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Flights to Seattle
Seattle is a big city, sure - but in many ways, it also feels like an escape into nature. This Pacific Northwest locale overlooks the clear blue waters of Puget Sound, and the snow-capped silhouette of Mt. Rainier is an ever-present figure in the distance.
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Beyond city limits, you’re also within skipping distance of Olympic National Park’s rugged coastlines, Washington State’s award-winning vineyards, and millions of acres of protected, old-growth forests. But once you’ve had your fill of fresh air, don’t forget that Seattle is also a thrilling cultural (and counter-cultural) centre. This is the city that birthed Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and riot grrrl act Bikini Kill after all, and today its quirk is also expressed through third-wave coffee shops filled with laptop warriors, creative crowds in Fremont and Ballard, and eclectic neighbourhood restaurants. Once you book your flights to Seattle, pack your hiking boots, but don’t forget your Doc Martens, too: this city offers the best of both worlds.
Must do recommendations
The Space Needle
The iconic spire of the Space Needle can be admired all over town — but the best views are from its observation deck.
Pike Place Market
One of the oldest continually operated farmers’ markets in the country, Pike Place is a food lover’s dream.
Given that water comprises more than 40% of the Seattle city area, a kayaking tour is an essential sightseeing experience.
Live music in Seattle
Head to Seattle’s cool live music venues, and you may just be lucky enough to catch the next Fleet Foxes or Pearl Jam.
Cheer on the Seahawks
After winning the Superbowl in 2014, the Seattle Seahawks remain one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NFL.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Seattle artist Dale Chihuly is famous for his colossal blown-glass sculptures, which find a home in this striking museum.
Seattle coffee culture
It simply isn’t Seattle without the coffee — and no, not just because mega-chain Starbucks was born in this city. You can follow the tourists to the original Starbucks location in Pike Place Market… or, you can make like a savvy local and seek out the Emerald City’s top-notch roasters and independent espresso artisans instead. We’d encourage the latter.
Top tips from a Seattle local
Visit Seattle's President and CEO, Tom Norwalk, shares his favourite things to do in Seattle and local hidden gems that are not to be missed.
Seattle road trips
Nicknamed ‘The Evergreen State’, Washington is full of forests and national parks, all within reach of Seattle. Get on the road to discover some of the Pacific Northwest’s most incredible destinations, or head north over the Canadian border into British Columbia.
Did you know?
Did you know?
1. The Seattle area has been home to indigenous peoples for more than 4,000 years. In fact, the city’s very name has Native origins: Chief Sealth was the leader of the area Duwamish and Suquamish tribes in 1851, when white settlers first arrived in the region. “Seattle” is a derivation of his name.
2. Mt. Rainier is one of 16 ‘Decade Volcanoes’ around the world, and the only one in the continental United States. Decade Volcanoes — which include other famous peaks like Etna, Vesuvius, and Mauna Loa — are of particular interest to scientists because of their size and proximity to cities.
3. If you go to a Seattle Seahawks game, be prepared to scream: fans of the football team have twice set Guinness World Records for the loudest crowd at a sports game. On 15th September, 2013, their volume reached 136.6 decibels; on 2nd December, 2013, their cheers hit an ear-splitting 137.6 decibels.
4. Like Chicago and London, Seattle has also had a Great Fire. This one took place in 1889, and destroyed 116 acres. The culprit? A woodworker who had a hot glue incident. Remarkably, not a single resident perished in the blaze.
5. Seattle became a boomtown during the Yukon Gold Rush (after the 1897 discovery of gold in the Klondike River drew panhandlers from near and far). Today, Seattle is a different kind of boomtown: known for its tech world acumen, it’s home to industry heavy-hitters like Microsoft and Amazon.
Seattle has produced musical legends the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Pearl Jam, consistently ranks among the most literary cities in the United States, and, thanks to its frequent fug of moody drizzle, is as cinematic as they come. After you arrive, prepare to spend hours browsing bookstores, catching underground gigs, and otherwise communing with the city’s artistic heritage. And before you visit? Brush up with this essential cultural primer.
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Here are just a handful of the popular events that take place in Seattle throughout the year.
Seattle Boat Show: The largest boat show on the West Coast features everything from stand-up paddleboards to superyachts, along with wine and beer events, seminars and kid zones.
Seattle Museum Month: During February, guests at participating Downtown Seattle hotels receive half-price admission to dozens of Seattle museums.
Taste Washington: Featuring hundreds of local wineries, farms and restaurants, this is the biggest single-region food and wine event in the USA.
Seattle Restaurant Week: With more than 165 participating restaurants across almost every Seattle neighbourhood, Restaurant Week is an opportunity to sample discounted fine-dining in some of the city’s most acclaimed venues.
Seattle International Film Festival: With a diverse line-up of more than 450 documentaries, shorts and full-length features, this 25-day event is the largest and most highly attended film festival in the USA.
Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon: Complete with a finish-line concert featuring some of the music world’s biggest names, this road race weaves its way past some of the Emerald City’s best known landmarks.
Fremont Solstice: This popular street festival marks the true start of summer with a parade (and a second one for dogs) plus a traditional fair with almost 400 art, craft and food stalls.
Seattle International Beerfest: Held at the Fisher Pavilion & Lawn right under the Space Needle, this festival of beer offers more than 200 artisan brews and ciders from across the world.
Bite of Seattle: More than just your average food festival, Bite of Seattle features four live music stages, outdoor beer gardens and a free movie night in addition to its 60+ restaurants and pop-up vendors.
SEAFAIR Weekend: A longstanding Seattle tradition, Seafair Weekend is the culmination of the summer-long Seafair festival. Highlights include superfast hydroplane races, vintage aircraft and an air show starring the U.S Navy Blue Angels.
Bumbershoot: Now in its fifth decade, Bumbershoot is one of Seattle’s best-attended festivals, featuring live music, comedy, film, dance, theatre and visual arts.
Seattle Children’s Festival: Held on the grounds of the Seattle Center, this one-day event celebrates multi-cultural, inter-generational living with live performances and interactive workshops.
Best of the Northwest: The autumn outing of this art and fine craft show (also held in the spring) promotes the work of more than 100 Pacific Northwest artists to a wider audience.
Argosy Christmas Ship Festival: A holiday tradition since 1949, the Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship sails to the waterfront communities of Puget Sound to broadcast a festive choir performance to the gathered crowds.
Garden d’Lights: Every year, Bellevue Botanical Garden is transformed into a glittering winter wonderland by more than half a million rainbow-hued fairy lights.
Weather and local info
What will the weather be like?
Fly direct to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and check out our handy airport guide before you fly.
You'll need an ESTA to enter the US. Visit our dedicated US visa page, where you'll find lots of useful information on the travel documents you'll need and how to apply.
The currency in Seattle is the US Dollar (USD).
Seattle is 8 hours behind London (GMT).
The electricity supply is 120 volts in Seattle. Standard British plugs will need an adapter.