare prices with Lyft when you arrive to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Traditional taxis cost about $40. Expect the car ride downtown to take about 25 minutes.
The Downtown Airporter shuttle is $18 with rides every 30 minutes. Book a ride online, by phone or at the airport; go to the center of the ground transportation plaza.
Where to stay
- Fairmont Olympic Seattle, 411 University St.; Ph: 206-621-1700
- Hilton Seattle, 1301 6th; Ph: 206-624-0500
- Radisson Hotel Seattle Airport, 18118 International Blvd.; Ph: 206-244-6666
- Courtyard Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square, 612 2nd; Ph: 206-625-1111
- Hyatt House Seattle Downtown, 201 5th Avenue N.; Ph: 206-727-1234
- Holiday Inn Seattle, 211 Dexter Avenue N.; Ph:206-728-8123
Things to see and do
The Space Needle is an iconic Seattle landmark. For $32.50-37.50, you’ll get a breathtaking view of the city 520 feet below. That price also gets you professional digital photos, the free Space Needle mobile app, interactive experiences and a virtual reality bungee jump experience for true thrill-seekers. Following a multimillion-dollar renovation, the experience has been upgraded to include tilting glass walls on an open-air deck and the Loupe, a rotating glass floor. It’s open daily from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Don’t leave Seattle without first exploring historic Pike Place Market. Established in 1907, it’s one of the oldest continually operated farmer’s markets in the U.S. It welcomes more than 15 million visitors a year. You’ll find local produce, fresh seafood and handmade crafts. It’s a great place to grab a meal or get a gift to bring home. The market is open 363 days a year, closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
If time allows, cruise across Puget Sound on a Washington State Ferry. Trips to Bainbridge Island take 35 minutes; the crossing to Bremerton takes an hour. Fares vary based on distance. The ferries run from early morning to late in the evening. Hop off to go exploring or stay onboard to relax and admire the stunning views. Food and beverages are available onboard.
The Ballard Locks link Puget Sound with Lake Union and Lake Washington. Take a few minutes to watch a boat pass through the locks. If you’re visiting from June through September, see migrating salmon pass through the fish ladder. Stroll through the botanical garden on the grounds. Explore alone or join a free guided tour. The grounds are open every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Where to eat
Dinner comes with an amazing view at Matt’s in the Market, which overlooks the iconic Pike Place Market sign and Elliot Bay. The rotating seasonal menu of fresh seafood and produce and the warm, casual atmosphere will keep you around from drinks to dessert. Find it at 94 Pike St. No. 32; Ph: 206-467-7909.
Seattle is the home of Starbucks, but try Anchored Ship Coffee Bar’s signature lavender chai and almond milk lattes. Free Wi-Fi, cozy furniture and a large bay window make this a perfect place to clear your inbox and watch the world go by. Open daily 7 a.m.-6 p.m. at 5308 Ballard Ave. NW; Ph: (206) 954-9215.
The Walrus and the Carpenter is a favorite of locals. Helpful servers suggest which locally sourced, expertly shucked oysters to try first. This neighborhood joint will make you feel right at home while you’re on the road. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so allow extra time for a wait. Check it out at 4743 Ballard Ave. NW; Ph: 206-395-9227 .
Il Corvo’s bold business model keeps its simple. The restaurant is only open Monday to Friday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. You can choose between two pastas, made fresh daily (plus a few rotating appetizers). Pay only in cash. Yet the perfectly prepared $10 dishes draw a crowd. Get a sneak peek of the day’s lunch offerings via Instagram, and expect to stand in line. Find Il Corvo at 217 James St.; Ph: 206-538-0999.