Seattle On a Budget
Well known for its frequent rainy days, you'll find the city flocks to the outdoors on the occasional days when the sun decides to make an appearance. The climate is considered oceanic or temperate marine. Temperatures are cool and damp in the winter and warmer and dryer during the summer.
SightsAlthough exploring Seattle is really about exploring the neighborhoods, there are still some excellents sights and attractions throughout the city. Perhaps the most famous Seattle landmark is the famous Space Needle. You can visit the top for a good view of the city and the surrounding areas. Another must see is Pikes Place Market as well as Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. You should also head over to Chinatown where there are some good markets and restaurants. If you're in the area on a weekend definitely find a good restaurant that serves up dim sum.
There are some great museums in the city as well. The Seattle Art Museum is excellent. Also worth visiting are the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and the Frye Art Museum.
Parks are spread throughout the city. If the weather holds out, top parks in the area include Woodland Park Zoo, Carkeek Park, Discovery Park, Gasworks Park, Golden Gardens Park, Green Lake, Kerry Park, Kubota Garden, Magnuson Park, Myrtle Edwards Park, Ravenna Park, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seward Park, and the Waterfront.
NeighborhoodsSeattle is known as a city of neighborhoods, and part of the city's charm comes from exploring it's many districts, each of which has its own personality and character. The downtown area has one of the most interesting areas, Pikes Place Market, where you can pick up anything from freshly caught seafood to homemade donuts. Pioneer Square and the International District make up the city's oldest areas and have some excellent and diverse restaurants. Capital Hill has a great nightlife and Ballard is where you should go if you want to see the canal locks.
ActivitiesThere is no shortage of events in Seattle. Notable events include Seafair in July and August, Bumbershoot, the Northwest Folklife Festival, Bite of Seattle, Hempfest, Capitol HIll Block Party and Fremont Fair.
A number of day trips outside of Seattle are also possible. Take the ferry across the sound to Bainbridge Island (or the other areas). Visit one of the many nearby National Parks such as Mt. Ranier and go for a hike. Head up to the small towns and beautiful lakes around Mt. Baker to the northeast. Or, take the drive out to visit Mel's Hole in Ellensburg on I-90.
Here are more ideas for day trips from Seattle.
Food and DiningFresh seafood is the specialty in Seattle. It's available in restaurants and markets throughout the city. If you're hoping to have a picnic, then head to Pike Place Market. There you can pick up some bread, cheese, sausage or smoked fish and dine on the grass at the north end of the Market. Make sure you try the fresh donuts that are for sale in the market.
Asian food is also plentiful throughout the city. Dim sum is a popular option and a great way to try a sampling of items. There's a high concentration of Asian restaurants in the Chinatown area. Each has its own flavor and prices are quite reasonable.
TransportationYou can walk around most neighborhoods of interest in Seattle and there's a light rail system that connects a few of the neighborhoods. Buses in the city do connect many areas. Some buses only run during rush hour so make sure you understand the schedule. The light rail system connects Westlake Center downtown and the Sea-Tac Airport, passing through South Seattle and Tukwila. There is also a commuter rail service and the South Lake Union Streetcar that runs between Downtown and South Lake Union. A passenger ferry connects the Downtown and West Seattle. It can be caught at Pier 55.
Exploring the whole area is a lot easier if you have access to a car, or, if you're motivated, biking in Seattle can be a fun and efficient way to explore the city. The weather can change at a moments so do be prepared for rain.
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