A Local’s Guide to Seattle
Collected by Stephanie Perry, AFAR Local Expert
Want to know the best things to see, do, and eat in Seattle? Ask a local. I live in the Capitol Hill neighborhood near downtown, but I scour the city for the best shopping, restaurants, and unique off-the-beaten-path things to do. Check out my ideas here.
500 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112, USA
Washington state loves its murals! I've never seen so many lovingly painted scenes, ranging from whimsical parades to underwater oceanscapes to the fantastical tree of life shown here. Often, they're matter-of-factly painted onto the sides of...
925 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122, USA
If there's a single most iconic Seattle meal, it's probably fish and chips. We're rightly famous for our salmon, which is very tasty when given the batter-fried treatment, but halibut may be the most popular choice for locals (and well worth the...
400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA
This "U.F.O. saucer on a stick" is an atomic age baby, dating back to the 1962 World's Fair. If you're lucky enough to catch the city's iconic symbol on a sunny day, take the 41-second elevator ride to the observation deck and behold the sweeping...
Seattle, WA, USA
One of Seattle's landmark buildings, the downtown public library is a dramatically asymmetrical, 11 story glass-and-steel 'sculpture' that takes up an entire city block. Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the interior features a continuous...
2901 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98121, USA
Here's a bold claim: the Olympic Sculpture Park might just have something for everyone. Located on the waterfront, not far from Pike Place Market, it features great views of Puget Sound (well, on clear days) and the ferries going back and forth....
211 W Highland Dr, Seattle, WA 98119, USA
Kerry Park is a sliver of lawn halfway up the hill leading into the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. The park is noted for its excellent view over the city, featuring the famous Space Needle in the foreground. Walk into any shop in town and...
7277 Perimeter Rd S, Seattle, WA 98108, USA
The Museum of Flight is one of Seattle's unsung treasures. This expansive campus features over 150 air and spacecraft including a Concorde, Air Force One and beginning in 2013, the Space Shuttle Trainer--parts of which are on display as of July...
6501 Railroad Ave, Snoqualmie, WA 98065, USA
Just 25 miles east of Seattle, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, is Snoqualmie Falls. Winter and spring are the best times to see the thundering 268-ft waterfall; summer brings sun (believe it or not), but less rain and snowmelt. Although...
85 Pike St #500, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
Walk, cycle or people-watch along the shores of Elliott Bay, a downtown stretch known for its circusy flair and spectacular vistas. You can ride the Great Wheel or visit the beloved Seattle Aquarium, home to wolf eels, sea otters, and the world's...
1011 Western Ave # 500, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
From the skyscrapers of downtown Seattle, you look out over Puget Sound. Beyond this arm of the sea, the snowcapped Olympic Mountains beckon. Few cities are as easy to escape from as Seattle. Get to the downtown ferry terminal, and you'll be on...
1428 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
Taking just the 'right' wrong turn on a visit to Pike Place Market can land you in Post Alley, where spearmint, wild cherry, and tropical punch bubble gum drizzles down the window panes and grape, peppermint, and lemon ice gum-cicles form from...
305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA
I didn't expect to like the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit, because it seemed like yet another overpriced Seattle attraction. But I was pleasantly surprised by this colorful, photography-friendly collection of the one-eyed glass artist's work....
108 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
Seattle has become a cupcake town; you can (and I have) had entire conversations debating the merits of various cupcake shops. Cupcake Royale is one of the best, and definitely worth a visit. They have rotating monthly flavors (pictured is the...
5500 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo is fun for visitors of all ages, but particularly exciting for kids. The grounds are large, so wear walking shoes and plan on at least a half-day to see everything. There are cafes and restaurants inside the zoo, but...
2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle, WA 98112, USA
Located on the shores of Lake Washington, the 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum is a lesser-known Seattle gem. It features a large botanical garden, a Japanese garden, a fragrance garden, and a waterfront walking trail. There are bike trails,...
1912 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
For many Seattle visitors, the original Starbucks is a Pike Place Market highlight. If you're a Starbucks devotee, take a quick peek inside to get a glimpse of history. The line will likely snake out the door and down the block, so if you don't...
508 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
At the Seattle Pinball Museum, everything may be behind glass, but nothing is hands-off! The owners have a rotating collection of pinball machines, usually about 30 at a time, ranging from old-timey wooden boxes to modern games with tons of bells...
117 Mission Ave, Cashmere, WA 98815, USA
Washington is famous for its apples, and fall is the best time of year to try our crisp, juicy fruit. The most coveted breed is Honeycrisp, prized for its extremely crunchy and crisp texture and lightly sweet flavor. Cameo is a pretty,...
Junction, Seattle, WA, USA
If you say "Ma'ono" to a Seattle local, you might get a blank look — but try "the fried chicken place that used to be Spring Hill," and you'll get a nod of recognition. Back when it was Spring Hill, their weekly fried-chicken nights were so...
1300 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
When the snowglobes and novelty-shaped pasta souvenirs just won’t cut it, a quick trip to the SAM Shop (located at the Seattle Art Museum downtown) should take care of your gift-giving needs. In addition to catalogs and trinkets inspired by the...
1407 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
Seattle’s waterfront is a paradise for walkers, cyclists and anyone who wants to relax at a sidewalk café and do a little people-watching. Enjoy a drink or coffee and watch cruise ships and local ferries come and go. If you're lucky, you might...
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