If you’re looking for a fun and affordable weekend getaway, look no further than Seattle, Washington. The Emerald City is home to a vibrant music and arts scene, as well as a variety of delicious restaurants. Best of all, it’s easy to get to from most major cities in the US!
There’s no doubt about it – Seattle is awesome. From its incredible food scene to its world-famous coffee culture and stunning natural scenery, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. And whether you’re a local or just visiting, there’s always something new to explore.
If you’re looking for guidance on what to do in Seattle for a weekend, this post is here to help.
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Table of Contents
Where Is Seattle Located?
Seattle is a city located in the state of Washington in the United States of America. The city is situated on the west coast of the country, and it is the largest city in the state of Washington.
It’s perfectly situated around some of the most beautiful places in Washington, making it a really popular hub for outdoor enthusiasts who want to explore Washington’s national parks and other natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest (also known as the PNW).
What Is Seattle Known For?
Seattle is a popular tourist destination, and it is known for its beautiful outdoor scenery, its vibrant nightlife, and its many museums and art galleries. You will easily recognize it through photos of Pike Place Market and The Space Needle.
The city is also home to a number of major corporations, including Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft.
Seattle is also known for its vibrant music scene, with many famous musicians, such as Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain, hailing from the city.
Visitors to Seattle can enjoy a variety of activities, including exploring its many eclectic neighborhoods, visiting its renowned museums and art galleries, or enjoying its beautiful natural scenery.
How To Get To Seattle, Washington
Getting to Seattle is super easy. Here’s how to make the trip:
The easiest way to get to Seattle is by flying into the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
There are dozens of airlines that fly to SEA, so you should be able to find a flight that fits your budget and schedule.
Once you arrive in Seattle, take the light rail or bus into downtown. You can also easily hail a taxi or call a Lyft/Uber from the airport.
How To Take The Light Rail Into Seattle
This light rail makes trips from Angle Lake Station to the Northgate, making 16 stops along the way, including downtown Seattle and SEA Airport.
Trains arrive every 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the time of day, and take about 40 minutes to travel between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Westlake Station in downtown Seattle.
Adult Fare: $2.25–$3.50
Other Airport Options
Another option is to fly to one of the smaller airports in the area, such as Everett or Bellingham. These airports typically have fewer flight options, but they may be closer to your final destination (depending on where you’re staying).
Other nearby cities you can fly into include Portland and Vancouver. If you’re interested in adding in a mini road trip to your travel itinerary, you can consider flying into Portland International Airport (PDX) or Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
Here are the driving distances from each of these cities:
- Portland to Seattle – 174 miles / 280 km (2 hour 50 min drive)
- Vancouver to Seattle – 136 miles / 220 km (2 hour 30 min drive – requires a border crossing)
How To Get Around Seattle
Seattle is a beautiful city with a lot to offer, and you don’t need a car to enjoy it! There are plenty of ways to get around without relying on four wheels.
The first option is to take advantage of public transportation. Seattle’s buses, streetcars, and light rail systems are extensive, and it’s possible to get just about anywhere in the city by public transportation.
If you’re planning to do some sightseeing, you can purchase a day pass for unlimited rides on all of the different types of transportation. There’s also a water taxi that runs between downtown and West Seattle.
Buy an ORCA Card
If you plan on taking a bunch of public transportation during your trip, get yourself an ORCA card.
This reloadable transit pass can be used on streetcars, light rail, buses, and more. Please note: they do not work on Washington State Ferries or the Seattle Center Monorail.
You can purchase an ORCA card at any major transit station, or online. Once you have your card, you can add money to it using cash, credit, or debit. Then, just tap your card on the reader when you board your bus or train.
ORCA cards cost $3 to purchase. From there, you can load an all-day regional transit pass onto an ORCA card for $8. Alternatively, you can just pay as you go.
If you’re planning on spending a weekend in Seattle, an ORCA card is a great way to get around. You can use it to explore all of the city’s neighborhoods without having to worry about parking or traffic.
Plus, with an ORCA card, you’ll never have to worry about having exact change for your fare.
Uber or Lyft
The second option is to use ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft. While these can be more expensive than public transportation, they can be worth it for longer trips or for exploring areas that are difficult to reach by bus.
On Foot / By Bike
Finally, don’t forget about walking or biking! Seattle is a great city for walking, and there are plenty of scenic bike trails to explore. With a little bit of planning and patience, it’s 100% possible to have a great weekend in Seattle without renting a car.
What To Do In Seattle For A Weekend: Day 1
Take a free walking tour of Seattle
Start your weekend in Seattle with something fun and free to do by opting for a walking tour of the city! Seattle is home to a wealth of historical and architectural landmarks, and a walking tour is a great way to see them up close.
Seattle Free Walking Tours offers a couple of variations of free tours, and they typically last around two hours. While this is typically marketed as a ‘free, tip-based’ walking tour, it’s really pay-what-you-wish.
And you should definitely tip at the end of the tour!
Here are a few other highly-loved walking tours that offer a more comprehensive experience:
Order crumpets at The Crumpet Shop
The Crumpet Shop is a must-stop for anyone spending a weekend in Seattle. This charming cafe is located in the heart of the city, and it’s well known for its delicious crumpets and scones.
The crumpets are made fresh each day, and they come in a variety of types, including breakfast egg crumpets, sweet crumpets, and savory crumpets. My favorite has always been the lemon curd crumpet!
In addition to being a great spot for breakfast, The Crumpet Shop is also a great place to people-watch.
The cafe has large windows that overlook the busy street, so you can enjoy your treat while observing the hustle and bustle of the city.
Pike Place Market
No visit to Seattle is complete without a trip to Pike Place Market. This historic market dates back to 1907, when it was founded as a way to connect farmers and consumers.
Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, with over 10 million visitors each year!
Located on the waterfront, the market is home to a variety of shops and stalls selling everything from fresh produce to seafood to even handmade gifts.
Don’t miss the famous Pike Place Fish Market, where you can watch the fishmongers throwing fish around all up in the air!
On weekends, the market comes alive with street performers and musicians. Whether you’re looking for fresh produce or handcrafted gifts, Pike Place Market is the perfect place to find it.
Lastly if you love magic as I do, don’t miss the Market Magic Shop of Pike Place. So old-timey and magical, it’s my favorite area of the market!
For a snack, head to Piroshky Piroshky, a Russian bakery located in Pike Place Market serving over 20 varieties of handmade piroshki! They are so good!
While you’re in the area, be sure to pop into the first-ever Starbucks Coffee shop and stop by the colorful yet disgusting Gum Wall!
Walk to Miner’s Landing Pier 57
From Pike Place, head on over to Miner’s Landing for a family-friendly good time.
Nestled in the heart of downtown Seattle, Miner’s Landing is the perfect stop if you’re traveling with children, or even adults who are young at heart! I certainly enjoyed this area as an adult, ha!
Not only is this area home to the Seattle Great Wheel Ferris wheel, but it is also home to a variety of shops and restaurants. My personal favorite gift shop here is Pirates Plunder! (Not sure why I have an obsession with pirates, but here we are.)
Visitors can enjoy seafood fresh from Puget Sound here, or browse local art and souvenirs. The pier also has a number of interactive displays, which provide information about the area’s history and ecology.
In addition, there are often live music and entertainment at Miner’s Landing, making it the perfect spot to relax and take in the sights and sounds of Seattle.
Explore Downtown Seattle
Downtown Seattle is a great place to walk around, go shopping, and grab dinner.
In terms of shopping, you’ll find everything from well-known brands (like Nike or The North Face) to independent gift shops like Pike Street Press.
While you’re here, don’t miss Pioneer Square, a historic neighborhood in the southwestern corner of downtown Seattle. Pioneer Square is known for its Victorian architecture, hip coffee shops, trendy boutiques, art galleries, and nightlife.
The neighborhood is also home to a number of popular spots including the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Symphony, and the historic Smith Tower.
Want to explore what’s underground? Visitors can tour Seattle’s iconic subterranean streets on the Beneath The Streets Underground History Tour which is a lot of fun!
Some of my favorite restaurants in the area include Zig Zag Cafe, Shaker + Spear, and Serious Pie Downtown.
Smith Tower Observatory
The Smith Tower Observatory and Bar is a must-see for anyone who enjoys cityscapes and spending a weekend in Seattle.
Located in the heart of the city, the Smith Tower offers stunning views of Elliot Bay, the Space Needle, and Mount Rainier.
Visitors can take a historic Otis elevator to the top of the tower for a birds-eye view of the cityscape, followed by a drink at the iconic Prohibition-themed bar.
If you can time it right, the bar even has a weekday happy hour on certain afternoons where you can get great discounts on drinks! Admission tickets are needed to visit The Observatory and Observatory Restaurant and Bar.
What To Do In Seattle For A Weekend: Day 2
Breakfast at Biscuit Bitch
Biscuit Bitch is a must-visit spot for breakfast or brunch. The biscuits are fluffy and delicious, that is all you need to know, right?
The restaurant offers Southern-style biscuits and gravy, as well as waffles, sandwiches, and salads. The coffee is also excellent. The staff is friendly and the service is quick.
Pro Tip: This is a popular restaurant, so I suggest you arrive as early as you can. You’ll want to put your name down, check the wait time, and then kill time by walking around the area–there are a lot of shops you can browse nearby. Plus, Pike Place is right around the corner!
Did you even go to Seattle if you have no photos taken from Kerry Park? Kidding! But really, Kerry Park is known for one major thing–its iconic views of the city.
Kerry Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Seattle. Situated on a hill in the Queen Anne neighborhood, the park offers stunning views of downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay, and Mount Rainier.
On a clear day, visitors can even see all the way to Canada! As such, it is one of the most photographed spots in Seattle.
In addition to its incredible views, the park also features a playground, a walking trail, and a picnic area. If you’re looking for a quintessential Seattle experience, spending an hour or so at Kerry Park is a must.
The sunsets and views at night are also great!
The Space Needle
The Space Needle is one of Seattle’s most iconic landmarks. If you’re a sucker for good views, you won’t be disappointed. On clear days, Mt. Rainier is visible from the top of the tower.
Visitors can take a ride to the top in a glass-enclosed elevator, or enjoy a quick meal or drink at the cafe/wine bar at the top.
Despite all the cool stuff that’s available at the top of the Space Needle, it’s important to mention that getting up there is not cheap. Depending on your age, it’ll cost about $30-40 per adult. Ouch.
If you’re hellbent on getting to the top, consider getting a CityPASS, which allows you to save 46% on Seattle’s 5 top attractions–as opposed to paying full price for all attractions.
Otherwise, seeing it from the outside is cool enough.
Visit a museum
Seattle is home to a number of world-renowned museums, making it the perfect place to spend a weekend exploring the arts. Here are a few you can choose from:
Museum of Pop Culture – A museum devoted to celebrating all aspects of popular culture from music, film, television, video games, and even fashion!
Seattle Glass Museum – The premier place to marvel at Dave Chihuly’s unbelievably intricate blown glass.
Seattle Art Museum – One of the largest museums in the US, housing a collection of over 25,000 paintings, sculptures, and other works of art, spanning a wide range of styles and periods. Great for art lovers!
Olympic Sculpture Park – An offshoot of the Seattle Art Museum, this park features numerous sculptures spread over 9 acres.
Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) – Features iconic artifacts and collections spotlighting Seattle’s history from Native Americans to the tech boom; great choice if you’re interested in the history of the Pacific Northwest.
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience – Features art, artifacts, and documents that tell the stories of Asian Pacific Americans in the Northwest.
Pro Tip: If you plan on visiting the Space Needle as well as a few museums on this list, then you should consider the Seattle CityPASS–there are a few museums included with the attraction pass.
Explore the Capitol Hill neighborhood
Capitol Hill is the place to be when you want a break from the big city views! This vibrant neighborhood is home to a bunch of eclectic bars, restaurants, and shops. You can find everything from vintage clothes to local art, and the nightlife is always hopping.
Whether you’re looking for a lively nightlife scene or a quiet place to enjoy a cup of coffee, you’ll find it here.
Be sure to check out the farmers’ market on Sunday mornings, where you can find fresh produce and local artisanal goods.
If you plan to visit Capitol Hill in the daytime for eating and shopping, be sure to make it back here in the evening for drinks and laid-back nightlife!
Dinner and a show at The Pink Door
The Pink Door is a must-visit restaurant in Seattle–it’s the most unique restaurant in town, even though some may consider it a tourist trap! Tourist trap or not, it’s a ton of fun.
This iconic eatery not only serves up good Italian food, but also provides great vintage jazzy vibes and amusing entertainment on a daily basis.
From the trapeze lady to lively jazz ensembles, from cabaret shows to tap-dancing saxophone players you really never know what’s in store for the night. No matter what it is, it’s sure to keep you entertained throughout your meal!
In addition to all of that, the views from the restaurant are also not too shabby! The restaurant is located in an old brick building and features a large patio with views of Pike Place, Elliott Bay, and the Space Needle.
Pro Tip: This place is very popular, so you’re going to need to make reservations well in advance! You’ll for sure need dinner reservations way in advance, but you can likely get one for lunch in a pinch.
Limited Time Events In Seattle, Washington
Here are some events you can consider while in Seattle–but you’ll need to book these ASAP because they’re only here for a limited time only!
- Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience (until Jan 2, 2022)
- Magic Show and VIP Potion Cocktail Experience
- Virtual Palm and Tarot Reading
Where To Stay In Seattle
If you’re planning a weekend visit, there are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing where to stay.
First, consider your budget. Seattle has a wide range of hotels, from luxury properties downtown to more affordable options in the suburbs.
Second, think about your travel itinerary. If you’re looking to be in the heart of the action, downtown is the best bet. But if you prefer a slower pace, there are several good neighborhoods to choose from just outside the city center.
Lastly, don’t forget to factor in the weather. Seattle can be rainy, so it’s worth considering a hotel with easy access to public transportation or attractions that can be enjoyed indoors.
Hotels in Downtown Seattle
Hotels outside of Downtown Seattle
For a stay closer to The Space Needle, we like The Mediterranean Inn.
There are also a number of vacation rentals available throughout the city, which can be a great option for families or groups traveling together. You can browse for vacation homes on VRBO.
I hope this post has been helpful in showing you what there is to do in Seattle for a weekend. Happy trip planning and safe travels to you!
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