Truth be told Seattle isn’t the first choice that pops up in my mind, when planning a holiday to the United States of America. There are so many other amazing cities to visit and explore. If you’re not an avid traveller and don’t plan on leaving a mark in each and every corner of the world, then you must have a reason to visit Seattle. Maybe that reason is that you are about to jump on board a cruise and sail away. On the off chance that you just want to visit well for the sake of it, I would recommend a maximum of 4 days. This should be more than enough to give you a ‘taster’ of this city.
Ideally you want to stay at a hotel in the downtown area. There are a select few things you can do in vicinity. These include walking down to Pike Market, or maybe heading to the Space Needle and checking out a couple other attractions that are located by the Space Needle, such as Chihuly Garden & Glass Exhibition. The Boeing Factory is at a distance and if you plan on visiting this tourist attraction it might be worth hiring a car for, or if you feel confident then relying on public transport/uber.
Let’s talk about the iconic Sleepless in Seattle landmark, the Space Needle. Space Needle is just like any other tower landmark. Seattle’s weather is quite unpredictable, a lot like Auckland. My preference is to go up just before sunset so you can experience the sunset and the night line. This is my preference for any such towers. But due to a tight time frame and bad weather this couldn’t be pre-planned. Each day there are certain times groups can go up. Once you’re up you can hang around as long as you like and make your way back down. Please bear in mind that there is an indoor as well as an outdoor space at the top and it can get very crowded. If you’re claustrophobic or struggle with big crowds, make sure you’re prepared for this. If you know that you have a very short time in Seattle and you’re set on going up the Space Needle, and there really is only a certain time you can do so I would say book your tickets in advance. However if you have a bit of room to play around get to the Space Needle as early as possible as the line at the ticket counter can quickly escalate. The other must do whilst you’re around Space Needle, is the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. That is a fantastic museum with displays hand crafted by Dale Chihuly. The day we were there, he happened to be there for a book signing! Take a glimpse at the video below to get a feel of his work.
With the Boeing Factory, you really have to plan your trip. They run the factory tours at different times. If you’re tight for time, then I recommend spending some time online on their website and checking the tour times and whether the specific tour time is able to accommodate your group. There are essentially two aspects to your factory tour – finding the time that suits your schedule the best and that, that tour is able to accommodate everyone in your group. When we got there we missed out on the next scheduled tour as there were only 2 spots left and there were 4 of us. So we had to settle for the tour after this one. This gave us some time to go and grab lunch nearby. It would also be good to pre-book as the Boeing Factory is at a distance from the Downtown area. If memory serves me right, it took us a good 30-minute drive. Even though there was a good 3 hours before our tour, it would have been a race against time if we’d decided to pop back to the hotel or that vicinity grab lunch and then make our way back. Instead as we had hired a car, just a short drive over there was an array of restaurants.
Once the tour concludes, you can drive or uber to Kerry Park. It’s another 30 minutes drive from the Boeing Factory. It’s essentially on the ‘other side’ of the city and you can enjoy the view of the Seattle city skyline from here. The Boeing Factory and the venture out to Kerry Park essentially can be enough for a day’s outing. The factory tour takes roughly two hours to complete and it can be quite tiring. In my personal opinion, I didn’t like the tour as much. I went in with not much expectation so I could be dazzled by all that it had to offer. However just shortly into the tour I was ready for it to be over. This might not necessarily be the case for you and it could be something you enjoy. Please read the Tripadvisor reviews before you make your decision.
Ah Pike Market, this will hardly take you anytime. But then again that is dependent on whether you plan on going to the first ever Starbucks flagship store for a cuppa. I stood in line for 45 minutes at the first ever Starbucks flagship store at Pike Market to order a White Chocolate Mocha. It’s not everyday you get to say that you had coffee from the first Starbucks flagship store. Now I can say, ‘been there done that’. Pike Market is essentially just a farmer’s market. Like all things in America, a rather large farmer’s market. Tourists gather in large numbers to witness the ‘fish throwing’, which is unique to this market. The area around Pike Market is nice as it’s harbour side with a large selection of pubs, restaurants and cafes.
There must be an honorary mention of Mt. Rainier. If you want to visit Mt. Rainier you will need a car as you have to drive a little and this most definitely is an entire day’s trip. And even if you miss out, like I did, you’ll get fantastic glimpses of it whilst taking off from Tacoma airport and whilst you’re driving around the city.
As always leave your experiences of Seattle in the comments below. Maybe leave some unique spots that I should check out the next time I’m sleepless in Seattle.
Until next time,