Seattle City Guide

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Photo by: Tiffany Von Arnim (CC BY 2.0)

Visiting Seattle

Despite the hills, despite the rain, Seattle is a great city for walking and biking. And, thanks to the city’s infrastructure investments, it’s slowly getting better all the time. In 2016, Bicycling Magazine ranked Seattle the 5th best bike city in the U.S. WalkScore says Seattle is the 8th most walkable city in the country.

Accordion

The popular Burke Gilman Trail stretches west to east across the city and beyond from the shores of the Puget Sound to the top of Lake Washington. Riding the Alki Trail along Alki Beach feels like being transported from the Pacific Northwest to a California beach town. The Elliott Bay Trail offers amazing views of mountains and water and a trek through green parkland in the heart of the city. The I-90 and Interurban Trails will take you east and north for adventures outside city limits. 

With dozens of miles of multi-use trails built throughout the city and a growing network of protected bike infrastructure and neighborhood greenways to get you safely between them, it’s easy to fill entire weekends with biking and walking adventures within city limits. For nature lovers, Seattle trails can connect you with parks, greenways, lakes, rivers, beaches, bays and forests. For sightseeing tourists, there are trails to get you from the Space Needle to the Great Wheel to Pike Place and beyond. For gourmands and beer aficionados, there are nearly limitless opportunities to ride or walk a multi-use trail to Seattle’s many hip restaurants bars, and breweries.

This guide aims to help visitors and locals alike explore everything Seattle’s trail network has to offer. The self-guided bike tour takes riders from the heart of Seattle’s tech boom in South Lake Union through two of the best food and drink neighborhoods, into the iconic Gasworks Park and back again. The self-guided walking tour follows the best of Seattle’s waterfront, loops into the Seattle Center, moves south along the water again, before finishing in the historical Pioneer Square and Chinatown-International District neighborhoods. The trail guides and points of interest will help you map your own adventure throughout the city.

Planning your visit

weather

Weather

Weather-wise, the best time to visit Seattle is late June to late September, when it rarely rains and the temperatures range from the low 60s to high 70s, with just a few weeks each summer peaking in the 80s and 90s. In the fall and spring, rains tend to be frequent, but not intense. The drizzle is pervasive, but it rarely downpours. With waterproof outwear, one can comfortably get outdoors nearly year-round.

transport

Public Transportation

Seattle’s busses are equipped with a bike rack on the front. See King County Metro’s guide for properly loading your bike and don’t be afraid to ask the driver for help. The LINK light rail system provides a way to get from SeaTac Airport north to the University of Washington and points between. Bicycles are allowed on trains and each car has one bike rack on either end.

Navigating Hills

Traveling around Seattle almost inevitably means climbing some hills. Doing so often requires a choice: steepness or traffic. Arterial streets tend to be the least-steep option to the top of a hill; the trade-off is that there are many more cars and buses sharing the road. Conversely, side roads have far less traffic, but the grades tend to be steeper (sometimes significantly so).

transport

Travel by Ferry

Perched on the shores of Puget Sound and surrounded by islands, Seattle offers opportunities for travel by ferry. Washington State Ferries allows bicycles on board, but they’re not permitted inside the passenger cabin; you’ll need to place them in the designated bicycle parking area with other vehicles. Note that there may be a nominal bicycle surcharge for some ferry routes.

transport

Getting There

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), commonly known as Sea-Tac, is located about 12 miles south of downtown Seattle. A convenient and inexpensive way to get from the airport to the city center is to ride Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail (soundtransit.org), a journey of about 35 minutes. Look for the directional signs in the terminals to reach the station and buy your ticket from a vending machine at the boarding platform.

Travel Resources

Check out these helpful websites for planning your travel in Seattle.

Self-Guided Tours

Things to see and do in Seattle

Klondike Gold Rush Museum

319 2nd Ave S, WA, Seattle,
www.nps.gov

Free National Park Service museum about the Yokun Gold Rush

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Klondike Gold Rush Museum

319 2nd Ave S, WA, Seattle,
www.nps.gov
Free National Park Service museum about the Yokun Gold Rush

KOBO Seattle

602 S Jackson St, WA, Seattle,
koboseattle.com

Gallery and store in the ID featuring Japanese artists and artisans

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KOBO Seattle

602 S Jackson St, WA, Seattle,
koboseattle.com
Gallery and store in the ID featuring Japanese artists and artisans

Seattle Center

305 Harrison St, WA, Seattle,
www.seattlecenter.com

Space Needle, International Fountain, Glass Museum and more, the Seattle Center is a classic.

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Seattle Center

305 Harrison St, WA, Seattle,
www.seattlecenter.com
Space Needle, International Fountain, Glass Museum and more, the Seattle Center is a classic.

Great Wheel

1301 Alaskan Way, WA, Seattle,
seattlegreatwheel.com

Giant ferris wheel on the Seattle waterfront.

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Great Wheel

1301 Alaskan Way, WA, Seattle,
seattlegreatwheel.com
Giant ferris wheel on the Seattle waterfront.

Kexp

472 1st Ave N, WA, Seattle,
kexp.org

Iconic radio station. Their Seattle Center HQ is open for public tours.

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Kexp

472 1st Ave N, WA, Seattle,
kexp.org
Iconic radio station. Their Seattle Center HQ is open for public tours.

Olympic Sculpture Park

2901 Western Ave, WA, Seattle,
www.seattleartmuseum.org

Free outdoor sculupture park operated by the Seattle Art Museum

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Olympic Sculpture Park

2901 Western Ave, WA, Seattle,
www.seattleartmuseum.org
Free outdoor sculupture park operated by the Seattle Art Museum

Fremont Brewing

1050 N 34th St, WA, Seattle,
www.fremontbrewing.com

Popular dog and kid friendly brewery in Fremont with a huge patio

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Fremont Brewing

1050 N 34th St, WA, Seattle,
www.fremontbrewing.com
Popular dog and kid friendly brewery in Fremont with a huge patio

King's Hardware

5225 Ballard Ave NW, WA, Seattle,
www.kingsballard.com

Hip pub with shades of dive bar

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King's Hardware

5225 Ballard Ave NW, WA, Seattle,
www.kingsballard.com
Hip pub with shades of dive bar

Brouwers

400 N 35th St, WA, Seattle,
www.brouwerscafe.com

Belgian style pub with a huge beer list in Fremont

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Brouwers

400 N 35th St, WA, Seattle,
www.brouwerscafe.com
Belgian style pub with a huge beer list in Fremont

Hazelwood

2311 NW Market St, WA, Seattle,

Intimate bar with good cocktails

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Hazelwood

2311 NW Market St, WA, Seattle,
Intimate bar with good cocktails

Peddler

1514 NW Leary Way, WA, Seattle,
www.peddlerbrewing.com

Bike-themed brewery in Ballard

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Peddler

1514 NW Leary Way, WA, Seattle,
www.peddlerbrewing.com
Bike-themed brewery in Ballard

Ballard Beer Company

2050 NW Market St, WA, Seattle,
www.ballardbeercompany.com

Beers from Seattle and Washington in a communal Ballard setting

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Ballard Beer Company

2050 NW Market St, WA, Seattle,
www.ballardbeercompany.com
Beers from Seattle and Washington in a communal Ballard setting

Harbor City

707 S King St, WA, Seattle,

Popular dim sum restaurant in the ID

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Harbor City

707 S King St, WA, Seattle,
Popular dim sum restaurant in the ID

Jade Garden

424 7th Ave S, WA, Seattle,
jadegardenseattle.com

More dim sum in the ID

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Jade Garden

424 7th Ave S, WA, Seattle,
jadegardenseattle.com
More dim sum in the ID

Shanghai Garden

524 6th Ave S, WA, Seattle,

Chinese food in Chinatown

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Shanghai Garden

524 6th Ave S, WA, Seattle,
Chinese food in Chinatown

Wrench Repairs

719 Dexter Ave N, WA, Seattle,
www.wrenchbw.com

Repair shop near Lake Union Park

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Wrench Repairs

719 Dexter Ave N, WA, Seattle,
www.wrenchbw.com
Repair shop near Lake Union Park

Wright Brothers Cycles

219 N 36th St, WA, Seattle,
www.wrightbrotherscycleworks.com

Just off the Burke Gilman in Fremont

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Wright Brothers Cycles

219 N 36th St, WA, Seattle,
www.wrightbrotherscycleworks.com
Just off the Burke Gilman in Fremont

Ascent Cycles

5221 Ballard Ave NW, WA, Seattle,
www.ascentcycles.com

In the heart of Ballard

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Ascent Cycles

5221 Ballard Ave NW, WA, Seattle,
www.ascentcycles.com
In the heart of Ballard

Recycled Cycles

1007 NE Boat St, WA, Seattle,
www.recycledcycles.com

In the University Distrcit a few blocks off the Burke Gilman

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Recycled Cycles

1007 NE Boat St, WA, Seattle,
www.recycledcycles.com
In the University Distrcit a few blocks off the Burke Gilman

Back Alley Bike Repair

, WA, Seattle,
www.backalleybikerepair.com

Located in Pioneer Square's Nord Alley between Main and Jackson Streets

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Back Alley Bike Repair

, WA, Seattle,
www.backalleybikerepair.com
Located in Pioneer Square's Nord Alley between Main and Jackson Streets

Green Tortoise Hostel

105 Pike St, WA, Seattle,
www.greentortoise.net

Inexpensive hostel next to Pike Place Market

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Green Tortoise Hostel

105 Pike St, WA, Seattle,
www.greentortoise.net
Inexpensive hostel next to Pike Place Market

Best Western Uptown

200 Taylor Avenue N., WA, Seattle,
bestwesternwashington.com

Motel in Uptown/Queen Anne neighborhood

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Best Western Uptown

200 Taylor Avenue N., WA, Seattle,
bestwesternwashington.com
Motel in Uptown/Queen Anne neighborhood

Hilton Seattle

1301 6th Avenue, WA, Seattle, 98101
www3.hilton.com

Standard Hotel Downtown

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Hilton Seattle

1301 6th Avenue, WA, Seattle, 98101
www3.hilton.com

Standard Hotel Downtown

Edgewater Hotel

2411 Alaskan Way, WA, Seattle,
www.edgewaterhotel.com

Luxury hotel on the downtown waterfront

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Edgewater Hotel

2411 Alaskan Way, WA, Seattle,
www.edgewaterhotel.com
Luxury hotel on the downtown waterfront

Doubletree Arctic Club

700 3rd Avenue, WA, Seattle,
doubletree1.hilton.com

Luxury hotel in the heart of downtown

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Doubletree Arctic Club

700 3rd Avenue, WA, Seattle,
doubletree1.hilton.com
Luxury hotel in the heart of downtown
Accordion

Ship Canal Trail

Washington - 1.9 miles

Across the waterway from its big brother (the Burke-Gilman Trail), the Ship Canal Trail runs along the southern edge of the Lake Washington Ship Canal...

Elliott Bay Trail (Terminal 91 Bike Path)

Washington - 3.4 miles

Elliott Bay offers trail users the opportunity to enjoy art, history, and a wide variety of outdoor activities in a beautiful waterfront setting....

Interurban Trail (North)

Washington - 24 miles

The Interurban Trail between Seattle and Everett stitches together a dense residential and commercial patchwork that the original electric railway...

Burke-Gilman Trail

Washington - 18.8 miles

Spanning nearly 19 miles between Seattle and Bothell, the Burke-Gilman Trail is as much a thoroughfare for commuting to work and the University of...

Duwamish Trail

Washington - 3 miles

Running north to south along the industrial Duwamish Waterway, the 3-mile Duwamish Trail is an important connector in southwest Seattle. Beginning a...

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