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|S Satellite (International) || [http://www.delta.com  Delta] (domestic & international), Hawaiian, Asiana, ANA (All Nippon Airways), British Airways, Condor, Emirates, EVA, Icelandair, Hainan, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Alaska (Arrivals from Mexico), United (Arrivals from Tokyo)
 
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Revision as of 05:28, 6 September 2013

The Space Needle with Downtown in the Background
Seattle is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.

Seattle, Washington, [1] is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest. Located between Puget Sound and Lake Washington in King County, of which it is the county seat, and overlooking Elliott Bay, Seattle is nicknamed The Emerald City. The city is a damp green gem, with an abundance of evergreen trees throughout, and spectacular views of the Cascade mountains to the east and the Olympic mountains to the west. The cultural and business center of the Pacific Northwest, the city and its surrounding areas are the home of the Space Needle, Boeing's aircraft assembly plants, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Costco, Nintendo of America, Starbucks, T-Mobile, and the University of Washington, as well as a vibrant arts scene and an excellent park system.

Contents

Districts

Seattleites usually describe Seattle locations in terms of "neighborhoods." This is partly because of a potentially confusing system of street addresses (see Get around). The breakdown into neighborhoods is informal and mutates over time, and while there are often signs on major arterial roads to let you know that you are "entering" a particular neighborhood, the placement of these signs is arbitrary.

Still, knowing what neighborhood you're looking for can be a good sanity check when you're looking for an address. A Seattleite would describe 1401 45th Ave SW as being in West Seattle, and 1401 NE 45th St as being in the U-District (University District), which you'll note are diagonally opposite on the map. See Get around for an explanation.

The Seattle City clerk maintains an interactive map [2] that starts with the high-level districts, but lets you click on those to get the detailed neighborhoods too.

Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods

Overview of Seattle districts
Downtown
Seattle's retail core, home to the waterfront, the Pike Place Market, and some of the most stunning architecture in the city
Pioneer Square-International District
The oldest neighborhoods in Seattle, containing art galleries and innumerable restaurants
Queen Anne-South Lake Union
Perched on the hills northwest of Downtown and home to the Seattle Center and the Space Needle
Capitol Hill-Central District
A diverse, densely-packed cluster of neighborhoods, rich and poor, from the nightlife of Pike-Pine to the quiet residences of Madison Park. This area is also said to be the gay capital of Seattle.

North of the Lake Washington Ship Canal

Ballard
A mostly residential area, home to the canal locks. The area is known for its Scandinavian heritage and thriving Historic Downtown Ballard.
Fremont and Wallingford
The self-proclaimed "center of the universe", a bohemian (though rapidly gentrifying) area noted for its public art
University District
Home to the sprawling University of Washington campus and its adjacent neighborhoods
North Seattle
The city's mostly residential northernmost tier, bordering Shoreline

South of Downtown and I-90

SoDo-Georgetown
Continuing south of downtown past the sports stadiums, this industrial district contains the well-hidden but thriving Georgetown neighborhood
South Seattle
A mostly residential area that's home to the lovely Seward Park
West Seattle
A scenic residential area with numerous parks and good vistas over the harbor
  • The "Eastside" refers to the region east of Lake Washington comprising the suburbs of Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond.

Understand

Seattle was founded on the rough, physical industries of fishing, logging and coal mining, with San Francisco as her primary customer. Boeing, founded in 1916, grew to be Greater Seattle's primary industry as natural resources were depleted. The region's strong economic dependence on Boeing gave the oil recession and cancellation of the SST (Supersonic Transport) in the early '70s a grim effect. Over the last twenty-five years, the area has become less seedy and more developed with the massive influx of Microsoft money (and other software and biotech proceeds), but Pioneer Square is still the original Skid Row. (Yesler Way was a "Skid Road" for logs skidded downhill using dogfish oil to Henry Yesler's lumber mill).

Seattle is also substantially influenced by the presence of the University of Washington (the largest single campus in the state and recipient of over $1 billion in research grants annually), as well as multiple smaller colleges and universities. Seattle is also the center for financial, public health, and justice systems in the northwestern part of the U.S.


Culture

Seattle is historically a very diverse city and multiculturalism is seen as a virtue. Discrimination based on race is considered extremely offensive.

Locals have long talked of the "Seattle Freeze," referring to the cold politeness of residents. The theory is that while locals are very polite and warm on first interaction, most residents are also very reserved and interactions rarely lead to real acts of friendship (an invitation to dinner, personal conversations, etc.). For visitors it is best to treat this as shyness--expect to make all the "first moves" to meet people here.

Residents' shyness also extends to anger and annoyance. Locals often make fun of themselves for their passive aggressive culture, where even in the most upsetting circumstances they will retain their polite nature.


Climate

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 45 49 53 58 64 69 74 74 68 60 51 47
Nightly lows (°F) 36 38 40 43 48 53 56 56 53 48 42 38
Precipitation (in) 5.1 3.7 3.3 2.2 1.7 1.4 0.7 0.9 1.6 3.0 5.1 5.4

Check Seattle's 7 day forecast at NOAA

While Seattle is well known for its rain and dark, gloomy skies, it may surprise many how pleasant the weather can be, particularly during the summer months. November through March brings the worse of the unpleasant weather, with cool temperatures, heavy cloud cover and rain failing on most days. The short days and low angle of the sun during these months only add to the dark, gloomy feeling which is very unpleasant and depressing for some. The coldest month is January with average lows in the mid to upper 30s (about 3°C), with temperatures occasionally dropping below freezing. Most precipitation falls as a light rain, or a drizzle, with snow falling in the city only occasionally (though the surrounding mountains receive heaps and heaps of snow). Most cold-weather systems come from the north, which generally results in dry weather when temperatures are below freezing. Nonetheless, Seattle is hit by a major snow storm about every 2-3 years on average, which can paralyze the city’s transportation network (hills and ill-prepared drivers are two commonly cited reasons for such). November is the wettest month, sometimes bringing in fairly intense wind and rain storms, which are often classified as a “Pineapple Express”. The record low for Seattle is 0°F (-18°C)

In contrast, the weather can be quite pleasant from April to October, with exceptionally nice weather in July and August where highs average in the upper 70s and rain is very uncommon. Skies are mostly clear and smog-free, though mornings can produce an on-shore flow resulting in low clouds and fog which typically burns off by mid-day. The northern latitude (47.6 degrees) results in long days with a sunset of 9:11 p.m. on solstice. Summer heatwaves can push temperatures into the 80s and 90s, and despite only low to moderate humidity, they can be uncomfortable as air-conditioning is not always prevalent in the city. The record high for Seattle is 103°F (39°C).

As one might expect, the transitioning seasons of spring and fall can be a mixed bag, though as a rule, the closer to summer brings the greater chance of warm temperatures and clear skies. Winds are heavier in the winter than summer, but overall Seattle is not a windy city, adding to the comfort during the summer. The region does feature micro-climates due to the number of hills, mountains, and bodies of water, which can result in significantly different weather conditions over short distances. This also makes forecasting difficult and sometimes unreliable.


A view of the Seattle waterfront

Tourist information

The Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau operates two visitors centers:

  • Seattle Visitors Center and Concierge Services, 7th and Pike (inside the Washington State Convention and Trade Center), [3]. Daily 9AM-5PM during summer, M-F 9AM-5PM during winter.
  • Market Information Center, 1st and Pike (on the southwest corner), [4]. Daily 10AM-6PM. Services are more limited than the main location at 7th and Pike.

Get in

By plane

SeaTac Concourses
Concourse Airlines
A Air Canada, United, US Airways, Sun Country
B American, Frontier, Jetblue, Southwest, Virgin America
C Alaska
D Alaska
N Satellite Alaska
S Satellite (International) Delta (domestic & international), Hawaiian, Asiana, ANA (All Nippon Airways), British Airways, Condor, Emirates, EVA, Icelandair, Hainan, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Alaska (Arrivals from Mexico), United (Arrivals from Tokyo)

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (IATA: SEA), [5], universally nicknamed "Sea-Tac", is located in the city's southern suburbs. Domestically it's a major hub for Northwest and West Coast destinations, and internationally handles especially frequent trans-Pacific routes, as well as direct flights to the major European airports and to Dubai, UAE. The airport is about a 25 minute drive from downtown Seattle when there isn't heavy traffic, much longer during rush hour.

All international flights arrive at the south satellite terminal, but after immigration and customs, passengers are then funneled onto a train back to the main terminal, outside the security checkpoint. You'll need to pick up any checked bags to clear customs, then place them right back on the conveyor for transit to the main terminal which can be reclaimed at carousel 1 at the main terminal. Carousel 1 is in the main baggage hall which is located to the right after leaving the train and going upstairs to the ground level. Allow plenty of time for this dance! All connecting passengers will need to re-check their baggage with their airline and pass through security.

There are several choices for getting from the airport to the city center:

  • Sound Transit's Link Light Rail [6] connects the Airport directly to downtown Seattle. Trains run 5 AM - 12:50 AM (0500—0050) (11 PM Sunday), taking 37 minutes to reach the terminal at Westlake Station in the central business downtown (Pine St. at 3rd and 5th Aves.). Tickets are $2.75, available from vending machines at every station. At the airport, the rail station is connected to the Main Terminal via the far left side of the parking garage, as you enter the garage from the terminal. Taking the bridge nearest baggage carousel 16 and the United Airlines ticket counter is the shortest walk. Otherwise there are other buses going by along Pacific Hwy (at base of the light rail station) or outside Door 00 at the south end of the terminal. See this link.
  • Commercial shuttle buses & vans [7] are about $5.00-12.75 and probably not faster than public transit if you are going downtown, though they do have more room for luggage. Catch them at the Ground Transportation Center, located on the third floor of the parking garage, one level down after crossing the Skybridge.
  • Long Distance buses & vans [8]. There are other long distances buses & vans going from Sea-Tac to Vancouver, BC; Bremerton, Bellingham, Anacortes ferry terminal (to San Juan), San Juan Islands, Olympia, Centralia, eastern Washington, Tacoma etc. at the airport too. They are at Door 00 past the international arrivals luggage reclaim carousel (#1).
  • A taxi trip takes about 25 min (expect to pay $40-50 plus tip); catch one on the third floor of the parking garage, one level down after crossing the Skybridge.
  • Rental cars are available at the airport. On a weekend, you might want to shop the internet for rental cars, since they can be less than $12/day (plus roughly 18% tax; also consider hotel parking fees, if any). Beware of the fact that taking a rental from the airport will incur an 11% "airport tax" surcharge. If you are able to rent a car from a downtown location you will not have to pay this and will save a considerable amount of money.

By train

Amtrak [9] provides service from all along the west coast from King Street Station [10], located S King St between 2nd & 4th Ave, south of downtown near Safeco Field. There are:

  • Amtrak Cascades runs four trains daily between Seattle and Portland via Tukwila, Tacoma, Centralia, Kelso & Vancouver, WA. Two of which continue to Eugene via Oregon City, Salem & Albany; and two daily to Vancouver, British Columbia (via Edmonds, Everett, Mt Vernon & Bellingham). Additional service to Vancouver, BC and Eugene, OR are on the the Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches (buses). These trains are more reliable schedule-wise than the long distance trains and offer certain amenities not available on regular Amtrak trains, such as more space for bikes, more laptop outlets, a "Bistro Car" which serves local foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
  • Amtrak Coast Starlight runs to Portland, the Bay Area, and eventually Los Angeles, California. Train stops at the same stops as the Cascades (see above) in Washington & Oregon (Tacoma, Centralia, Kelso, Vancouver, WA; Portland, Salem, Albany & Eugene) except Tukwila & Oregon City. Stops in Chemult and Klamath Falls (south of Eugene) before crossing into California.
  • The Empire Builder provides daily service to Chicago via Spokane, Glacier National Park and Minneapolis. In Spokane, the eastbound train is joined with the other branch coming from Portland while the westbound train is split in Spokane with one branch going to Seattle and the other to Portland. Unlike the other Amtrak transcontinental trains further south, the Builder tends to stick fairly closely to schedule.[11]
  • Sounder Commuter Rail goes out from Seattle to Lakewood via Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Sumner, Puyallup, Tacoma and South Tacoma in one direction and to Everett via Edmonds & Mukilteo in the other on a separate route. The majority of the trains leave Seattle in the afternoons & evenings and come in during the mornings. See schedules.

By car

Regarding the warning below: Mt Vernon has a temporary bridge for now and traffic flows normally. "June 19, 2013: WSDOT completed installation of two temporary spans and reopened I-5 to traffic." However -- "Sometime shortly after the Labor Day holiday weekend (Sept. 2), crews will close I-5 and detour traffic to remove the temporary bridge and move the new, permanent span into place."

Travel Warning WARNING: As of May 30, 2013, Travels coming from northern Washington State or Vancouver, BC in Canada on car or bus and will use Interstate 5 SHOULD EXPECT DELAYS on I-5 between Exits 229 and 227 due to an Bridge Collapse on Mount Vernon, WA. If you are traveling to Seattle Beyond Exit 227 (Not including any exits after Exit 227 on I-5 south), please add extra time as traffic can be significantly heavy.

Interstate Highway 5 (I-5) cuts through the middle of Seattle north to south. I-90 runs from the I-5 interchange in Seattle all the way to Boston, and crosses one of the two Lake Washington bridges to Bellevue, along with SR-520 further north. I-405 runs parallel to I-5 on the east side of Lake Washington. Be aware however, that Seattle is a city known for terrible traffic (third worst in the nation behind Los Angeles and New York), especially around rush hour, so be ready for crawling along slowly as you enter the city, especially on infamously congested I-5, southern I-405, and the SR-520 bridge.

By bus

Except Greyhound & Northwestern Trailways which uses the "central" bus station at 811 Stewart St., the other bus companies are at the airport (south end of lower level of terminal by Door 00) or in various parts of town. See below:

  • Greyhound, 811 Stewart St (Facing Stewart St between 8th & 9th St. Taxi stand at front of building), 206-628-5561 (toll free: 1-800-231-2222), [12]. Travels primarily on Interstate 5 (Seattle-Vancouver & Seattle-Portland on two separate routes), 90/82 (Ellensburg-Yakima-Pasco-Stanfield, OR) & 90 (Seattle-Ellensburg-Moses Lake-Spokane-Missoula). Passengers transfer to other buses in Portland, Missoula, Pasco, Stanfield or Vancouver, BC to get to other cities.

In addition to Greyhound there are other choices:

  • (Airport shuttles & buses), [13]. There are various vans & buses leaving from the lot outside 'Door 00' at the south end of the terminal to Tacoma, Olympia, Centralia, Bremerton (via Tacoma), Vancouver, BC; Bellingham, Mt Vernon, etc. See this link
  • Bellair Airporter, 1416 Whitehorn St, Ferndale 98248, +1-866-235-5247 (), [14]. Goes up from Sea-Tac Airport to Stanwood, Burlington/Mt Vernon, Bellingham & Blaine on one route and from Sea-Tac to Cle Elum, Ellensburg & Yakima on another route. They also have a third route from Burlington to Anacortes & the San Juan Ferry Terminal.
  • Bolt Bus, 5th Ave S & S King, +1-877-265-8287, [15]. Vancouver, BC; Bellingham, Seattle & Portland. The stop is at 5th Ave & S King in the International District
  • Northwestern Trailways, Greyhound Terminal @ 811 Stewart St, +1-509-838-4029 (), [16]. Stops at both the Greyhound Terminal & King St Station in Seattle. Goes up to Everett and east to Lake Stevens, Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Ephrata, Ritzville & Spokane along US-2 and I-90. Additional routes between Coure d'Alene, Spokane, Pullman, Moscow, Lewiston & Boise. They operate the state's "Travel Washington Apple Line" [17] bus between Ellensburg, Wenatchee, & Omak.
  • Olympic Bus Lines, +1 360 417-0700 (toll free: +1 800 457-4492), [18]. operates the state's "Travel Washington Dungeness Line" to Discovery Bay, Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles (via Edmonds-Kingston Ferry) from Sea-Tac, King St Station (Amtrak), downtown hospitals (by reservation only), and Greyhound (811 Stewart St).
  • Quick Shuttle, Best Western Executive Inn @ 200 Taylor Ave N, +1-800-665-2122, [19]. Goes up to Vancouver, BC from Sea-Tac and the Best Western Executive Inn (200 Taylor Ave N) in downtown, near Seattle Center. Bus stops into the cruise terminals at Pier 66 & 91 during the summer. Picks up in the U.S. and dropping off in Canada ONLY going north and vice versa going south.
  • Wheatland Express, 4101 SR 270, Pullman 99163 (office), +1-509-334-2200 (toll free: +1 800 334-2207, , fax: 509-332-0118), [20]. Goes from Pullman & Moscow, ID to Seattle on Friday mornings (or before WSU vacation period) and leaves Seattle for Pullman & Moscow, Idaho on Sundays (or before the end of the WSU vacation period) on the 'Weekend Express' and/or 'Holiday Express' lines. Picks up and drops off at the Southcenter Mall south of Seattle. (take the #150 bus between Southcenter & downtown)


The below are more regional going from Seattle to outlying suburbs:

  • Sound Transit [21] buses have many convenient express routes that travel South (to Tacoma on Rt# 590, 593, 594) and North (Bothell on Rt #522, Everett Rt 510, 512, 513). Some of these buses run during rush hours only, but most, including the routes to the destinations mentioned above, run all day till late at night. Check the schedule to make sure. The fare schedule is slightly different than Metro, with no off-peak discount: $2.50 all for trips within King County.
  • Community Transit [22] operates direct express buses to various points in Snohomish County, up north such as to Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mulkiteo, Stanwood, Marysville, etc. during the afternoon / evening rush hours and into Seattle in the mornings only. Buses are numbered in the 400s from downtown Seattle and the 800s from the University of Washington.
  • King County Metro [23] also operates buses out to outlying suburbs & cities such as Federal Way, Shoreline, Lake City way, North Bend, etc. Buses numbered in the 100s go south (Renton, Kent, Burien, SeaTac, Federal Way, Auburn, Enumclaw, etc); 200s go east (Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, North Bend, Issaquah, Lake Smamish, etc); and 300s go north (Lake City Way, Bothell, Shoreline) and 900s from some of the above areas to outlying rural & suburban areas. Most of those other lines are local to those areas and do not necessarily go into downtown Seattle either.

By boat

There are two regular ferry services in the Seattle area:

  • Washington State Ferries, 801 Alaskan Way Pier 52, +1 206 464-6400 [24]. Connects downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island and Bremerton; and from another ferry terminal in Faunteleroy (West Seattle) to Vashon Island and Southworth in (Kitsap Peninsula).
  • King County Water Taxi, 801 Alaskan Way Pier 50, 1 206 684-1551 [25] operates passenger ONLY ferries (or water taxis) out to Vashon Island and Alki Beach (in West Seattle) on two separate routes.
  • Victoria Clipper, 2701 Alaskan Way Pier 69, +1 206 443-2560 [26] offers high speed catamaran passenger (only) ferries connecting Seattle to Victoria, British Columbia and the San Juan Islands.

Cruise ships to Seattle may be docked at one of two terminals in the Port of Seattle [27].

  • Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66, 2225 Alaskan Way S, near the middle of Seattle downtown's waterfront, serves as home port for Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises. Has bus, taxi and shuttle connections for transfer of passengers and luggage. For travelers with connecting flights, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is less than 15 mi (24 km) away.
  • Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, 2001 W Garfield St, at the north end of Seattle's downtown waterfront, serves as home port to Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises.

Get around

Navigating

Seattle's street designations make sense once you understand them but, if you don't understand them, you can end up many miles away from your destination.

North-South streets are labeled "Avenues" while East-West streets are labeled "Streets". The city is roughly divided into a 3 by 3 grid with 7 directional sectors (E, SW, W, S, N, NE, & NW) Street addresses are written with the sector before the name, e.g. NE 45th Street or NE 45th. Avenue addresses are written with the sector after the name, e.g. 45th Avenue NE or 45th NE.

One way to remember avenues: University Way NE, the main street through the city's University District (neighborhood) is called "The Ave" by the locals, and all avenues run north-south. But, don't confuse University St with University Ave; they're two completely different streets!

"Ways" are long diagonals, "Drives" are long, circuitous routes, "Courts" are one block long.

There are four major exceptions:

  1. Downtown streets and avenues have no directional designation.
  2. There is no SE section. Instead, the S section is extra wide.
  3. East of downtown, avenues have no directional designation (streets are preceded by 'E').
  4. North of downtown (between Denny Way and the ship canal), streets have no directional designation, but avenues are followed by 'N'.

The twelve streets in the central business district are named as six first-letter pairs (south to north): Jefferson, James, Cherry, Columbia, Marion, Madison, Spring, Seneca, University, Union, Pike, Pine. One way to remember the order of the street pairs is with the mnemonic "Jesus Christ Made Seattle Under Protest."

By public transit

Breda electric articulated

Metro Transit [28] (electric, hybrid, and diesel city buses) actually works pretty well. The web trip planner [29] is straightforward and accurate, as long as your bus is on time. Using Google Maps' trip planner works well too, but fare information can sometimes be incorrect. During rush hours (M-F 6-9AM and 3-6PM), adult bus fares are $2.50 within the city limits. All other times of day and weekends adult bus fare is $2.25. The youth fare is always $1.25.

A fare is required on all buses and should always be paid while boarding the bus. Pay exact fare, as drivers carry no change. You can get a free paper transfer from one Metro bus to another Metro bus, but the only way to transfer for free between transit agencies is with an ORCA card, which costs $5.00 in addition to the money you put on it, available at all Link Light Rail and Sounder stations or online (Click on "Get a card").

Board at the front and exit at the back. All buses now feature live, GPS-based destination signs inside, which can help you determine when your stop is coming up.

When traveling to destinations outside of the downtown core, you should make sure to ask the drivers in Metro buses with green and white "EXPRESS" signs in their windows and those whose route signs say "VIA EXPRESS" if they are going to your destination. Some of these express routes are intended for regular commuters traveling between residential neighborhoods and downtown and make few or no stops between, but many may be useful for getting to destinations such as the University District, West Seattle, and Ballard.

Sound Transit [30] buses have many convenient express routes that travel South (to Tacoma on Rt# 590, 593, 594), East (Redmond on Rt #545, Bellevue on Rt #550, Issaquah #554), and North (Bothell on Rt #522, Everett Rt 510, 512, 513). Some of these buses run during only rush hours, but most, including the routes to the destinations mentioned above, run all day. Check the schedule to make sure. The fare schedule is slightly different than Metro, with no off-peak discount: $2.50 all for trips within King County, and $3.50 for trips crossing the county line.

Link Light Rail [31] operates between Westlake Center downtown and Sea-Tac Airport, running through South Seattle and Tukwila. Fares are $2.00—$2.75 depending on how far you travel; ticket machines are located at all stations, and the tickets must be retained for the duration of your trip.

Sound Transit also operates a commuter rail service called the Sounder [32] between Seattle-Tacoma and Seattle-Everett. However, the Sounder is limited mostly to rush hour service on the weekdays, with some service for special events like Seahawks and Seattle Mariners games.

In Seattle, there is also the South Lake Union Streetcar [33], which runs between Downtown and South Lake Union, the Seattle Center Monorail [34], which makes a quick connection between Downtown and the Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle, and a passenger ferry, the King County Water Taxi [35], which offers a quick connection between Downtown at Pier 55 and West Seattle, at Seacrest Park near Alki. The water taxi also offers beautiful views of Downtown, the Olympic Mountains, and much of the city.

Community Transit [36] buses have many convenient direct express routes going north to various places in Snohomish County such as Everett (#410, 412, 510, 512), Edmonds (Ferry Terminal on #416), Mukilteo (#880, 417), Silver Firs (north of Bothell on #435) etc etc. The buses numbered in the 400s travel between downtown Seattle and Snohomish County while the ones numbered in the 800s travel to/from University Washington. They only go up to Snohomish County from Seattle during the afternoon/evening rush hours between 3:00PM and 6:30PM and into Seattle from Snohomish County in the mornings 5:00AM to 9:30AM. Otherwise they serve as local services in/around Snohomish County up north (numbered in the 100s & 200s).

If you need any help, go to the Customer Stop at Westlake Station in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, or ask a local. Seattlelites are always eager to help and may even offer help if they just see you looking at a tourist map!

By car

Unlike some other American cities, visitors should not be intimidated by the thought of navigating Seattle by car. While rush-hour traffic can be quite frustrating (especially on the freeways), the city's streets and roadways are otherwise quite hospitable. On weekends, you can often rent cars at locations throughout the city for well under $20/day.

Be mindful of where you park because parking laws are enforced and the fines can be hefty! A parking ticket can be in excess of $45 for going overtime in a 2-hour zone.

By bicycle

Bicycling is better than in most North American cities because of extensive bicycle trails and lanes, temperate weather (rarely too hot or too cold) and accommodating drivers. Notable down-sides are damp roads, frequent rain, and hills, so you may wish to wear a water-proof jacket and gloves. Many major roads in Seattle have well maintained and separated bicycle lanes. Bicycle usage has increased significantly since the early 2000s and car drivers are perhaps a bit more accustomed to bicycles than in other major cities in the U.S.

You can pick up a free Seattle Bike Map (as well as other local city and county bike maps) at locations through the city, including the Seattle BikeStation, 311 3rd Ave S between Main St & S Jackson St almost next door to the train station. They also give suggestions on how to bicycle where you are going and how to do it safely. The google maps "bicycling" mode directions are also very useful in Seattle -- just search for a location on google maps, then choose the "bike" icon and you'll see bike-specific directions.

Bicycle transportation in North Seattle is facilitated by the East-West oriented Burke-Gilman Trail [37]. This is a flat, paved walking/jogging/cycling trail that winds its way from the north end of Lake Washington, down around the University of Washington, then west towards Ballard. The trail connects the neighborhoods of Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, the U. District, Ravenna/U. Village, Laurelhurst, Sand Point, and Lake City. The trail is on an old railroad right-of-way, so it maintains a very consistent elevation and is excellent for commuting or a casual day's touring.

The major north-south bike path in central Seattle is the Myrtle Edwards path, located along Puget sound, starting at the north end of downtown and continuing northwards to the Ship Canal Locks and the Ballard neighborhood. The trail also winds along the downtown waterfront and travels south to the port of Seattle with connections to West Seattle. This path has beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains and Mt. Rainier, and can be more peaceful than the Burke as it does not intersect with any roads.

All Metro buses are equipped to carry three bicycles [38] on racks on the front, at no extra charge.

Daily bicycle rentals are available at a number of locations downtown [39] [40]($45 per day) and along the Burke-Gilman trail [41] (from $30 per day). Longer term bicycle rentals, with bike delivery to your hotel or residence, are available from Seattle Monthly Bike Rental [42] ($80 per week)).

See

Seattle is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

See the district articles for more listings. The following is an overview:

Landmarks

  • Pike Place Market, 1501 Pike Place (1st and Pike, above the waterfront), [43]. Pike Place level: M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Down Under level: 11AM-5PM daily. In downtown, the market is Seattle's largest tourist area, and it's the oldest continually operating farmers' market in the United States. It is home to the famous fish market, original Starbucks Coffee shop, and a large indoor and outdoor market. Many other attractions in downtown are within walking distance of Seattle's biggest tourist area making it the perfect place to start any sightseeing trip of the city.
  • Space Needle, 400 Broad St, [44]. 8AM to Midnight - Open 365 days a year. A short monorail ride away from downtown is Seattle's most iconic landmark. While expensive to ride to the top, the Space Needle is a "must see" for visitors on a nice day. Adults $22, age 4-12 $13, under 4 free, over 65 $19,.

Tours

  • Savor Seattle Food Tours [45]. As seen in Bon Appétit Magazine, USA Today, and Frommer’s Travel Guide, Savor Seattle Food Tours is ranked #1 for the best things to do in Seattle! Offer award-winning food tours that explore the exciting history, culture, and food that makes Seattle a top culinary destination.
  • Public Market Tours [46] A one-hour historical tour of Pike Place Market filled with intriguing tales, including the original Starbucks and Sur La Table stores, as well as the world famous fish throwing Pike Place Fish boys.
  • Ride the Ducks Seattle [47]. A 90-min ride on an amphibious World War II vehicle (yes, part of the ride is on Lake Union), not cheap ($28 adult) and not for those with a limited sense of humor (the style is a bit over-the-top). Definitely unique. 5th Ave. and Broad St., across from the Space Needle. Open-year round.
  • Argosy Cruises [48]. Offers sightseeing cruises of the harbor, the locks, and the surrounding lakes. They also offer day trips to Tillicum Village on Blake Island with a salmon bake from 1201 Alaskan Way, Piers 55 & 56.
  • Bill Speidel's Underground Tour [49]. Bill Speidel's Underground Tour is Seattle's most unusual attraction, a humorous stroll through subterranean storefronts and sidewalks entombed when the city rebuilt on top of itself after the Great Fire. The tour begins above ground in a restored 1890s saloon, then spills into historic Pioneer Square, before plunging underground for a time-capsule view of the buried city. All the while, tour guides regale you with sidesplitting stories our pioneers didn’t want you to hear. It’s history with punch lines! Tickets: undergroundtour.com, 206 682 4646.
  • Underworld Tour [50]. The Underworld Tour is an adults-only stroll through the old red-light district of the abandoned, underground city that is Seattle’s birthplace. A big-brother version of the world-famous Underground Tour, it’s seamier, raunchier and laugh-out-loud lewdicrous. Totally inappropriate! One alcoholic drink included. Valid picture ID required. Tickets: undergroundtour.com, 206 682 4646.
  • SubSeattle Tour [51]. SubSeattle Tour is a rollicking, scenic bus ride through out-of-sight city neighborhoods, with lots of irreverent humor, sightings and stories of Seattle's subcultures. See the “real” Seattle most visitors don’t even hear about. View Lake Washington beaches, the house where Nirvana's Kurt Cobain lived (and died), and Seattle's gay Pride parade route along hopping Broadway Ave. Brought to you by the Underground Tour. Tickets: subseattletour.com, 206 682 4646.

Museums

Seattle is home to a number of top-notch museums. Downtown is home to the renowned Seattle Art Museum, which displays a good overview and assortment of art from around the world. In the Central District is the Seattle Asian Art Museum, an off-shoot of the Seattle Art Museum which focuses on Chinese & Japanese Art, but includes works from as far away as India. Additionally, The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is in Chinatown/International District is the only Asian Pacific American museum in the nation. Nearby is the Frye Art Museum, a small private collection featuring 232 paintings by Munich-based artists. Not a museum, but open to browsing by the public, is the Seattle Metaphysical Library, in Ballard, which specializes in material not found in normal libraries..


Surrounding the Space Needle on the grounds of the Seattle Center are several more big museums, including the Pacific Science Center, an interactive science museum, the Experience Music Project, a Rock & Roll museum with a special Jimi Hendrix exhibit, and the Science Fiction Museum Home of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

On the north end of South Lake Union is the newly reopened Museum of History and Industry, called Mohai for short.

Downtown is home to the popular Seattle Aquarium. The University District holds the The Henry Art Gallery, one of the biggest contemporary art galleries in Washington. Also on the university campus is the Burke Museum, a combination natural history/archaeology museum. Further out in Georgetown is the Museum of Flight, with a large collection of aircraft ranging from wood and fabric crates to the sleek Concorde.

Travelers planning to visit multiple attractions may benefit from Seattle CityPASS [52], which grants admission to 6 Seattle attractions within 9 days of first use for a much reduced rate and includes expedited entry in some cases. The included attractions are: Space Needle; Seattle Aquarium; Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour; Pacific Science Center; Experience Music Project - Science Fiction Museum and an Option Ticket with choice of either Museum of Flight or Woodland Park Zoo.

Architecture

Most of the architectural attractions in Seattle are located in a small portion of the downtown area, easily traversed on foot. Among the highlights are the Rem Koolhaas/OMA designed Central Library, a unique, contemporary building with an enormous glass-fronted atrium; the Experience Music Project designed to resemble Jimi Hendrix's smashed guitar done in a manner only Frank Gehry could conceive; the Smith Tower, an Art Deco skyscraper which has an observation deck and is Seattle's oldest skyscraper; the Columbia Center, the tallest building in the Pacific Northwest and one with its own observation deck; the Seattle City Hall, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Bassetti Architects, with its roof garden, designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd. and Swift & Company; and the new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus, designed by NBBJ, with its 12 acre garden also designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd.

Seattle's Downtown from the Space Needle

Of course, the most popular view in Seattle remains the one from the revolving top of the Space Needle at the Seattle Center. And given the retro-futurism look of the Space Needle, a fitting way to get there is via the Monorail, which connects the Seattle Center to Downtown.

Parks and outdoors

Seattle is peppered with parks, from small urban squares to large forested areas with views of the Puget Sound.

  • Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (a.k.a. Ballard Locks) in Ballard. Check out the fish ladders and if you're lucky you'll see huge Pacific Northwest salmon coming and going.
  • UW Waterfront Activities Center - Rent a canoe and explore the arboretum
  • Woodland Park Zoo (South Gate at N 50th St and Fremont Ave N, on Phinney Ridge), [53]. $15 ($11 in winter), 9:30AM-4PM in the winter (1 Oct-30 Apr), 6PM in the summer (1 May-31 Sep). It has mostly realistic and spacious habitats for the animals, unlike the animal jails in some zoos. The Raptor Show at 3PM on non-rainy weekends is particularly entertaining if you get the bird handler with the Bronx accent: "If dis boid's head were da same size as youses, its eyes would be da size of sawftbawls."
  • Carkeek Park is a sweet little beach park in North Seattle. Good hikes, and may have salmon migrating upstream in fall.
  • Cowen Park has a play structure for children and a backstop for baseball/softball. Cowen is connected to Ravenna Park via a wooded ravine that makes for good jogging and walking. It is a particularly nice walk in the (rare) snow.
  • Discovery Park [54] the largest city park in Seattle. Magnolia is great for kite-flying as well as a trail to the beach with great cliffs and boat watching. At Park's beach, you can see the view of both Cascade and Olympia Mountain ranges. This is a great getaway from long weeks of work and to bring kids to enjoy some quality family moments. The wildlife sanctuary is well protected to maintain the rich natural environment.
  • Gasworks Park [55] in Wallingford is built on the former site of the city gas facility, and a few hulking tanks and pipes are preserved, giving it a slightly eerie feel. The hill at the center has a sundial on top, and offers a spectacular view of downtown across Union Bay, as well as gusts of wind great for kite-flying. Don't eat the carcinogenic dirt!
  • Golden Gardens Park in Ballard is one of two places in Seattle that still allows bonfires on the beach. Set on the Puget Sound, it offers spectacular views of the sun setting over the Olympic mountain range on clear days.
  • Green Lake [56], north of the University District, has side-by-side 2.75 mi (4.4 km) asphalt and gravel trails for walking, jogging and rollerblading around the circumference of the lake, plus several sports fields. The path is good for people-watching as there is a constant stream of thousands of Seattlelites all day long. On the East side there are areas of grass where you can often find pick-up soccer, volleyball as well as basketball on outdoor courts. There's also an indoor swimming pool, which is much cleaner than the lake. If the signs warn that the lake is closed, don't ignore them or risk getting "swimmer's itch" from the plentiful parasites spread through duck feces. The surrounding neighborhood is vibrant and fun in good weather, with rental rollerskates, bikes, restaurants, etc.
  • Kerry Park [57] on Highland Drive on Queen Anne Hill is the single most photographed view of Seattle, with a spectacular cityscape with the Space Needle, Safeco Field, CenturyLink Field, and Elliott Bay in front and Mt. Rainier visible behind the skyline. The best view is to go on a clear summer day around 9PM, the sun will have just dropped behind the Olympic range, the city lights will just be coming on, but there will be enough sunlight left that Rainier glows purple behind the city. The Sculpture "Changing Form" by Doris Chase is standing in the center of Kerry Park since 1977 and this park attracts many tourists and locals to enjoy their afternoon or night chillaxing.
  • Kubota Garden [58], a spectacular 20-acre (8 ha) park space in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of South Seattle. To quote the linked website, the Garden contains "streams, waterfalls, ponds, rock outcroppings, and an exceptionally rich and mature collection of plant material." Established by Fujitaro Kubota in 1927, he wanted to "display the beauty of the Northwest in a Japanese manner."
  • Magnuson Park / Sand Point, the second largest park in Seattle, used to be a U.S. Naval base. The remaining naval buildings are now used for recreational purposes and to host shows. Magnuson boasts multiple sports fields, a boat launch, an off-leash dog park, and lots of walking trails. The Sound Garden (after which the local Seattle band was named), is on NOAA property. It is public art work that moans eerily in the wind.
  • Myrtle Edwards Park [59] on Elliott Bay has a nice view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Also a great place to take a walk, jog or bike ride. The walking and cycling paths (at times separate) start north of the ferry piers and go right along the water for 1.5 mi (2.4 km), and provide a delightful way to get close to the harbor. It is separated from the rest of the city by several train tracks, so you won't have to listen to any vehicle traffic.
  • Ravenna Park in the Ravenna area is a park named for its wooded ravine. It is good park for baseball, soccer, tennis, or have a barbecue. Ravenna Park is connected to Cowen Park via a trail alongside a little creek. This park provides a basic feel for the nature that can be found outside of the city.
  • Olympic Sculpture Park is a new park on the waterfront built and maintained by the Seattle Art Museum. It has wonderful views across the water and contains sculptures built by famous artists including Richard Serra and Alexander Calder.
  • Seward Park in the Seward Park neighborhood has 300 acres of beautiful forest land and a 2.4 mile bike and walking path, an amphitheater, a native plant garden, an art studio, miles of hiking trails, and shelters to grill food.
  • The University of Washington Arboretum [60] is 230 acres (93 ha) of urban greenery with collections of oaks, conifers, camellias, Japanese maples and hollies. Often filled with people going for walks on sunny summer days, especially weekends. The Japanese gardens are a special spot.
  • Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill, home of the Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM).
  • Waterfront provides one of the best views while walking in Seattle (if you don't mind the crowds).

Do

Seattle is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

See the district articles for listings.

Events

  • Seafair [61] is in July and early August. Neighborhood events such as parades and street fairs run throughout the festival, with the downtown Torchlight Parade in late July. Seafair culminates in early August when hydroplane races and the Blue Angels bring loud, fast boats and planes to Lake Washington.
  • Bumbershoot [62]. A music and arts festival, held on Labor Day weekend (beginning of September) in the Seattle Center, featuring dozens of local and world-class musical acts.
  • Northwest Folklife Festival [63]. A more low-key and global version of Bumbershoot, held in the Seattle Center on Memorial Day weekend (end of May). Even more important - it's free ($10 donation per person per day requested at the entries - but not required).
  • Bite of Seattle [64]. Part of Seafair festivities. Held in mid/late-July in the Seattle Center. Eat till you explode.
  • Hempfest A two-day cannabis festival in mid-August. Held at Myrtle Edwards park on the Seattle waterfront, it's the largest marijuana rally in the world and the biggest annual political event in Washington. Features political speakers, vendors, food, several stages with many bands, and lots of open pot smoking (especially at 4:20)! It is a demonstration for the political reform and the legalization of marijuana. [65]
  • Capitol Hill Block Party [66], Yearly live music event held on Capitol Hill over a weekend in mid-summer (usually the end of July). Consists of primarily local independent bands of various styles, coupled with some bigger name independent label acts.
  • Fremont Fair [67]. Home of the Solstice Parade (including the nude bike ride) is a really fun drunken time all over Fremont. Vendors, bad live music and eclectic crowds at the bars makes for an interesting time. Friends who live in Fremont become especially valuable for a place to crash.

Cycling

  • Mountain biking. The best riding in Seattle is underneath I-5 between Eastlake and Capitol Hill at the Colonnade [68].
  • A little further out, try riding "The Tapeworm" in Philip Arnold Park in Renton, southeast of Seattle. Other great trails are in this park, as well.
  • Burke Gilman Trail. 26-mi (42 km) paved path dedicated to non-motorized travel. Goes from Golden Gardens park, on Puget Sound near the Locks, to Bothell Landing where it connects to Sammamish River Trail, which goes to Marymoor Park (in Redmond).

Seattle is one of the best cycling cities in the United States. All trails are mapped in Google Maps.

Boating

  • Center For Wooden Boats, 1010 Valley St (south end of Lake Union), +1 206 382-2628, [69]. Visit and poke around boats in various stages of restoration, from big broken hulks to gorgeous polished speedsters. Rent an antique boat and go for a row or a sail. They as well offer free sailboat rides on Lake Union. Call ahead to check the schedule.
  • Northwest Outdoor Center, (west side of Lake Union), [70]. Kayak rentals.
  • Agua Verde, on Portage Bay between Lake Union and Lake Washington, [71]. Kayak rentals.
  • Waterfront Activities Center, (University of Washington, a quarter mile south of Husky Stadium), +1 206 543-9433, [72]. Canoe rentals. Parking sucks except after noon on Saturdays. Paddle across the Lake Washington Ship Canal into the Arboretum and watch ducks, geese, swans, random migratory birds, and lots of other boats. If you're an experienced sailor, you can also rent a sailboat after a checkout with their staff. Open to the public ($7.50/hr) and students ($4/hr).
  • Lake Union Crew, on Lake Union, +1 206 860-4199, [73]. Learn to row! Classes are held year round and occur over a 4 week period with 3 classes per week. There are evening and morning sessions to fit any schedule. The classes teach you the basics of sweep rowing (one oar per rower) and sculling (two oars). The facilities are beautiful and located right on Lake Union just south of the University Bridge.
  • Elliott Bay Cruises, on Lake Elliott, +1 206 623-4252, [74]. Cruises as short as one hour around Elliott Bay are available from Argosy Cruises, departing from Pier 55.

Sports

Safeco Field
  • Seattle Mariners [75], member of Major League Baseball's (MLB) American League Western Division, plays at Safeco Field from April to October.
  • Seattle Seahawks [76], member of the National Football League's (NFL) National Football Conference's Western Division, play at CenturyLink Field (formerly Qwest Field) from August (Regular Season begins in September) until January.
  • Seattle Sounders FC [77], member of Major League Soccer's (MLS) Western Conference. The third different Seattle soccer team to bear the "Sounders" name, plays at CenturyLink Field from March-November. Possibly the toughest ticket in town—the Sounders have sold out every home MLS game since joining the league in 2009—but for hardcore soccer (football) fans, the atmosphere is unmatched in the US. David Beckham, the iconic English star who played in MLS from 2007 to 2012, has called CenturyLink Field the only place in the league where he has seen an atmosphere that compares to that found in Europe.
  • Seattle Storm [78], Seattle's WNBA Western Conference team plays at KeyArena from May till September.
  • Seattle Reign FC [79], the city's newest top-level professional team, plays soccer in the just-launched National Women's Soccer League from April to August. The Reign, named after a defunct Seattle women's basketball team, play in the suburb of Tukwila at Starfire Stadium.
  • Seattle Thunderbirds [80], WHL US Division junior hockey team plays at the ShoWare Center in nearby Kent, WA from September till March.
  • Washington Huskies [81] – The sports teams representing the University of Washington, competing in the Pacific-12 Conference. Virtually all venues are on campus, with the best-known being Husky Stadium (football) and Hec Edmundson Pavilion (many indoor sports, most notably basketball). Husky Stadium, set to reopen for the 2013 football season after major renovations, is notable as the largest stadium in the Pacific Northwest and for its scenic setting next to Lake Washington; a significant number of fans arrive at the stadium by boat. Tickets can be difficult to come by for football and men's basketball games.

Buy

See the district articles for listings.

  • The Pike Place Market [82] in Downtown is an attraction unto itself, known for its seafood and produce stands. As the weather gets warmer, artisans sell their wares here as well. The market is located along 2nd Ave & Pike.
  • Downtown in general - The 26 to 30 square block area between Pikes Place Market & the convention Center bounded north by Stewart, south by Union, west by 1st Ave & east by 6th Ave (or the freeway) is the retail core of downtown offering a concentrated number of hotels, boutique shops, dept stores (Nordstroms & Macys) and a number of restaurants & cafes. Of course there are also additional outside this area in downtown Seattle.
  • Westlake Center [83] 400 Pine St is a downtown mall within the downtown retail core offering additional restaurants and shops selling all sorts of items and a general food court up on the third floor with a variety of different foods. In addition to the food court, there is also a branch of 'Travelex Bureau du Change' office that exchange foreign currency for US dollars and next to the monorail station for the direct ride over to Seattle Center. Below the mall is the underground tunnel for buses and the light rail. Not all buses go through the tunnel either but on surface streets. See http://metro.kingcounty.gov to find which bus goes along where in the downtown area.
  • Northgate Mall [84] 401 NE Northgate Way. Another mall north of Seattle. The #41 bus serves Northgate from downtown.
  • Westfield SouthCenter Mall[85] is the other big mall including a JC Penny, Sears, Macy's & Nordstrom. Recently expanded in 2008. The #150 bus goes down to Southcenter from downtown. There are also a number of other big and small stores in various smaller strip malls along Southcenter Dr spanning 3-4mi south of the Southcenter Mall and across the street from the southside of the mall.

Eat

See the district articles for listings.

Fresh seafood is found in abundance at both markets and restaurants. Seattle also has a wide variety of Asian cuisine.

Drink

See the district articles for listings.

Few, if any, American cities can challenge Seattleites' love of coffee. Seattle's love of coffee is perhaps signified best by Starbucks [86], Seattle's Best Coffee (now owned by Starbucks), and Tully's [87] as they each have expanded all over the country and world, but locals aren't satisfied by these internationally-recognized chains alone, evidenced by hundreds of good locally owned coffeehouses. Microbreweries and beer in general are a Northwest specialty, and Seattle has many to offer for beer enthusiasts. The larger ones, like Redhook, have their products distributed around the country like their coffee cousins, while others can only be found in local stores or bars (some notable ones even don't bottle their product).

In Washington, bars have a full liquor license, while taverns are restricted to beer, wine and cider. Seattle bars have world-class beer selection, featuring local Northwest style micros, many of them crafted in Seattle.

Sleep

See the district articles for listings.

Contact

The area code for the City of Seattle is 206. Surrounding areas use other area codes, including 425 which encompasses the eastside and northern suburbs including Bellevue, Redmond, Lynnwood, and Everett, 253 for all areas south of Kent such as Tacoma, Federal Way, and Fife, and 360 for all areas outside the greater Everett-Seattle-Tacoma corridor but west of the Cascades. All of Washington east of the Cascades uses the 509 area code.

Free Wi-Fi can be found at all Seattle Public libraries, and is available to users with Wi-Fi enabled laptops and wireless devices. The City of Seattle provides free Wi-Fi access in the Columbia City and University District areas as part of a pilot project. The project also provides coverage in four downtown Seattle parks: Occidental, Freeway, Westlake and Victor Steinbrueck, as well as the City Hall lobby area. The Seattle Center also provides free wireless internet in the Center House building [88]. Some of the Metro and Sound Transit commuter buses offer free Wi-Fi.

There are various internet cafes in the Seattle area, especially in the University District and the Downtown neighborhoods. Additionally, many coffee shops offer free and paid wireless access (all Starbucks locations offer AT&T internet access points).

Stay safe

Seattle is a fairly safe city. Like all large cities you should be cautious of potential danger and use common sense. There is little concern in the residential North Seattle districts, except for the areas around Aurora Avenue and Lake City Way at night time. South Seattle neighborhoods have had a history of gang and drug related violence. Common sense and smart thinking should be used in any neighborhood you are unfamiliar with, especially if traveling by foot or alone.

Seattle has many lovely parks that while quite nice during daytime, become cesspools at night. Any activity at night in city parks should be avoided. You will also do yourself a favour by going out to enjoy the nightlife in a group, as walking around downtown alone is a good way to get rolled. The same applies in Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, and the International District.

Downtown Seattle has a high influx of homeless men and women (suburbs on the East side enacted laws which forced homeless people into Seattle's downtown core), and while many may beg for change, only a small percentage are to be considered harmful.

The right to assemble and protest is taken very seriously in Seattle (as well as the rest of Washington), and often goes to extremes. Protest related violence is frequent and well documented, and it would be a poor exercise of judgement indeed to be found anywhere near one in the city. Keep in mind also the Seattle Police are not known for being soft-handed in such situations.

Seattle is a difficult city to drive in, and even tougher to park in. Throughout your time here, drive smartly and defensively. This should be applied to the rest of the state of as well.

Enjoy your visit.

Cope

Newspapers

  • The Seattle Times [89] ($0.50 daily, $1.50 Sundays) is the only remaining daily newspaper in the Seattle area and covers local, national and international news.
  • The Seattle Post-Intelligencer [90] (free, online only) has ended its print edition, but still maintains local reporters and an online presence.
  • The Seattle Weekly [91] (free, published Wednesday) is one of many free weeklies that are published in the Seattle area. The Weekly has a longstanding reputation for in-depth coverage of arts and local politics.
  • The Stranger [92] (free, published Thursday) is an alternative weekly newspaper noted for its social commentary, political opinion, arts, comics, music coverage, and local news items.
  • Publicola [93] (free, online only) is an online only but well read blog covering local politics and events.
  • Real Change [94] ($1.00, published weekly) is a newspaper mostly written and produced by homeless people, and it is sold by homeless vendors on street corners and outside grocery stores.

There are also several ethnic newspapers including Northwest Asian Weekly, and numerous neighborhood newspapers including the North Seattle Journal, and the West Seattle Blog. The University of Washington also publishes The Daily of the University of Washington[95].

  • "'Crosscut"' [96] provides daily Seattle area news online including Seattle arts, Seattle politics and news from the Pacific Northwest. Donations are requested.

Hospitals

Seattle has a large number of primary- and secondary-care medical centers, including the only level 1 trauma center serving Alaska, Washington, Idaho and Montana. Additionally, Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center is the pediatric referral center for those same states.

  • UW Medicine [97] The UW Medicine system is operated by the University of Washington. It includes Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center, UW Medicine Neighborhood Clinics, Eastside Specialty Center, Hall Health (Student Health Services) and Sports Medicine Clinic.
    • Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Ave, +1 206 744-3000 [98] Seattle’s Level 1 trauma center, and the hospital where most critically injured patients are either airlifted or ambulanced. 24-hour Emergency Room, Centers of Emphasis for neurosciences, trauma, burns, reconstruction and rehabilitation, mentally ill and medically vulnerable, and AIDS/STD treatment.
    • UW Medical Center, 1959 NE Pacific, +1 206 598-3300 [99] The second hospital component to the UW Medicine system, this hospital is one of the biggest and best teaching hospitals in the country. 24-hour Emergency Room.
  • Children's Hospital and Medical Center, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, +1 206 987-2000 [100] Children's Hospital is a private hospital specializing in pediatrics. It is also home to UW's School of Pediatrics. 24-hour pediatric emergency room.
  • Swedish Medical Center [101] Swedish Medical Center is a large nonprofit health care provider. It has three main hospital locations and is also affiliated with many other suburban hospitals and clinics. Among the things Swedish is known for are its Cancer, Bariatrics and Heart Institutes. Swedish Hospital will treat all patients who need care, regardless of their ability to pay.
    • Swedish Medical Center First Hill, 747 Broadway, +1 206 386-6000 [102] Certified Primary Stroke Care center, 24-hour ER, 24-hour Pediatric ER. This is the Main Swedish Medical Center campus.
    • Swedish Medical Center Cherry Hill, 500 17th Ave, +1 206 320-2000 [103] Certified Primary Stroke Care center, 24-hour ER.
    • Swedish Medical Center Ballard, 5300 Tallman Ave NW, +1 206 782-2700 [104] 24-Hour ER.

In the event of a medical emergency anywhere in the U.S., dial 9-1-1 for free from any phone, including payphones at no cost.

Consulates

Be aware that honorary consulates are typically individual representatives of nations who represent the interest of certain business functions, and are not full-fledged national consulates you would normally seek to assist you with individual legal or official matters.

  • Be-flag.png Belgium, The World Trade Center Seattle, 2200 Alaskan Way Ste 470, +1 206 728-5145 (, fax: +1 206 770-7923), [105].
  • Da-flag.png Denmark (Honorary), 6204 E Mercer Way, Mercer Island, +1 206 230-0888 (, fax: +1 206 230-0888), [108].
  • Gm-flag.png Germany (Honorary), 7853 SE 27th St Ste 180, Mercer Island, +1 206 230-5138 (, fax: +1 206 236-5162), [109].
  • Nl-flag.png Netherlands (Honorary), Karman Executive Center, Bellevue, +1 425-637-3050 (, fax: +1 425-637-3050), [112].
  • Pe-flag.png Peru (Honorary), 3717 NE 157th St, +1 206 714-9037 (, fax: +1 206 365-5378), [114]. Mon,Wed & Fri 2:00PM-5:30PM.
  • Ru-flag.png Russia, 600 University St., Suite 2510, +1 206 728-1910 (, fax: +1 206 728-1871), [115]. (47.609852,-122.332077)
  • Tw-flag.PNG Taiwan (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office), 600 University St., Suite 2020, +1 206 441-4586 (), [118]. (47.609852,-122.332077)

Get out

Ferries

If you're staying anywhere near downtown, the state-run ferries [119] hardly seem like "getting out" since they leave from Colman Dock, a pier at the south end of the waterfront, an easy and interesting walk from downtown. Passengers on foot pay $7.50 for the westbound trip; the return to Seattle is free.

  • Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island (30 minutes one way). Get off on the other side, walk about 1/2 mile into town for lunch or dinner, and walk back to ferry to come home.
  • Or, take a trip to Bremerton and back. Almost 2 hours on the water, in a place as scenic as the Aegean Sea.

Driving

Just getting out and driving around the area with no destination in mind can be a great experience, as the Seattle area, like most of the Pacific Northwest, is very scenic. If you'd like more specific destinations, try some of these:

  • Everett lies about 25 miles north of Seattle on I-5 and is home to the Boeing factory - a massive building where 747, 767, 777, and 787 airliners are made - tours are available.
  • The Mountains to Sound Greenway via I-90 is the quickest "escape" from the city into the nearby Cascade mountains. Snoqualmie Pass is just an hour away, offering great views, summer hiking and winter skiing.
  • Two mountain passes, Snoqualmie Pass (follow I-90 east) and Stevens Pass (take I-405 to Hwy 522 east, then take Hwy 2 east) provide fantastic views. Of the two, Stevens is arguably the more scenic.
  • Snoqualmie Falls, [121] (Snoqualmie, east of Seattle on I-90). The falls are scenic, and if you want to stay longer than it takes to just gawk, the Salish Lodge [122] is pricey but incredibly romantic, with in-room Sanijet spa baths and fireplaces. The lodge offers two restaurants with views overlooking the falls. Trivia tidbit: Snoqualmie Falls is nearly 300 ft (91 m) in height, compared to Niagara's 180 ft (55 m).
  • Leavenworth, [123] (2 1/2-hr drive east of Seattle via I-90 or Hwy 2). Leavenworth is a Bavarian-style town surrounded by the Cascade mountains. Every building has to be built in traditional Bavarian architecture, and there are many German-esque restaurants and shops. There are many festivals throughout the year, including Maifest (May), the Autumn Leaf Festival (September), Christmas Lighting Festival (December), and most notably the German beer festival Oktoberfest (October). A beautiful charming little town, worth the extra time if you are already heading east (i.e. Snoqualmie, Spokane) although it is slightly out of the way. There is also an Amtrak train service from Seattle that makes a stop in Leavenworth.
  • Grove of the Patriarchs, in the Ohanapecosh River valley in the southeast part of Mount Rainier National Park, takes you on the short hiking trail through groves of thousand year-old cedars.
  • North Bend (also out I-90) is the town where parts of the 1990 David Lynch TV series Twin Peaks [124] were filmed. West of North Bend on SR 202 near the town of Snoqualmie there are displays of historic railroad cars, locomotives and other railroad equipment located at the Northwest Railway Museum [125]. Train rides are offered Apr-Oct, as well as a "Santa Train" in late November and early December, plus several other special events offered during the year.
  • Roslyn is also out I-90 (not far past Snoqualmie Pass) and is where the TV series Northern Exposure was filmed. It holds many festivals including The Manly Man Festival, Pioneer Days, and Moose Days -- the latter is an annual Northern Exposure gathering held in late July. Might be worth a stop if you're out that way, or if you're a fan of the show, but it's a very small, quiet town without much to do most days. However, there is a great small museum in the downtown core right next to the Oasis Cafe. It is worth a browse as it profiles the city's coal mining past. Roslyn is worth the stop if you have the time!
  • The North Cascade Loop [126] consists of a two-day minimum round trip over Stevens Pass and the North Cross-state Highway (US 2 and SR 20). It's a long drive, and SR20 is closed usually from November to April/May, but you'll see the most spectacular scenery in the state, visit towns made to look like the old west and a Bavarian Village, see the Columbia River and apple orchards on the east and deep rain-forest on the west side. [127]
  • The Olympic Peninsula features beaches on the Pacific Ocean, Cape Flattery (the extreme northwestern point of the contiguous U.S.), and the only temperate rain forests in the lower 48 states: the well-known and easily accessible Hoh Rainforest, the Quinalt Rainforest and the Queets Rainforest. Other notable scenic areas on the Olympic Peninsula are Crescent Lake and Hurricane Ridge. You can take the Kingston ferry over from Edmonds and follow Hwy 104 west until it meets up with Hwy 101 (head north), or head south on I-5 to Olympia and catch Hwy 101 West there. Doing the complete loop is a nearly day-long drive, and you could easily spend several days there, but you'll see a lot of fantastic scenery even if you never stop the car.
  • Mount Rainier National Park Just 2.5 hours south and east from Seattle, this magnificent mountain offers a mosaic of beautiful scenery such as blooming wildflowers, glaciers, crashing waterfalls and the mountain itself.
  • Mount St. Helens 2.5 hours south from Seattle
  • Vancouver, British Columbia is 140 mi (225 km) north of Seattle on I-5, and is another great Pacific Northwest city. Vancouver hosted the 2010 Olympics [128].
  • Portland, Oregon is 150 mi (256km) south of Seattle on I-5, and is also another great city to visit and stay in.

Skiing/snowboarding


Routes through Seattle
Vancouver (via Bc99.png)Shoreline  N noframe S  TukwilaPortland
END  W noframe E  Mercer IslandSpokane
END  W noframe E  BellevueRedmond
END  SW noframe NE  → Jct W WA-104.pngBothellMonroe






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