Seattle – Gateway to The Pacific
Water is a defining feature of Seattle, whether it’s falling from the sky or lapping at your toes. The northernmost west-coast city in the United States, this vibrant seaport is bounded by Puget Sound in the west and Lake Washington in the East. Union Bay and Lake Union enclose the University District while Lake Washington irrigates Seattle’s wine region. Mount Rainier is the backdrop to the famous Seattle skyline, which is dominated by the Space Needle and an array of dazzling skyscrapers. Urban pursuits abound – from art galleries, museums, boutiques, coffee kiosks and restaurants, to theatres, opera, poetry, dance, music and film festivals – but if you want to get closer to nature, head for the parks, lakes and mountains. Seattle’s mild climate encourages year-round outdoor recreation. Cycling, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, rock climbing, camping and sailing are all popular pastimes.
Seattle is an eclectic mix of the natural and man-made. Go for the cityscape, the festivals, the arts, the shopping. Go for the lakes and rivers, the harbour, the mountains and parks. Watch whales, sunsets, films and baseball. As long as you’re prepared for rain, you won’t be disappointed.
When to Go?
Seattle enjoys a mild, temperate and very rainy climate which keeps everything green – hence its nickname ‘The Emerald City’. April and May are usually lovely, and the summer season (Jun-Aug) is warm and sunny. Fans of music and beer may want to visit in the autumn, the season of Bumbershoot and Oktoberfest, but unless you’re a skier or snowboarder avoid November to March. Airfares tend to be more expensive between mid-May and mid-September.
How to get there?
Seattle is served by the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (known as SeaTac), located 13 miles south of the city. Fly direct from all the main UK airports. Shuttles, buses and taxis are available for airport transfers and the Metro Transit is the public transit system serving downtown Seattle. There’s also a monorail which offers panoramic views of the city.
On a clear day, enjoy lunch in the Space Needle’s rotating SkyCity restaurant and watch the evening sunset from Anthony’s on the waterfront. If you can afford it, book a whale-watching cruise from the San Juan Islands. Honour Jimi Hendrix’s memory with an unmissable visit to the interactive Experience Music Project and pick up fresh seafood, produce and flowers at colourful Pike Place Market. Plan a day trip to Mount Rainier National Park or visit the Kubota Japanese Garden, a hidden treasure in the south.