Traveling in Seattle: The Welcoming City

downtown seattle, seattle travel guide

From high-tech aviation centers to exquisite art museums, Seattle has diverse attractions. The city’s lively markets, historic neighborhoods, and beautiful parks are ideal for walking and cycling tours.

If you want to travel like a local in the Emerald City, follow this Seattle travel guide. Here are some of Seattle’s top highlights.

Downtown Seattle

space needle, seattle

Image via Flickr by arcalexx

Pioneer Square, the Central Public Library, and the Seattle Art Museum are clustered around the downtown area. The library is an architectural masterpiece built with thousands of glass panes joined by steel frames. Seattle’s iconic attraction, the Space Needle, is also a short drive from downtown.

The historic district of Pioneer Square offers a great environment for travel photography. Lined with shops selling anything from fresh fish and vegetables to clothing and accessories, the lively streets of Pike Place Market and the International District are best explored on foot. Step into one of the many eateries in this area and satisfy your taste buds with Asian or American delicacies.

Lake Union

lake union seattle

Image via Flickr by osiristhe

When in Seattle, set aside a day for watersports and adventure at Lake Union. Kayaking or standup paddleboarding at the lake lets you experience the sights and sounds of Seattle from a different viewpoint.

In addition, don’t miss the Ride the Ducks of Seattle tours. The “duck” is actually an amphibious craft that floats along the lake and water inlets and wheels around the streets of downtown Seattle.

If you’re ready to spend more, seaplanes can fly you over the city and Puget Sound. You’ll enjoy the thrill of flying in a seaplane and the bird’s-eye views of Lake Union, Ballard Locks, downtown Seattle, and the Olympic Mountains.

Waterfront Seattle

waterfront seattle, elliott bay

Image via Flickr by SisterPrice

The Seattle waterfront boasts parks, pathways, and boating piers, and the Elliott Bay Seawall connects downtown Seattle with the marina. Home to several souvenir shops and seafood joints, the waterfront is a place to relax and enjoy water excursions along Puget Sound.

Located at Pier 59, the Seattle Aquarium is a wonderful world of colorful fish, coral, and a variety of marine animals from the Pacific. Don’t miss Seattle Great Wheel, a giant Ferris wheel featuring climate-controlled gondolas with glass flooring to ensure exciting rides year-round.

Woodinville Wine Country

woodinville, seattle, winery, vineyard

Image via Flickr by dherrera_96

A short drive from downtown Seattle, Woodinville is home to several wineries where visitors can take guided tours and taste local wines. Find yourself immersed in the rustic greenery, soaking in the views of mountains and vineyards, and go biking along the nature trails. Guided wine tasting tours often include award-winning delicacies served with fine wines. You can extend your Woodinville experience by staying overnight, as there are hotel rooms available to fit every budget.

Woodland Park Zoo

The zoo is home to exotic wildlife from Africa, Australasia, and North America, including the Northwest, Canada, and Alaska. It’s the only place in Seattle where you can meet gorillas, watch giraffe families grazing, or spot a snow leopard relaxing with its cubs. The zoo is divided into different climatic zones ranging from tropical rainforest to coastal desert to create natural habitats for its residents.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. From watching ballet performances at the theater to harbor cruising on Elliott Bay, there are many more things you can do in Seattle to make your vacation an unforgettable one.

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The Four Best Day Trips For Fall Visitors To Seattle

Mt Rainier National Park, seattle, usa

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s  Tailwind blog on September 23rd.

seattle tour, fall tours in seattle, usa

For visitors to the Pacific Northwest this fall, there is no shortage of activities in Seattle, the region’s largest and fastest-growing city. Baseball fans can check out a Mariners game, foodies can stroll around Pike Place Market for hours, and brave souls unafraid of heights can take in the unparalleled view from the Space Needle. But travelers who find themselves with free time, and with access to a car, may want to consider the following four day trips, which highlight the lush beauty unique to the Emerald City and the surrounding area, particularly in the Autumn season.

whale watching, san juan island, seattle, usa

The San Juan Islands:

About a three-and-a-half-hour drive north, the San Juan Islands are a must-see destination for out-of-towners. The San Juan Islands are composed of 172 individual islands, but four (San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, and Shaw Island) are served by ferries and feature activities for visitors. For wine aficionados, visiting San Juan Vineyards, located on the main San Juan Island, is well worth the drive – their well-regarded wines have won many awards. Those with fond memories of the film Free Willy should also be sure to go whale watching while exploring the islands, with the best time for viewing occurring from late May to October. All four islands have hotels and inns for those wishing to stay overnight, with the Earthbox Inn and Spa offering the perfect ambiance to relax.

North Cascades National Park, seattle, USA

North Cascades National Park:

Northwest of Seattle is the North Cascades National Park, which is about a four hour drive from the city. Many come here to camp, and the jagged peaks, engulfed by hundreds of glaciers nestled among cascading waters, ensure an unforgettable experience. No other U.S. park outside of Alaska contains as many glaciers, in addition to diverse wildlife: bald eagles, moose, bears, grey wolves, and more than 200 species of birds. If you’d prefer a day trip in the park as opposed to camping, try staying at the budget-friendly Red Roof Inn near the Seattle-Tacoma Airport (Sea-Tac).

Olympic Peninsula, rainforest, seattle

Olympic Peninsula:

Three hours west of Seattle is the Olympic Peninsula, home to temperate rainforests and the Olympic Mountains. There is no shortage of activities with fishing, sailing, boating, and hiking being among the most popular. The Peninsula is also famous for its lush scenery featured in Hollywood blockbusters like the Twilight series. Those wishing to stay in and around the peninsula have a plethora of options, while nearby Olympia offers budget-friendly hotels like Red Lion Hotel or the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites.

Mount Rainier National Park, mt rainier, seattle

Mt. Rainier National Park:

For aspiring mountain climbers, the three hour drive south to Mt. Rainier National Park is a must. Mt. Rainier is an iconic part of Washington state’s landscape, standing at 14,000 feet above sea level. An active volcano, Mt. Rainier has the largest glaciers in the U.S. outside of Alaska. Most climbers require two to three days to reach the summit, with experience in glacier travel and self-rescue required. About half of the 8,000-13,000 climb attempts per year are successful, so only the brave at heart should undertake the climb. Less experienced mountain climbers shouldn’t feel left out though, as the entire park is open for hiking, backcountry skiing, camping. Photographers should definitely pay a visit – you won’t see anything else like it in the U.S. Try staying in nearby Tacoma, at either the Hotel Murano or the Silver Cloud Inn, for affordable, modern luxury.