Known as The Emerald City, Seattle is a Pacific Northwest gem. Situated between the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, it is known for its unique culture, prosperous businesses, and beautiful parks.
You will likely land at Sea-Tac (Seattle-Tacoma) Airport when flying into Seattle. Upon arrival, you will find that using the Link Light Rail is one of the best ways to reach your destination. From there, a variety of bus routes can bring you closer to your final destination. Seattle’s streets may be a bit confusing at first. You may find yourself using landmarks like the Space Needle to navigate through the city. Once you familiarize yourself with neighborhoods and landmarks, it will be easier to break it down by streets. It is recommended to get an Orca Card immediately from any major transit station. This will be your pass to the Sound Transit system. By now, you are ready to get around Seattle quickly and easily.
Similar to any other major city, it is helpful to learn how Seattle is divided. This includes learning the waterways and biggest landmarks such as the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Puget Sound, and Space Needle. Puget Sound and Elliot Bay to the west, Lake Washington to the East, and Lake Union north and towards the center. The northern districts include Freemont, Ballard, North Seattle, and the University District (U-District) home to the University of Washington. The U-District is a vibrant college town which attracts visitors from various corners of Seattle and the world. With streets lined with shops, bars, restaurants, and an occasional glorious view of Mount Rainier to the southeast, visiting U-District is a must.
U-District is a short walk from the Queen Anne-South Lake Union and Capitol Hill districts, but of course, there are buses available on campus. However, taking the walk down Eastlake Ave is worth the view of the Alaskan Way Viaduct over Portage Bay. Taking a trip to the downtown neighborhoods is a must, as it includes many of Seattle’s attractions. Downtown is where you will find the waterfront, a fantastic way to see the city by ferry. Stop over at Pike Place Market for souvenirs, fresh food, and produce.
Most noteworthy, the Space Needle is located slightly north of Pike Place. Hopefully, you can make the journey to the observation deck on a clear day. Mount Rainier, the largest peak in Washington, will compliment your 360-degree view of the city. Because Seattle is known for its typically cloudy weather, this may be a rare occurrence. Pioneer Square is the oldest neighborhood in Seattle. It is a must-see location for those interested in art galleries. The International District and Chinatown are located right next to Pioneer Square. From heritage sites to dining experiences, experience Seattle’s Asian-American roots.
“SoDo” is south of the downtown district, home to Safeco and CenturyLink fields for the Seattle Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders. The fields offer tours of the facilities and provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of major league action. In addition to the bustling city, Seattle may not seem so urban in districts like West Seattle. In contrast to Pike Place, the public spaces and parks in West Seattle may be a bit quieter. Alki Beach is a stunning location to view the Olympic Mountains and enjoy the warmer weather. Embark on a kayak tour, catch a concert in August, or simply relax and watch the day pass.