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Set against a striking Pacific Northwest backdrop, Seattle has all the best elements of a metropolitan city. Not only do Seattleites have an obvious passion for delicious food and beautiful design, they also share a deep connection to the outdoors. The city sits between Elliott Bay and Lake Washington and, in the summer, everyone flocks to the water. Their love for their city, rain or shine, is infectious.

Seattle buzzes with a young, vibrant enthusiasm, yet feels wonderfully laid back and casual. Professionals, students, and tourists mill around the city, each at their own pace throughout the day and night. Everyone feels a sense of belonging in this warm, welcoming city. Whether it’s your first time or even second, take a look at this guide to help plan out your itinerary for a visit to this beautiful city.

The First-Timer’s Guide to Seattle

What to Know Before Visiting Seattle

  • Traveling here is easy. Flights to Sea-Tac, the primary airport serving Seattle, are available through all major airlines. The link light rail can take you from the airport to 4 downtown locations at an extremely affordable price.
  • I would not recommend renting a car if you’re going to stay in Seattle proper. You can easily access the city via the train into the city and Uber or Lyft are available.
  • Seattle is known for its wet weather — it rains about half the year. However, the amount of rain that falls is not very much. The weather is most reliably best in the summer, Seattle’s peak travel season. If traveling during the fall through spring, make sure to bring a light rain jacket and water-protected shoes!  

Where to Stay in Seattle

  • Loews Hotel 1000: Centrally located, this modern and chic hotel is the perfect place to call home. Expect modern decor, airy rooms, and some of the best views over the water from their water-facing rooms! (Read the full review here

Where to Eat in Seattle

  • Bar Melusine: Delicious seafood with a French spin, served by friendly staff in a stunning space.
  • Stateside: French & Vietnamese fusion in a modern and vibrant restaurant.
  • General Porpoise Doughnuts: Artisanal, handmade donuts and fresh brewed coffee from small, exceptional roasters.
  • Oddfellows Café + Bar: A stylish, cafeteria-inspired eatery with a broad menu, perfect for a light breakfast or afternoon coffee.
  • Frankie & Jo’s: Enjoy dessert guilt-free at this plant-based ice cream shop that serves inventive flavors.
  • London Plane: A trendy wine bar and flower shop that offers seasonal flower arrangement classes.
  • Copal: Savor Latin American fare and tacos served in a vibrant space with a colorful bar.
  • Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream: A creamery devoted to fresh waffle cones and sustainability, sourcing ingredients from local farmers.
  • Bateau: An unconventionally elegant, yet relaxed steakhouse with juicy cuts du jour.

What to Do in Seattle

  • Explore Pike Place Market: Seattle’s iconic public marketplace that sells everything from flowers to fresh seafood to tie-dye shirts.
  • Visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit: Experience the magical art exhibit displaying the vibrant glass work of Dave Chihuly right beneath the Space Needle.
  • Tour The Elliott Bay Book Company: Stumble upon your next read on the never-ending shelves in this cozy bookstore.
  • Discover the Volunteer Park Conservatory: Find peaceful refuge wandering the botanical gardens and historical greenhouse.
  • Check out Rachel’s Ginger Beer: Drink “great root” and try ginger beer cocktails and concoctions ranging from frozen Moscow Mules on tap to soft serve floats.
  • Shop Melrose Market: A beautiful indoor market carrying local food and retail off the beaten tourist path on Capitol Hill.

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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:



    • Jessica Wright Reply

      Seattle is a great destination in the US — a must visit!

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