Sightsee

We hope you are able to spend some quality time in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Here are some of our favorite activities and places to visit, based on your trip length:

Short visit • Local adventure • Pacific Northwest vacation

Short visit

I have a little time to explore Seattle

Pioneer Square

  • We love the historic neighborhood where our wedding will take place. There are plenty of art galleries, restaurants, and shops to explore. Take in a Mariners baseball game at T-Mobile Park (one of Frédéric's favorite pastimes) or attend the lively Art Walk on the 1st Thursday of August! Check out this neighborhood guide or this historic walking tour to get the lay of the land.

Capitol Hill / Madison Valley

  • Rockbox (2 hours): karaoke open until 2/3/4 am with private rooms of all sizes, full bar and menu, and an extensive and current songlist.

  • Elliott Bay Book Company (1 hour): independent local bookstore with a large selection and lots of space. Catherine’s favorite sections: cookbooks, design, travel, and magazines. Frédéric's favorite sections: business, science, computers, and magazines.

  • Washington Park Arboretum (a Batman favorite) (1 hour): a hidden park in Madison Valley near Lake Washington. Managed by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the City of Seattle, there are 230 acres with a large assortment of local plants, trees, ponds, and flowers.

  • Volunteer Park (1 hour): Catherine and Frédéric's local park; includes Conservatory, Bruce Lee's grave at Lakeview Cemetery, the Asian Art Museum, hilltop views of the Olympic Mountains and the Space Needle.

Downtown / Queen Anne

  • Olympic Sculpture Garden (1 hour): great views of Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains amongst art sculptures. Travel along the pedestrian and bike promenade.

  • Pike Place Market (2 hours): a classic. Watch the fishmongers throw fish by the bronze pig, get fresh mini doughnuts at the stand behind the info desk, pick up some flowers, visit with local vendors, and check out nearby Metsker Maps.

  • Cinerama (2-3 hours): see a movie at the theater, refurbished by Paul Allen. Comfortable assigned seats. We recommend the popcorn combo mix of chocolate and plain.

  • MoPOP (3 hours): Paul Allen's museum of contemporary pop culture: exhibits of science fiction, indie games, Star Trek, Seahawks, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and more. Located next to the Space Needle in Seattle Center.

West Seattle

  • Water taxi to West Seattle (< 1/2 day): walk along Alki Beach and eat Hawaiian-Korean tacos at Marination Station or seafood at Salty’s. View the water taxi schedule here.

Magnolia

  • Discovery Park (a Batman favorite) (2-3 hours): the city’s largest public park with a 2.8-mile loop trail hike within the city with views of the Olympic Mountains and Elliot Bay. There are 11.8 miles of walking trails. Head down the stairs to reach the beach and the lighthouse. Great place to leisurely hike without leaving Seattle!


Local adventure

I'm exploring the city for a few days.

Everything above, plus:

  • Lincoln Park, West Seattle (2 hours): head to West Seattle and have a picnic at this large secluded park. There is a kids playground, rocky beach area, outdoor saltwater swimming pool, and plenty of trails. Watch the ferry go by to Vashon Island.

  • Seattle International Film Festival cinemas (SIFF) (2 hours): 1 location in Capitol Hill (Egyptian) and 1 location in Queen Anne (Uptown) play independent and popular films year-round.

  • Ballard Farmer's Market and Chittenden Locks (1/2 day): grab some fresh food at the market on Ballard Avenue, then walk to the Ballard Locks and picnic on the lawn as boats (from kayaks to large boats) travel between Puget Sound and Lake Union. Check out the salmon ladder on the other side of the bridge. Or have a sit-down meal with a view at Ray's.

  • Madison Park Beach (2 hours): Lifeguards are available in the summer at this swimming beach with a nice grassy area. Nice small restaurant district within walking distance. The beach is along the shores of Lake Washington with views of the Cascade Mountains and Downtown Bellevue.

Suggested Outdoor activities

  • Kayaking or Stand-up paddleboarding: Alki Beach or Lake Union are the best spots to paddle. Dry bags and life vests highly recommended. Ask Catherine for the location of rentals and tips on where to paddle - it’s her favorite outdoor activity!

  • Hiking on many trails throughout the I-90 corridor was something Catherine did while working for REI and training for her Grand Canyon backpacking trip. Favorite hikes include Franklin Falls, Poo Poo Point (watch hang gliders launch from the peak), Rattlesnake Ledge, Little Si, Melakwa Lake (in order from easy to moderate). Arrive early for better parking, bring water, and check trip reports for the latest conditions. Buses to a few of these trailheads are available via Trailhead Direct. Please check the WTA site to determine if your hike requires a parking pass and how to purchase (Discover Pass or Northwest Forest Pass).

  • Drive to Mount Rainier or Olympic National Parks. Each are within 2-4 hour drives from Seattle.


Pacific Northwest vacation

I want to truly experience Cascadia

 
 
 

Everything above, plus:

Whistler

Home to plenty of hiking trails, mountain biking, climbing (Squamish), and the 2010 Winter Olympics. Ride the Peak 2 Peak gondola between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. The village is great for dogs and Batman has been here several times on our ski trips. The 75-mile scenic drive from Vancouver up the Sea-to-Sky highway is full of fantastic vistas.

Vancouver

Want a taste of Canada? This metropolitan city can be reached via the 4-hour Amtrak Cascades route into/from downtown Seattle. The train ride is an experience unto itself with superb views of the greenery and the water. Plenty of delicious Asian food to be eaten due to the large Asian population. The city is considered Hollywood North as a major film location and with a large film industry. Travel tip: if you’re arriving from or departing to France, consider the prices of flights into Vancouver International Airport (YVR), compared to Sea-Tac Airport (SEA).

Olympic Peninsula

Home to Olympic National Park, the drive is about 3 to 4 hours from Seattle. On the Peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and Washington state, the park is home to different ecosystems, from the Olympic Mountains to grand beaches to a rainforest! There is plenty to hike, backpack, and climb. A car is the only way to reach the park. There are a handful of small hotels/bed-and-breakfasts along the way near Port Angeles, Lake Quinault, Lake Crescent, and Sol Duc Hot Springs. Places of interest are the Hoh Rainforest, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, La Push, and numerous beaches.

VICTORIA

This small coastal city on Vancouver Island has a lot of English charm, as it’s one of the oldest cities in the PNW, settled by the British in the 19th century. The easiest way to get here is by the Victoria Clipper ferry directly from the Seattle pier. This is a pleasant 2-day getaway - no car is needed once you are in downtown! Visit Butchart Gardens, see the boats along the harbor, walk around Chinatown, or enjoy afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel or Hotel Grand Pacific. Be sure to visit Murchie’s to try one of Catherine’s favorite teas, Earl Grey Cream.

PORTLAND

Second largest city to Seattle in the PNW. It’s full of microbreweries, funky art, more food trucks than San Francisco or Seattle, and 12 bridges crossing the Willamette River. Home to Salt & Straw ice cream and Powell’s City of Books, the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world! A scenic 3-hour Amtrak Cascades train ride away directly into the busy Pearl District from downtown Seattle makes this an easy trip. Catherine and Frédéric’s favorite Portland doughnut shop is Blue Star Donuts - all the flavor without the line and excess of Voodoo Doughnuts! Travel tip: home to Portland International Airport (PDX).

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