We arrived on the train from Vancouver.
Where to stay:
Most British tourists have never met a Kimpton hotel up close, as they haven't opened many in Europe yet. They are part of the IHG Holiday Inn/Crowne Plaza/Intercontinental group, but have a few quirks. Firstly they are much more boutique, with individual style and more varied rooms. Secondly they have a wine hour every evening in the lobby, a great way to meet other travellers and enjoy wine. Thirdly they allow dogs and are very pet-friendly.
We stayed at the Kimpton Vintage, so even more wine-themed! It was a gorgeous friendly place, with lots of perks like bar credit and free desserts in the Tulio restaurant.
5th Avenue at Spring, handy for downtown and Pike Place.
We weren't there long enough to get a travel pass, and everywhere was pretty walkable, though there are some steep hills a la San Francisco. Uber and buses are easy to get hold of.
The Alweg monorail was built in 1962 for a World's Fair and is still in prime condition.
It leaves from Westlake Centre Mall (5th and Pine) and arrives at Seattle Centre to the northwest of town.
Space Needle: https://www.spaceneedle.com/
book in advance, with timed ticketing that is cheaper 10am-12 noon, and 6-8pm.
520 feet high, rotating glass floor, cafe and wine bar
Pike Place: http://pikeplacemarket.org/plan-your-visit
Market Diner, 1514 Pike Place - great for breakfast
Rachel's Ginger Beer, 1530 Post Alley - so many flavours, really refreshing
Robot vs Sloth, 1535 1st Avenue - great for handmade local art
The First Starbucks: 1912 Pike Place - this is still a Starbucks and claims to be the original
The REAL First Starbucks: 2000 Western Avenue - now a totally different restaurant
Seattle Art Museum
1300 1st Avenue, between Union and University
With art from all over the world, and special exhibitions of Modern and Contemporary art, this is a building you can lose yourself in. Well worth a visit, with a good café and shop.
It also has an Asian Art offshoot and a sculpture park.
Pine Street, between 6th and 7th
Small mall, show your passport at the Concierge desk on Level 1 to get free stuff, like a cookie, tote bag, and popcorn and drinks from the cinema
Handmade Showroom, nice gifts including woodcrafts
Seattle Public Library
1000 4th Avenue, between Madison and Spring
An amazing building, worth more than one visit. Every floor, escalator and prospect is a viewing marvel.
Off the beaten track:
From downtown, to explore First Hill and the historical areas, you can walk through Freeway Park.
It sits atop a section of Interstate 5 and a large city-owned parking lot, and is an unusual mixture of brutalist architecture and greenery, strangely peaceful given its location. You can find it easily at 600 Seneca Street at 6th Avenue.
Frye Art Museum
704 Terry Avenue, between Columbia and Cherry
19th & 20th century works by American & European painters plus a range of rotating exhibitions
One area you must visit is Pioneer Square, around 1st Avenue and Yesler Way.
This is a historical district of Seattle dating from 1852. There are plenty of buildings, signs, street mosaics and ironwork showing the past. Visit Pioneer Park, Occidental Street Park, and support local businesses like Arundel Books and the Globe Bookstore, both on 1st Avenue.
Just to the east, in the "International District" you can:
- see the Chinatown Gate
- sit in Hing Hay park and listen to the buskers
- visit Union Station, now disused but still maintained as a grand terminal
- sit in Kobe Terrace Park
- visit the Uwajimaya supermarket complex dating back to 1928
Our two recommendations for the area are:
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
719 South King at 8th
Enjoy a guided tour of what life was like for early Asian Pacific American immigrants.
Honey Court Seafood Restaurant
516 Maynard Avenue South, in the heart of Chinatown, between King and Weller
excellent dim sum until 3pm, and an extensive menu