Welcome to Seattle
Blink and it’s changed: Seattle can be that ephemeral. Welcome to a city that pushes the envelope, embraces new trends and plots a path toward the future.
First time in Seattle? Cut to the chase and make a beeline for its proverbial pantry: Pike Place Market. It was founded in 1907 to fortify locals with fresh Northwest produce, and its long-held mantra of ‘meet the producer’ still echoes enthusiastically around a city where every restaurateur worth their salt knows the name of their fishmonger and the biography of the cow that became yesterday’s burgers. It doesn’t take long to realize that you’ve arrived in a city of well-educated palates and wildly experimental chefs who are willing to fuse American cuisine with just about anything – as long as it’s local.
A United States of Neighborhoods
Visitors setting out to explore Seattle should think of the city as a United States of Neighborhoods or – to put it in more human terms – a family consisting of affectionate but sometimes errant siblings. There’s the aloof, elegant one (Queen Anne), the cool, edgy one (Capitol Hill), the weird, bearded one (Fremont), the independently minded Scandinavian one (Ballard), the grizzled old grandfather (Pioneer Square) and the precocious adolescent still carving out its identity (South Lake Union). You’ll never fully understand Seattle until you’ve spent a bit of time with them all.
To outsiders, Seattle is an industrious creator of macro-brands. To insiders, it’s a city of micro-businesses and boundary-pushing grassroots movements. For proof, dip into the third-wave coffee shops, the microbreweries with their casual tasting rooms or the cozy informal bookstores that remain rock solid in a city that spawned Amazon. Then there are the latest national trends that Seattle has helped create: craft cider, pot shops, micro-distilleries, specialist pie-makers, homemade ice cream and fledgling nano-breweries. Walk the streets and scour the neighborhoods; there’s far more to this city than Starbucks' vanilla lattes and Boeing airplanes.
A Walk on the Weird Side
It may have nurtured tech giants Microsoft and Amazon, but that doesn’t mean Seattle hasn’t got a surreal, arty side. Crisscross its urban grid and you’ll find all kinds of apparitions: a rocket sticking out of a shoe shop; a museum built to resemble a smashed-up electric guitar; glass orbs in wooden canoes; a statue of Lenin; a mural made of used chewing gum; fish-tossing market traders; and a museum dedicated to antique pinball machines (that you can still play). No, you haven't over-indulged in some powerful (legal) marijuana. You’ve just worked out that Seattle is far more bohemian than beige.
Top experiences in Seattle
Food and drink
Sitka & Spruce in Capitol Hill & First HillModern American
Bakery Nouveau in Georgetown & West SeattleBakery
Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge in Capitol Hill & First HillAmerican
London Plane in Pioneer Square, International District & SoDoCafe Deli
Tavolàta in Belltown & Seattle CenterItalian
Fonda la Catrina in Georgetown & West SeattleMexican
Paseo in Green Lake & FremontCaribbean
Café Campagne in Downtown, Pike Place & WaterfrontFrench
The Whale Wins in Green Lake & FremontEuropean
Beecher's Handmade Cheese in Downtown, Pike Place & WaterfrontDeli